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christmas diy: HAND-DYED GIFT WRAP

Nikki Yazxhi

But how do you make a gift something that feels truly, genuinely personal, special, and meaningful? Here’s how…

Gift wrap can add immense thoughtfulness and beauty to your gift. That’s why we’re loving the collaboration between Simone LeBlanc and Eye Swoon, the stunning lifestyle website by Athena Calderone, who created this beautiful gift wrapping… here are their DIY details:

what you need:

* Choose one, or use a mix of all three: Natural coloured linen, lightweight cotton or silk.

* Cut the pieces of fabric to the approximate size that you will need for your gifts. It’s always a good idea to have extra fabric cut to make sure you have enough!

* Cut a few small, extra strips so you can test the colour of the dyes to see how they work with the fabrics.

* Tea Dye Bath — cinnamon sticks, cloves, tea bags, coffee grounds. We love this one because it really makes the house smell cozy and seasonal.
* Ruby-hued Dye Bath— Sliced pomegranates and beets (can add cabbage to make more purple).

* Twine or ribbon.

* Foliage bits to finish the gift, such as hearty flowers foraged from your neighbourhood, local florist—we love rosemary, magnolia leaves (their backsides are velvety), seasonal cedar and berries — really, whatever suits your taste. Just make sure what you choose is not as delicate as you want them to stand the test of time and dry well.

what you do:

* Gather your two sets of dye bath contents.

* Place items in individual pots of water and bring to a boil.

* Give a few stirs to release more of the colour from the materials you are boiling and to keep an eye on the colour. The longer you let it boil, the darker the colours will become.

* Let steep for 15 or so minutes. Adjust the mixture by adding more water (to lighten) or more ingredients (to darken) and achieve the colour dye you are looking for. You can always use your test strips of fabric here to test the colour.

* Strain the contents of your pot.

* Transfer the boiling dye bath to a large vessel for the dye bath. You want something rather roomy and not precious, as the dipping process can get a little messy, and you don’t want the fabric to be crowded and thus get an uneven exposure to the dye.

* Wet your fabrics with water thoroughly in the sink before immersing in the dye bath.

* Dip your fabric into the hot dye bath and let sit until the desired shade is achieved, checking every 15 minutes or so. Remember that the longer you let sit, the darker the resulting fabric will be. Also, the fabric will always look darker when it is wet. Don’t discard your dye bath until you are happy with the final colour of the dried fabric–you always can submerge it again to darken.

* Remove the fabric and give it a quick rinse in a cold water bath. The longer you rinse, the more the dye will wash out.

* Lay the fabric out to dry somewhere with good airflow (outdoors is great!).

* Toss in the dryer on tumble to soften and add texture.

* Layout your fabric and loosely tie your fabrics around your gifts in a simple Furoshiki style, using the twine or a pretty pin to hold the fabric in place. The look is meant to be loose, wabi-sabi, relaxed, so feel free to really experiment here. Treat your gift as a beautiful bundle, so no need to worry about a perfect finish or anything too buttoned up.

* For the final touch, wrap your lovely gift with that twine, ribbon or metallic thread of choice. Pop in some of your favourite foliage – tuck it under the fabric, adhere it with your twine – whatever strikes your fancy. You’ll be surprised by how beautifully the elements all come together!

{Source: Simone LeBlanc and Eye Swoon}


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