I make no secret of the fact that I love pink! I love it most when it is subtle and pale, and usually paired with botanics and other lovely pastels. I originally bought dye to use for this tutorial, but decided to go natural and create some beautifully soft pink napkins from the flowering hibiscus in my backyard.
This tutorial may take a little longer than your normal DIY, and whilst I am one that usually prefers quick projects that look amazing with very little work, I guarantee this is worthwhile! You’ll end up with a gorgeous finished product perfect for your wedding (how lovely would these be for a garden theme!) and there are so many beautiful blooms you can choose from. Marigolds, roses, camellias – once you start researching you’ll find loads of options to create the loveliest of colours.
What you need:
- Flower of choice (I used approximately 15 red hibiscus blooms), or store bought dye (simply follow dye instructions)
- 2 x saucepans (preferably not your cooking saucepans!)
- Natural fibre fabric in your chosen size and shape (cotton or linen are excellent choices)
- String or rubber bands (if you’re attempting patterns on your napkins)
- Your stove top
Step 1. Remove the flowers from the stems and discard any stamens with pollen on them. Place the flowers into a saucepan and cover with water (I used approximately six cups of water for 15 blooms).
Step 2. Place four parts water to one part vinegar in another saucepan (I used eight cups of water with two cups of vinegar), and pop your napkin sized fabric in. Place both saucepans on your stove top, bring to the boil and then simmer for one hour.
Step 3. Once both saucepans have cooled, rinse the fabric in fresh water and wring out. Strain the flowers out of your dye and discard them (they’ll be lovely and slimy – watch out!)
Step 4. If you would like to attempt a shibori effect, now is the time to tie up your fabrics. I wanted my napkins to be a lovely all over pink colour, and although my string did leave some lovely pale patterns, I took the string off later on so that all four napkins were uniform
Step 5. Place the fabric back into the dye, and place the saucepan back onto the heat. Simmer for one hour for a pale colour. If you’d like a deeper colour simply leave the fabric in longer – just remember to turn off the heat if you’re leaving it overnight!
Step 6. Once you have reached a colour you’re happy with (and remember it will likely fade a little once dry), remove the fabric from the saucepan and rinse in cold water. Hang out to dry and dream of how beautiful your table is going to look! Once your napkins are dry you can press them with an iron, although I chose to leave mine nice and crinkled for extra texture on the table.
These napkins would also make a gorgeous hostess gift, and if you fall in love with the process there’s no stopping you! Table cloths, pillowcases and cushions covers would all look stunning! Just remember to always wash separately and in cold water to preserve the dye.
Images by Nicola Goring
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Such a beautiful – and natural – way to add colour to your wedding; I love the pinks, but a soft yellow or pistachio green would look wonderful too!
About Nicola Goring – I’m Nicola, the florist and crafter behind rubyandjoy. I’m a gardening, fabric loving, mint tea drinking, brownie baking, book obsessed maker! I love a good adventure having just moved back from five years in Scotland (with my lovely Scottish husband).