While you might have extra downtime this summer, when not try these crafty DIY projects? They’re great to do for parties and groups of friends, or even by yourself on a relaxing day. These projects allow for lots of creativity and versatility so feel free to add your own twist!
1. Boho Curtains
If you have old sheets that have seen better days, and/or leftover fabric from past sewing projects they can be upcycled for a decorative purpose (that I promise, doesn’t require sewing!) Simply take the sheet or fabric, make a cut straight down with scissors, (preferably towards the end of the sheet, but can be down anywhere really), then proceed to rip the rest of the fabric all the way down, as straight as possible. Continue to rip and cut until you have a pile of long narrow strips of fabric, each about 1 1/2-2 inches wide. Use as many sheets as you want. Don’t worry if your strips of fabric vary in length or width, that just adds to the uniqueness of the curtains!
When you have your strips of fabric, take one, and folding it over, lengthwise approximately 5 inches from the top of either end, take your scissors, and make a small slit. (Think of this like folding a piece of paper, hotdog style and cutting a hole along the edge of the fold). Be sure not cut the edge off the strip as you need these small slits to thread the bottom half of the fabric strip through. This is how you’ll attach your fabric strips to your curtain rod. Proceed to do this to all strips until your curtain rod is draped in mix-matched colorful fabric. (For extra fun hippie curtains, try tie-dyeing some of the plain sheets for a variety of colors and patterns). Now you have no-sew, DIY curtains that add so much color to one room!
2. Upcycled Rug
Also known as a rag rug, if you still have your sheets, t-shirts, jeans, or just about any pile of useless cloth collecting dust, another DIY project to try that allows them to be upcycled is to make an area rug. The same steps as before in the curtains apply here, except this project requires crocheting. When you have made slits in each of the strips of fabric, you must thread them all together into one long train, then roll your train into a giant ball, like a ball of yarn. Now there is a lot of variation in this project because it depends on the thickness of the fabric, which determines which hook size you might use, and what pattern you might choose. It seems most common to use an N crochet hook, because they’re larger, adding more fabric to each section, thus strengthening the rug. Remember rugs are on the floor, and will get walked on. You want your colorful creations to last. This website can give you additional tips for the best patterns to try: https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/how-to-make-rag-rugs-979195
3. Tie Dye
Tie Dyeing is a tried and true DIY project that has held up for decades, and is always fun during the hot months (which is the best time to tie dye because the heat and humidity set the dyes into the fabric). While they’re many tie-dye techniques I’m going to share with you the methods and tips I’ve learned over the last several years. T-shirts, shorts, jeans, sweatpants, any cotton clothing garment of a light enough color (preferably white) can be tie-dyed. For best results, use Rit or Procion dyes. Rit can be found at craft stores or in the hardware section of most general stores, as its a stain, while Procion can be found online. Be careful when using these products: be sure to wear gloves and cover any surface area you don’t want to be stained with towels (that will get stained) or newspapers.
When tying your garments, use either elastic rubber bands (not the ones meant for hair), or colorless twine. Using hot or warm water mixed with your dye yields the best results. Be sure to mix the dye in plastic condiment bottles (which can be found at craft or grocery stores), for easy application. Another important thing to remember when tie-dyeing, is the length of time to let the clothes “cure”. Some designs call for 6-8 hours, while others may call for as long as 72 hours. After you can’t stand it anymore, rinse your clothes one by one under the faucet in cold water, untying them as you go. They’ll be sopping wet so let them dry someplace, like a sink or shower if you can. Try to refrain from squeezing excess water out as this will squeeze out the dyes too. I’ve often preferred to put all my freshly dyed garments in the dryer before washing them, as to prevent as minimal color fade as possible when being washed. Be sure to wash them on a cold cycle.
Other additional steps you can take to prevent color fade are: soak the clothes in a soda ash solution prior to dyeing, and tie them when they’re damp. This soda ash is supposed to help the dyes set into the fabric better. Soda ash can be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Using a hot iron on the clothes before and after washing has also been said to prevent color fade and maintain vibrancy. For design ideas, and how to tie your clothes try YouTube tutorials. Some designs to look up that I’ve had fun trying are a smiley face, heart, spiral, double spiral, peace sign, and a yin-yang, and shibori (Japanese method). But remember, these are just helpful tips, have fun with it! Tie-dyeing is about experimenting and creating!
4. Bleach Dye
Bleach is a cool DIY project alternative to tie-dyeing. The same techniques of tying clothes using bands or twine apply, only you’ll wanna use colored fabrics (black makes for a really cool effect), and you don’t have to worry about color fade. Try taking a pair of worn out black jeans or t-shirt, something you don’t mind that gets covered in bleach, and go ham! The same folding patterns as before like the smiley face, the shibori method, the yin-yang or the spiral apply. But don’t be scared to get creative, as that’s part of the fun with these DIY projects. Try to new folds or twists! Remember, the tighter the fold, the less bleach or dye will penetrate the fabric, so whatever part of the fabric doesn’t receive the bleach or dye will remain its original color.
Be extra careful when using bleach! Stay in a well-ventilated area, or go outside! Be sure to wear gloves, an apron, and protective eyewear if necessary. Wear clothes you don’t care about, and try not to kill your grass if you do go outside. Also remember: heat and light play a huge role in the reaction of the bleach, so if the clothes are left out in the sun, they’ll bleach faster.
The dyes in black fabrics are made up of reds and brows, so you’ll notice the garments turning those clothes while bleaching. Eventually, they’ll turn white. This can make for an awesome effect on black jeans (trust me!) But try not to use too much bleach, as this can burn holes right through the fabrics! Also, be sure to rinse them out under the faucet just as you would with tie-dyeing. The water stops the dye or bleach from doing its job essentially. Lastly, when washing anything that’s been dyed or bleached, the clothes can feel pretty starchy so be sure to use enough detergent or fabric softener to soften them back up and make them wearable again!
For a one-of-the-kind piece of clothing, take your bleached clothes (while they’re actively bleaching even), and apply tie dye colors to the white parts. Shirts or jeans that were originally black will have unique colors and patterns, that will be all your creation!
5. Spray Painting Furniture
Refinishing furniture is one of the easiest, and most fun DIY projects there is, and summer is the perfect time to do it! Bookshelves, tables, chairs, nightstands or a vanity that could use some sprucing up, and would look beautiful in your home. Grab some stencils and spray and paint and let the fun begin!
Stencils can be bought at craft stores, and so can spray paint, but if you want the same exact paint for less money try Lowes or Home Depot. You can also make your own stencils, or consider using objects to create neat patterns, like lace. Again, do this outside in a well-ventilated space, because spray paint stinks, and stains! Wear gloves and an apron, and avoid doing this on a windy day.
To avoid the paint from running and creating drip marks, try turning the furniture over on its side painting as if you were painting the top, this will allow the paint to lay flatter. Also, be sure to secure those stencils down well, or any space not covered by them will be painted!