How to Make a Modern Art Dress

Looking for a way to add some color, fun and creativity to your wardrobe? Try this easy DIY fashion tutorial for making your own modern art dress using Rit fabric dye. Inspired by Rothko, this color-blocked dress is hand painted with Rit dye. To start off your creation, use an old or second-hand cotton dress. It’s fun to mix colors and create your own fashion statement by painting with these easy-to-use dyes. To finish, simply heat-set the dyes in the microwave.

Steps

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    Cover table with plastic tablecloth in order to protect your crafting space.
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    Lay dry dress on sheets of plastic wrap that have been overlapped so plastic is slightly larger than dress.
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    Using a yardstick or ruler, draw a vertical blue chalk line on dress, dividing it into one-third and two-two third sections.
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    Prepare the dyes: Wearing rubber gloves, measure and mix dyes in 3 Cup Gladware containers. Stir with spoon.
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    Measurements used:
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    Golden Yellow 1 C Very Hot Water + 2 T. Golden Yellow
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    Fuchsia 1 C Very Hot Water + 2 T. Fuchsia
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    Teal 1 C Very Hot Water + 1 T. Teal
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    Navy 2 C Very Hot Water + 3 T. Navy
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    Starting at top of dress, paint Golden Yellow dye with “horizontal” brush strokes, from outside edge to vertical line. Paint about 1/3 (or a little more) of dress.
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    Paint Teal dye in bottom 1/3 section of dress (or a little more). Use “horizontal” brush strokes.
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    Paint Fuchsia dye in middle 1/3 of dress, overlapping Golden Yellow and Teal about 1 – 2 inches (5.1 cm). Use “horizontal” brush strokes.
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    Place long piece of parchment paper over white side of dress along vertical line.
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    Fold dye-painted section of dress over paper. Paint back side of dress as above to be sure fabric is saturated.
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    After painting back side, lay it back on the plastic. Remove parchment paper.
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    Paint Navy dye on right side of dress (remaining white 2/3) using long “vertical” brush strokes. Begin painting along the inside line, overlapping the 3 colors from top to bottom, working toward the outside edge. After painting the right side, place new piece of parchment paper over the left side (1/3 with 3 colors) and paint Navy dye on back side of dress.
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    Cover dye-painted dress with plastic wrap and seal outer edges.
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    Fold to fit into microwave. Cover bottom of microwave with paper towels. Place plastic-wrapped dress in the microwave. Set on HIGH for 2 minutes. Wearing rubber gloves, remove from microwave. Cut open plastic wrap. Allow fabric and wrap to cool.
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    Wearing rubber gloves, rinse dress carefully under cool running water, holding dress from tri-colored side with navy at bottom. The rinse in tub of cool water until water runs clear. Launder and dry.

Tips

  • Dress should be laundered to remove any finishes that may prevent absorption of dyes. Dry and iron if very wrinkled.
  • Before getting started, brush or dip each dye color on a paper towel or old T-shirt. For lighter shades, add more hot water. For darker shades, add more dye. You’re the designer; change the color to suit your style!
  • Painting with dyes is like painting with watercolors. Add more water to your brush to make lighter areas. You could also use different size brushes to achieve different effects. Where the dye colors overlap and blend, you’ll see new colors being created.For example, Yellow & Fuchsia make an Orange color. Fuchsia & Teal make a Purple color.

Warnings

  • If this is your first time using fabric dye or painting textile, select an old, second-hand or recycled dress. Any fabric which the dyes are suitable for should work.

Things You'll Need

  • White Cotton Dress. Other fabric choices: Rayon, silk, linen, nylon or Cotton/Polyester blend
  • Rit Powder or Liquid Dye: Golden Yellow, Fuchsia, Teal, Navy
  • 4 - Plastic 3-cup Gladware containers
  • Measuring cup and measuring spoons
  • Spoons for stirring dye colors
  • 4 one-inch bristle brushes (one for each color)
  • Rubber gloves (or latex gloves)
  • Plastic wrap
  • Plastic tablecloth
  • Paper towels or scrap fabric for testing dye colors
  • Blue chalk pencil
  • Yardstick
  • Parchment paper
  • Microwave
  • Apron
  • Containers for heating water

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Fabric and Clothing Decoration