Easy DIY Fabric Dyeing Using Sharpies & Rubbing Alcohol

By 8:40 PM , , , , , , , ,

Hello everyone! I wanted to share with you a last minute gift idea that I tried recently for some of my friends & family. Since Christmas is right around the corner, some of you might be scrambling to get some last minute presents together, like me. Instead of making that hectic trip to the store, I suggest using a few things you might have right at home to make an affordable, meaningful gift.

All you need for this simple DIY is rubbing alcohol, a spray bottle, sharpies of your choice & scissors to cut the fabric or whatever you're coloring.

The sharpies can stain certain items, so I suggest starting off with laying a piece of plastic or thick paper down to keep the sharpie from bleeding everywhere. At first, I started with taking some scrap fabric & drawing on it with sharpie markers, then spraying it with the rubbing alcohol to experiment & see what kind of effect it has. This is how I played with different techniques & patterns.

I suggest finding a jar or bucket with a wide rim and rubberband to secure the piece of fabric around it, so you can draw on it without the fabric moving around. The wider the rim, the more space you'll have to draw. Don't worry about the sharpie drying too fast because it'll still work even if it's dried a little. 

Here are some of the pieces of fabric that I experimented on. I thought of sewing them together & making a psychedelic quilt.

The way it works is the alcohol will cause the sharpie ink to bleed & look almost like tie-dye. The more sharpie ink you use, the more it will bleed. I find that the amount of alcohol you use doesn't matter too much, as long as you're dampening it, but not to the point that it's dripping.

Here's a before & after of how spraying the alcohol effects the colors. As you can see, it causes the sharpie ink to disperse & blend together a bit. If you mess up, chances are it'll still create an awesome effect, so don't worry about it being perfect. 

I cut out some fabric from old clothes to make bracelets & it turned out great. It's all about experimenting with combinations of different colors & designs.

Just to give you some more ideas, here are a few scarfs I made by cutting out some fabric & coloring with the sharpie, followed by spraying the rubbing alcohol.

You can change it up depending on your style or whoever is receiving the gift. I'll be gifting this headband to my mother who likes to wear headbands like these during her yoga practice.

Some other ideas that I haven't quite tried are using t shirts to create designs. Another idea is decorating pillows & sheets. Whatever you do will turn out great. I actually ended up spending hours & hours decorating tons of stuff. I cannot stress enough how fun & simple it is!

Hope you all get to try this clever DIY. Let me know if you have any questions & hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season!


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