Recently, I worked on a wedding in the Adirondacks where the bride wanted tons of DIY touches and rustic elements. I’m always game for that kind of wedding! We came up with a unique fabric craft for a wedding backdrop that’s simple enough to make at home. It incorporated the couple’s love of pinecones—they have matching tattoos.
First, I went to the fabric store and got 10 yards of cotton muslin. This is more than you will need, but at $1.99 yard it is always nice to have some extra hanging around. I used it on other projects for the wedding. Then I got creative with different tubs of RIT dye so there would be some color variation. In the end, I decided I wanted to leave some strips un-dyed for a hint of white in the mixed up pinks. This backdrop was used for a ceremony, but you could absolutely do something similar for a photo booth or to dress up an area in your home. Overall the project cost less than $50 to execute and the payoff is big!
- 5 yards of 100% cotton muslin
- Rit dye (I used a mixture of rose pink, brown and red)
- A dowel rod or tree branch
- Rubber gloves
- Floral wire
STEP BY STEP
Step 1: If you have access to an outdoor space, lay down sheets of newspaper and combine hot water with the dye mix of your choosing. I used one bucket and emptied and refilled with different colors, but you could set up 5 or 6 buckets with different dye mixtures and one that is pure cold water.
Strips of Natural Muslin
Step 2: Make a small cut every two inches along the muslin fabric and start ripping long strips. Because muslin is woven, you will easily be able to get straight pieces that way. I’m sure you have seen them do it on Project Runway! I ripped strips that were twice as long as what I needed (some were 10’ long) so that I could fold them in half and then loop around the tree branch. The result was a nice polished look on top. You could also simple tie the muslin to the dowel with a knot for a more rustic homemade look.
Immerse the Fabric in Dye. Check to see if the pieces are saturating well. The fabric will dry to a slightly lighter shade.
Step 3: Make your dye mix with about 5 cups of boiling water and ¼ cup of dye. The dye mixture doesn’t have to be so precise if you are going for that tea stained look. Immerse the strips in dye while wearing your rubber gloves to defend yourself from dye stains. You can leave the strips in for anywhere from 5-10 minutes, longer if you would like a more saturated look. Remove the strips and give them a little plunge in the pure cold water. Hang to dry.
The fabric pieces drying on my patio
The color changes slightly when dry
Step 4: Once the muslin is dry, loop it around the tree branch. Finishing by trimming the strips at different lengths. You can also wait to do this on site if you wish. It helps to know how high the backdrop will be. Add chains of pinecones by tying them to a long piece of twine. You can use floral wire to secure the pinecones to the twine. Once complete, find a ceremony spot or photo booth location and hang your backdrop!
The finished backdrop