This was a project that I was commissioned to do for a friend. She is a photographer and wanted a watercolor inspired backdrop for an upcoming shoot.
I was a little unsure about how to approach this project, but with some trial and error, I think I figured it out for under $30.
What you need
- 6 X 9 drop canvas, or bigger ($7.26 @ Walmart)
- RIT powder dye ($5.31 each @ Walmart)
- I used two shades of the same color for depth
- Large paintbrush ($1 @ Dollar Tree)
- Disposable cups
- Plastic drop cloth bigger than your canvas, I got a 9 X 12 ($2.98 @ Lowes)
*If you mess up the first time like I did, you might also need bleach diluted in water
Okay… so I had to do this project twice and I did it differently both times, but the benefit of that to you is that you don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.
The setup both times is the same: layout the plastic sheet and then spread the canvas out on top. The first time I completely wet the canvas before I started, but I would recommend starting with a dry canvas.
Mix some (*not all) of your powder dye with hot water in a plastic cup as per instructions on the package. Because I used a lighter pink and darker pink, I also did combinations of the light and dark to make more colors. I made 4 cups with one light pink, 2 combinations, and dark pink. It is also very important that you keep some of the powder dye for later. In addition to your dye, have a cup of warm water on hand.
Now comes the fun part. Use your paint brush or pour the colors randomly on the canvas. In some areas pour warm water overtop to help the color bleed in areas. Leaving white space will help give the canvas more depth and helps give that Watercolor effect.
Once you are finished with the hot water and liquid dye, sprinkle the remaining powder dye in areas where you want more texture or concentrated color.
This part of the process is the worst. You have to wait DAYS for this to dry.
Like I alluded to before, the first try didn’t work out. Why? Because I am impatient. Having pre-soaked the first canvas, it was super wet and after letting it air dry for a couple days, I thought I might just throw it in the dryer… BIG MISTAKE. It came out completely one pepto bismol color! (*see below about how I salvaged this pink fabric)
After I had already invested a few days in this process, I started all over again a second time and let that completely air dry and it turned out much better!
Salvaged Pepto Bismol Drop Cloth
I decided to use this fabric as a curtain for my closet. I filled my bathroom sink with water and poured in some bleach. I scrunched the pink cloth randomly and dipped it in the sink until it had absorbed all the liquid. I then put this in the dryer and let it dry. It was really happy with how it turned out.