Can you tie-dye a wedding chuppah canopy? Yes, you can! Tie-dye is one of the easiest and most fun ways to add color and personality to your chuppah.
In this post I’m going to show you how to tie-dye a chuppah canopy in a ring burst pattern using a Sew Jewish silk chuppah canopy.
To make things simple, I used a tie-dye kit from Tulip, which is easy to use and comes with the key supplies you need. Tulip’s tie-dyes are notable in that they don’t need heat to set. (And to be clear, I purchased the kit myself and this post isn’t sponsored by Tulip.)
Let’s get started!
What You’ll Need
A materials list with links can be found at the very end of the post.
- Chuppah canopy made from dyeable fabric, like this silk chuppah canopy
- A gentle fabric detergent like Synthrapol (Amazon) or Woolite (not shown)
- Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit (Includes dyes, applicators, plastic gloves, and elastic bands). I used the color combo Moody Blues (Amazon). You’ll find other tie-dye color combinations at Tulip.
- 2 Plastic tablecloths
- Plastic kitchen wrap
- Paper towels
- Plastic apron or smock to protect your clothes
How to Tie-Dye a Ring Burst Pattern
Pre-Wash the Chuppah Canopy
Wash the canopy in cold water following the detergent’s instructions to remove any surface fabric treatment.
Gather and Bind the Canopy
To make the ring burst pattern, start by folding the canopy into quarters to find the center. Holding the canopy by the center between your fingertips, gather the fabric into a long cylindrical shape, starting at the center of the canopy and moving toward the corners of the canopy.
Use the elastic bands to bind the gathered fabric together and divide the canopy into sections. Each section will become a ring of color in the finished canopy. Keep in mind that this is an approximate process. If you use a lot of dye the colors will work their way past the elastic bands.
For my canopy, I wanted some lighter areas within the rings, so I used the elastic bands to create some sections to leave undyed.
Dye the Canopy
Put on the gloves. Mix the dyes with water using the instructions that come with the kit.
Keep paper towels handy to wipe up stray dye droplets from the work surface as you go and keep the dye from getting onto the fabric where you don’t want it.
Apply the dye to the canopy, starting slowly to see how much the dye spreads. The more dye you apply, the more it will spread. Be sure to get some of the dye into the folds and crevices of the fabric.
At the hem of the canopy, the dye may not spread readily from the fabric to the sewing thread, so apply the dye directly to the thread and let it spread from the thread onto the fabric.
Let the Dye Set
Wrap the canopy in plastic, and leave it to set for at least six to eight hours, or longer for more intense color. I left mine to set overnight.
Remove the canopy from the plastic wrap and rinse it with cold water to remove the excess dye, cutting the elastic bands to remove them as you rinse. I took the canopy outside and used a garden hose to rinse it. A second plastic tablecloth would have come in handy here to keep the canopy off the ground, though I made do with garbage bin liners.
Wash and Dry
Machine wash using cold water. If your machine permits, choose a large load setting to get a lot of water.
Special Note about Ironing the Canopy
After line drying, ideally you won’t need to iron the canopy (the Tulip tie-dyes do not require heat to set). If you do want to iron it, set the iron to low and place a cloth between the canopy and your iron to protect the fabric.
Future Care of Your Canopy
For the next few washes, wash the canopy in cold water separately from other items in case any residual dye washes off. Line dry.
Get ready to be surprised. Tie-dyeing isn’t a technique that gives you total control of the result, so approach the project with a general sense of the look you’d like to create, and be ready to be surprised at the final effect.
When applying the dye, start slowly. With silk in particular, a little dye goes a long way. The dye can spread quickly, and if you apply too much it can spread to areas you weren’t planning on. So start slowly to get a sense of how the dye moves through the fabric.
Expect that the dye will end up coloring the entire canopy and that there will be no areas that remain totally white. When I dyed my canopy, the original plan was to keep the center and corners white, but during the rinsing process there’s really no way to keep the undyed areas from picking up some color. I was able to minimize the amount of color these areas picked up, though, so that in the end they became a pretty pale blue.
To minimize the amount of color picked up by the undyed areas, use a lot of flowing water when you rinse out the dye and keep the undyed areas above the dyes areas. Also, douse the undyed areas with lots of water, because if the undyed areas are wet the dye is less able to make contact with the fabric.
Later, when machine washing the canopy, use the large load setting if your machine has one. That way, the canopy gets tossed with as much water as possible to remove the dye deposited on the undyed areas. Synthrapol (Amazon) works better than Woolite in this situation because it holds onto the dye that washes off the canopy and keeps it from re-depositing onto the fabric.
Work outdoors if you have the option. If working indoors, you’ll want to cover surfaces to protect them from the dye.
The several machine washings required by the process will shrink the silk somewhat. For this project, I started with a canopy that was 66″x66″, and the finished dyed canopy was 65″x63″.
Read the kit instructions. In addition to reading the instructions here based on my experience, I recommend you also read through the instructions that come with the kit.