Rocket in the Sky Tie-Dyed Pillow Cover

by Wendy Copley on May 16, 2012

Rocket in the Sky Pillow

I love me some tie dye, that’s an established fact. There’s something freeing about rolling and squirting and making a big mess and I love breaking out the dye every now and then. But the fact is, there are only so many spiral dyed shirts a family of four can reasonably support. Sure, I could send my kids to school in hippie shirts every day, but every one is going to get tired of that really fast. That why I rushed to accept when Tulip Tie-Dye issued the challenge to create a trendy project using one of their dye kits.

We swapped out the beige slip cover on our sofa for a bright blue one last year and I’ve been deeply unsatisfied by our brown throw pillows every since. I decided I wanted to replace at least one of the covers with something bright and fun so I formulated a plan to make a cover featuring a rocket ship flying across the sky.

Wanna see how I did it? Of course you do!

Rocket in the Sky Pillow - Supplies

Here are the materials I started with for the tie-dying stage of this project:

  • Tulip “Carousel Tie-Dye Kit
  • Natural color cotton canvas
  • Natural color zipper
  • Tulip Surface cover (not pictured above)

I’ve used Tulip kits before and they are absolutely the way to go when you want to dye a project. Aside from the item you are dying, they include everything you need to get started immediately: squirt bottles with dye, rubber bands, gloves and an instruction booklet with lots of ideas.

Rocket Pillow - Oops!

Before we get into the project, let’s start with a reminder that tie-dye is messy. Put your gloves on first thing!! Some of the dye powder must have gotten loose in my box because I managed to dye my hands before I even started. Also, be sure to cover your surface well. I put the surface cover over our patio table and it helped a lot to keep the mess in check. It’s also helpful to wear an apron and keep a roll of paper towels nearby in case anything dramatic happens with the dye.

Rocket Pillow - mark off the sections

OK, so like I said, I chose the ombre technique. I wanted my background to progress from light at the bottom to dark at the top so it would look like the rocket was headed up toward space.

To begin, wet the fabric, then gently gather it and mark it off into three sections with rubber bands.

Rocket Pillow - fill the bottle

Next, fill the blue bottle with water up to the line and shake it to mix. Be sure the cap is on tight or that your finger is securely plugging the hole so dye doesn’t squirt out everywhere.

Rocket Pillow - squirt the first section

Now squirt one of the outer sections to cover with the dye.

Rocket Pillow - use 1/3

Once you’ve used about 1/3 of the dye, fill it back up to the line again. This will dilute the dye so the next section will be lighter than the first.

Rocket Pillow - second section

Take off the rubber band separating the middle section from the section you just dyed, then squirt the middle section to cover.

Fill the empty space in the dye bottle to dilute as you did a moment ago.

Rocket Pillow - final section

Remove the final rubber band, and squirt the dye on the remaining un-dyed section. While you’re at it, dye your zipper. I forgot to do this and it worked out OK, but I wish I’d remembered.

Roll the fabric up, place in a zip top bag and let sit about 6 hours (or overnight).

Rocket Pillow - rinse

After the six hours are up, rinse the fabric under running water until the water runs clear. Dry the fabric. The  ombre effect on my pillow is subtle, but I love how it turned out with all the streaks and variegated colors. So pretty!

Rocket Pillow - sky background

Next, make the cover for your pillow. I’m not going to show all the steps to do this because there are many tutorials online that demonstrate the process better than I could. I used this excellent guide from Prudent Baby to make mine.

Rocket Pillow - rocket materials

Now it’s time to add the rocket to your pillow! For this part of the project you will need:

  • Your finished pillow cover (you can do this part before you sew the cover if you prefer)
  • Wool felt in red, two shades of orange, and yellow (my felt is from the Purl Soho Dahlia kit)
  • A small piece of black felt (not pictured above)
  • Orange and red thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • A couple of pieces of paper for sketching templates (not pictured)

Rocket Pillow - draw template

Begin by sketching out a retro rocket ship shape on one of the pieces of paper. I searched for “rocket ship” on Google images and came up with lots of good images to use as a guide.

Rocket Pillow - cut template

Fold your paper down the middle of the rocket ship and cut it out. This will ensure your rocket is symmetrical.

Rocket Pillow - cut the rocket

Fold the red felt in half and pin your rocket template to the fabric with the folded edge of each together. Cut the rocket out, then trim any jagged edges so they’re smooth.

Rocket Pillow - cut flames

Next, draw some flames onto a piece of paper and use the template to cut the flames from the darkest orange felt. Sketch another, smaller set of flames inside the edges of your flame template (see above), pin it onto the lighter orange felt and cut it out. Repeat this step, making a final small set of flames cut from the yellow felt.

Rocket Pillow - check size

Line everything up to make sure it looks OK and make any necessary adjustments.

Rocket Pillow - sew flames

Sew the yellow flame onto the lighter orange flame. Then sew the light orange flame onto the dark orange flame.

Rocket Pillow - flames on pillow

Line everything up on the pillow to determine the desired position of the rocket and the flame. Pin the flame down and sew it onto the pillow cover. This can be a little tricky to do if you opted to sew the pillow cover first, but it’s not too bad. Once the flames are secure (pictured above), pin the rocket down and attach it.

Rocket in the Sky Pillow

Ta da! Now your rocket is ready to fly off into space!

If you are interested in trying your own tie-dye projects, Tulip has put together easy to follow instructions for the basic techniques:

Tulip Tie Dye Kits are available at Walmart, Walmart Canada, Michaels, JoAnn, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, Hancock Fabrics, Meijer. Tie dye kit contents and colors may vary by store.

Learn more about tie dye techniques, Tulip Tie Dye kits, and I Love to Create:

Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with and Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own.

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