DIY Glow In The Dark Tapestry

May 01, 2019

DIY Glow In The Dark Tapestry-Leafy Souls Vegan Blog Post


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Here at LeafySouls.com, we really, really love tapestries, and we have lots of guides and tutorials dedicated to this unique type of artwork.

Though a quick look in our archives shows that our posts on this topic are extensive, a kind of hanging we haven't covered is that of the phosphorescent persuasion.  

You can illuminate your Zen den with a glow-in-the-dark hanging made of vegan-friendly cotton yarns. Glowing art does not require any battery packs, power adapters, or nearby electrical outlets.

You can charge the glowing paints in sunlight, incandescent or black light, and enjoy their photo-luminescence for some fun with the lights out. 


WHY MAKE A GLOWING TAPESTRY?

These tapestries are unique because they not only look super-trippy in the daylight, but they retain their design at night. It's incredible art in the dark. 

Decor made with a glow in the dark dye is excellent if you don't like being alone in the dark. It can be charged with black light just before bedtime, keeping you safe from the boogie monster hiding under your bed.

It's are a great piece in a kid's room if you have a skittish child.

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TAPESTRIES HISTORICALLY

Tapestries have a long history. The tapestry is a woven piece, usually made on a loom. But not every loom-woven textile is a tapestry.

WHAT MAKES A TAPESTRY?

Woven fabrics are made of threads that are strung vertically, known as the warp threads, and threads that are woven into the warp threads horizontally.

In plain-woven fabrics, both the warp and the weft threads are visible from the right side of the remaining material.

But in tapestry, only the weft threads are visible from the front of the fabric, and the warp threads are entirely hidden.



VERSATILITY

One of the reasons that tapestries were popular in the Middle Ages makes them still appealing today.

Unlike three-dimensional artwork that was hard to move, they could be rolled up and stored in sacks when moving them.

This portability is still relevant in the 21st century, especially if you're young and likely will be moving, or you are renting.

 A fabric hanging can also be used as a throw for covering an ugly couch, a table cloth, or a bedspread. Its versatility makes it an excellent investment.

Nowadays, the word "tapestry" often describes any decorative fabric that is meant to be displayed on a wall, and it most likely denotes a printed material, rather than something with woven-in design.

 This term is defined by how it is used, rather than how it is made.

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LET'S MAKE A TAPESTRY GLOW IN THE DARK!

STEP 1: CHOOSE YOUR FABRIC AND DYE

Unlike tapestry makers of old, we will not be weaving our fabric on a loom.

We'll be using a combination of tie-dye and painting and putting our image onto a ready-made piece of cloth. 


Choose any cloth you'd like.  You could use canvas or cotton fabric purchased off the bolt in the fabric shop.

You could check in your local thrift store for old sheets or bedspreads that can be dyed and reused for your project.

If you want an easier project, consider buying an existing tapestry and paint over it with glowing paints.


Or, if you can't wait and you have an old sheet hanging around in your home, use that. If you cut your fabric or sheet, you'll want to hem it before starting; otherwise, the edges will fray.

You could use canvas or cotton fabric purchased off the bolt in the fabric shop. You could check in your local thrift store for old sheets or bedspreads that can be dyed and reused for your project.

Or, if you can't wait and you have an old sheet hanging around in your home, use that. If you cut your fabric or sheet, you'll want to hem it before starting; otherwise, the edges will fray.

You can either sew a hem on your sewing machine (faster) or by hand (slower) or buy a fusible hem tape that will allow you to put in a hem just using an iron. 

If you go the hem tape route, you can wait until after your piece is finished to do the hemming. When choosing your dye and paint, consider which part of your project you want glowing.

If you are planning on dyeing or tie-dyeing the sheet and want it visible when the lights are out, you'll want glow in the dark tie dye. You may want glowing accents, in which case any dye will do, and you'll want a paint that glows.

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STEP 2: PREP WORK

Next, prepare your surface with a drop cloth or something that will protect it from errant paint.

If you have cooperative weather, you could go outside and work on the grass.

A garden is a perfect place for the first step in making your own DIY glow in the dark tapestry.  

If you are using brand-new fabric, you'll need to wash it before dyeing, to remove the sizing (protective coating) that was put in the yarns before manufacturing, and to pre-shrink the fabric.

If you don't pre-shrink the material, then if you ever need to machine-wash your project later, it might shrink.

Follow any instructions on your dye packaging to prepare your fabric for dyeing. Decide what design you want your finished project to have.

For example, spiral designs are very popular in tie-dyeing. Check out this resource for more design choices and instructions on producing them.

If you need to tie your cloth and secure with rubber bands, do that now.

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STEP 3: TIME TO TIE DYE

Prepare your dye as directed by the manufacturer.

You should carefully follow all the instructions.

Lay your fabric out flat first, and then fold and tie it as desired. 


Start dyeing. Starting with the lightest color is best if you are using more than one color. Rinse or wait between colors as directed by the manufacturer.

Some dyes require rinsing immediately, and others need you to let the item sit for at least 24 hours. When you are done, lay your fabric out and dry thoroughly.

If you don't want the fabric bleeding onto the wall, you may want to run it through the washer with some vinegar to set the dye.

After you've done that, you can dry it in the dryer. No matter the method you choose, don't continue decorating before it is dry!

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STEP 4: SKETCHING

After the sheet has dried, lay it flat on the floor and use masking tape to keep the sheet in a fixed place.  

Grabbing a pencil and sketching directly on your sheet is the easiest method for the next step.

Outline your designs in advance to facilitate easy painting. There are so many different designs you can make to express any mood or emotion that strikes you.

If you're having trouble coming up with an idea, check out some ready-made mandala tapestries for inspiration. Then start drawing.

This step can take some time, but don't rush. Enjoying the process as much as the finished result is really at the heart and soul of DIY.

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STENCILS

If drawing isn't your thing, you can always buy some stencils. They are available at your local craft store or online - do an online search for stencils.

The sky is the limit when it comes to stencil patterns and sets. You can buy geometric patterns, floral patterns, illustrations, or try your hand at a DIY mandala to make your designs.

If you use stencils, you might want to look for glowing spray paint instead of regular paint.

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STEP 5: PAINTING

Now that you have drawn out the shapes or patterns that you want, it's time to paint.

Take out your glow in the dark paint and go over the areas that you penciled in.

Let it dry.


 You might find that it is a little wrinkly or stiff from air-drying. You can toss it into the dryer on medium heat with a damp washcloth for several minutes to freshen it and release the wrinkles.

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NOW, WHAT?

Now that you know how to make a glow in the dark tapestry, now you need to hang it. We've got you covered with this hanger tutorial.  

We are curious to see your creations! Let us know how your glowwy tapestry turns out in the comments below.

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Check out the Products we referenced in this Article

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE WALL TAPESTRY

TREE OF KNOWLEDGE WALL TAPESTRY

Shop Now
SPIRAL SAPPHIRE MANDALA WALL TAPESTRY

SPIRAL SAPPHIRE MANDALA WALL TAPESTRY

Shop Now
PSYCHEDELIC RAINBOW TREE TAPESTRY

PSYCHEDELIC RAINBOW TREE TAPESTRY

Shop Now

Sara Phillipps
A vegan freelance web designer and blog writer based out of Austin, Texas USA.


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