Want a woven wrap? Don’t want to spend a lot? This tutorial will give instructions how to create your own beautiful and unique wrap on a budget!
So I have been babywearing for a year now. I have done my fair share of research about different types of carriers, brands, retailers, fabric types and blends and on and on and on… but I’m not here to talk about pre-made wraps. I wanted to make something unique and budget friendly because wraps can get expensive. I have bought two and am “
banned” from buying more. SO I decided to make one. I stalked the DIY baby carriers and Dyed Baby Carriers Facebook pages for awhile and learned all about DIY. At first it is a little intimidating, but it really isn’t that hard.
For this wrap I bought Osnaburg Fabric from Joann Fabrics. You can find it at most fabric stores or online. The thing about this material that makes it suitable for babywearing is the fact that it is 100% cotton and is woven. If you feel Osnaburg next to regular printed cotton material you will feel the difference. Osnaburg is thick and supportive, perfect for babywearing. I found it for $4.99 a yard in the utility fabric section. You may be able to get it cheaper with a coupon, craft stores always have coupons so make sure you check! I didn’t think to check prior to this project, oh well… I got just over 4 yards of fabric and after all my prep work left me with a long size 3 wrap. Osnaburg will shrink, so you must take that into account when purchasing your fabric.
To prep my fabric I scoured it on the stove to get rid of the nasty chemicals that are used in perm press material. If you can find non-prem press I recommend it, but I couldn’t so I made do. Read about scouring here. After that I washed the fabric in hot water with a squirt of blue Dawn dish soap. Then dried. Now my material was clean and shrunk. I laid it all out and measured the width to 30”. I made one cut on the end and ripped (yes ripped) it all the way down. Perfect clean line. Then I cut the ends diagonally to make the tapers. This is a great tutorial how to do that. Next step hemming! I did a 1/2 inch rolled hem all the way around. I do not sew, like ever. I have made curtains and cloth baby wipes. So you can imagine how wiggly my hems look.. but it does the job, so whatever!
Now you need to do a soda ash pre-soak (I promise we’re almost to the fun part). Soda ash can be made from regular baking soda. Dump a good amount on a baking sheet at 400 degrees for 1-2 hours. I stirred it every 10 minutes to make sure it was all even. Read here to find out more. I do not advise skipping this step because the soda ash will help the dye bond to your fabric. I filled a Rubbermaid tub with 2 gallons of warm water and 1 cup soda ash, stirred, submerged my fabric and let it soak for about an hour. (If you have more fabric you may need more water and soda ash, just make sure it is all submerged) You should do it at least 20 minutes minimum. Then I rung out all the water and let it air dry. Do not rinse the soda ash out. (If you aren’t doing a glue resist pattern you can go ahead and dye right after the soak, no need to let it air dry in between)
NOW the fun part! *GLUE RESIST* Your fabric has been washed, hemmed, soaked, dried, you can now draw with glue! How does it work? The glue creates a barrier on the fabric from the dye. Essentially, the dye will not penetrate any section of the material that has been saturated with glue. Pretty neat huh!! What kind of glue? Regular washable white glue. I have read Elmer’s white glue or blue gel works the best. I used an off brand white glue and it worked out just fine. I do not recommend using clear glue though, it saturates the fabric too much (See the bottom right sun in the picture above) and definition in the pattern is lost. To do the glue resist, lay out your fabric and draw your pattern using glue. Make it thick, but not too thick because then it will bleed together. You want to be able to see definition between your lines. If it is too thin it will not penetrate through to the other side of the fabric and your pattern will only show on one side. If your nervous, try it out on a scrap piece first. Once you’re done it should look something like this:
These pictures are from my first attempt at dyeing, so the patterns are slightly different. It’s the same idea though.
So now your glue has dried and it is time to dye. It is up to you how you want to dye your wrap. There are many different techniques and methods to do this. My first attempt at this I did a two color gradation dye. What I found out was that the color was too light in the middle section of my wrap and my design was lost. This is a bad cell phone pic of what happened but you can see that there is no design showing through in the middle,
Through my own error, I would strongly recommend doing a darker all over color first to make sure your design shows through, then you can get fancy with grad dyes or other methods. My second go at this I tub dyed the entire wrap in Dylon Goldfish Orange (2 packages). I used 4 gallons of warm water, 4 cups of non-iodized salt (the salt opens up the pores of the fabric and allows dye in) and 2 cups of soda ash (if you use washing soda you will want to use more). Stir that all up. Shake up your dye in water in a separate container then pour it in and stir. Submerge your fabric and stir it every couple minutes to make sure it is even. I let mine soak for two hours. You can get away with one hour, longer may be better though. Then I rinsed it out (which took forever) in the sink until the water ran clear.
I didn’t take any pictures of my dyeing process, so I apologize for that but here is a tutorial how to do a solid color tub dye. I knew I wanted the rails (the top and bottom edges of the wrap) to be darker so I did an ombre technique for dyeing those. I watched this video which made it very understandable how to do. While the wrap was still wet from rinsing, I laid it out flat on the floor and folded it in half width wise so that the top and bottom rails were touching. Then I folded it a few times along the length so I could hold it. I attached two hangers with clothes pins to the fabric. I began the ombre effect using 1 packet of Dylon Tulip Red in 2 gallons of warm water (along with 1 cup salt and 1 cup soda ash). I kept the bottom two inches submerged the whole time and dunked it up and down to where I wanted to red color to stop. I did this for about 15 minutes, then hung the hangers on a tension rod and let the bottom two inches soak in the dye for an hour. This made the ends the darkest and most saturated which is what I wanted.
After I was happy with the color I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed. Threw it in the washer and rinsed some more. Then I put it through a HOT wash with a squirt of blue dawn dish soap. This is where your glue will be washed out. (It will not come out during the tub dye) It needs the hot water and soap, you may have to run a hot wash 2 or 3 times before it all comes out. Once there is no more soap, glue, and your water is clear throw that bad boy in the drier. And VOILA!
(My Sling Rings came in today too! No sew ring sling with my wrap!)
I am pretty darn happy with how this turned out. It cost me about $35 initially for fabric and dyes. It would have been less if I looked for a coupon. I had to spend a little more for my second attempt for dye, but all in all this is way less than buying a pre-made woven wrap and really fun. I am already brainstorming ideas for the next one! Share your DIY projects below!