My 3 Monsters: Tie Dye Picnic Quilt

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Tie Dye Picnic Quilt

This post brought to you by Tulip Tie Dye.

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
You guys!  I am so excited to share today's project with you!  I craft a lot -- like A LOT -- but I haven't ventured to try tie dye since I was in high school.  This summer I decided it was finally time give it a go {again} and make a cute picnic blanket for our family to keep in the back of the car and use on our adventures -- to the water park and the zoo mostly {we're not that adventurous}.  If you want to Tie Dye Your Summer, too, follow along and see how I did it!

You will need:

  • 20 white t-shirts {mine were Adult Large}
  • Tulip Tie Dye Kit {you will be dying 10 of the shirts so get the big kit with all the colors!}
  • twin-size quilt batting

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
Can I just say that tie dye has come a looooong way since I was in high school eons ago?!  Tulip's One-Step Tie Dye is America's favorite tie dye for good reason.  It's super simple to use, unlike the old school stuff I remember -- just fill the handy squeeze bottles with warm water and you're all set.  Plus, the bold colors are permanent and color-fast so they don't fade in the wash.  Tulip's tie dye kits come with everything you need, including gloves and rubber bands.  Not a tie dye expert? They also have really handy instructions that show you how to twist and wrap and rubber band the shirts to get just the look you want.  Follow the directions in the kit and dye 10 of the t-shirts.

These were a couple of my favorites after they were all finished:

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
Cool, right?! Next, you will cut each t-shirt into 9" squares.

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
I found it easiest to use a cutting mat and rotary cutter.  Lay each shirt out flat and fold the bottom up to just under the neckline.  Cut a straight line down one side, just inside where the sleeve ends.  Measure over 18 inches and cut off the other sleeve side so that it looks like the photo above.  Then cut it as shown by the dotted lines  to make 9" squares -- you'll get 8 squares out of each shirt.  Once you have cut all the tie dyed shirts, cut all 10 of the plain white shirts in the same manner.  You'll have 80 tie dye squares and 80 plain squares.

Then cut your twin quilt batting into 7" squares.  You'll also need 80 squares of batting.

Now we're going to make a rag quilt  that is tie dyed on the front and white on the back.  Prepare the quilt squares by placing a square of the white fabric right side down on your work surface, then placing a piece of the batting in the center:

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
Top that with a square of the tie dyed fabric, right side up, to form a "fabric sandwich":

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
Sew from corner to corner across your "fabric sandwich", forming a big X:

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
Repeat this process 79 more times.  {Yikes, that's a lot!  It goes pretty fast, I promise.}  Once all the squares are prepared, lay them out to determine the arrangement that looks best.  This quilt is going to be 8 squares wide by 10 square long.

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
{I had already picked up 3 rows before I remembered to grab my camera, but you get the idea.}  Try to get a good, even distribution of colors and patterns.  Once you are satisfied with the arrangement, pick the squares up in order, row by row.  It's awesome if you can leave them all laid out as you go through the sewing process, but if you can't, just figure out a way to keep everything in order -- use sticky notes to number each piece or whatever works for you.  

Working row by row, sew the squares together using a 7/8" seam allowance.  Place the pieces white sides together and sew right down the side seams.  You'll end up with 10 rows that are 8 squares long:

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
{I kept mine in a stack so I knew the right order to sew them together in.}  Next, sew the rows together in a similar manner.  Place the rows white sides together, matching up the seams between squares.  Pin the seam allowances in opposite directions, as shown below:

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
This will keep the seams from getting too bulky at the corners.  Stitch the rows together using a 7/8" seam allowance.  This is what your quilt will look like after you finish sewing all the rows together:

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
Stitch all the way around the perimeter of the quilt, with a 7/8" seam allowance here as well.  Using a pair of sharp fabric scissors, snip into all of the seam allowances at approximately 1/2" intervals to form a fringe:

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
This is where you want to turn on Netflix and get cozy.  It takes a while to get all those seams snipped, but the finished quilt is so worth it!  Be extra careful not to snip through the stitching of the seam!  It's OK if you do, but it's a hassle.  If you happen to snip through a seam, just go back to your sewing machine and stitch along the seam over that spot a couple of times to mend it.  

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /I was a wee bit concerned about the back of it being white and getting stained, but if it gets stained, it gets stained.  So be it.  Those will just be evidence of all the fun we've had with it!  I used the white t-shirts because that's what I had on hand and they're pretty inexpensive.  You could use a darker color for the backing squares if you want.  Or, if you would like to use another sturdier fabric for the backing of your squares, by all means do so.  Denim would look really cool!  What I love about using t-shirts for the whole thing is that it is light weight and easy to tote around with us, which means we'll actually use it.  {Anything too heavy or bulky usually gets left in the car!}

Tie Dye Picnic Quilt at /
The finished quilt is approximately twin-sized, which makes it the perfect size for my family to spread out and have a quick picnic lunch at the zoo or dry off after getting out of the pool before we get back in the car.  Ooh, or to spread out and watch a movie under the stars like we did at Sis's party this week . . . We're going to get so much mileage out of this sucker, I can hardly wait!

Need some more tie dye inspiration?  See what some other awesome bloggers are doing with Tulip Tie Dye this summer!

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This is a sponsored post brought to you by I Love to Create and Tulip Tie Dye.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.


  1. That is awesome! My kids are forever tie dyeing old t-shirts, I think they just love the idea they are unique. When they get too small or a bit holey I shall save them for an "inspired by you" project.

    1. Great idea to use the kiddo's old shirts! Then it becomes a memory quilt as well. You may have inspired me to make quilts for my boys' bedroom out of all their old team t-shirts. Thanks!

  2. This is super fun and cute, Amy!


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