[Crafty Monday] Fun with Dyed Doilies

Last week, Martha shared a behind the scenes look at the “Good Things” in the May issue of Living on the Crafts Dept. blog. The pretty dyed doilies jumped out at me, so I decided to make some of my own.


  • A bowl or baking dish (I used a Pyrex baking dish)
  • White doilies
  • Food coloring
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber gloves

You like coloring Easter eggs, right? Dipping the egg in the dye and delighting in the color when you take them out of the cup? Same thing here with the doilies.

  1. Fill the baking pan or bowl with only enough water to cover the doilies – this is key, because you need the food coloring to be very concentrated. You will need to use quite a lot of food coloring. My first two or three attempts were failures (I had too much water in my dish and not enough food coloring). After I dumped out most of the water, and really poured in a lot of dye, it worked nicely.
  2. Submerge the doily in the dish/bowl for a few seconds (10 or 15 seconds is sufficient). I started to get bolder toward the end of this craft and I left them in for longer, just to see.
  3. Gently take them out of the dish and lay them on a paper towel to dry. They are very fragile, so use caution when you take them out of the pan.
  4. Blot them dry right away with another paper towel very gently. Set aside to dry. (I laid mine out on a table, underneath a ceiling fan, and they dried very quickly).

If you don’t want your fingers to turn green or blue or purple, like mine did, use rubber gloves to take the doilies out of the dye. Also, this craft is a paper towel hog; you will want to have lots of paper towels handy.

This is definitely a kid friendly activity, except it might take kids (depending on how old they are) a couple of tries to get the doily out of the dye without tearing it. Elena and Rosa had no trouble; their favorite part was telling me which color to make next.

These are (predictably) SO addictive to make, and it’s why I now have a zillion colorful doilies.
Who wants some?

I used some Divine Twine to make this little garland. Also, they look great wrapped around boxes, large envelopes, or as paper cones filled with little treats (see first photo). They would also look nice wrapped around jars, vases and candle holders.

And if you’re wrapping up some Mother’s Day gifts this week, these are perfect for making your packages extra pretty.

I feel like I’ve done Jessica, of Such Pretty Things, proud with these doilies. (And Martha too).

Also: can you believe it’s already May? Me neither.

Update: I wrote a follow up blog post on where to buy the doilies and what food coloring to use.

All images: Charlotte’s Fancy

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69 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Ro said,

    Nothing makes me feel manlier than when there are pastel doilies strung up all over the house. You wondered why I made steak for dinner and drank Jack Daniels all night*?

    * Note: have never actually drunk a drop of Jack Daniels.

  2. 3

    gray.com said,

    What a lot of fun!!!

  3. 4

    Melanie said,

    Oh, this will be my next project.

  4. 5

    Kristin said,

    Very pretty! You make it sound easy, but i’m not so sure I wouldn’t end up with dyed everything.

  5. 6

    Carina said,

    OMG! I feel like skipping making dinner and dyeing some doilies instead. Genius, Molly!

  6. 7

    lesley said,

    so so pretty! love it. i think o + i are going to have to try this out.

  7. 8

    Lolly said,

    Mol, they’re lovely. Have you tried them with the liquid water colors?? Try using them straight out of the bottle.

  8. 9

    MJ said,

    omg so pretty!!! I actually feel the need of colorful doilies!!!!

    and yeah…I also can’t believe it’s May already…..hate to quote this but it’s so true: “Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives” LOL

  9. 10

    […] delicate paper doilies take on a yummy new feel when dyed with food coloring. Molly of Charlotte’s Fancy shares how […]

  10. 11

    Morgan said,

    So cute. I think I will use this idea for decorations at my upcoming 30th birthday party! Where did you get the doilies?

  11. 13

    michelle said,

    Okay I want to make these too!

  12. 14

    nandini said,

    omigod.. so so so so cute!!
    i love paper doilies. find them so pretty. now i have a new use for them. doing this first thing tom! its nearly midnight right now!

  13. 15

    Helen said,

    Gosh that is so clever! I’ve shared your blog with a few of my cake making friends – now they can use your technique to match their doilies to their cakes! TFS
    Helen — Firenze Cards

  14. 16

    Suzie said,

    These are so beautiful! I’m sure Martha would give you a gold star.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  15. 17

    Sara Wilson said,

    Terrific project! How adorable!

  16. 18

    […] yet they look so lovely when they’re all colourful! I dig the garland but in the tutorial by Charlotte’s Fancy, she also shows how to use them for stylish gift wrapping. A nice way to tart up your […]

  17. 19

    Rachel said,

    Wow, those are gorgeous! I love, love, love the banner! Thanks so much for thinking of me, I’ll be linking in this afternoon’s Daily DIY. I think I’ll have to make that garland for my next party!

  18. 20

    Ann Marie said,

    I know those are doilies, but your photos and the colors you chose make them look so yummy!

    Thank you so much for sharing this, I am in love!

  19. 21

    They are so yummy looking I want to lick them! But that would be gross. You’ve totally inspired me to try this project. Thanks for the great tips and also for mentioning Divine Twine. 🙂

  20. 22

    SquiggleMum said,

    Followed you hear from Lil Magoolie. What a delightful project! Thanks for sharing your tips. I can’t wait to give this one a go with my daughter.

  21. 23

    […] long last, the tutorial I’ve been waiting for. Visit here to learn how to dye […]

  22. 24

    What a great little afternoon project to try with the kiddies. I might give this a try this next weekend. If we do I will post some pics and link back to your post. Thanks for sharing.

  23. 25

    I am soooooo proud! They are gorgeous! What beautiful, beautiful colors and an excellent tutorial! I will have to try this ASAP!


  24. 26

    K-Sue said,

    These look like fun, and are so pretty. What a clever idea. Must try.

  25. 27

    Taylor said,

    I saw those in the magazine too, going to give them a try, the packaging looks so cute!

  26. 28

    claire said,

    This is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing this brilliant project 🙂

  27. 29

    donna said,

    so nice…great for all occasions..I will try this soon..

  28. 30

    […] for more doily projects?  These ones from Charlotte's Fancy use dyed ones. (One photo at right.) var addthis_pub="scrapscene"; […]

  29. 31

    I have lots of doilies. Now I have ideas on how to use them for some really pretty gifts. Thanks for sharing 😉

  30. 33

    […] Oversized Ruffle Tote from Parasol. Perfect for school books or laptops, and so cute and ruffly! Dyed Doilies from Charlotte’s Fancy. These are just lovely. I’d put them pretty much anywhere, […]

  31. 34

    […] Magazine (which is in the Readers Digest family of magazines) asked for permission to include my doily dyeing craft in their Jan/Feb 2011 issue. I’d forgotten about it until I received the issue in the mail […]

  32. 35

    […] line your your baked good or be incorporated into some lovely gift wrapping like the picture above. Charlotte’s Fancy has a good tutorial on how to do it. Alternatively, if pastels aren’t your thing, you can try […]

  33. 36

    Jenny said,

    LOVE this project going to try this!!

  34. 37

    […] And if you don’t want white doily wrappers, you can always dye them. I think I might try dying some of them blue and purple, but it might take a little experimenting to get the right shade. You can find the directions for this here! […]

  35. 38

    flappergirlcreations said,

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I tried this project today, and it was lovely. I found that if I added some salt to the food coloring/water mixture, the colors were more vibrant!

    I tried dying some black using black food coloring, but they turned out a weird mossy/swamp green. If you know a trick to dying these pure black, I would love a tutorial!

    Thanks again for a great project tute 🙂


  36. 39

    Parrish said,

    Thank you so much for this idea! I had trouble with the doilies ripping so I laid the doilies on a drop cloth and used a spray bottle with the water/food coloring mixture to spray on the color. Then, I just waited for them to dry. No ripping! This is great if you have the room, and you could get creative with multiple colors on the same doily.

    Thanks again!

  37. 40

    Laura K said,

    These turned out beautifully! Thank you for sharing the tutorial. I am curious, what kind of food coloring did you use? Also where did you purchase your doilies?

  38. 42

    Rachel said,

    I LOVE THESE! I’ve been looking at hundred (well it feels like hundreds lol) of styles of “petal cones” and these are perfect for my destination wedding in Mexico!! Thank you soo much! 🙂

  39. 43

    […] pretty doilies that had been pinned by my friend Stephanie.  She had gotten the idea from Charlotte's Fancy…who had gotten the idea from a Martha Stewart tutorial.  (from Martha's […]

  40. 44

    […] NOTE: It is not recommended that you place food directly onto the plates. Find some pretty paper doilies or make some out of wax, parchment or kraft paper. And if you really want to get crafty, you can dye paper doilies with food coloring. […]

  41. 45

    Christine Blair said,

    I convene an outdoor summer Tea for the community. These will be beautiful on the tables. We expect about 175 people so I’d better get started, and buy a case of paper towels.

  42. 46

    Rachael said,

    Great idea. I’m going to try it. Where did u get your doilies from? Yours are so much more prettier then the ones I’ve found.

  43. 47

    […] this blog post on how to dye paper doilies and a follow up post with tips for dyeing doilies are among my most popular posts, I want to give […]

  44. 49

    Patricia said,

    Awesome now that I have my doilies I can put my hands in action!

  45. 50

    josie said,

    thanks for the great tutorial, how many parts to water to food dye did you use in the end?

  46. 52

    […] Här är ett pyssel hur du kan färga dina tårtpapper på ett enkelt sätt. Pysslet kommer från denna blogg och här kan du få en lite mer utförlig beskrivning om du vill. Du behöver: En plåt med […]

  47. 53

    andrea said,

    Will HAVE to give this a try!

  48. 54

    nita smith said,

    can u use the real doilies instead of paper ?

  49. 56

    […] SO MANY fun things you can do with food color dyed doilies!  I love this idea from Charlotte’s Fancy. […]

  50. 57

    Bev Limbach said,

    I will use the dyed doilies on handmade greeting cards. I always have used the while ones so this will be a nice change.

  51. 58

    […] Awesome hanging balloons from The Pleated Poppy Pretty Dyed Doilies for all sorts of party uses from Charlotte’s Fancy […]

  52. 59

    PATTY said,


  53. 61

    Do you sell this ? garciapaula@hotmail.com. Thanks love to buy them from you

  54. 62

    Ivy said,

    Thank You so much for this! may I know how to come up with a mint green color? what colors should I mix together?

  55. 63

    Soooo pretty! And better than buying a whole package when you only want one or two in a special colour. Thank you for sharing this fun idea! 🙂

    • 64

      Alex said,

      What a wonderful idea I use a fair amount of doilies on the handmade vintage cards I make, but have limited colours and I’m always getting annoyed at lack of selection.
      Btilliant, love your doily ideas for wrapping and bags. Neat. Now the world is my oyster. Brill!!

  56. 65

    Sonia said,

    do you have a proprtion of water to dye? If so what ratio is it for each colour?

  57. 67

    Lilian Leplomet said,

    Beautiful! Do you glue them to the bags?

  58. 68

    […] Dyed doilies decorating treat and favor boxes by Molly, instructions and image source Crafty Monday […]

  59. 69

    Marizanne Booyens said,

    Thanks for this tip! Works so good!!!!

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