Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How to Dye a Pillow

Have you ever wanted to dye something? I got some white throw pillows from my sister, who was getting rid of them.

At first I was going to use the pillow forms and make new pillow covers. But then I thought, what if I dyed them the color I want? I was nervous about it, I've never dyed anything before - not even my hair :) 

But I had nothing to lose. If I didn't like it I would revert to my original plan of making new pillow covers. I'm happy to say that after some trial and error, I'm loving my "new" pillows! 

How to Dye a Pillow Before and After
I'll walk you through the process and hopefully you can avoid some of the mistakes I made.

I started off with a box of Rit Dye Powdered Fabric Dye, Denim Blue {affiliate link}
I opened it up and read all the instructions. There are several ways you can dye - in the sink or bucket or in the washing machine. I decided to grab an old bucket from the garage to use. I set it in the tub to keep the mess contained.

Start with two cups hot water and let the dye powder dissolve thoroughly. This was my first mistake. The first pillow I tried this on, the dye wasn't dissolved completely and I had a few red spots on my pillow. I ran to the store and bought another box of dye to try again.

 In your bucket, add the recommended amount of hot water. A tip in the package said to use two packets of dye to get darker/bolder colors. Since I was doing a small project, I just did half the water with one packet of dye.  Once the dye is dissolved completely add it to the bucket. Stir to combine. I used a paint stick.

How to Dye a pillow - step by step
I removed the pillow cover and wet it down. Then added it to the dye. Let sit for 10-30 minutes. This was my second mistake. After the pillow cover was in for about 5 minutes, it was the perfect color. So I got it out, rinsed it, and washed with soap and warm water it as the instructions dictate. It came out like this:

Not at all what it looked like before washing! The color hadn't penetrated through the fabric completely. So it was back to the store again - this time I bought two packets of dye. I went through the whole process again, this time doubling the amount of water and dye from the previous time. I let the pillow covers sit in the bucket for over an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. {The instructions say to stir constantly - you can see that I have some variation in color on my pillows as a result of not stirring constantly - but I ended up liking it that way}  I rinsed out the pillows and decided to use cold water and no soap this time. It still washed out the color a bit, but not near as much as the first time.

Dyed Pillows
  I'm loving the pop of color these pillows brings to my otherwise very neutral living room.

Dyed Fabric Pillows
 Do you see the trunk near the chair? Can you believe I got it at a yard sale for only $2. I love it!

how to dye a pillow
And there's my $8 dresser you all helped me with.

Before we're through, lets get real. Here's what my living room looked like about 15 minutes before the above pictures were taken.

Dyed Pillows

My daughter had made a circle of "drums". I didn't capture the whole thing in the picture.

Just to recap,

Tips for dyeing fabric:
1- For bolder colors use two packets of dye or decrease the amount of water by half.
2 - Make sure the dye is completely dissolved in 2 c. water before adding it to the larger container.
3 -Leave the fabric in the dye for the recommended time or longer.
4- Wash in cold water with no soap.
5 -Don't dump your dye until you are positive you're happy with the results. If I would have kept the dye in the bucket the 2nd time, instead of dumping it, I could have just added the pillows again for a longer time period instead of having to buy more dye.

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