I recently began a huge DIY project for which I needed a large amount of gray fabric. (Oooh, the suspense!) I could have gone out and bought many yards of gray fabric but I knew there had to be a cheaper way. So I pulled out four white curtain panels that I bought on clearance at Target several years ago. At the time, I wasn’t certain what I would use them for but they were a great deal ($8.48 for two panels) and I figured everyone can use white fabric at some point. (For other great ideas for scoring fabric cheap, check out this post.)
Well, that time had come. Except I didn’t need nice white sailcloth – I needed a nice gray sailcloth. So it was time to attempt fabric dyeing. Since this was my first time, I did a bit of online research first to determine which dye would give me the desired color. (By the way, blogs are my favs for such research because you typically get the real story rather than the sales pitch).
I originally assumed that I would just use black dye in a smaller amount than normal to make gray. But in my research I found that others said using black dye just turned their items purple or black – not a beautiful gray. So black dye was out – I needed a gray dye. I saw several sites that recommended using iDye in Silver Grey. Unfortunately, that was not available at any of my local stores and I was impatient, so I ended up with Rit dye in pearl gray.
I carefully followed the directions on the package for dyeing using a top-loading washer. It wasn’t too difficult – you have to mix the dye with hot water in a bucket and then add it to the washer. Then I very anxiously waited for the washer to do its thing so I could see the results. Finally, I opened the washer to see my curtains all very evenly dyed – a light grayish-blue. A lovely color but not so much what I was going for. And certainly not the color on the box. Massive fail.
So I decided to give it one more try using the recommended dye – iDye in Silver Grey. I had to order it online and I ended up getting the best price on ebay. Which meant I had to wait several days before dyeing attempt numero dos.
Again, I carefully followed the directions for dyeing in my top-loading washer which incidentally were much simpler than the RIT dye. You just throw the little dye pack straight into the washer. No messy pre-mixing.
And after much waiting, I opened the washer to reveal a mound of beautiful deep gray fabric. Success!
I was so happy with the results that I used my one remaining packet of iDye to dye a duvet cover and some pillow shams that had been languishing in my basement laundry area. They started out a crisp white but sadly had become yellowed. So I took them downstairs to the laundry room and there they sat for weeks – and then months – while I ignored them as I went about my regular laundry. (Please don’t judge me!) Unfortunately they were sitting below a copper pipe that decided to oxidize and drip greenish oxidization onto them. So that when I did finally get around to washing them, they were hopelessly stained. (A beautiful green stain – but still).
After dyeing my curtains, I saw them (still) sitting there next to the washer and thought, hey it’s worth a try. And it worked like a charm! They came out beautifully. They honestly look much prettier than before when they were all white.
The striped detail is sewn with a synthetic thread so it did not hold the dye but remained white, making the whole thing look crisp and gorgeous.
So there you have it. Dyeing success! This opens a whole new world of possibilities and I will definitely be dyeing more fabric in the future.
What about you? Have your tried dyeing fabric before? How did it work out for you?
This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase using these links.