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.
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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?