As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I had been challenge by Carrie of Lovely Etc. to take a risk with her and nine other great bloggers. I had a couple of ideas in my head for this challenge.
Like I said, when I first began thinking of a project to take a risk with, I had a few options. Ultimately I landed on one that I’ve put off for nearly a year. Let me tell you a little story. You can skip down if you just want the short tutorial. *Tear*
Last year we installed hardwood flooring in our two upstairs bedrooms so we could move up there, freeing up the two main floor bedrooms. I took over one as my craft room. I tried to call it a studio for awhile because it sounded less frivolous than “craft room” but it just never took. Too fancy for me, I suppose. I digress.
With this new space I was on the look out for a reading chair for a corner of the room. The room isn’t large so I knew I’d need a small-ish chair. For over a month I trolled Craigslist for a wingback chair in good condition that cost almost nothing. I’ve reupholstered a few things, so I assumed that whatever dated chair I acquired would need some work. Finally I found one for FREE. It satisfied my criteria. Cheap? Yes. Good quality? Yes, it was from one of the nicest areas of St. Louis, which made me sure it had been cared for (pet free, non-smoking, etc.). Quality fabric? Yes, it was solid colored velvet. I could over look the mauve color and minor imperfections. It would do until I could reupholster it.
I picked it up and it didn’t take long for Dylan to decide it was his favorite chair because it was so comfortable. After some furniture shuffling, it became part of our living room collection.
So here we were with a comfortable, not bad looking (but not great looking) chair. The only problem was the mauve color. It wasn’t offensive in any way, but it also didn’t go with the rest of the space. Our living room is basically gray, teal, and lime.
Last year I painted an upholstered chair (it turned out quite well, I’ll have to blog on it soon) but I didn’t want to do that to the wingback. Painting upholstery makes the fabric a bit stiff and we liked the softness of the velvet. Short of reupholstery (which is a large undertaking for this kind of chair, which originally reclined) I wound up with the option of dyeing the chair.
While researching this option I found lots of horror stories of dyeing furniture. One person dyed their couch a vibrant purple color. Although it turned out beautifully, it also meant people had purple backsides after sitting on it. I didn’t want to risk ruining Dylan’s favorite chair. Though it was free, I knew I’d have to spend more time finding a “new” chair to replace it if I ruined it. So I put it off and we lived with a mauve chair.
When Carrie brought up this challenge, the word “risk” caught my eye and I thought of this project. I had the dye, I had the chair, I just didn’t have the guts to try it out.
For the first three coats I mixed 2 capfuls of liquid black Rit dye with 2 cups of HOT water. I put the dye in a cheap-o Dollar Tree spray bottle and sprayed down the whole chair. I ended up refilling the bottle twice, for a total of 6 cups of dye. It only took about 45 minutes total. I let the chair dry out until the following night, when I repeated the process.
After three coats I was less than impressed with how things were progressing. The chair was darker, but nowhere near as dark as I wanted. For the final coat I doubled the amount of dye I used. I suppose this was the trick to darkening the upholstery up, because that fourth coat gave the chair a major color change!
So, what is the result? Success or failure? Well…mostly success? The chair doesn’t dye our clothing, which was my biggest concern. It didn’t get as dark as I was hoping. At night it looks almost black, but during the day it has definite pink undertones. WAY better than before, though! I think the moral of the story is that dyeing upholstered furniture works best if your goal is in the same color family as the original color.
Remember what this view looked like a couple of months ago?
It’s not totally perfect, but for less than $5 in supplies, I’ll take it. After this project, I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes open for other furniture I can dye. I only wish I’d tried it sooner!
Don’t forget to finish up your BOLD project this weekend so you can join us on Monday for our link party!