How to Dye a Fabric Covered Chair

Written by philippa jones
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How to Dye a Fabric Covered Chair
Tie dye your fabric in the wash. (tie dyed green image by Steve Mann from

Jazz up a dowdy-looking chair by dying it a fresh, new colour. This gives the chair a new life. The benefit of dying the fabric is that you can choose a colour that matches the interior decor and style of your home; plus, you avoid spending cash on a new piece of furniture. For the amateur, dying fabric seems like a daunting task. However, following some simple steps means your chair will be to "dye" for.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Remove the fabric from the chair. To do this, find out how it is attached. The fabric might be a zipped up cover that can be easily pulled off like a duvet cover. Or, you might need to remove some rivets to release the stretch of fabric over the chair's seat.

  2. 2

    Find out what the fabric is made of, because you will need to buy a dye suitable for that particular material. Look for a tag on an edge of the cover. Check other parts of the chair, just in case there is a tag attached underneath a cushion, for example. If there is no tag, take the seat material to the craft store with you when buying the dye to seek advice.

  3. 3

    Buy some fabric dye. Choose a cold-water dye or machine washable dye. The benefit of a cold-water dye is that the fabric does not tumble around the machine, and potentially get damaged or stretched out of place. However, machine washable dyes are quick and less messy to use.

  4. 4

    Follow the dye manufacturer's guidelines, on how to use the dye. Read the instructions carefully to make sure the fabric is used at the right temperature, for the allocated amount of time. You'll need to leave the fabric to soak; you might need to add salt to the water to help the dye stick to the fabric. Again, this depends on the type of dye you use.

  5. 5

    Rinse the fabric once the dyeing process is complete. Wash it under a cold tap, until the water runs clear--or put it through a cold wash with no soap. Repeat this a couple of times to make sure all the excess dye is removed. Remember, people will sit on the chair, so you don't want the dye to transfer to their clothing.

  6. 6

    Leave the fabric to dry.

  7. 7

    Put the fabric back onto the chair. Tighten any fasteners you removed to take the fabric off, or zip up the cover to secure the fabric back into it's rightful place.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't be surprised if the colour on the box does not exactly match the final fabric colour. The colour will vary depending on how heavy the fabric is, what it is made from and how long you left it to absorb.
  • Simply dye the fabric again if you're unhappy with the result.
  • Wear protective rubber gloves when handling the dye to avoid skin irritation.
  • Wear old clothes when dying the fabric.

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