• Kara Errico

A Chair of a Different Color


Remember that slipcover snafu I had a few months back? Yeah ...

Well, I decided to revisit some ideas I have been kicking around for a bit. After looking at the sun-bleached and splotchy pink cover from that IKEA Poang kids' chair, I quickly realized I could just take a bash (a la Crysta in "Ferngully") at altering the color in its entirety and might have a better shot at success this time around.

Remember this? Yep. Once I removed the make-shift slipcover I'd attempted the first go-round, we were back to this ugliness.

I will admit, fabric dye scares me. (Hair dye, oddly enough, never did ... but that's a thing of the past now that I've gone 100% grey.)

I decided to explore the many shades of good ol', tried and true, Rit dye and made a new discovery. For my particular project, I was going to need the synthetic blend of dye (Rit DyeMore) and not the regular stuff. (Glad I checked that out first!)

I've had the dye purchased for a few weeks now -- does this behavior really surprise any of you by this point? (HA!) Truthfully, I was just nervous about the execution of the dye process. Around the time I'd purchased it, I remember reading a post from someone saying that they'd done the entire dye process in their washing machine. I cringed at the thought and was like, "uh yeah, NO way am I doing that!"

But guess what? When I finally got up the nerve to pull the trigger on today's project, I see that it is a requirement (underlined and in bold on the bottle, no less!) that this all take place in a large pot on a stove top to ensure the water stays hot and is stirred frequently. After picking my jaw up off of the floor, I had a good laugh.

And then I sat down at my desk again to do more "research."

Turns out, the folks at Rit Dye lay out the instructions for washing machine dye jobs and there are tutorials aplenty out there. This one is my favorite -- I just want to reach through the screen and hug the woman creating her Kelly green towels.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact that tutorials exist? I'd truly be lost without them!

This project was SO easy to do and I even decided to "risk it" and forgo the rubber gloves (I also had confidence that I wouldn't need my old painting clothes and could do a-OK with just my regular clothing on ... another ballsy move!).

Here's what you'll need if you decide to try this yourself:

  • Rit Dye (be sure it's the right kind for your fabric)

  • 1 cup of salt

  • Hot water

  • Laundry detergent of your choosing (whatever you normally use)

  • Bleach (to run through your machine once you're all done)

The only thing that's irksome in any way about this project (and honestly, it's not even that bad) is that you'll be doing essentially three rounds of washing. First to prepare your material, second to dye the fabric, and third to rinse out any remaining dye and clean your item.

As I said, it's really not that big of a deal, because you never put your fabric into the dryer during any of these wash cycles. In fact, having a wet piece to work with is perfect for the dye to adhere to when you get to that step!

The dye process couldn't be simpler and I give ALL of the credit to that cute woman in the tutorial video. I had two sources of hot water going, which worked out great -- one for the initial dye application (I did this on the stove - the water level was at the 4L mark in my pot) and another for the salt mixture needed at the 10-minute mark (this I did simply by setting my electric tea kettle switch on and leaving it be).

Stage 1: Prepping

  1. Wash your item and leave it in the machine after the spin cycle finishes

  2. Heat a large pot of water on the stove (not to boiling, but pretty hot)

  3. Heat additional water for salt mixture

Stage 2: The First Cycle (Dyeing)

  1. Set your machine to the hottest setting

  2. Add your Rit dye and the pot of hot water to your fabric and turn on your wash cycle**

  3. Set a timer for 10 minutes!!!

  4. Measure out 1 cup of salt and mix with additional hot water (enough to dissolve the salt completely -- mine was the entire tea kettle plus some tap water)

  5. When your timer goes off (at the 10-minute mark), take your hot salt water mixture to the washing machine and add it in mid-cycle

  6. Let the machine do the rest and finish its cycle

**Note: NO detergent at this stage! Front loaders will likely use a tray to add dye and water to (like the tutorial) -- you can just dumped everything straight into the main barrel of top loading machines

Stage 3: Wrapping Up

  1. Wash your item as you would any other piece of laundry (using detergent this time)

  2. Dry your item and carry on

Since I chose Racing Red as my color, I was nervous of the "bleed" factor that red can have. Even though this will be a chair some little tushy will be sitting in, I didn't want any subsequent washes to mess with other laundry items or risk any red coming out and staining clothes or skin if said little person sweats or spills a drink on the chair. So, I ran my cover through a second "final wash" before deciding to put it in the dryer.

But, here is the finished product! Whoo hoo!!!

It's not as dark a red as it was when wet, which I remember reading in one of the tutorials I'd seen. And if you get really close and have good lighting, you can see a slight water stain that the dye didn't cover when changing the chair from faded pink to red.

My OCD wants me to run out to the store and buy more dye to do one more application to correct these issues, but my more sensible self is pulling on the reigns to reel me back in. Perhaps the thing that makes up for all of that craziness in my head (that won't let it just be done already) is that I now have complete coverage with this new color -- front, back, and every little space in between. That, my friends, is like a dream come true and I consider it a definitive win.

Now, as much as my husband will likely make comments (because Heaven forbid we have any sports team representation that's not from Philadelphia in the house!), I've decided to do one last thing and purchased an iron-on Angels baseball patch to add an embellishment. I intend to gift this chair to a very deserving little girl and her amazing mama. Like just about everyone in our area, they're Angels fans, so it makes sense to do this as a finishing touch ... plus, they can pass it along or sell it once she's outgrown the chair. That's a home run right there!

All-in-all, not bad for a project that cost me about $10 in supplies. (I had the salt and bleach, so I just needed to purchase the bottle of dye and the patch.) I'd say the second time around with this IKEA POÄNG children's chair was SO worth the effort, don't you?

#IKEA #Ritdye #washingmachine #Poangchair #Dyeingfabric

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