Monday, April 14, 2014

A(nother) DIY fail

I guess this isn't a fail so much as a "I tried something not knowing if it would work, and it did technically work but I didn't like the result." But that's a bit of a mouthful for a title.

We found the side chairs for our living room at the thrift store a few years ago, and I've been putting off reupholstering them ever since. I've seen a few posts around about dying chairs, and it sounded a lot better than reupholstering. So I decided to buy two bottles of Rit dye and give it a shot.

To dye the bodies of the chairs you have to have a hot day and an area outside. It was fairly hot on Saturday, but B had other stuff going on so I couldn't get away to do it. Sunday was rainy, cold, and windy. Not suitable chair-dying weather. I decided to go ahead and do the cushion covers anyway; I had taken them off a few weeks ago to wash in preparation for the dying and I didn't want to put them back on until I'd either dyed them or decided against it altogether. I decided to just get it over with.

The color I decided on was on the Rit Dye color chart, called Regatta. It was supposed to be a nice turquoise. Spoiler: it didn't turn out that way. I wasn't surprised; Rit is best used on natural fabrics and I have no idea what these cushion covers were made of. The formula for Regatta is 2 tsp aquamarine and 1 tsp royal blue to one cup water. Now, if you're thinking that sounds like it should be the powdered versions, you'd be thinking what I thought at first, and we'd both be wrong. The chart says it's the liquid versions, or rather it doesn't say it's the powder versions. Anyway, I had no idea how to mix that up in terms of five gallons of water (a lot of teaspoons), so I added 12 tablespoons of aquamarine and 6 of royal blue. I ended up with this lovely country blue.

My mom bought a couch this exact color from Nebraska Furniture Mart in 1993. Actually, I think you can still buy the same couch there. It had the sweet raised motif too, although it was flowers and ribbons rather than birds.

I tried redying them with the rest of the aquamarine, which was about half a bottle. This is how they turned out.

Pretty much exactly the same. I don't think the dye took at all the second time around. Oh, well. This has just confirmed that these chairs need to be reupholstered. I can see now how worn out the covers are at the corners and around the welting, plus the birds didn't dye the same as the rest of the fabric. I don't think they were really good candidates for dying. I'd like to be lazy and just slipcover them, but we'll see. Starting from scratch is probably the best idea.

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