Dyed Chair DIY

Dyed Chair DIY

UPDATE- A lot of you have had questions about the possibility of dye coming off on your clothes.  I am happy to report that Tim and I have taken the white shirt challenge and there has been no transfer! 🙂 The fabric has a burlap texture and was worn and therefore was very absorbent.  I don’t expect any problems since things are coming up clean already. . . but if you choose to try this on a different type of fabric/chair you can try setting the dye with a vinegar bath (brush vinegar on with a paint brush), using a hair dryer to help set the dye further, and/or using a scotch guard product to prevent any bleeding that could occur.  You could also test the dye on an inconspicuous area to further ease your concerns.  I did this on the fabric that wrapped underneath the chair before having the guts to do the whole thing.  I also want to mention here that Rit does not claim that their dye is ideal for upholstered pieces, so DIY at your own risk. It’s just an idea I had that worked out well for me.  Hope this new info eases concerns and inspires you to try out the idea!

Today, I am sharing what I think is a great idea!  I had been looking for a couple of accent chairs to use in a client’s living room.  I was excited when I finally found a couple that had a great shape that fit my client’s taste perfectly. The fabric on the other hand was not perfect.  The fabric on the inside of the seat was very worn as compared to the fabric around the outside of the seat.  You can see the difference in the photo below.


The arms were worn and yellowed as well.


So, what do you do when you need to reupholster a chair but it’s not in the budget?


I called on my trusty standby- Rit Dye!!!  The idea was simple.  Freshen up the fabric by deepening and refreshing the color.  My client loves purple so instead of keeping the fabric blue, I went with the royal color.  I think it worked well because blue is by purple on the color wheel.  I would not try to turn a blue chair red or a green chair orange.

I simply mixed a 1 1/2 cup of hot water with a cap full of dye and painted the mixture on with a paintbrush.   I am putting on my second “coat” of dye in the photo below.  I wanted to color to be very rich.


So, here’s the BEFORE. . .


And here’s the AFTER!


I decided to leave the “outside” seat fabric in tact.  I love the two toned effect and that it’s an unexpected touch!

In this photo you can see how the worn, yellowed arms are now a beautiful, rich purple.  No one would ever suspect that the color change was a cover up.


How about a side by side comparison. . .


I’m thrilled with how this project turned out and I can’t wait to show you guys how the chairs look in the room when it’s complete!

So, what do you think?  Was this a great save or what?!

This article has 40 comments

  1. Erin

    Love the look but I worry that the color will rub off and stain someone’s clothes. Have you tested this?

  2. Jana Miller

    Yikes…I love it! But I know when I dye jeans they bleed/rub off for several washings. Please tell us if we need to worry about that.
    xo jana

  3. Kara Paslay

    Thanks Dana! I love your feather projects lately! I’m about to do a feather project as well. I just love their texture! Sending you an e-mail later today!

  4. Kara Paslay

    Thanks Haley! PS- I went to your blog. . . I LOVE gold!! I hated it when I was younger and always preferred silver but these days gold is my go-to! 🙂

  5. Kara Paslay

    Thanks Nikki! I was so pleased with the look and the fact that it took me less than 2 hours to do both chairs! You should try it!

  6. Kira

    What an awesome way to makeover a piece of upholstered furniture – I never would have thought of this. Brilliant! (Love the color scheme, too.)

  7. becky

    Wow…I bought a $14 wingback chair at the goodwill and was wondering if I could google how to recover. I’ve been looking at it for awhile and was thinking…maybe I’ll paint it. You’ve given me some confidence to go ahead. I was going to use regular paint with medium …I’ve painted window sconces etc before….but now. I think I’ll dye it brown…maybe cover the seat cushion in funky animal print or stripe. Thanks…right time for this.

  8. Haley

    Thanks for checking out my blog! Your blog is very inspiring in a lot of different aspects. Thanks for sharing your work.

  9. Tracy

    Brilliant!!!! I have been staring at my two $8 bargain chairs for a couple of months now. Impulse purchase I thought might be able to reupholster, but way bigger job than I realized. Problem solved! Except color…..they are also burlap type material but in a rich bright gold yellow. Any suggestions of colors that will work to dye over this???? My house is a very warm neutral scheme with warm blue accents.Colors like the Pottery Barn Simone fabric. Thanks again for this blog. You have a new fan!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. And Live

    My couches are worn, but I’m wondering if the textured upholstery fabric would take to dying. I suppose if it saves them from being tossed, it’s a win and if not, they were going to be anyway. They’re bright red and I think a nice black would do them some good.

  11. Patricia @ ButterYum

    This is pure brilliance! I picked up a white slipper chair cheap – it’s in great structural shape, and the fabric is fine except for being a little dingy. This trick will fix it right up!

  12. jd

    I have dark purple leather furniture or at least it was. Now the seats and backs are almost white. I am wondering if you have ever dyed leather furniture or if you know of someone that has tried this and what the outcome was. I love the furniture, but it really needs some color!

  13. Doreen

    This is absolutely fantastic! Too bad the fabric needs to be porous. I have an ugly chair that I would love to change up, but I don’t think it would work for me. Great idea though!

  14. ashley @ design build love

    thanks so much for the tutorial Kara! I absolutely LOVE the dark purple and have actually incorporated dark purple throughout our master bedroom (one way- by using Rit to dye my bedsheets a deep, rich eggplant color).

    I’m getting ready to receive a hand-me-down vintage chair and have been debating on how I want to approach it. This might be perfect!!!

  15. April Joy

    I finally got around to doing this today and it turned out fabulous. I was a little weary at first because the first coat was so light (I was dealing with a light blue chair to begin with), but after the second coat dried I had a gorgeous rich purple chair that looked so expensive, and in reality cost me next to nothing thanks to this project. Thanks for this great idea!!! I will have to restrain myself from overusing this technique. I did wind up scotch guarding the whole thing because I just wanted that extra bit of protection, and while it’s only the first day, I think it will hold up well.

  16. Pingback: DIY Dyed Couch- Apple To Emerald | Kara Paslay Design

  17. Becky

    I love the 2-tone. Is there anything you did to make sure the purple didn’t bleed or splatter onto the gray?

  18. Cara O'Bryant

    LOVE this & can’t wait to give it a try. One question. Is your mixture 1 cap dye to 1/2 cup water or 1 AND 1/2 cups water?

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