Dip-Dyed Throw Rug
In this bedroom, dip-dyeing gives a fabric lampshade and a rug a soft, serene look.
Photography: Raymond Hom
Source: Martha Stewart Living, August 2010
For the throw rug, dye the sides, letting the first one dry before dipping the other.
We used Rit liquid dyes in Denim and Navy (ritdye.com). You can combine colors for custom shades. This technique can be adapted for unfinished wooden items and bamboo blinds (let them dry on paper towels), and paper (let the dye solution cool before dipping paper).
Tip: For items you plan to launder, set the colors by washing the finished objects in synthrapol detergent (dharmatrading.com). This concentrated, pH-balanced detergent will keep the dye from bleeding onto undyed parts of the fabric.
Signe cotton rug, ikea.com
Large plastic storage bin or galvanized-steel bin
All-purpose liquid or powder dye
Sample fabric or paper towel
Synthrapol detergent (optional)
Wash and dry fabric to remove any finishes that resist dye. Fill plastic bin with hot water to a depth of at least 6 inches. Stir in dye, starting with a small amount and adding more as desired. Dip a sample strip of fabric or paper towel to test the color. If too dark, add water; if too light, add dye. Let solution settle, so there are no bubbles at the surface.
Determine where you want the top of the dyed band to be; use pins to mark that line on fabric. Holding your fabric as straight as possible, dip into dye solution to just below the pin line (make sure you don't dip the pins; the fabric will wick the dye higher). Keep fabric in dye until it turns the desired color (it will dry slightly lighter). Rinse fabric in cold water to remove excess dye until the water runs clear. Hang to dry. If desired, wash item with synthrapol detergent (see Keep it Bright, below).