28 May 2014

About That Chair...

So when I said I was going to re-upholster the chaise and the green wing chair, I may have lied a bit.  Accidentally.  I'd been trying to decide whether or not to try something else with that chair first, and last night the mood struck me and off I went. The project isn't finished yet; but I'm halfway through and it's looking really promising!

The "green" wing chair before

  • faded in very weird and random patterns
  • several horrible shades of ex-green

I thought about re-upholstering the chair.  And about simply making a slipcover for it - or even just buying a cheap one.  But then I kept seeing blog posts like this one, and pins like this.  I decided that I'd try it, and if it didn't work I could always just make a cheap slipcover out of some old cotton twill I have from a previous furniture project. 

And so I mixed a capful of liquid Rit dye, in black, with about a 1/4tsp salt and a 1-1/4c HOT HOT HOT water, put it into a spray bottle, and went to town: 


I chose to go with a spray bottle instead of a brush after a test on the bottom of the chair showed me that a brush would take A FRILLION YEARS and also ruin my brush, because of the lumpy-bumpy weave of the fabric.

I was concerned about striping, but figured if I can spray paint things, I could do this.  And, as it turns out, the same technique kept striping and blotching from happening:  sweeping, side-to-side motions with the sprayer.  I noticed it also helped greatly to (a) follow the grain/nap of the fabric, (b) spray in vertical sections, and (c) work from bottom to top, which keeps the top from dripping off the dry fabric below it if to much builds up in one place and begins to run. 

Other things I learned: 



So, here's the wing chair, sans seat cushion, after a single coat of black Rit dye. After I sprayed it (in sections), I went over it with a hot blow dryer to begin heat-sealing the color.   The next stage will be to apply a second coat, and then to spray it with vinegar to set the color even further and heat-treat it again; once all that's dried completely I'll take it outside and spray it with a fabric sealant.  

The best thing about it so far - aside from the chair already looking velvety and lush - is that this morning, without any further treatment at all, I couldn't get any color off the fabric with my hand!  

The color's pretty even, especially given how faded the fabric was to begin with.  A second coat will even it out completely;  and it'll also darken the color to actual black.  Rit's "black" does a great job of dyeing things purple when you don't use enough of it!   I also still have to do the seat cushion.  So far, I've only used about half a bottle of dye (I had two bottles to start with). 

More on this as soon as it's done!  :D

P.S. - my knees hurt. Something I always forget about spraying large objects? It's basically like doing three hours of squats and deep knee-bends.  >_<


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