Sunday, December 11, 2011

Curl up and Dye: How to get a canvas drop cloth any color you want!

I found a set of french chairs out by the dumpster during the great semesterly migration of Augus 2011. The best thing about college towns it that three times a year, most of the population is moving. So at the end of every Spring, Summer, and Fall the dumpsters are filled to the brim with potential. (And garbage. Mostly garbage.) Every once in a while we get lucky though. 

Here's the before:

If you're looking for a tutorial on how to re-upholster a french chair, look elsewhere. Many others have already explained this process far better than I ever could. Esspecially considering that my tutorial would go something like this: 

1) Find a cool chair in the garbage
2) Find a tutorial on how to re-upholster said chair.(Click here for a really comprehensive one @ Little Green Notebook)
3) Find someone who has a ton of knowledge and skill to help you out. (i.e. My mother).
4) Hope for the best.

And that's all there is to it! HA. 

But how about that color? That, I can tell you about.

I the look, feel, and cost of re-upholstering with canvas drop cloth. But I was torn, because I really wanted a pretty green chair. I went to JoAnn scouting for the perfect fabric, but the closest I could find to what I had in mind was  olive green suede. Expensive suede. Suede that, if we were to make a mistake and have to buy more, would cost us $60.00. And while, considering that the cost of the chair was nothing (aside from my dignity. Dumpster diving will do that to you. It was worth it.) we had a little bit of room on the budget. But not $60.00 dollars worth.

So I hatched a crazy idea. What if I found a green canvas dop cloth?

They don't make those. What if I made a canvas drop cloth green?

I used three bottles of Kelly Green Rit Dye for a 9x13 canvas dropcloth. I followed the instructions on the bottle for washing machine dying. 

The color was a little bit too "grassy", so we dyed it again mixing 1 bottle Kelly Green and 1 bottle Dark Brown. (I'm not sure why I didn't take any pictures at this point. Probably because I tired of the whole thing by then.) 

The mixture of the two colors toned it down just enough. If I had dyed it with just a bottle of brown dye to tone it down, the odds are good that it would have dyed the whole thing dark brown. 

Want to see a before?

And the after one more time:

I just love that green!


  1. Okay Miss Fabulous, guess who's helping me dye coffee filters this Christmas break?!

    LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE your green chair!

  2. HA HA HA....I see you snuck the clock in last sneaky photographer you!

  3. haha--we have a lot to do this Christmas because guess who was going to help me make some hot air balloon themed paper items??

    Also, I thought it needed a little more omph :) Only you would notice!

  4. Great job with the chair! I was looking to see if anyone had good luck with dying a drop cloth and found your blog. So glad I did, not afraid to dye away now! Also, just in case someone else is looking...I found that on, they have a great chart that tells you how to make any color you want using combinations of their dyes. Oh my...all the possibilities!

  5. Did you use their dye remover first, or just went straight to the dyeing.

  6. Did you use their dye remover first? Or just jumped right to dyeing it it's new color.

  7. Your chair is soooo pretty!


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