The last couple of weeks I’ve been spending more time with my Dad so my work schedule has been somewhat sporadic. Changes in his medication caused a little bump in the road, but I’m happy to say he’s doing really well.
Rather than take on large furniture projects, I’ve been working on a few smaller projects I can include him in.
Recently, we went shopping for shower curtain fabric. We found this beautiful embroidered white cotton. It was originally $18/meter on sale for $4! Dad’s my lucky charm (and all the associates just love him) so I think I’ll bring him out shopping more often. 😉
I bought more than was needed. At $4/meter, it was a guilt free way to try dyeing fabric with chalky paint. I was looking to create a linen/burlap tone that I originally envisioned for my bathroom makeover. After playing around and testing a few do’s and don’ts, here’s how the paint dyed fabric turned out – I’m really impressed!
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To achieve this linen look, I used General Finishes Cardamom Chalk Style Paint. It’s the exact same paint I used to paint the upholstery on this Granny Chair Restyle. I hope this dye job holds up as well as the painted fabric has! I’ll definitely keep you posted.
This was my first attempt so I don’t claim to be a fabric dyeing expert, but I’m sharing a few do’s and don’t I experienced that may help you on your first try. The good new is, apparently you don’t have to be any sort of expert to get impressive results. 🙂
- Chalk Style Paint
- Large Sink or Bowl
- Measuring Tools
- Stir Stick
Dyeing Fabric with Chalky Paint – DO’S
1. Do use a sink or bowl large enough to hold the water/chalk style paint mixture allowing enough room for the fabric.
2. Do use luke warm water.
3. Do mix the paint and water THOROUGHLY before dipping and dyeing your fabric.
4. Do mix repeatedly so no paint settles on the fabric or in the bottom of the bowl.
5. Do pick a chalk paint color you love and then experiment with the paint/water ratio before starting your full project. I used 4 cups of water with 1.5 tablespoons of chalky paint for my lightest dyed fabric. Approximately a 20:1 ratio. Then I added another 1.5 tbls of paint to get the darker shades.
6. Do dye your fabric with the chalk paint before sewing your project for the most even dye job.
Dyeing Fabric with Chalky Paint – DON’TS
1. Don’t forget to set your newly dyed fabric with heat! I hung mine to dry and then ironed it.
2. Don’t leave the fabric to soak for long periods of time! I made this mistake thinking the fabric would absorb more color and turn out darker. Nope. Instead I ended up with a blotchy mess. The chalk style paints can settle to the bottom (or on the fabric) and you may end up with an ugly mess like this.
These were the ones that stayed in for between 3-5 minutes and they look much better!
Feel free to pin this project and if you have any questions, ask away. 🙂
And let me know what you think of this dyed fabric? I’m curious what other brands (other than Annie Sloan and General Finishes) could be used? I’m guessing any brand of chalk style paint would work quite nicely. I always love hearing from you so chime in with your thoughts!
Happy Painting and have a great day!
I have some golden yellow and cream curtains with a tiny herringbone pattern. They are way too dark for my room now and wonder if I could dye them white or cream with chalk paint in this method? I know that it would not totally dye them as if they were white or off-white, but I wonder what the end result would be. I’d love to try it without ruining them. lol
Can you test it on an inconspicuous area before you dunk the entire panel?… It may work depending on the fabric but usually it’s easier to go from lighter to dark so I would test first.
Ritz makes a product called color remover. I used it on mint green fabric and the result was ivory, which is just what I wanted.
Hi I love this so much;) gonna try it today, what colour paint is that ?
Hi Connie! The color I used is this here GF Cardomom Brown… gives an authentic linen look imo. Have fun with your project Connie!
Ann Hall says
I have some light ivory drapes that are semi sheer and made of polyester that I want to make silver… Would this be possible with chalk paint?
Viv Mccartan says
Ii can answer that.. You can not dye polyester with this method the die just runs straight off and will not hold.. I just had ago at dying white voile sage green and came out… White…
Thank you for this post! One question…Do you recommend washing the fabric first (to wash out any starches) and if so, should I dry the fabric first? Will the dye penetrate dry fabric better than wet? Ok…I guess that’s two questions! Thank you!!!
Hi Beth! I didn’t wash the fabric. I don’t think it would make any difference and it’s my guess that putting the fabric in dry would allow it to soak up more paint/dye. 🙂
Roberta Devers-Scott says
After the piece dries, can you iron right away with out residue? How does this fabric wash. . .any bleed?
Hi there Roberta! Yes, I did iron mine right after it was dry. No residue on the iron and it actually helped set the color. As for washing the fabric, I haven’t washed mine yet so I’m not sure. Annie Sloan suggests washing in 30°C and this should prevent any color loss.
I left my cotton lace in duck egg paint overnight and got good even colou with irregular darker parts that created a subtle but nice pastel effect
Yes, if the fabric is left for a time, the watered down chalk-paint-dye may settle into some parts of the fabric more than others causing this effect. Sounds beautiful Kare!
Teresa SoleT says
I tried this with craft store chalk paint on a previously dyed t-shirt. The only problem I experienced was the same one you had with the color settling and leaving dye lines on the shirt. Some washed out over time, with the majority of the rest of the chalk dye staying nicely.
Hi Teresa! thanks for this! I am curious to see how this wears/washes over time. And I wonder… if I wash the blotchy one, maybe it will make the color more uniform..hmmm.
Mary Vitullo says
Looks like real linen, Denise.
Thanks Mary! x
Denise, these are stunning! Afew years ago my sister gave me the Annie Sloan book and she has a section on dying fabrics. I just loved the way some linen sheets that she made into curtains turned out and have been waiting to try dying with chalky paint. Well, a friend was moving from Europe to America and couldn’t take loads of things so she gave me her grandmother’s handmade linen bed sheets!!!!!!!!!! Oh yeah- I am so dying these bad boys! And how fortuitous it was when I got your post on dying with chalky paint. Thanks so much and really great job. I just love those soft, early tones- something about the combination of the colors you chose and the beautiful fabric.
What a kind and generous friend to pass along her grandmother’s handmade linen bed sheets! I LOVE vintage linen… and I’m sure they will turn out gorgeous Lisa. x
I had no idea you could do this! I’m def going to try. And the fabric you chose is soooo sweet. I love the whole project, and that your Dad was involved.
Thanks Mimi. And it was nice having my Dad involved… he actually helped me pick the fabric! Mind you, I’m guessing the $4 price tag might have been part of the appeal because he’s super thrifty. 🙂
Oh my!! I never even heard of this, that looks fantastic! 😀 Smart idea, Denise! Do you think it would work well with homemade chalk paint?
Great questions… I’m not sure. I still have some left over fabric so I might give it a go with a DIY version!
Cool! Let us know how it goes over whenever you get the chance. 😀
Will do Zovesta. 🙂
Well you have given me the courage to try to dye some material with chalk paint! I’m wanting to make a bed skirt for my bed – it’s a tall queen bed and no purchased bed skirt is long enough – on top of that the Quilt Set Parisian Style is an odd cream and dark chocolate brown/almost black and is hard to match to any material. This may be my solution!!
When you can’t find what you’re looking for, custom is the way to go. It sounds like a great project Linda!
Wow – this opens up some interesting possibilities – like dyeing my slipcovers. Your fabric looks fabulous! I know that when using regular fabric dyes, results are better when you dye natural fibers rather than synthetics. Do you suppose the same is true of dyeing with chalk paint?
Hmmm, well I haven’t tried dyeing synthetics but on Annie Sloan’s Tips & Techniques page, it says “Linen, cotton, cotton voile and synthetic curtains all work well with this technique.”
Wow – that opens up even more possibilities (though I do my best to avoid synthetics…). I’m pretty sure I’ve got some blends that I could volunteer for such a project. Thank you!
Hi Denise, I’m happy to hear your Dad is doing better. Looks like your fabric turned out beautifully 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experimentation!
Thanks so much Annie! x
Rosa Paz says
Hola Denise: Me encantó tu proyecto de teñir telas con pintura al agua. Tiene sentido porque los que pintamos sabemos lo dificil que es sacar las manchas de pintura al agua de la ropa. Felicitaciones, me encanta tu blog
Gracias Rosa … y tan cierto … yo no creo que de esta manera! Ni siquiera tratar de conseguir que la pintura fuera de mis pinturas de trabajo más. Pero cuando lo hice, lo único que trabajaba estaba frotando al chol! Esta tela teñida debe ser bastante firme. 🙂
Amy M. Dietz says
First, you are such a dear person; you probably hear such all the time, but I wanted to say it! I’m always checking you out but rarely comment anymore ( similar situation with my dad). I’m pleased so many people are blessed by you. OKAY now on to business! ( lol).
So this is TOTALLY cool, amazingly life-changing information you’ve just armed me with! Who knew?! I’m really out of the loop; I had no idea anyway. WOW I WILL do this and very soon! This seriously could be a BIG game changer. I easily could have missed it & I’ll google it or whatever, but curious if this can be laundered without a lot of color loss or if special precautions are needed etc.
Denise, I’m so excited; THANK YOU!
Hi Amy!!! For caregivers (or those of us doing our best to help a caregiver), time and energy can feel scarce… I get it!!! I so appreciate you checking in and leaving a comment when you can and I hope you and your Dad are doing well. (hugs) I’m so glad you’ve found this post useful. As for laundering, I was wondering the same thing and a few of my Facebook followers said they have never had a problem. 🙂
Your material looks gorgeous!! Those are some of my favorite colors. Do you know if the fabric content has to be 100 percent cotton? Can you use a blend? Thanks for posting this, a whole new direction to try out!
Thank you Sally! And I don’t think the fabric does have to be 100% cotton or natural fibres. I’ve included a link (under Marcia’s questions) to Annie Sloan’s site that states dyeing synthetic fabrics with chalk paint does work! I’d like to give it a try myself. 🙂
Rosie Walsh says
What results do you envision if you used a fabric that wasn’t 100% cotton.
I’m really inspired! Thanks so much. Adore the fabric.
Thanks Rosie! And supposedly it works on synthetic fabrics too. I’d be curious to give it a try on my old shower curtains which are a poly blend.
Christina in FL says
Oh Denise, the blotchy fabric looks cool too! I know it depends on what you are going for when you dye. I’ve used other chalky paints to “dye” fabric and gotten pretty good results. I will try your leave it alone method to see if I can get some cool blotchy results. 🙂 Very artsy depending on the color(s) used. 🙂
Thanks for leaving this Christina! I figured other chalk type paints would work too, but it’s always good to hear from someone who’s had success with the other brands. And yes, not the look I was after this time but you could go totally artsy if you were to blend colors etc. 🙂
I have out doors. Furniture the cushions on them are stain from the tree leaves that fallen from the trees they are stain do you think this chalk paint will do the trick as to bringing them back to life is there an out door fabric paint I can use?
I believe an outdoor fabric paint would cover leaf stains better than dying with chalk paint because it’s more opaque. They even sell waterproof outdoor paint which helps with longevity!
I’m thinking of dyeing my white Ikea slipcover and cushions and ver nice tan colour any suggestions
I love that you share the good bad and the ugly even though I don’t think there’s much ugly in your world lol
Love what you do
…oh there’s ugly Janet…LOL…;). What about Annie Sloans’ Coco or maybe American Decor’s Heirloom (available at Home Depot). It might be fun to experiment with color on the back of the slip cover so you get the perfect tan your after. xx
Hi Denise. Love your blog, as always. I never even knew that fabric could be dyed this way!!!! I’ve always used RIT up until now (with varied results). I am looking forward to trying your method next. Thanks for the instructions.
Hi Monique! My sister has used RIT (the powdered version) on a few things and said the same thing. She was pleased with a few pieces and disappointed in others. If/when you give this method a try, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. 🙂
Carole AtkinsC says
Nice job Denise. I have been wanting to try this but am looking for nice material on sale (like you did) before attempting 🙂
Ya, I don’t think I would have tried this if I had paid full pop! 😉