Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Using Chalk Paint to Dye Fabric

I got a wild hare idea yesterday, to try what I have read online about using chalk paint to dye fabric.  With two colors of paint in hand, Primer Red and Graphite, and some chunks of prewashed cotton dropcloth, I got to work.

There's not an exact proportion of paint to water to use for dying fabric.  I poured a small splash of paint into a large mixing bowl.  I added hot tap water to the paint, mixing it with a whisk, till the mixture was the consistency that I thought it should be ... really watery.  (next time, I will probably see what happens if I use even less paint.)

I didn't think about this becoming a blog post, so I was a little late with the photos of the process.  The photo above shows the last piece of fabric that I dunked into the dye, and the mess that this made in my kitchen sink.  I didn't soak the fabric ... I just squished it into the solution in the mixing bowl, making sure that there was dye all over the fabric, wrung it out, put it back into the bowl and squished it into the dye again, wrung it out really well, and set it aside.  Then I used Soft Scrub to clean the sink.

Since this was an experiment, I wanted to see if the dyed fabric would end up being colorfast and machine washable ... so I tossed them into my washer (front loader) and washed them on the Delicate setting with a small amount of detergent.  I thoroughly expected to find that the dye completely washed out when I checked it after the wash cycle, but it didn't!  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I really liked the colors.  After a spin through the dryer, I was ready to get to work making something ... throw pillows.

This is the design that I came up with ... graphite for the background, with natural and Primer Red strips appliqued onto it.  I tore the strips and fringed them, to add some texture and a bit of rustic interest to the design.

As always, at least one of the cats comes to help.  In this case, it was Dorothy ... checking my sewing machine to make sure that it was in good working order after its tune up at the repair shop last month.

Here is how the pillow cover turned out.

The cording around the edge adds a nice finishing touch ... and I installed a zipper on the back.  (Envelope closures and ties are quicker to construct, but a zipper makes for a much nicer pillow.)

Here we have the finished product!

I love how this turned out.  I learned that I really like the colors that resulted from using chalk paint to dye the fabric, and I am anxious to see what I get when I use other colors of paint.  This pillow and its mate (I made two of them at the same time) will go into the heap of things that are destined for the Lucketts Spring Market in May.


  1. It turned out EXCELLENT, Connie! I love the look!

  2. I LIKE It a lot!!!! It is a very subtle color and I think it turned out great- xo Diana

  3. I love this pillow. It looks like it was made from the most comfortable pair of chinos. The colors are so mellow and worn. You run laps around me with all your projects.

  4. Love it! I have used chalk paint to die fabric also...and was totally amazed at how colorfast it was immediately. Happy Wednesday, enjoy the sunshine today for me. :)

  5. Love this post Connie.....really shows how versatile Chalk Paint® is. I have dyed fabric, vintage doilies and lace and it even works great on printed fabric. Have black and white toile, but really want pink toile.....dye it with Scandi Pink! Too easy!

    Love how it does not stain your hands like Rit dye and it works so fast.

    You pillow will last about 10 seconds at Lucketts!

    Miss you...
    The Empty Nest

  6. WOW! What a fantastic job from an experiment. Your sewing skills are amazing. You are so talented in many areas.


  7. Perfect timing! I just saw 4 dining chairs , each painted different colors, though in the same values. The seats were each different color fabric dyed with ASCP and then a stencil on the fabric and the chair painted in the same color...looked great! And now your wonderful project...twice in one week I've seen fabric dyed with ASCP...got to try it! Love your pillows, especially the fringed edge. Wish I lived closer to Lucketts! Enjoy.

  8. WaY cOOl!
    I'll have to try this!

  9. This is great to know. I love the antique quality the paint color gave the fabric. Thanks.

  10. What! Great idea and the pillow is awesome! love the faded colors. You should make a BUNCH for Lucketts! I wish you guys a beautiful, sunny weekend for it!

  11. What! Great idea and the pillow is awesome! love the faded colors. You should make a BUNCH for Lucketts! I wish you guys a beautiful, sunny weekend for it!

  12. Brilliant! You are such a clever girl! I love how it turned out too. Simple and fabulous. Well done!


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