Dying the Duvet

I was all set to dye my blue duvet cover with iDye silver gray which was not available in my local Hobby Lobby nor JoAnn’s.

JoAnn's dye selection had lots of empty spaces.
JoAnn’s dye selection had lots of empty spaces.

I made a quick decision to buy some Tulip permanent dye: a packet of gray and another of black.

Tulip permanent dye is only for natural fabrics.
Tulip permanent dye is only for natural fabrics.

Here are the directions straight from their website in blue.

How to use Tulip® Permanent Fabric Dye

1. Fill bowl or stainless steel sink with one gallon of STEAMING HOT water.
2. Stir in 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) salt.
3. Pour in dye packet and stir until dissolved.
4. Submerge fabric in dye mixture.
5. Stir continually for 15 minutes, and then occasionally for 45 minutes.
6. Rinse fabric in cold water. Wash in warm water and dry away from direct heat and sunlight.

I bought 2 packets of dye for my duvet cover. Please notice below in the “Tips and Techniques” that one packet dyes a man’s extra-large shirt.  I’m hoping that mixing black and gray and having a very large item will produce just the right shade of charcoal grey.

Tips & Techniques

You will need 1/4 cup salt (4 Tablespoons).

One pack dyes up to 1/2 lb. fabric (e;g; men’s extra-large shirt) to full shade shown on package or larger amounts of water/fabric for lighter shades.

Suitable fabrics: cotton, linen, ramie and rayon; wool, silk and polyester/cotton mixes will dye to lighter shades. Not suitable: pure polyester, acrylic, nylon and fabric with special finishes.

The hotter the water, the deeper the shade of color.

Wash separately for first few washes to remove any excess dye.

1. To make sure water is hot enough, use water that is boiled from a kettle. Put your dye and salt in the dye bucket, and then add the boiling water.
2. Make sure the dye is completely dissolved. If it isn’t, you may get splotchy color spots.
3. To get the best color, use prewashed and pre-soaked fabric. Completely push it down to the bottom of the bucket and make sure it is fully immersed.
4. Agitate the fabric in the dye by keeping the fabric fully immersed at all times.
5. After letting it sit, put the entire mixture into your washing machine (with the dye water) and add detergent.

I’m warning you in advance that I will not be putting any dye in my washing machine (#5 above). Instead I cleaned very well the large stainless steel sink in the kitchen.

Hoping the 30-inch sink will be big enough to dye the king-sized duvet cover.
Hoping the 30-inch sink will be big enough to dye the king-sized duvet cover.

Then I washed the duvet cover (in the washing machine) to both clean it and to be sure it is totally wet. I changed into a totally black outfit of sweatpants and turtleneck.

Steaming hot dye.
Steaming hot dye.

While the duvet was washing I reread the directions and mixed the dye.  I was going to use the entire grey packet and half of the black but there seemed to be a lot of blue in the grey so I used the entire black packet also.  The recipe: one packet of gray and one packet of black. (If I were to do it again I would add a half packet of orange to counter the tendency toward blue.)

The mop up paper towel had a distinctive blue cast.
The mop up paper towel had a distinctive blue cast.

For the first fifteen minutes I smooshed the fabric around in the dye continually then for the next 45 30 minutes I swooshed about every five minutes.

In the end most of the blue tint actually washed down the drain leaving a cool dark grey on the duvet cover.
In the end most of the blue tint actually washed down the drain leaving a cool dark grey on the duvet cover.

After an hour I rinsed as well as possible all the dye out of the fabric with cool water in the sink. I was worried the fabric would be too blue but it seems the blue mostly flowed down the drain in the rinse water. I squeezed the excess water out of the piece and put it in the washer set on “extra rinse”.

Ready for the washer, then the dryer.
Ready for the washer, then the dryer.

After spinning as dry as possible I put it in the dryer to finish it.

This is the best color rendition of all the photos.
This is the best color rendition of all the photos.

I turned it inside out to insert the down comforter.

The comforter is finally deep grey.
The comforter is finally deep grey.

This will work for now.

What are you living to do?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

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