How much dye to buy?
  • I would like to dye a couch slipcover black. The slipcover weighs about 8 pounds. I'm planning to dye it in my washing machine in two batches (main slipcover body in the first batch and 6 cushion covers in the second batch). How many bottles of dye should I buy to get a really dark black?

    Will black iDye work in the washing machine if I use multiple packets? This website recommends using the stovetop method for dark colors but my large slipcover won't fit on the stove. Would the traditional Procion MX in bottles work better for a dark color in the washing machine?

    Any advice would be appreciated!
  • What is the fiber content of the couch? If you don't know, do a burn test on a tiny scrap, to be sure that the fiber is at all likely to be dyeable. And, does it have any sort of stain-resistant finish that will prevent the dyes from reaching the fabric evenly?

    Do not use a hot water direct dye, such as iDye, on a slipcover. Hot water makes cotton and other natural fibers shrink, which will ruin the fit on the furniture, making the slipcover unusable. iDye will not work in cool water. You should use only a cool water fiber reactive dye, such as Procion MX dye. Procion MX dye is easy to use in the washing machine with salt and soda ash, and it does not require heat, since a room temperature of 70°F is sufficient for it to react with the fabric. (If your tap water temperature is below 70°, use a combination of cold and warm water to adjust the temperature to the right level. You will need a thermometer for this.)

    Typically, you want to use 10% of the weight of the fabric, in Procion MX dye powder, to dye a rich deep black. You have 8 pounds of fabric, so you'll need eight-tenths of a pound of dye. (Other colors require far less dye powder, since they are not as dark.) You should find a source that sells one-pound jars of dye powder (these large jars are much, much cheaper per ounce), and order one entire pound.

    -Paula
  • Thank you so much, Paula! That was exactly the information I was looking for!
  • Hi Megan,

    I have actually been trying to do this exact same thing. Would you mind sharing how your dyeing turned out?

    Also, where did you buy your dye by the lb? The stores I have been to only sell the 2/3 oz. jars.

    Thanks,
    Minh
  • The large jars are usually available only by mail-order.

    -Paula