I’ve been giddy about this project ever since I read Annie’s book Color Recipes. In it she dyes some beautiful linen for her curtains. Seeing the soft color, and the way the linen took on a vintage look made me want to try it all the more.

dying fabric with chalk paint

I had three older tablecloths lying around, they made the perfect guinea pigs for my mad-doctor experiment.

dying linen

Here’s one. She’s a white, vintage, embroidered linen with a few spots and stains. Not very pretty to look at at this stage, but I fell in love with the embroidery when I bought it. A little Arles Chalk Paint will help to put some pep in her step.

dying with chalk paint

I mixed 3 ounces of Chalk Paint in with 2.5 gallons of room temperature water. I will tell you, you don’t need that much water to dye a tablecloth. Here’s your ratio:

1 part paint to 100 parts water (per Annie’s Book). You can add a little more paint if you want a stronger color, or less if you want a lighter color. One ounce of paint per gallon of water is a great place to start.

Once I mixed the paint into the water I plopped the tablecloth in, took a stick, and stirred it around to make sure the entire cloth was submerged. I gave it another stir every 10 minutes or so. This helps ensure that the paint doesn’t separate and fall to the bottom of the bucket. This will cause your fabric to dye unevenly. After 30 minutes of soaking I gave it one final stir and then wrung the excess water out.

how to dye fabric with chalk paint

Much prettier. I let it dry outside, but not in direct sunlight, I found that directly sunshine caused some bleaching on another tablecloth I did. A good air dry is all it needs. Once it was plenty dry I threw it in the washing machine and washed it like I would any other tablecloth. This will get any excess dye out. After a tumble in the dryer this tablecloth was ready to grace any table top!

dying tablecloths

Because I chose a color that was lighter than the embroidery it stayed intact. If I had chosen a darker color, like Napoleonic Blue, it might have dyed the beautiful details as well. Something to keep in mind when you’re choosing linens to makeover. And don’t forget, it should be a natural fiber like cotton or linen, just like what we learned with painting upholstery.

dying fabric

So if you don’t feel like painting your table tops, or just want to change it up from time to time, why not try dyeing some tablecloths with Chalk Paint?

 

Life on the coast of Maine

Color and Style News Just For You

Join our free weekly - or bi weekly - newsletter for all the latest news on Color and Style from Maine Country Home.

You have Successfully Subscribed!