Thursday, September 3, 2015

How the Beast Became a Beauty: How to Dye an Ugly Chair!



The 1970s were known for lots of things: Disco, Starsky and Hutch, Abba (don't pretend that you can't sing along to every Abba song ever made), and Señor Hotness.  One thing the 70s was a little sketchy on was their decor.


Don't look directly at the pattern.  I can't know for sure, but it could cause temporary blindness and/or seizures.  All joking aside this thing seemed to single handedly contain every ugly color the 1970s had to offer.


I came across this chair at a garage sale that our church's youth group hosted.  Some friends had donated it for the cause.  My first thought was yowsas this thing is beyond ugly, and it would be a miracle if it sold.  This chair had a hidden super power however...it was pretty much the most comfortable thing you'll ever put your butt on.   Have you ever met someone that is super homely, but the more you get to know them the prettier they get (you all know you have that one friend).  That is kind of how this functioned.  Only the comfort factor helped to override its extreme ugliness.


Did I mention, that in addition to the eye gouging color spectrum, that this chair had been garaged for so long that is was beyond yucky, musty smelling?  However, by the end of the garage sale I had worn Señor Hotness down (because he sat in it), and we brought the chair home.  

So what's a girl to do when in possession of a fantastically ugly chair, that you're far too lazy to re-uphoster? (Sorry Señor Hotness, I know thats what you though we were getting this sucker for.)  I had the brilliant idea that by dying it the floral pattern wouldn't seem so heinous, and we could mask the colors more to my liking.


So I bought a bottle of Rit's Royal Blue dye.  FYI peeps these bottles of dye DO NOT come with any kind of safety seal, child-proof cap, or anything keeping your curious kid from ruining your carpet if they get a hold of it (luckily for once this didn't happen to me).  So if you get the liquid kind, beware to keep it FAR out of reach of kidlets.

Ok so dying furniture has been all over pinterest for a while now.  I've seen several different methods of how to apply the dye.  I've seen it applied with a brush, and spritzed on with a standard hand spritzer.  The brush method seemed too time consuming (not something I wanted to attempt with our busy schedule).  The spritz method seemed too inconsistent.  Most of those that I saw had too much inconsistency in their color coverage.  Meaning its hard to get uniform application out of a hand spritzer.


So when Señor Hotness and I were at Lowe's the other day I saw this, and had a total light bulb moment.  This, my friends, is a $10 home and garden sprayer.  It looks like what exterminators use for a poison sprayer, and landscapers use it for killing weeds.  It is basically a pressurized water sprayer.  It is made to spray water like liquids.  So I thought it would be perfect for my dye project.  By pumping air into it I could have a continuous spray, and therefore get a very precise uniform coverage.


I don't know what you think, but I think it worked perfectly.


 This was after one coat of dye.


I put about a cup of white vinegar in my sprayer of dye to help set the dye to prevent rub off on the bums that seek out the legendary comfort of this extraordinary chair.


After I put a coat of dye on the chair it would sag under the added weight of the liquid.  Don't worry it will smooth out as it dries.


The flowers were still taunting me with their homeliness.


So then I hit it with a second coat.


Then a third.


It was at this point that I really wanted to call it quits.  Mostly because apparently dying the ugliness out of ones furniture will make the sky want to open up with moisture.  I find that super uncool.  I blame Louisiana.


I had myself completely talked into leaving it.  Until I picked my sisters brains about it.  I love sisters. They love me enough to be completely and sometimes brutally honest with me.  They gave it two big thumbs down.  So I pulled it into the garage, and let it chill out there for two weeks.


So when I went back to the drawing board I decided that while Royal Blue was pretty it just wasn't dark enough.  So the second time around I did half Royal Blue and half Navy Blue.  Again with the vinegar to help set my dye.


Already it looked so much better.  I went ahead and gave it a second coat, but that was mostly because I still had dye left over.


After the final coat I was able to get a slight rub off residue (boo), but only when I vigorously rubbed my hand on it.  So as soon as it was all dry I scotch guarded the ever loving crude out of the whole thing...twice.  After the scotch guard completely dried there was absolutely no residue no matter how vigorously I rubbed.  Which was super awesome because I have several other pieces that I would love to try this on, but didn't want to ruin any of my other nicer pieces.


In the end, I now have an uber comfy chair that is now thankfully more decade appropriate.  The entire make-over cost less than $20, including the cost of the chair, the sprayer, the dye, and the scotch guard.  Now instead of this chair being an eye sore it is not only a unique, beautiful piece, but a real conversation item for those familiar with how it looked before.

So next time don't pass up that ugly piece at the thrift store.  You can still save it with nothing more than a little dye and determination.


25 comments:

  1. I love the old fabric too . They are both great !

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  2. Absolute genius Sarah! I love dye, but never would have thought to do this! Will you come on over and share this at my Five Star Frugal linkup? We'd love to meet you! Mimi xxx
    http://atrayofbliss.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/five-star-frugal-17fresh-ideas.html

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  3. Laught out laud, I like the original ugliness. You made an awesome job, now I learn a bettere way to paint fabric, and have a candidate for a makeover. Coming from Vinatge Paint and More...

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  4. Hi Sarah,
    Wow you did a fabulous job redoing the chair. I love the new color of the fabric.
    Thanks for joining and sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    We hope to see you again.
    Julie

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  5. Wow, that chair looks like the couch in my grandma's den: ugly but durable & comfortable. Enjoyed seeing the transformation photos...I have a love-hate relationship with Rit dye, made me feel better that its not just me that struggles getting the color right. Persist on! Enjoy sitting in your "new" comfy chair, it looks amazing!

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  6. I have a soft spot for ugly 70s couches. They are kind of awesome in their ugliness. But you did a great job transforming yours.

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    1. Some people can pull off the retro 70s furniture vibe. I'm not one of them. I have a friend that rocks it like no body's business thought. Thanks for stopping by Betty.

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  7. well DUDE. I've seen the whole painting upholstery thing before, but DYING it?! Now that's awesome. Way to go.

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  8. Great idea! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!

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  9. Wow, that came out so different. I think the Navy blue really helped out. I dig it.

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  10. I never would have thought of dying upholstery, I've seen them painted. But you rocked this one, a total updated transformation, Ill never look at ugly upholstery the same way....

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    1. Thanks Brenda! I kind of love how it turned out.

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  11. Ha! What a NEAT idea!

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J! Please don’t forget to enter the $25 Starbucks Giftcard Giveaway that ends tomorrow night!

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    1. Thanks Jess. If I were a coffee drinker I'd be all over that giveaway.

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  12. This looks so amazing! Pinned and tweeted. Thanks for stopping by and partying with us! I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm, so we can pin and tweet your masterpieces! Lou Lou Girls

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    1. Thanks for the love, and for stopping by.

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  13. If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again! Can't believer how great this turned out. I would never have thought to dye it. Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks Jann. I kind of love how it turned out. Even if this one did take longer than I wanted it to.

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  14. I didn't even use a full bottle. It only took about half a bottle. I actually ended up using about one fourth of two different colors because one wasn't giving me the color I wanted.

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  15. There is nothing wrong with being a planner. I mixed 1/4 cup of dye with 2 cups vinegar and the filled the rest of the two gallon sprayer up with hot water.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  16. Hmm maybe I should be more concerned with that. Almost all of our furniture is from Craigslist. If the place looks sketchy I won't buy because I'm afraid of bringing mice into my house. Thanks for stopping by.

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  17. This is a great idea, but sorry I'm not gonna lie.... This is still one ugly chair. I would've change the fabric.

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    1. Wow. That is some brutal honesty. I can appreciate that. I know this certainly isn't everyone's style and I wasn't sure I was going to be crazy about it, but I actually really love the updated retro look. That being said this chair is totally slated for new fabric sometime in the future...when I figure out how to upholster without ruining my most comfy seat. Thanks for stopping by whoever you may be 😀

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  18. Just out of curiosity, how's the chair holding up? I've been really excited to do this to a pair of my own chairs (and now maybe a used couch we're thinking about buying)! Also, since it's old you probably don't know this, but what was the fabric content for this chair? Based on the 70's cheese, it looks like it's 100% polyester & I've heard they can be harder to dye.

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