Add Color or Dye Trying: DIY Project Transformations with Pigment

Add Color or Dye Trying: DIY Project Transformations with Pigment

Dabney Frake
Sep 26, 2013

Immediately after finishing up my mudcloth project earlier this month, I looked around the house and asked myself, "Hmmmm, now what else can I dye?" There are so many other materials out there in the world, why stop at just fabric? I just want to turn the world into a great big vat of Rit Dye or blackberries and throw everything — furniture, accessories, you name it — in and swirl it around.

Until that happens, here are some ways to alter something you perhaps already own, and inject a little color into your space. Use the right pigment for the material, and the world is your dye bath.


  • Plastic: Here's something I would have never thought to do: dye ordinary plastic switch plates. Using recipes from Rit Dye, you can also color match the paint on your walls. Booom. That was the sound of your mind being blown.
  • Wood: We've seen the "dipped" look lots, but it's usually done with tape and paint. Wood absorbs color really well, which makes stool feet perfect candidates for a dye job. Martha Stewart did it, and the results are really great.
  • Bamboo: Martha also dunked some place mats, and instantly transformed inexpensive bamboo into something more personal and fun.
  • Wicker: And speaking of natural materials, The Andes House makes some beautiful clever color-blocked modular lampshades. You could achieve a similar look with an existing lampshade, like this $39 one from Ikea.
  • Leather: And then there is always leather. Design Sponge came up with these stained round coasters, and I can see this technique applied to other, larger projects.
  • Cement: Plain concrete projects are everywhere these days, but the Curtis Casa experimented with cement pigment for her planters.
  • Rope: In case you wondered, dying rope is a total yes according to Delightfully Noted!
  • Glass: Tinted mason jars add great pastel color to a shelf or glass cabinet. Momtastic did a bunch in every color in the rainbow.
  • Wax: If you find yourself making candles one afternoon, inject additional shades with some melted crayons in different colors. This idea is from, again, Martha Stewart.
  • Rug: The bright saturated color of over-dyed rugs is possible with commercial dye and some elbow grease. Robert from Design Lines did it for about $175.

What's the weirdest thing you've ever tried to dye, and did it work?

(Images: as linked above)

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