Have you seen the overdyed rugs currently flooding the home decor market? It’s hard to resist the bright, saturated colors and unique character of these rugs! Several years ago, I was given a 50 year-old wool rug with a traditional oriental design, but the old-school navy blue & maroon color scheme just wasn’t doing anything for me.
I needed something fresh and new, but I wasn’t ready to buy a new rug — And that’s how I decided to try a DIY approach to overdying my rug.
***A note of caution: the dyes and chemicals below can be harmful and you should only perform the following steps in a well-ventilated area while wearing a respirator.
Supplies you’ll need:
1. A 100% wool rug.
2. Long rubber gloves and a respirator.
3. For Rugs 6ft x 9ft or smaller, buy the largest plastic storage bin you can find. If your rug is larger, you’ll probably need something much bigger. For my 9ft x 12ft rug, I used a collapsible pool from Home Depot.
4. A bucket heater (to keep the dying solution warm). Jon-Don Chemical supply is a great source.
5. Thiox and Soda Ash from Pro Chemical. This if for bleaching your rug. How much you need to use depends on the amount of wool in your rug. As a rule of thumb, you will need 10grams of thiox and 10grams of soda ash in 10L of water for each pound of wool. However, if you rug is dark (like mine) you may need up to twice as much to remove enough of the original color. More detailed instructions on these products can be found here.
6. Acid Dye and Citric Acid from Dharma Trading Company. Again, the amount you need depends on how much wool you are dying. I used 3tsp of “Brilliant Yellow” dye and 1tsp of citric acid per pound of wool and got a good result.
7. Synthrapol (a detergent) from Dharma Trading Company. Follow the directions on the bottle for how much to use based on the volume of solution.
Here’s what to do:
1. Fill container with water, soak and rinse your rug. Then drain water.
2. Fill container with clean water and synthrapol detergent. Move the rug around to wash it.
3. Rinse the rug again. Put it aside.
4. Fill container with water again, and using the bucket heater, warm water to 130-140 degrees, or as hot as you can get it.
5. Add Thiox, Soda Ash, and rug to the container. Agitate thoroughly for up to 30 minutes. You’ll see the dye begin to come out of the rug and into the water.
6.Let the solution work for about 30 minutes, then add more Thiox and Soda Ash as needed. Soak for another 30 minutes or longer until much of the color from the rug is gone. The rug will never bleach completely, but that’s OK. The underlying design will remain an interesting part of your rug.
6. Rinse the rug in water. This is how mine looked at this stage:
7. Repeat the above steps, but use your Acid Dye and Citric Acid instead of Thiox and Soda Ash. It is a good idea to first mix the dye in a separate container with a gallon of boiling water before adding to your rug. The dying solution should be kept as warm as possible with the bucket heater — but make sure not to leave the bucket heater unattended at any time. You can let the rug sit in the dye solution overnight for the most brilliant color. You can also add salt, which some say helps to exhaust the dye solution.
8. Drain the rug, then wash with Synthrapol.
9. Rinse the rug thoroughly to remove all excess dye. You may need to wash with Synthrapol a second time.
10. Hang the rug to dry.
11. Enjoy your new rug!!
After two days of hard work and about $175 in supplies, your rug will have a new look that you’ll enjoy for years to come!
Let us know how your DIY overdye rug turns out in the comments section below.
image 1: lahidesign.com
image 2: pinterest.com
all other images by Design Lines Ltd.