Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Really? Fabric Dye?!

I bought this sideboard a few months ago for my little kitchen. It is perfect in every way - right size, drawers and cabinets to hold just the right stuff, great price, AND some history, as an added bonus. The tale is that this piece of furniture came out of a cottage on Lower Saranac Lake that Mark Twain used to rent in summers. No cigars burns to definitely authenticate it, but I'm going with it anyway!

The finish was dark, though, and some areas needed to be shored up a bit. After lots of sanding to get some of that old finish off and some repairs, it was moved into my studio for its real face lift.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to add color to the surface. After much searching around and talking with a woodworker artist friend, I found instructions on ProChem's website on how to use the powdered fiber reactive dyes I already have to dye wood. (Please read my comment to Laura to see how I added a sealer/finish. The dye is water soluble when applied.)

I primed then painted the insides of the drawers with some great colors. Then, with some trepidation, I mixed up my dye with equal parts water and rubbing alcohol and started. Wow! It was much easier than (and about as messy as) I had expected. But even more beautiful! What a satisfying project.
 Now I'm thinking about how to add some Mark Twain-related embellishments. I think he would be pleased.


Laura McGrath said...

I had no idea Procion dyes could be used this way- what a great thing to share!

Cris Winters said...

I hope you'll try it, Laura! Really fun to see the transformation on the wood. I forgot to say that some kind of finish is required, as the dye is quite soluble even after drying. I used a low-volitiles satin finish (similar to polyurethane), and the dye came up slightly with that first coat, so put your finish material in a small container to avoid getting the color in the whole can!