Fabric Dyeing with paint

I first started dyeing fabric with Chalk Paint in 2013 when I was an Annie Sloan Stockist;  and wrote about my experiments with the process at the time.  Since having  had a change of website I have swapped my original post onto here and updated it a bit…..

For this project I used some vintage family napkins of different sizes and shapes – I love that they don’t match.

As often happens, creativity overtakes preparation, so, armed with the vintage napkins I planned to dye, my only vessel easily to hand was the dogs water bowl…… With one pint of warmish water to one full teaspoon-ish of Emperor’s Silk, I stirred the mixture around, maybe not enough stirring, or maybe the old antimacassar I was dyeing had an old stain which resulted in a darker tone/mark to part of the fabric, anyway, I was happy with the resulting cerise shade and the blotches don’t worry me.

Emperor’s Silk

All of this was done with the bowl in the sink, and I also let the napkins drip dry over the sink as there is quite a lot of colour running at this stage. I then progressed to Aubusson, which once dried also had a dark patch, probably for the same reason as the antimacassar. Personally, I really like the way the fabric looks uneven, giving it a worn, aged look. The photograph doesn’t really do the darkness of the blue justice, but next time I do this I will add more Aubusson to the mix to get a stronger blue.


Next came Provence, and my favourite result of the three, giving me a duck-egg coloured finish with the look of a well washed and used napkin – I was very pleased with this one but sadly can’t find a picture of it on its own – here are all three though

To read about Annie Sloan herself dyeing fabric check out her book Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture page 36.

My lessons learned:-

Thoroughly stir your paint and water mix whilst the fabric is in it, (I didn’t do this enough with may be a cause of the patches).

Dry your dyed material completely before washing in a machine. When I did wash mine it was at 30C and I used non-bio powder.

Nicola Warner

Originally posted in 2013

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