Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Color for an Old Tablecloth

I use the good parts of old, stained tablecloths to make hanging hand towels - it's good upcycling for something that is otherwise useless.

But look at this tablecloth:  it used to be lovely navy and white, but after 11 years of hard use, it was an ugly faded purplish taupe.  I couldn't even see using it for its fabric.

But it was a wedding gift from Ten Thousand Villages. . .so I ruminated for a while. . .and hit upon the idea of dying it navy!  I talked to Jacinta for ideas because she dyes her clothing with smashing success.

I bought a clearance bottle of royal blue dye ($2), read the directions obsessively and checked Jacinta's advice again, and set to work.  I did NOT want a blue sink or blue wood floor.

I filled my black enamelware canner with water and kept it at a low simmer on the stove.  Poured in the dye and a cup of salt (why, I don't know - I followed the bottle directions on that).  Put on old latex gloves and lowered the tablecloth into the dye bath.  I poked and stirred at it with a metal spoon over 45 minutes, not continuously as the bottle instructed, but when I thought of it, as Jacinta advised.  Carefully fished out the tablecloth into my stainless steel sink (not the composite laundry sink that could have stained).  Rinsed it with cold water until the water was fairly clear.  Washed it in the washing machine in cold and dried it in the dryer, all to set the dye.

It came out a beautiful shade of cobalt - I love it!  In the middle, there are some lighter patches, so I'm guessing my stirring and poking was not sufficent to evenly distribute the cloth.  However, it looks like the play of sunshine and shadows through my windows (I was actually fooled for a few days), so I'm happy. 

And now I'm thinking of refreshing some black cotton clothes that have gotten a little grey.


Heritage Farmgirl said...

I like it! Of course I like blue. Nice you could renew something you use on a regular bases.

beth said...

You're a BRAVE woman!

Polly said...

It looks great!!!! Wow!!!

I want to dye something now. But I would be the one to somehow turn my taupe countertops fuschia or something. But what a new life you gave it, wow!

Eva Girl said...

I've heard really great things about dying fabric - yours came out great! I have been thinking of trying it with some sheets I got for making a dress. It's a floral print with a white background and I thought it would look better with a blue background....could turn out great or look totally wrong, so I haven't tried it yet ; )

Jennifer Jo said...

Wow. That's beautiful!

And nothing else got stained? That means you must be Wonder Woman!

Margo said...

Heritage, can you email me please? I cannot view your blog (it's so odd, but I don't think it's from my end) and I'm so glad you finally commented because I don't have another way to contact you!

Margo said...

I admit I was nervous because I've ruined my clothes in the past when I was using bleach in the laundry. . .but I was super careful and wore old dark clothes and followed Jacinta's advice (mostly listed in the post).

Anonymous said...

Great job! Although I really liked the faded purple. But the cobalt is definitely more you!

Next time, you can minimize the splotchy spots by making sure your fabric is wet before you put it into the dye pot. ;)


BLD in MT said...

It looks so much better now! Good work! Dying is messy work so it is even more impressive that you managed to dye only what you desired!

Margo said...

Birdy, THANKS for the tip.

Beth said...

So glad you've added much life to a special linen, and inexpensively!

I had a rewarding dye experience, too. My kids have to wear navy or khaki skirts to school. One would think of navy as almost completely forgiving when it comes to stains and such, right? Right?? Well. One of my girls managed to drop something on it that pretty much bleached a small area on the skirt. I couldn't STAND the idea of that skirt being unusable - it was a good one! Then it hit me: DYE the whole thing navy! Yahoo! For a few bucks, it's good as new.

Regina said...

hi margo
it looks great.i like blue!!!
greetings from germany,

Jacinta @ modelmumma said...

YAY MARGO! It turned out so well, definitely a new lease on life (as much as I love purple, that blue looks so cheery!)... and yes, Birdy's tip is something I obviously forgot to mention, but having your items wet first helps! So glad I could help out and you enjoyed it, now go dye some clothes! :D

Christian @ Modobject at Home said...

Perfect! A beautiful new color for your tablecloth's "second life"!


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