Jun 4 2019
How to Dye Outdoor Cushion Covers
Post by sara albers

This post has been sponsored by Rit Dye and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

How to dye outdoor cushion covers

I was loving my new outdoor couch and chair that I had for our deck. The white washed wood frames with off white cushions looked so nice outside, but it was getting unbelievably dirty in a matter of two weeks. I was beyond frustrated. But then I did a little bit of research and figured out that I could dye polyester fabric. The cushion covers were 100% polyester and Rit Dye makes a dye especially for synthetic fabric! Yay! So today, with my friends at Rit Dye, I am showing you how to dye outdoor cushion covers.

How to dye polyester outdoor cushion covers using Rit Dye

I wanted something darker, that would not show so much dirt, so I went with a medium grey color. I am so pleased with how they turned out. I was inspired by the grey tone from a pillow I had that was a bit of a southwest feel, with black, grey and a pop of coral. It turned out to be a perfect match!

I was feeling so frustrated by the off-white cushions that I was considering a new set. This is why I love the magic of dye! It is so fulfilling to take something and give it new life – turning a frustrating outdoor cushion situation into something I love! This project inspired me to move the furniture to a prettier spot on the deck and really accessorize! We are absolutely loving this outdoor lounge area!

How to dye outdoor cushion covers before and after

DyeMore Rit Dye to dye polyester fabrics

Supplies

100% polyester cushion covers

DyeMore Dye for Synthetics

Large stainless steel pot

Large metal tongs

Paper towels

Rubber gloves

Rubber bin

ScotchGard water and UV fabric spray

How to dye polyester outdoor cushions covers

(find more info on dying synthetic fabrics HERE)

A few tips from my process:

  • Test the fabric first and make sure to wash the fabric before dying!
  • Work with a friend! This is not a one person job. It was so much easier and faster with two people.
  • Make sure to have paper towels ready for any splashes or drips!
  • Once you are completely done with dyeing the fabric and wash and  dry – you will need to make sure and spray with a sun and water shield protective spray (so the fabric will not fade). 

Ok, so polyester is a harder fabric to dye than regular cotton. You must dye polyester fabric on the stovetop, using high heat. A big pot is a must to fit the covers. (I link to one in the supplies list).  I had 6 pieces that I dyed.

How to dye outdoor cushion covers with Rit Dye

Instructions

  1. First, determine how much dye is needed. Weigh the cushion covers on a food scale or estimate the weight. As a general guideline, one bottle of Rit DyeMore will dye up to two pounds of dry fabric. If dyeing 100% polyester or trying to achieve a very bold color, double the dye quantity. I would recommend dyeing a swatch of the fabric first! My fabric was 100% polyester, so I doubled the amount of dye needed. Refer to the back of the bottle for exact measurements.
  2. Pre wash the cushion covers per the label’s instructions. Do not dry.
  3. Cover work surface. I used a paper towels and a plastic tablecloth.
  4. Wear rubber gloves to protect hands from getting stained and to insulate them when working with hot water.
  5. Due to the complexity of dyeing synthetics, you must use the stovetop method to maintain an almost boiling temperature for the duration of your dyeing (200 F° or greater). The dye will not work completely if you try and dye synthetics using luke warm or cold water.
  6. Fill a stainless steel pot with enough water for the fabric to move freely. Rit Dye recommends using three gallons of water for every pound of fabric. My fabric was about 3.5 – 4 pounds. I used 10 gallons of water.
  7. Add 1 teaspoon of dish detergent to help promote level dyeing.
  8. Cover pot and heat water on stove top to just below boiling (200 F° or greater).Dyeing outdoor cushion covers
  9. When water begins to simmer, shake dye bottles and add to water. Stir gently. For my dark grey fabric I added 5 bottles of Frost Grey and 2 bottles of Graphite. I had about 4 lbs of fabric, so I was generous with the dye.
  10. Wet the item you are going to be dyeing and add it to the dyebath. I had just washed mine so they were ready to go.
  11. Keep temperature at a low simmer for the duration of your dyeing.How to dye polyester outdoor cushion covers
  12. Stir slowly and continuously. The first 10 minutes are the most critical. Stirring helps to ensure an even color with no splotches.
  13. We kept the cushion covers in the dyebath for 40 minutes, stirring and moving the fabric around to get an even dye.
  14. Use a large set of tongs to remove the fabric from the pot carefully as it is hot! We put a rubber bin next to the large pot to move the fabric closer to the sink. Then moved the fabric into my stainless steel sink to rinse.How to dye outdoor cushion covers
  15. Rinse in warm water and then gradually cool water until rinse water begins to run clear.
  16. Wash the cushion covers in your washing machine. Hang or lay flat to dry. Use a warm iron if needed.
  17. Spray the cushion covers with ScotchGard UV and Water protective spray. 

More info can be found on the Rit Dye site here. If you are interested in changing your outdoor cushion covers, check the label to see what fabric they are! If they are polyester – use Rit DyeMore and grab a large stainless steel pot. Find a friend to give you a hand and have some fun!

Outdoor cushion covers make-over

Outdoor lounge area

Outdoor lantern

How to dye outdoor cushion covers #DIY #RitDye #outdoorliving

Outdoor living

Photos by Sara Albers. Assisted by Sarah Adams.

 

Leave a Reply

    12 Comments

  • Annette cordiscoApril 8, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    omg – we just received the same couch from world market and right away I was like uh oh those cushions are going to look horrible very quickly – way lighter then I expected! My first thought was to buy new covers but way to $$$ next thought was maybe I could dye them and I googled and this post/pics were first thing I saw!! Thank you – can’t wait to start this project!

  • Annette cordiscoApril 9, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Hi- I just emailed yesterday re: the above post and that i am doing same project as I have same couch (no chair)! some questions… is that pot with the 5 bottles of frost grey and 2 of graphite to do all the cushions? Better to do one cushion at a time? Also – when you say dish detergent – do you mean like dove dish liquid or powder that you would use for dishwasher?

    Thanks for your help!

  • KristieApril 17, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Hi there, I’m so glad I have found this post as I’m about to dye my outdoor furniture cushions!! I have some questions that I would appreciate your advice, and the same as the questions added previously. Is that pot with the 7 bottles in total to do all the cushions? And did you do one cushion at a time? Many thanks 😊

    • sara albersApril 22, 2020 at 5:19 am

      I used a huge pot to do all the cushions at once. If you do not have a really big pot, you could do one at a time – but I would suggest to set a timer and dye each piece for the exact same time. Since I used a huge pot, I did use all 7 bottles at the same time.

  • MadyApril 26, 2020 at 7:14 am

    Hi, I have ugly bright green covers and want to dye them a dark grey/black. Would you suggest bleaching them white first?

  • Holly holmanApril 30, 2020 at 12:10 pm

    OMGOSH!! I was just thinking about doing this, and wondering if it works? Thank you so much!! I want to replace all my cushions as they are super faded. Question – my covers are a bit older, and are a faded tan – lighter than latte color. Do you think if I dye the navy blue I would need to lighten them more ahead of dying or try it as is? I am thinking the navy will be so dark, it will be fine? I can’t wait to try this!

  • Katie grovesMay 12, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Is that pot with the 5 bottles of frost grey and 2 of graphite to do all the cushions? Better to do one cushion at a time? Also – when you say dish detergent – do you mean like dove dish liquid or powder that you would use for dishwasher?

    • sara albersMay 12, 2020 at 1:20 pm

      I did use all of those bottle in one pot – but used a HUGE pot! I only dyed 6 cushion covers… you want to do it by weight to figure out how much dye/water you need. I was able to do my covers in the HUGE pot. But depending on how much fabric you are dyeing will depend on how many batches you dye.
      You can always reach out to Rit Dye as well…. info at ritdye dot com

  • ChrissMay 24, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    I wanted to recover my cushions from a set I had bought a few years ago for about $500. The orange fabric had faded to a peach colour and looked awful. I called several reupholster places and they wanted $1400-1600 to redo the cushions in a sunbrella fabric!!! I redid them following your instructions and they are a deep orange again! I am waiting on Amazon to deliver the fabric protector so all in all I have new cushions for $45. !!! Thanks for saving me so much money!