Update: I’d recommend reading this entire post and the comments before dying your covers. I list the directions I used but you may wish to make some changes. (I would if I did it again.)
When I bought my Ektorp loveseat, I found that the white cover ($11 at my local store) was reasonably priced whereas the cover I really wanted, gray ($239) was not. So I decided to see if I could dye it close the color I wanted. I found that similar things had been done before.
Here’s what I did. Time required: about 3.5 hours (though you don’t need to be there the whole time). You may also want to reference Rit’s washing machine dyeing instructions and their tips for success.
- 1 Blekinge white Ektorp loveseat cover—I bought an extra because they were only $11 and I didn’t want to be without a cover if I messed up the dyeing
- 2 bottles black liquid Rit Dye
- 1 bottle navy blue liquid Rit Dye
- 2 cups salt
- 2 tablespoons laundry detergent + 4 normal loads-worth
- A washing machine or four
- 2 cups bleach
- Split covers into two lots: the main slip cover and the 4 cushion covers. These weigh the same amount (5.2lb by my measure). Do all steps in parallel for both sets. The instructions below assume you are using two washing machines at the same time. You can also do one set of covers and then the other.
- Wash love seat and cushion covers normally.
- With the washing machine empty, start the cycle with the hottest water (usually a ‘white cottons’ setting). Wait until it’s about half full.
- Add 1 bottle of black dye (8 oz.) to each machine. Add 1/4 cup* navy blue dye (1/4 bottle, 2oz.) to each machine. Make sure to shake well, as instructed on the bottles.
- Add 1 cup salt to each machine. This apparently helps the color stay.
- Add 1 tablespoon laundry detergent to each machine. This apparently helps the color evenly distribute.
- Wait till the machines are mostly full and then add the covers to the machines. (Again: the slipcover to one machine and the 4 cushion covers to the other.) Check that the covers are full submerged in the water. Push them down if necessary.
- Let the machine run its cycle. Check about half way through the agitation cycle that the covers are fully submerged.
- The machines are probably stained by this point. Remove the covers from the machines. Run a full cycle with the hottest water and 1 cup of bleach to each.
- Once the machines are clean, put the covers back in the machines (or if you have access to more machines, you can do this step in two new machines) and wash them normally. Use a cold water setting for this wash.
- Dry the covers in the dryer in a normal cycle. One idea is to take them out when they are a little damp so they dry in place on the sofa without wrinkles.
- Put the covers back on the sofa.
*If I had to do it over I would put less navy dye in to give it a primarily grey look, with a slight navy tint to it. I think 1/8 cup (half of what I put in) would be sufficient for this.
So there you go.