There are several reasons a person may want to dye their office chair a new color. It could be that the office chair clashes with a room’s interior design or you want to mix things up a little.
Below we discuss the different ways to dye an office chair, plus the different types of fabric dyes you can use to get the job done.
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Can you dye an office chair?
Short answer: yes and no.
Only certain types of office chair upholstery can be dyed.
Materials made of cotton, hemp, and other plant-based fibers can easily be recolored with fiber-reactive dyes. For silk, wool, and nylons, however, you’ll need acid dyes that contain fixatives to lock in the dye color onto your office chair upholstery.
Some dyeing techniques require using hot or boiling water to get the job done. If so, check your office chair product label to see if the upholstery has been preshrunk.
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If there’s no indication that the fabric has been pre-shrunk, you can cut a small piece of it off and test it for dye and shrinkage.
Other methods may only need you to apply the dye with a wide paintbrush and wash it off with a garden hose.
If you’re especially ambitious, you can remove the office chair upholstery completely to submerge it in the dye. This is the recommended technique to use for larger pieces of fabric.
WARNING: Removing and reapplying upholstery is a tricky process that is best done by a professional to avoid damages. Keep this in mind before proceeding with any upholstery dyeing projects.
Types of fabric dyes for office chair dyeing
Before we can talk about how to dye an office chair, let’s first discuss the different types of dye and which type would be the best choice for your office chair dyeing project.
This type of dye has superior colorfastness compared to other dyes. This essentially means that the color is more fade-resistant and won’t bleed into other fabrics.
Fiber-reactive dyes are great for cellulose fibers such as linen, rayon, viscose rayon, and cotton.
If you’re planning to use fiber-reactive dyes like the
Procion PMX208S , you’ll need a couple of other materials, such as:
- Soda ash (this is what bonds the dye with the fabric fibers
- Salt (this helps fix the dye)
- Synthrapol (this is used to pre-wash the fabrics to remove excess dirt, grease, and debris)
Fiber reactive dyes work best with lukewarm or room temperature water. However, cold water is completely fine to use as well.
If you’re looking for more vivid and vibrant colors, Acid Dyes like the Jacquard Acid Dye is a great option. These dyes are powdered and concentrated and offer the best results with protein fibers such as silk and wool.
Acid dyes are also great for nylon, Lycra, acid-dyeable acrylics, and yak hair.
Although acid dyes may yield incredibly brilliant colors, they require higher temperatures to get the ingredients activated. This may not always work well with office chair upholstery.
If you’re dyeing wool upholstery, remember to switch between gradual heating and gradual cooling to avoid ruining the fibers in the fabric.
Rit Dye is the most popular example of union dyes. “Union” means they let you dye a wide variety of fabrics, from cellulose fibers like linen or cotton to protein fibers such as wool and nylon.
While union dyes are undeniably versatile with their uses, they can yield less brilliant colors than acid and fiber-reactive dyes. They also offer less colorfastness and fade-resistance.
They come in both liquid and powder forms, and they require very little preparation as opposed to other dye types.
This type of dye requires hot water and doesn’t offer great colorfastness, similar to Union Dyes. They often need salt and, in some cases, vinegar to work properly.
They work best with silk, wool, linen, and rayon fabrics.
If you’re thinking of using direct dyes, we highly recommend iDye by Jacquard . They come in a variety of colors and are very simple to use.
Disperse dyes require the hottest dyebaths among all the dye types. They’re best for polyester and nylon fabrics, as well as other synthetic fibers. You can also use it for some plastics — remember to check the product label of your office chair to make sure.
For direct dyes ,we recommend the Jacquard iDye Poly.
How to dye an office chair
Now that we’ve gotten all the dye types out of the way, let’s talk about how you can dye your office chair.
There are several methods you can use, and we’ll be discussing all of those from the simplest to the hardest technique. We’ll also be listing the different tools and materials you’ll need to get started.
So, without further ado…
How to dye an office chair using a paintbrush
This paintbrush method is a simple and fool-proof technique that requires very little preparation and tools. Even if you’ve never had experience dyeing any fabrics or upholstery, you can use this without any difficulty.
There are two ways of doing this technique.
The first method is for people who don’t have access to a backyard or outdoor space to perform the dyeing process. So, if you live in a condo or highrise, this is the method for you.
- Add a full bottle of Rit dye to around 4 gallons of boiling hot water and stir well.
- Using your paintbrush, apply the dye and water mixture onto your office chair. Do this until all spots on the chair are covered with the dye.
- Once the chair has been completely painted over, use the shower hose to rinse the chair until the water runs clear.
- Let the chair dry completely to see if you’re satisfied with the results. Dry time will vary depending on the weather, although we recommend that you give it around a day or two to completely set.
You can repeat this process as many times as you want until you get the desired shade.
Pro Tip: You can use ColorStay Dye Fixative to help preserve the color of your chair after dyeing. spray a liberal amount of the mixture on your office chair.
The second method follows the same process as the first. The difference is that instead of a shower hose you’ll be using a garden hose to rinse off the dye after painting.
Take your office chair outdoors to paint and wash. No need to worry about ruining your garden plants — it is made of completely natural materials.
How to dye an office chair using a dye bath
This method will require you to completely remove your office chair upholstery and reapply it after dyeing. If you don’t know how to remove your office chair covering, here’s a video you can follow:
- Mix 1 tbsp of fiber-reactive dye and 3 cups of salt into 3 gallons of water. Take your chair fabric (the one you’ve removed) and immerse it into the mixture.
- Stir every 5 to 10 minutes for an even dye.
- Mix ⅓ cups of soda ash with water, then add to the basin containing the office chair fabric.
- Stir and leave for 3 hours before stirring again. Let it settle for another 3 hours before finally taking out the chair fabric to dry.
How to dye a leather office chair
Dyeing a leather office chair will be quite different compared to dyeing office chairs made of other materials.
- Using your painter’s tape, tape off the edges, arms, and other non-fabric parts of your office chair to protect it from the dye.
- Apply the deglazer or acetone on your office chair using the wool daubers. Make sure to cover all areas of your office chair. Let it dry before proceeding to the next step.
- With a fresh dauber, apply the leather dye to your office chair. Don’t worry if it looks uneven at first. You can even it out with a second coat.
- After the second coat, leave it for an hour or two to dry before applying the Resolene sealer with a terry cloth.
Once you’re through with all the steps, leave the chair to dry for a couple of hours to a day to make sure that it dries evenly and completely.
Just because your office chair is looking a little worn, doesn’t mean it’s time to replace it. You can always redye the upholstery to give it a newer and more classy feel.
Remember to use the right type of dye for the specific type of upholstery your office chair uses. Otherwise, you risk damaging our office chair fabric and that’s no good,
My name is Vance, and I am the owner of To Ergonomics. Our mission is to improve your workflow by helping you create a supportive and welcoming environment. We hope that you’ll find what you’re looking for while you’re here.