Aging in Place

Have A Textile Art Piece That You Love But It Doesn’t Quite Match? I Have The Answer…

I wanted to use a beautiful tapestry help camouflage an unsightly swamp cooler that was located on a focal point wall but the colors just didn’t go.  I loved the tapestry – it is an outdoor patio scene that was serene and restful. The only drawback were the colors.  The room colors were greens and blues and pink or purple as an accent.  The tapestry had some greens but was more burnt orange than than pink or purple.  So, what does a budget minded person do in this case?  There was not an option of replacing the tapestry – it was a great scene and fit the area perfectly, not to mention, pretty pricey.

Solution?  Change the colors!  So, how to do that you ask?  Not as difficult as one would think.  No Rit Dye and Hot Water needed.  I visited the local craft store and purchased fabric dyes.  I bought a beginner kit that had all of the basic colors in it.  It was located near the t-shirt area and was less than $10.  If you play your cards right, most craft stores have a sale that includes a percentage off coupon that can be used toward this.  Don’t forget to read the instructions included with the fabric dye.


I highly recommend testing the dye out on an inconspicuous part of the tapestry to make sure it will work and not damage the tapestry.  Cotton and natural fibers accept the color more readily but synthetics will dye well too.  I also recommend using a plastic bag or a vinyl tablecloth to protect the area you will work at.  I gathered a few materials as well to help me do this project including- several sponge brushes (I used the one inch size, it seemed to work well), cotton swabs, a wet washcloth or rag, my glasses(!), several bowls (I recommend glass or Corelle so they don’t pick up the dye) and some extra water.


I put a couple drops of the dye in the bowls and checked out the consistency so I knew what I would be working with as far as consistency.  There are products that can extend the dye product or make it runnier if it is thick called textile medium or water.  This is where the cotton swabs and sponge brushes come in, apply the dye using these.  Cotton swabs work well for tiny or smaller areas.  Words of caution- go lightly, the more you put on, the darker the color of the fabric becomes and you could end up with an almost black spot when you are done.  You can always add more color but you can’t really remove color once it is on there.


Remember color theory and you can create more colors from the basics you purchased.  For instance, you can add white to make pastels like red and white to create pink or mix two colors to get another color like blue and yellow make green, red and yellow make orange, blue and red will make purple, etc.  I recommend following what is on the tapestry as your guide.


Let the fabric or tapestry dry for at least 24 hours then lightly press the fabric with a warm iron.  Again, if your fabric doesn’t lend itself to being ironed or if there are shiny places, baubles and beads, skip the ironing.  You have worked too hard with your masterpiece to have it ruined at this step.  The ironing just basically sets the dye.  That’s it, you are done and you now have an accent piece that fits more closely with your decor.  Take care and if you have any questions or comments, please let me know.  My e-mail is


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s