Dyed Dining Chair Slipcover I wanted dark gray slipcovers to match my DIY Prakesh tablecloth slipcovers for the remaining dining chairs.  I have never dyed fabric before, but as soon a I saw the price tag of the gray Henriksdal slipcovers at Ikea ($40 each) I knew I had nothing to lose.  Remember the plain white slipcover I bought to dissect for a pattern?  It was only $10.  I figured 4 covers at $10 each and a few dollars worth of craft store dye were worth a try.  The alternative was $160 worth of slipcovers…I could get at least 3 more naked chairs for that!

If John and Sherry can dye slipcovers over on Young House Love, then so can I.  I grabbed the same brand of dye, called iDye, at Joann Fabrics.  I chose “Gunmetal Gray”.  I envisioned it would turn the covers a nice dark gray with a subtle green/blue undertone.  I followed the instructions for dying fabric in a front load washing machine.  Normally, I would have been nervous, but Sherry put me right at ease with her similar project and affirmation there was no damage to her washer.  My whole process looked a little something like this:

dying fabric in a front load washer Open the dye to reveal the water dissolvable packet, grab one mixing bowl for the salt and one for the dye, dissolve the dye and salt separately in hot water, dump it all into the washer, freak out a bit that there is dye all over the inside of your washer, throw in the white slipcovers, wash on hot with extended cycle if possible, wait nervously to see how they turn out.

That evening I was eager to put the newly dyed slipcovers on the chairs.  They seemed to have a much bluer undertone than I expected.  I thought they could still work.  I slipped them on the chairs and stood at every angle in the dining room staring analyzing at them.  They were not a match to the gray in the tablecloth, but I did not expect or want an exact match.  Not a match was okay, but not even being a gray color was not okay.  I decided to wait until morning.

I knew right away when I walked down that morning and saw them in the daylight something was a bit off.  They were very blue…like a dark denim blue.  They were a nice color, but just not what I was going for.  They did not go with the plumage wall color or the Prakesh tablecloth.  Everything else in the room has green undertones.  Sigh.


I lived with them for a few weeks until I decided it was time to try to change them.  I was only out less than $50, so a little more dye couldn’t hurt.  I stuck with the iDye brand because it was so easy to do.  This time I chose the Color Remover and a new Silver Gray color (the silver part is a misnomer as the package showed a dark gray).  The plan was to remove or lighten the original color and then re-dye the slipcovers.

Why does it seem my plans rarely go as planned?  The directions for the color remover required the stove-top method of boiling the water with color remover and soaking the fabric.  I searched online for other methods, like the front-loading washer method they offer for the dye, but I came up empty handed.  Well, I do not have a not-used-for-food metal pot cauldron large enough to fit even one of the hefty slipcovers in a boiling bath of color remover.  All my pots and pans are a modest size and all used for cooking.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and try the color remove in my washer.  I dissolve the color remover packet in hot water then threw it into the washer with the slipcovers.  I ran a hot cycle.  It did nothing!  It did not even lighten the covers.  Oh well.

Since caution was already thrown to the wind, I decided to apply the new gray dye to the still completely dark denim blue covers.  It worked for Sherry at Young House Love to go from green dye to mocha, so why not from blue-grey to grey-grey?  I also tossed in a plain white washcloth for comparison.  Worst case, if the slipcovers were not re-dyed, the washcloth would be the new color and I could tell if it would work on new white slipcovers..worst case.  I was pleasantly surprised, the over-dying worked!  They came out a dark, dark grey.  The washcloth was a hint lighter.  I preferred the darker, richer color on the slipcovers.

Dyed Dining Chair Slipcover

I love the new gray.  It is just a shade darker than the gray in the Prakesh tablecloth slipcovers.  The dark gray works so well in the room.  Those side chairs elegantly blend in.  I think the dark gray will stay clean-looking longer between washes.  The re-dye was worth it.  Had I not dyed them gunmetal first, I am not certain they would have turned out the perfect charcoal gray I was going for.

Dyed Dining Chair Slipcover

In the end, I spent less than $60 for 4 custom dyed slipcovers.  Add that to the price of the chairs ($49.99 each for 6), and the tablecloths used for the head chairs (about $20 each for 2 plus $10 broadcloth), and the GRAND TOTAL for all 6 dining chairs was $410!!!  Let me say that again…6 upholstered dining chairs for $410!

Dyed Dining Chair Slipcover

Chairs really help make this room feel almost done!  I cannot wait to throw my first dinner party here.

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15 Responses to DIY Dyed Slipcovers

  1. so glad they turned out the way you wanted, at least eventually. you are so bold, lol, i think i’d be too scared to actually do this. love the patterned chair!

  2. Your chairs look fabulous!! I am so glad you posted about dying your slipcovers because I’ve been wanting to dye my son’s light gray quilt and have it be a darker gray. I have had such a hard time even finding dye. I will be making a trip to JoAnnes soon! BTW, I adore your rug too!

    • Jackie says:

      Thanks Lisa. The rug was a Home Goods find. It is actually an indoor/outdoor rug. I adore it for it’s durability :)

  3. Krystal Bagley says:

    So I just used the iDye packets to dye my natural/cream colored pottery barn sofa slipcover and it turned out GORGEOUS. I am SO happy with the results. I used the silver grey and it turned out a beautiful deep charcoal. Love it! So thank you for posting your experience because I had never heard of iDye before I read this!

  4. Paula says:

    I recently bought some Henriksdal chairs on craigslist and my one complaint about them is that slipcovers ride up in the corners and expose the unfinished upholstery underneath. Google search hasn’t yielded any similar complaints, so I’m wondering whether this may be a result of the previous owners putting the covers in the dryers or whether this is normal for these chairs. Do you have this problem at all with your slipcovers?

    • Jackie says:

      Paula, I don’t have that issue, but the covers fit tight. I had a helper to pull them on and down as far as possible. It seemed to help to press down on the seat cushion while pulling the cover down and attaching the Velcro.

  5. Jenny says:

    So I came across this while trying to search for a gray slipcover. I have the same chairs and just coincidentally bought the same rug off overstock. My red slipcovers gotta go! Where did you find the white slipcovers and also the pretty patterned ones?

  6. lainakay says:

    Ack! I just tried this with terrible results. I used only the silver gray, did it in my front-loading washer and ended up with anemic gray slipcovers with dark gray splotches. The only thing I did differently was to mix the salt into the same bowl as the dye. I wonder if this made the difference? Trying to decide what to do next. Any suggestions?

  7. Pam says:

    Hi there,

    Love your tips!Your are very brave!

    Any advice on dying reddish slipcovers for livingroom swivel chairs? I would like the end result to be a deeper grey and not sure this is even possible?


  8. How many packages of the silver grey dye did you use for the 4 chair slipcovers? I’m planning to dye 6 of the IKEA white covers for the same (large) Henriksdal chairs….and I am hoping for a light-medium grey. I might just use the same amount you used for the 4 dark grey covers for my 6.
    I think this is a great strategy. Thanks!

  9. Katy Scott says:

    This post is the answer to my eight incredibly boring bekinge white ikea chair cover problem! Like you, I want them to be graybut no way do I want to spend $480 for that! Question – does the dye ever wear off on guests clothes? That is the one thing that has been keeping me from dying my chair covers.

    • Jackie says:

      Katy, In a couple years we have not had any trouble with dye rubbing off. That goes for the gray, but I can’t vouch for other colors.

  10. Brenda says:

    I love the way your slip covers came out . I was concerned about using a front loader to dye my couch slip cover, and now I think I’ll try it. I want to go from a butter cream color to a flax, or kaki. Do you think a light brown color of dye would be a good choice?

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