The chair was in good condition, the upholstery wasn't torn, but nothing screams the 70s like pumpkin orange! Nothing wrong with it, just not our cup of tea :) We tend to prefer brighter, bolder colors.
Our plan of attack was to dye it, then if that didn't work fabric spray paint and if that didn't work reupholstering it and finally, worst case scenario, sanding it down to the fiberglass (SO glad we didn't need to do that!)
First we did a little research, and found that Kara Paslay dyed a chair with similar fabric using Rit dye. She went from blue to purple, so we figured that our only chance would be dark gray or black since we didn't want to go orange to red.
First off, items are supposed to be submerged in a dye bath and then rinsed with water and washed. This is basically impossible with a chair, unless you had a lot of dye and a way to soak it .. So please note, this isn't the intended use for Rit dye.
I boiled water on the stove and added 3 ladles (I think about 1.5 cups) to half a packet of dye and a little vinegar (recommended when dyeing wool) to a large container (good for one coat). I stirred and it looked a little purple, hmm .. So I added a little yellow dye until it looked more neutral. Yellow is the opposite of purple on the color wheel, so it helped neutralize the color.
We applied it with a paint brush, the first coat looked a little patchy, especially when it dried because the water puddled down to the seat and didn't sit on the arms long enough ... We ended up doing 4 coats, and it still looked a little patchy. Wear gloves if you want to avoid dyeing your hands :) Also, put a tarp down to avoid getting dye on the floor.
Here's how I mixed each batch
coat 1 - just gray dye + boiling water + vinegar
coat 2 - gray dye, black and a little yellow + boiling water + vinegar
coat 3 - gray dye, more black, more yellow + boiling water + vinegar
coat 4 - black dye, yellow (higher dye to water ratio) + boiling water + vinegar
I increased the dye in the final coat which was a mistake because it crystallized and got a little powdery in areas. (1.5 cups of water to 1/2 packet of dye worked for me.) I scraped most of the crystals off and decided to try a coat of Simply Spray Soft Fabric paint.
I opted for the soft fabric paint in hopes that it wouldn't change the texture of my fabric and it worked! My fabric doesn't feel at all different!! I emailed Simply Spray and asked about durability for upholstery, but haven't received a response, so time will tell. Simply Spray does make an upholstery spray paint, but I've heard that it changes the texture slightly.
I snapped this pic before applying the second coat (sorry the lighting is weird). Our chair took two coats, and two cans. I taped the plastic edging with packing tape to avoid the dye getting on it and placed a cloth over the base. It was pretty windy, so some got on the back, but it wiped off easily.
It covered well, and removed the unevenness left from the dye AND the fabric feels exactly the same!
Since there was so much liquid from dyeing the fabric, it did take a while to dry, but a few days later, I sat in it and NO dye came off on my clothes, so I'd say it's a success!
What a difference!! I LOVE how the black instantly modernizes it!
We'll most likely sand and polish the base a little later, but for now I'll take it!
What a difference from restoring our last Eames chairs! This took a couple of hours verse several days!!
I'll keep you updated on how it wears with use. If we do end up reupholstering it, this is pretty high on my list (probably not David's though)!
What do you think, would you try dyeing and spray painting a chair?