Monday, March 17, 2014

Secret Project #2: Dyeing a Pattern Into an Old Rug Using a Carpet Cleaner

We're working on a new room of the house and after some trim painting and wall touch-ups we needed a floor covering. We had our old living room rug but we wanted a little more detail than a plain beige rug so we decided to give it a makeover. 

I started by giving it a really good cleaning which got rid of all the stains and dirt. 

I should mention we laid out a plastic sheet under the rug and taped it up onto the wall since things were going to get messy.

Next, Nate cut me a rectangular template out of a scrap piece if plywood. 

I started with the template in the far corner of the rug. This is where I started doing some questionable things. I took my little pet green machine from Bissell and loaded the solution side with black RIT dye (up to the solution line) and water.

I used the sprayer to spray the dye out inside the rectangle making sure to keep pressure on the edges.

I lifted the template as soon as I was done spraying and moved to the opposite corner of the rug and then shifted down a row and placed another rectangle in the center connecting the other two. 

I continued like this for the rest of the rug. 

On the first pass I only sprayed the dye and didn't suck any back up. I also used a piece of paper to try and block any over spray. I let this sit for a couple of hours and when I came back my edges were looking less than stellar. I'm pretty sure this is because the carpet was still wet from cleaning and because I didn't suck up the extra dye so it seeped into the white sections a bit.

However after a few passes with my little green machine over the carpet using just water and sucking up the extra dye things were looking much better. I wasn't really sure how dark the carpet would stay, but I am really liking the grey color. This carpet is not soft but the way the dye came out somehow makes the carpet look a little softer.

We'll have more of a final reveal of this room later but I wanted to share with you a few things I learned while trying to dye a pattern into a rug.

  1. Test the rug first to see if lines are more crisp wether it is wet or dry (I'm not sure if it would seep more if it is dry)
  2. Definitely use a plastic sheet under the rug if you don't want to damage the floor underneath
  3. Suck up the dye after just a couple of minutes of letting it sit. I think this would help reduce seeping and save time later
  4. When sucking excess dye back up, stay within the dyed area since you can pull some dye into the non-dyed area otherwise.
  5. Be prepared for some sore arms since you have to do quite a few passes with the hand-held carpet cleaner.
  6. Let the carpet fully dry between passes with the carpet cleaner.
  7. If you get any dye where you don't want it, Oxyclean works wonders getting it back out.
Overall, using the handheld carpet cleaner to dye the rug worked tremendously well and it didn't dye the machine at all (I rinsed it out as soon as I was finished with it) but the process did take a lot of work and some muscle.

Linking To: Hi Sugar Plum, The Great Indoors, House of Hepworths, My Repurposed Life, Our Delightful Home, Five Days Five Ways, Serenity Now, Lovely Etc., The Rooster and the Hen, Six Sisters Stuff, Tatertots and Jello, Wayward Girls Crafts, Twigg Studio, Serendipity and Spice, Ask Anna, Home Stories A to Z, Uncommon Designs, House wives of RivertonCrafty Texas GirlsSouthern InstituteWatch out Martha!,


  1. This is very interesting. I've seen and actually done one painted rug, but I've never seen one dyed. Would love to know how this holds up in a few months! Coming over from the link-up at Home Stories A-Z.

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I had a hard time convincing my husband that he would like a painted rug but he was on board for trying to dye it. Since the rug is for a room he mostly uses I figured we could at least try dying first and if it didn't work then I could push the paint idea :) I'm hoping it holds up though!

  3. What a cool idea! Love this!

    We would love for you to come by and link up at Your Designs This Time, Mondays 8:00am EST.