So, you want to change the look of your current window dressings but you don’t have the money to purchase new drapes. You can dye polyester drapes right at home. The regular store-bought dyes won’t do the trick because they don’t effectively penetrate the polyester material. You’ll have to use a special dye to get the job done the right way. The dye you need to dye polyester drapes is a disperse dye. When you combine the disperse dye with soda ash and a dispersion dye carrier, the dye will be able to penetrate the polyester. Be warned, the entire process is time consuming and might prove difficult for you if you aren’t used to dyeing polyester material. Make sure you complete the process in a well-ventilated area, noxious fumes are released as the materials boil. Open up windows and set a fan so it can blow the fumes away from you as you work. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and an apron to protect your skin and clothing.
Things You’ll Need
1 small stainless steel or enamel stock pot
2 stainless steel or enamel stock pots
Disperse dye carrier
Distilled white vinegar
Fill a large stockpot about half-way full with clean water. Bunch the polyester drapes up and put them in the pot. If they don’t move freely around the pot, get a bigger stockpot. It is important that the material moves freely when dyeing polyester material or you will end up with splotchy dyed polyester drapes. At this point, you are only testing the size of the pot.
Dump the drapes out into a clean sink and let the excess water drain off.
Once the excess has drained off, place the polyester drapes into your washing machine. Set the washer to the hottest water temperature. When the tub is partially filled, add ½ teaspoon synthrapol and ½ teaspoon soda ash to the water. Let the machine run its normal cycle.
Now it’s time to prepare the dye used in dyeing polyester material.
In a small pot, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add the disperse dye to this, and wait until it dissolves. Make sure you follow the dye manufacturer's directions on the right amount of dye to add for the weight of the polyester drapes. They will also direct you on how much dye to add for light, medium and dark-colored material to achieve the shade you want when your dye polyester drapes.
Go ahead and place the dye off to the side. Put it somewhere it won’t get knocked over or dyeing polyester drapes is going to prove to be a nightmare.
Bring 1 more cup of water to a boil and dissolve 2 tablespoons of the disperse dye carrier in the pot. Set this safely off to the side but don’t mix it up with the dissolved disperse dye.
Now you are going to fill a large stainless steel or enamel stockpot with 2 ½ gallons of water.
Add the disperse dye carrier mixture to the pot. Next, add ½ teaspoon of synthrapol and 11 teaspoons of vinegar. Make sure you are using distilled white vinegar when dyeing polyester material. Now stir everything until it is thoroughly mixed. Use a long-handled spoon that you don’t ever intend to use for cooking again!
Next, strain the disperse dye mixture by pouring it through a nylon stocking. You can do this step right over the stockpot or strain it into another container first and then pour it into the water. Whatever you are comfortable with. Once again, you need to stir the mixture until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Now it’s time to actually dye polyester drapes.
Get your polyester drapes out of the washing machine. Add the drapes to the disperse dye water. Be careful.
Turn the stove on high. You need to constantly stir the dye and the polyester drape panels while waiting for the disperse dye bath to come to a boil. Stop stirring when it boils.
Follow the disperse dye manufacturer's directions on how long you have to let the polyester drapes simmer in the disperse dye bath. Keep in mind that the darker you want the material to be, the longer it will have to simmer. This can be the trickiest part when you dye polyester drapes.
While the first stockpot is simmering, fill a second large stainless steel or enamel stockpot with water. Stop filling it once it is halfway full. Place this pot on another burner. Turn the stove on and heat the water until it reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature.
When the polyester drapes are done simmering, use a pair of tongs to transfer them into the fresh pot of water. You’ll have to move the pots as close together as possible during so you make as little mess and humanly possible while you dye polyester drapes.
Once the polyester drapes are completely in the pot, stir them really well. You have to try to get out as much of the disperse dye bath as possible.
Empty out the first stockpot full of the disperse dye water. Now refill that pot with fresh, clean, hot water. Add ½ teaspoon of synthrapol to the pot.
Once again, use the tongs to transfer the polyester drapes. Stir the drapes to remove even more of the disperse dye and the disperse dye carrier from the dyed polyester drapes.
When the water gets cloudy, dump the stockpot into the sink. Use the hand sprayer to continue rinsing the disperse dye and disperse dye carrier and all traces of their odors from the polyester.
When you are finished rinsing your newly dyed polyester drapes. hang them up outside to dry or put them in the dryer.
Keep safety in mind at all times when you are dyeing polyester material. Be careful, take your time and then enjoy your dyed polyester drapes!