Bad news: dip dying fabric to black is very hard to achieve. Good news: this pillow was not dip dyed.
I did all my research and experimented with different fabric dying techniques and really, really tried to make it happen, but once I reached the point of yea this isn’t going to work, I reverted back to my initial instinct to just use paint. It came out exactly the way I had hoped dip dying would and it was a million times easier, so we’ve got a winner here guys.
I’ve affectionately noticed these type of black ombre pillows in Scandinavian interiors, my favorites being the ones that are dramatically black then fade off quickly at the end. Brushing on the paint allows the control needed to accomplish this effect that I found dip dying lacked. There’s also a lot more texture from the brush strokes that I simply find pretty and well worth the lesser effort ;).
Mix acrylic paint and water in a roughly 2:1 ratio. The water helps the paint spread better and you’ll end up using less of it. Brush it on to the pillow working on top of a protective surface (aluminum foil works, sure!)
Take the paint half way before brushing out the ombre effect. The brush needs a minimal amount of paint at this point in order to get the strokes to fade. Be careful not to flick the brush so that you don’t accidentally splatter paint.
After both sides are painted, dab each side with paper towels to remove as much excess paint as possible. I did this about 3 times on each side. Let pillow dry overnight.
Once dry, flip the pillow inside out and thoroughly heat set the paint on each side with an iron.
A few notes. You can stop here and the pillow will have a hard, canvas texture where the paint is. You may be perfectly cool with this, alright! To soften the painted portion, machine washing helps but the paint will fade a bit (depending on how well it was set into the fabric) and will now feel like denim, which is an improvement but still not the original soft texture it was. This is the down side to using paint over dye, but the results are visually far superior this way.
Have you painted pillows before? Anyone else know what I’m talking about regarding the agony of using black fabric dye?
PS. A lot of you have asked about our sofa! It’s the Nova Sofa in winter gray from Article. Clean lines while still comfortably casual, exactly what we were looking for.