Dip Dyed Pillows - The Surznick Common Room

Monday, February 10, 2014

Dip Dyed Pillows

We recently got a futon for our apartment and we wanted to decorate it with some throw pillows so it's a little more inviting to sit on. After digging around online for some we liked, it became apparent that throw pillows are pretty expensive. Our first thought was to make our own, but as we don't own a sewing machine, this option was quickly eliminated. So the search was on for a budget friendly middle ground.

In case you didn't know, H&M now sells products online (which is Sarah's new favorite thing...) and in addition to clothing, they also sell home furnishings. We found 16" X 16" pillow covers that were $4.95, but with an online promo code, we got them for $3.46 each! Instead of buying their pillow inserts ($6.95 for this size), we decided to see how cheap we could buy stuffing and fill the pillows ourselves. We scored a 5 lb. box of stuffing from Walmart for $11 that will easily stuff 7 or more pillows.

We purchased white pillow covers, because we wanted to try a dip dyeing technique that we've seen recently on pillows, curtains, etc.

So, to make and dip dye your own pillows, here's what you need:
- Dye of your choice
- Plain pillow covers (purchased or homemade)
- Stuffing (we used polyester fiberfill)
- Bucket
- Rubber gloves
- Shower curtain or some sort of drop cloth
- Drying rack

Here's what you do:
Read the instructions on your dye. Some fabrics have different instructions. Our pillow covers are 100% cotton. For this project, we modified our dye directions to accommodate for only dying 2 small pillow covers. We filled our bucket with 1.5 gallons of the hottest water we could get from our tap. Then, we mixed in about 1/4 of the bottle of dye. We used liquid dye, so we don't know exactly how this would translate for powder dyes.

We wanted an ombre effect on our pillows, so in order to achieve that look, we divided our pillow into 4 sections. We left the top section un-dyed, and kept the other 3 sections in the dye for different times.

We put 3/4 of the pillow in the dye. After 4 minutes we pulled out 1/4, leaving the bottom half of the case in the dye for 12 more minutes (16 minutes total now). After those 12 minutes, we pulled out another 1/4 of the case and left the remaining 1/4 in the dye for 20 more minutes (36 minutes total). You can change your times to achieve whatever darkness you're looking for in your fabric. We didn't have any times in mind, so we just checked our color every 4 minutes and either decided to move on to the next section, or put it back in to soak for 4 more minutes.

You may notice we don't have on rubber gloves, even though we put that on our list of things you need. We were super careful that no part of either of our hands touched the dye during this process. Using dye like this is no joke though, so I really recommend using gloves.

After taking the pillow cases out of the dye completely, we rinsed them thoroughly with cold water, being very careful to rinse downward, so our dye wouldn't bleed up into our lighter or un-dyed sections. We then hung them on a drying rack to dry over night, and ran them for 1 cycle in the dryer the next morning before stuffing them.

Once they're stuffed, you're good to go! We're both pretty impressed with how these turned out. Considering that we're first time dyers, we didn't really know whether or not this would be a total disaster. There were several times during the dyeing process where I said, "Are we doing this right?!"

Overall though, I think the pillows look great for only costing us $5 ish apiece, if you're including the small portions of stuffing and dye we used. We have some more throw pillow ideas in the works, so it's nice knowing that a) we already have more stuffing on hand, and b) the H&M pillow covers were an excellent choice.

How do you guys think we did? Have you tried any dyeing projects that worked out well? Share with us in the comments!

Sarah & Nick


  1. Wow, this is great! I love how you can use a single colored dye to create those different shades. And it is also very easy to do, as long as one follows the instructions. I like how your throw pillows accentuates your couch, it’s really eye-catchy. Thanks for sharing this with us, Nicholas. Have a great day!

    Melissa Robinson @ Pillow Perfect