How to Dye Fabrics with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Dyeing & Painting Fabric with Chalk PaintTM Dip Dyeing With Chalk PaintTM Dip dyeing with Chalk PaintTM is a great way to completely change the colour of fabric small or large. You can control how strong the colour comes through simply by adding more water. Linen, cotton, cotton voile and synthetic curtains all work well with this technique. You can also use patterned cottons or linens, such as the Pastorale Toiles from the Annie Sloan Fabric Collection.

The Technique:

Create a dye by adding 1 tablespoon of Chalk PaintTM to roughly 1 litre of tepid water in a bucket or washing up bowl. Stir thoroughly to ensure the paint is completely diluted and evenly dispersed. Dip your fabric into the dye, allowing the fabric to soak it in. Agitate the fabric until the whole piece is evenly dyed. Do not leave the fabric to soak – remove from the water and leave to drip-dry outdoors or next to a heater. Once dry, iron or tumble dry the fabric to seal the colour.

*Tips* For colour fastness the best method is to heat seal by ironing once it has completely drip dried or dry in tumble drier once dry. We have done extensive tests and the results prove a slight colour leakage if this is not done; you can alternatively use a spray on fabric protector such as Scotch Guard. Do not use salt as this tends to increase the colour bleed. Once heat sealed, you can wash your material on a 30 degree (cold) wash with no colour loss. [Note: if you use a stronger quantity of paint in your dye, there might be more fade.] Results can vary depending on composition of fabric – always test first if unsure.

 Dyeing Net Curtains

As above, make your dye using a similar strength recipe, dip and let the dye soak in, remove & drip dry. For best results, dry in full sun to aid with colour fastness. Do not tumble or iron. [See Annie Sloan Paints Everything, p106: Dyed Lace Sheer Curtain]

Painting Fabric With a Dye Wash If you’re looking to create areas of colour, this technique is great. Control your finish with the help of a little masking tape. Make the dye slightly stronger than the above mix, approx. one part Chalk PaintTM to 10 parts water. This method works well on linen and cottons, particularly those with a light background.

Using a brush, apply the dye mix above to your fabric. Use masking tape to create wide stripes or areas of colour. [See Annie Sloan Paints Everything, p109: Dyed Painted Upholstered Chair Seats]

Painting on a canvas chair with Chalk PaintTM:

It is best to choose a chair that is not to soft & squishy as it will be too absorbent and take a very long time to dry. We used a 1960’s office chair with a slight pad to it, upholstered in plain calico. Paint directly onto the fabric but do have a glass of water nearby to dip in your brush so that the paint is thin enough & will absorb nicely into the fabric. Two thin coats should give even coverage. Allow the seat to dry for at least 24 hours, until it is bone dry. Then apply your coat of wax - for a shiny finish polish the wax to give more of a leather feel.

Painting directly on to fabric:

This is the best method to use if you’re painting fine lines or stenciling on to upholstery, but is not recommended for large areas of upholstery. Simply apply undiluted paint to the fabric and iron to heat seal once the paint has dried! When stenciling you may prefer to use a roller for a softer finish.

*Tip* Put the fabric through a 30 degree wash to soften and lift a little of the paint for a rustic, worn finish. The longer the fabric is left unwashed the less likely it will be to fade once washed. [See Annie Sloan Paints Everything, p126: Swedish Painted Blind]


Shibori is the Japanese art of resist dyeing, where folds and presses are used to create different patterns. The most basic technique involves concertina folds.

[See Annie Sloan Paints Everything, p102: Shibori Lampshade – basic technique] [See Annie Sloan Paints Everything, p112: Folded and Tied Painted Fabric] *Tip* Try using different colours for different sections of your folded fabric to create unique patterns and shapes. This technique works well with cottons and thin linens.

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