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Dyeing rug backs for mounting

When one of my rugs sold recently, I was able to ship it immediately because it had already been mounted for wall display.  I decided to move ahead and mount the rest of the rectangular rugs onto canvas, so they can be hung on the wall.  (Still not sure about mounting the round and nautilus rugs, because they are reversible.)

I tried to buy black dye because one of the rugs was dark.  Sometimes, the backing can show through to the front a tiny bit; a black backing would not stand out against a dark purple rug.

My local grocery stores do not carry Rit dye anymore.  I thought about stopping at WalMart, but I don't like to shop there if I only need one thing.  Then I found myself not far from Jerry's Artarama in Raleigh, and any excuse to stop at Jerry's is good enough.

Jerry's carries the iDye dyes, and they come in great colors.  On impulse, I decided to dye the back for Dancing Triangles chartreuse, rather than purple or black.  Then, I bought a packet of turquoise, for August, even thought I had already started pinning the stitched back to the rug.  I bought purple for Climbing Purple Bars, in part because there wasn't a good melon color and also because there isn't that much melon in the rug.

At home, I started with the chartreuse.

Dyeing the back for Dancing Triangles.

 This isn't my favorite color, but it sure looked more interesting than the plain neutral-cotton backing!

Chartreuse backing drying on the line.

After rinsing and washing the back, I hung it on the line to dry overnight.  This is what it looked like in the morning.

Dancing Triangles detail, for color.

 Here's the front of this rug, so you can see the general color scheme.

I liked the look of the chartreuse so much that I unpinned the backing that I had started attaching to August, so that I could dye it turquoise.

Undyed backing, pin-tacked to August.

Dissolve the dye packet in hot water, heated to a simmer.

Dissolving dye packet in simmering water.

Add the backing to the dye pot. 

Adding the backing to the dye pot.

Dye moves into the backing.

Watch the dye move into the backing. Simmer the backing for one hour.

August's backing, after dye bath.

Hang the dyed backing on the line to dry.

Dye dripped onto concrete tabletop.

In one of the draining steps, I spilled rinse liquid on a concrete tabletop. I was pretty sure the dye wasn't going to come out. 

Poured dye liquid over tabletop.

Rather than struggle to get the spots out of the concrete, I simply poured some of the leftover dye bath over the tabletop and let the color soak in evenly. Fortunately, turquoise is a good color for this table.


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