If the lampshade you are dyeing is white or off white, then you should be able to achieve true color. If the shade has an existing color, then you can overdye it with a darker color.
Patterns and Logos
If the lampshade you are dyeing has a pattern or logo, the color you use will mix with the existing color(s) in the shade and create new colors. In other words, the rules of color mixing apply. When selecting a color, think about how it will mix with the colors in the pattern. For example, if you were to use a blue dye on a white shade with a pink flower pattern, the pink flowers will turn purplish (blue and pink make purple) while the rest of the shade will dye blue. Even if you were to overdye the patterned shade with a dark color, you may find that the color will appear lighter along the patterned area.
Bleach Stains and Sun Damage
Sun and bleach actually damage lampshades, making it very difficult to dye.
- Cover work area with plastic table cover and have paper towels handy to protect against any possible spills.
- Before you start to dye, check the container you are going t use to make sure the depth and width are big enough to accommodate the shade.
- Fill container with enough hot water to cover the shade. The water should ideally be 140ºF. If tap water is not hot enough, heat water on the stove and add to the dyebath.
- Wearing rubber gloves, add dye. Start with 4 ounces of Rit All-Purpose Liquid Dye or one packet of Rit All-Purpose Powder Dye.
- To enhance the color, add one cup of salt. Add 1 teaspoon of dish detergent to help promote level dyeing.
- Stir well.
- Test color by dipping a paper towel into the dyebath. If color is too light, add more dye. If color is too dark, add more water.
- For a solid dye: Immerse lampshade into dyebath. The longer the shade stays in the dyebath, the darker the color will be. When satisfied with color, remove shade from dyebath. Shade will look darker when wet and will dry lighter.
- For an ombré dye: Dip bottom half of lampshade into dyebath. Move lamp shade slowly up and down. The longer the lamp shade stays in the dyebath, the darker the color will be. When satisfied with color, remove shade from dyebath. Shade will look darker when wet and will dry lighter. Use wide paintbrush to apply dye to missed areas.
- Rinse in cool water until water runs clear.
- Let dry before use.