How to Dye Switch Plate Covers (And more fun with RIT dye!)

IMG_2114Did you know that RIT dye is good for more than tie-dying your white t-shirts with your elementary school art club? This was a revelation to me.

The flour sack dish towels we’d received as a wedding gift three years ago are starting to show their age, and I realized that Crate & Barrel no longer sells them. And they were overpriced anyway. (I believe that they were $20 for 3 towels.)

Wal-Mart sells white flour sack dish towels for about $1/ea. in white only. They also sell RIT dye for about $2.50 a bottle. Score! I spent the weekend dying dishtowels all sorts of colors by simply following the directions on the packaging. Admittedly, the quality of the “Mainstays”  (Wal-Mart’s store brand) towels is not as good, but nobody expects a dish towel to last forever and at this price, they don’t have to.

I had read on pinterest somewhere that it was possible to dye switchplate covers as well. I was dubious. They have to be “unbreakable nylon” because the nylon is what absorbs the color. It was so easy! The switch plate covers range from about $.50-$1.00 each. I had a field day just experimenting. In our kitchen we have some almost white/very light blue walls, and there isn’t quite enough contrast between the paint color and the white of our current switch plate covers, so I thought it would be fun to see if I couldn’t come up with something.

How to dye switch plate covers

  1. Buy switch plate covers labeled “Unbreakable Nylon.” The nylon is what absorbs the dye. Home Depot sells them from $.50-$1.00 each. Buy extras, you’ll want to experiment.  You’ll also want to make sure you have RIT dye and a small disposable tupperware container.IMG_2112
  2. Get yourself ready by covering your work area with plastic. I just used plastic grocery bags. I also set out some paper towels on top. I’m sure newspaper would work too.Image
  3. Heat up some water to near boiling. A tea kettle works fine. You can also use the microwave. I used a small pot on the stove.
  4. Pour the water into the tupperware and add the dye. A small amount of dye will result in a light stain, even if you leave it in for a long time. Dark stains go on more evenly. For that you’ll need more dye.
  5. The dye will completely absorb in about 10 minutes. Check in more every couple of minutes, especially if you want a less saturated color.
  6. If you want a mixture of two colors, I found success by dying the switch plates twice: once lightly in each color. Mixing dyes did not work out for me.
  7. The switch plate can be blotted off with a paper towel and is ready to hang on the wall!
  8. Bonus! A bleach pen will remove some of the stain. I tried a polka dotted pattern for fun on a switch plate I didn’t plan on using. I left the bleach to soak for 10 minutes. It was lighter where the bleach had been, but only slightly. You’ll probably want to plan on leaving the bleach to dry for at least a half hour, maybe an hour.

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Take a look at the final results in our kitchen….

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