After a few failures, I'm proud to show off my new personalized rug!
Giving an old rug a facelift proved to be easier than I expected-- once I found a good dying technique. The hardest part of the project was finding a way to dye the rug so it would keep it's color. I purchased two cotton rugs last weekend from a garage sale to try this, but I think this one may have had a stain guard that kept the dye from taking easily.
To make my rug, I first soaked it in a 50/50 water and bleach solution. It didn't take long since the rug was originally an off-white. I then put it through the washer and left it slightly damp to help take the dye better.
I decided to put the dye in a plastic tub I purchased specifically for this project. It was on clearance and would save our bath tub from any unsightly staining. I then soaked the rug for about 10 minutes in one packet of gray RIT dye. After it was the color I liked, I rinsed it in the sink and put it through the wash without any soap. Unfortunately, the rug quickly went back to it's original color.
Attempt #2. I had already thrown out the RIT dye, so I decided to try a homemade dye. I looked up natural dying techniques but getting a true gray was going to be very difficult. I didn't want a red rug (using wine, grape juice, or food coloring), so I opted for a shade of brown. I brewed a strong pot of coffee, added some vinegar, and let it soak for about an hour. That didn't quite get it dark enough.
Attempt #3. So I brewed another pot of coffee, added more vinegar this time, and left it soaking overnight. In the morning, I let it dry before sending it through the rinse cycle of the washer. After it was rinsed, I hung it outdoors to dry again.
Success! I came out with the perfect shade. Once the rug had dried, I took a stencil and white fabric paint and made my design.
I love my new rug and even have the second rug (my backup since this was my first attempt) to make another.