How to Dye Polyester Cellular Shades

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Things You'll Need

  • Large stainless steel pots

  • Cooking thermometer with clip

  • Soda ash

  • Synthrapol

  • Small stainless steel pots

  • Disperse dye

  • Nylon

  • Disperse dye carrier (optional)

  • White vinegar

  • Wood stirrer

Cellular shades are often made with polyester because it does not wrinkle and it maintains crisp pleats. If your shades are faded or outdated, consider dyeing them to change the color. Polyester is a synthetic fabric that does not take common, household fabric dyes well; therefore, a special dyeing process known as immersion dyeing is required. To immersion dye cellular shades, the top and bottom rails must first be removed.


Step 1

Place the shades in a large stainless steel pot filled with water and place the pot on the stove. Place a steel thermometer with a clip on the side of the pot.

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Step 2

Heat the water to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and add soda ash and synthrapol (concentrated surfactant) for thoroughly cleaning the polyester. Use about 1/2 tsp. of each for every 3 1/2 yards of fabric. Leave the shades to sit in the hot water for about 10 minutes.


Step 3

Remove the shades from the pot and rinse with fresh water.

Step 4

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot. Dissolve disperse dye in the hot water. How much dye you use depends on how dark you want the color. Use as little as 1/2 tsp. for a pale tint and up to 3 tsp. for a dark shade. Once dissolved, take the pot off the stove and leave it to cool.


Step 5

Strain the dye solution through nylon.

Step 6

Use a dye carrier only if you are planning on a dark shade. Bring another cup of water to a boil in a separate small pot. Dissolve 2 tbsp. of disperse dye carrier to the solution.


Step 7

Heat 2 1/2 gallons of water to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in a large pot. Add 1/2 tsp. of synthrapol, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, the dissolved dye and, if using, the dissolved dye carrier. Mix it thoroughly with a wood stirrer.

Step 8

Add the shades to the water. Bring the water to a boil and leave the shades to simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Gently move the shades around in the water with the stirrer throughout the dyeing process.


Step 9

Bring another large pot of water to a boil while you are dyeing. Submerge the shades in the clean, boiling water once the dyeing process is complete.

Step 10

Empty the pot of dye water and refill it with fresh water. Bring it to about 160 degrees Fahrenheit and add 1/2 tsp. of synthrapol.


Step 11

Remove the shades from the clean water and submerge them into the pot of water with synthrapol. Move the shades around with the stirrer for at least 5 minutes.

Step 12

Do a final rinse of the shades with warm water in the sink.

Step 13

Hang the shades to dry.


Wear latex gloves and work in a ventilated environment to avoid skin contact with colorants and irritants and inhalation of strong vapors.


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