I bought a couple of yards of canvas on sale knowing that I wanted to make a canvas backpack at some point. When it actually came time to make the backpack (post coming soon), I realized that the natural canvas color would quickly get really dirty. I’ll just dye it I thought, it’s easy right?

The process is actually pretty easy. The hard part is getting the right color. This was my first time dying anything, and while it was fun, I’ll probably look a little harder for the exact color of fabric I want next time, rather than trying to dye fabric to a certain color. I used a simple, inexpensive dye that you can find at most hobby/craft stores.

*Please note, this post is not meant as an endorsement for Rit dye. It just happened to be the easiest product to find in my area.*

Raw Canvas with fabric dye

I started with a grey powder dye. If the first dying session had resulted in the color shown on the box, I would have been pretty happy with the outcome.

Canvas dying in sink

Unfortunately, the result was a very cool light grey, borderline lavender color. Not exactly what I had in mind for a backpack. I followed the instructions, used two packages of dye, washed the fabric before I started, etc. Maybe my water wasn’t hot enough? Maybe my sink was too small? I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’ll blame my lack of experience rather than the dye.

Canvas dying results

So…I switched to liquid dye, picked out a “nice” taupe color and repeated the process.

Dyed canvas, with new dye color

My lavender canvas turned into the color shown below, which is actually fairly close to the color on the bottle, and not a bad choice for a backpack. If I do decide to embark on a dying adventure again, I think I’ll try to seek out a non-conventional, more organic approach and use something like coffee or tea to give plain cotton some color. This will do for now.

Final canvas dye color

I hope to have the backpack I made with this canvas up soon.