Dyeing and water proof treating fabric touring top black
I would like to darken (re-blacken) my older (probably 20 year old) fabric one man touring top
I searched the forums no articles found
I did buy RIT black dye
It says to mix with 1 cup salt per package with cotton material
Any advice appreciated. I was going to cover the upholstery, put the top up and spray it on with low pressure paint sprayer and trim the edges with a small paint chip brush
Also do you recommend any product to water proof the top such as scotch guard ?
I found this: http://www.renovointernational.com/products/kits.php
I poked through a bunch of Corvette and MG forums and many of those guys use RIT. They seem to like Scotch guard and Thompson's water seal.
The salt helps set the dye. But when dyeing clothes they are washed after. Maybe after dyeing you could run it through the car wash! LOL
I have had very good luck using RIT to recolor old seat belts, but I never tried it on a top. Should work fine.
My dad would like to dye the 62 year old black canvas top on his '17 touring. He's done it in the past. Top dye used to come in a can and was applied with a paint brush. However, it no longer can be found in auto parts stores.
The only currently available products I could find for cloth tops are from England and are typically used by British sports car enthusiasts, like Renovo mentioned above and Protex below.
I'm not sure RIT dye would be a good idea. I think it would probably fade.
There is a product sold at Automotive paint accessory stores that sell masking tape and sand paper along with paints and thinners. The name of the product is "TOPPER" and it comes in a green - white - and yellow 16 ounce can with a pop-off lid that you pry off with a screw driver or a proper paint can opener or even a "Church Key" from olden days. You stir it well and follow the directions on the can. You wash the top very well and put it in the sun to dry and then you put on some rubber gloves and use a 3 by 5 or so sponge to apply the product evenly apply the product with a swirling motion to a room temperature fabric out of the sun, such as in your garage the next morning. Let it dry for 24 hours and it should look like new. It works on fabric and vinyl folding convertible tops and also padded vinyl tops on those 60's cars.
Any reputable supply house should be able to supply a similar product if the Topper brand is not available in your area.
Hey, they used it the Los Angeles Trade-Tech College where I was a Dean.
There is also product called "FAB SPRAY" that works on fabrics but not on vinyl. It comes in rattle cans.
I researched Topper and it appears that SEM no longer manufactures it (although it certainly could still be on the shelves of an automotive paint store).
Update I got the top, sides and inside dyed today. What I learned
Using a brush -nope -drips and runs as the viscosity of the RIT black dye is to low
Ended up spraying it on using high volume (liquid) to low air pressure.
Found I had to use 4 coats. The first coat soaked in quick. The next coats you could get enough liquid to have a bright sheen until it too soaked in
result, a uniform black top, looking much newer but since it is cloth, no sheen
Also always were rubber gloves. The black really penetrates skin
Please post before and after pics if you can, thanks!
I posted the same situation five years ago for the top on my 1915 roadster. Had a response to use the same black die you used but put it on with a sponge. One good heavy coat did the job. I let it dry and then sprayed a couple of good coats of fabric protector. Cannot think of the name of it but it is available locally and is about the same stuff they use on cloth car seats. Top looks very good.
Used Scotch Guard spray over the dye.
I will post pictures. I think i will wait a week, put another coat on and then put the scotch guard on.
Water proofing - now that the top is a good black time for water proofing. Scotch guard costs 6 dollars for 10 ounces. Is there a better liquid i can spray on with a spray gun such as Thompson water seal?
I use Thompsons Water Seal on canvas tents and tarps. I works great. It will have a slight odor for a while but that will disappear after a bit. You may wish to test it on some scrap first as it may change the color or not be compatible with the dye in the material.
I've used black leather shoe dye for many small items & T upholstery. Once it's dry, it does not wash off. You can usually get it in any large grocery store. I think it's around $3, and if it works on your top, I would imagine you might use maybe 3-6 bottles.
Just a "hint" for future cloth top black dyers. The RIT package suggests adding SALT to the dye. DO NOT ADD SALT. What happens is after the black dries, you can see the salt crystals appear on the cloth in streaks. (slight gray white) I will scrub those areas with salt today, wash, rinse and re dye. SO do not use salt
Did you rinse the top with plain water when the dye was still wet?
I believe that salt or vinegar is used to "set" RIT dye so after it dries it won't run if the item gets wet again (such as washing a dyed item of clothing). I believe it also helps minimize fading.
Typically, you would soak the material in the hot dye for a few minutes before adding the salt of vinegar.
Also, immediately after dying cloth, I believe it should be given a cold water rinse.
Obviously, an installed top cannot be soaked in a pot of hot dye.
Thanks Eric. No I washed the cloth top gently with a gentle shower of water from the garden hose and some liquid soap. Then let it dry for two days. After trying the brush method, I used the dye at double strength with a typical air spray gun. I set the gun for low pressure air high volume liquid with about a 6 inch spray pattern at 8 inches from the top to prevent a lot of over spray. The first two coats just soaked in. The last two "set" and developed a wet sheen After drying for two days i will take pictures but the top looks MUCH better.