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Sean Ragan humorously writes of his recent couch cushion dying process:

I’m going to call it Ragan’s Law: The comfort of any piece of upholstered furniture is inversely proportional to its beauty. My current couch is no exception: A lumbering, beige behemoth with faint tan paisleys woven into its skin and a mysterious, slowly-spreading oil stain on the backboard that looks as if someone has been using it to blot bacon grease. Staring directly at the couch for more than ten or fifteen seconds has been known to cause sharp, stabbing pains behind the eyes. But close them, and lie down, and it becomes a cloud of soft, cool, downy cotton candy.

Much of the couch’s haptic deliciousness is due to the magnificent fluffiness of its large cushions, with which it is abundantly endowed. Each is 2 feet square and 8 inches thick, and there are no fewer than seven of them for a six-foot couch. That’s not counting the seat cushions, of course. Pile them all in place and there’s barely room left to lie down, so inevitably about half of them end up living on the floor most of the time. Which is where they first met and made friends with my low dining table, Matilda, who for many years has been trying to meet a nice set of floor cushions to keep her company. It was a match made in heaven. Four of the couch cushions were permanently appropriated to serve as floor cushions around Matilda.

They are the perfect size and shape. Unfortunately, they are still beige with tan paisleys. Worse still, the carpet on which they sit now is also beige, and the walls in the dining room that surround them are a slightly yellowish beige. To make a long and increasingly ungainly story short: I decided to try dying them to make my life a little less beige. Concerned that messing around with girl crafts would cause the hair to fall off my chest, I made my Mom do all the actual work. She used 5 x 1.75 oz packets of Dylon Indigo, following the label directions and working in a large rubbermaid tub. The results look great and I’ve had no problems with color bleeding or rubbing off. (Thanks, Mom!) Now if I can just get rid of that carpet I’ll be able to sit down and enjoy a meal without going blind.

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Becky Stern

Becky Stern is head of wearable electronics at Adafruit Industries. Her personal site: sternlab.org


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