Dying a bell tent inner has got to be one of the simplest and most affordable ways of beautifying your beloved canvas structure.  Not only that, but it’s functional too, providing a little change in light which is often perfect for helping little critters stay in bed just that little bit longer during camping trips.

First of all let’s be very clear.  This is dying the optional inner tent that provides a bell tent with a bedroom compartment.  It is not dying the inside of the canvas itself!

Regardless of what brand of bell tent you own the optional inner tents are pretty universal, coming with a nylon groundsheet that helps to provide a little extra insulation, nylon mesh doors to provide good protection from bugs and midgies, and cotton drapes and walls that make up the majority of the inner.  Although you will dye the entire thing it is the cotton structure that will absorb and hold your chosen new colour.  Just be sure to check the cotton content of the inner as some are mixed with nylon or polyester so may be more difficult to dye.

In order to dye the inner you will simply need the following things:

  • 3 packets of dylon machine dye in a colour of your choice
  • Something big enough to hold the water and dye that the inner will soak in
  • water

For the purposes of soaking the inner we used Jesse and Amelie’s plastic paddling pool.  We filled it half full with cold water from the hose and then topped it up with boiled water from the kettle until the water was lukewarm.  We then emptied each of the three sachets of dye (ocean blue in our case) into the water and mixed it in thoroughly.  We then simply chucked the inner tent in making sure it was as submerged as possible.  Dylon recommend that you stir constantly for the first 15 minutes, so donning some lovely yellow marigolds that’s what we did.  Be careful here, I have seen a photo of someone who didn’t wear gloves and it apparently took them days to get the colour off their hands!  For the following 45 minutes it then suggests that you just stir it periodically.

A total of an hour later we emptied the water out of the paddling pool and began to rinse the inner using the hose.  This took a little bit of time but we basically did it until the water ran clear.  All that is left to do then is peg it out and let it dry.  Job done!


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