Brightening Up Old Curtains with an Ombre Dye Technique

Brightening Up Old Curtains with an Ombre Dye Technique

Amanda Johnson
Mar 14, 2011

Last week I felt an itch for more color in my home — and I couldn't resist scratching! My need for a little more vibrance in a very neutral corner of my home was quickly solved by transforming a trusty pair of linen curtain panels with three boxes of fabric dye.

Rather than just dyeing the curtain panels one solid color, I decided to give the panels a bit of an ombre treatment by blending two analogous colors (neighbors on the color wheel) at the top third section of each panel. To do this, I first prepared a green dye bath made by combining one packet of teal, one packet of yellow, and a little bit of blue Rit Dye powder with steaming hot water in a standard washing machine. Using rubber gloves, I carefully submerged the bottom two-thirds of the curtains into dye bath, and closed the lid to keep in the heat.

Every ten minutes, I checked in on the fabric to see how it was coming along. The longer the fabric stayed in the bath, the more saturated the color became. To achieve this color of green, I soaked the curtains for around 45 minutes.

To avoid submerging the entire curtain panel into the green dye, I pressed closed the lid of the washer while the wash cycle drained the chamber of the dye bath. Then, I put the rest of the curtains inside for the rinse and spin cycles.

After the curtains were spun dry, I removed them and repeated the dye process, only this time with a teal and blue dye mixture and only the top third of the curtains.

Though at first I was pretty nervous to risk my trusty curtains on this little experiment, I must admit, it was rather easy and I'm already scouring my apartment for more fabrics I can dye. Next up? My wardrobe!

Images: Amanda Johnson

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