Ombré curtains, not as easy as Pintrest said. 

My 2 bedroom condo is home to 1 big dog, 1 cat, my husband, myself, our daughter and my mother. Baby number 2 is due in late September. We are quickly running out of room.  In anticipation of our new arrival we are in the midst of a serious amount of DIY projects.

My husband cleared out his office to turn into my moms new room. It’s not legally a bedroom, and it’s crazy small but I managed to make it quite nice (more on that to come).

  
There are 4 windows in this small room and I knew I needed curtains. The room is mint and sort of a peach coral. I really wants mint or mint ombré curtains but a quick google search proved that buying them would be way to expensive!

 These are really nice for example, but 150 and dry clean only. And I would have needed 2 ! (Anthropologie mint curtains if you decide to just save yourself the trouble)  and there are some even more expensive glam options on etsy. But I bought these 100% cotton ikea curtains for 35$ a pair!  And I started stalking Pintrest. This is where my inspirations took me: nowhere. Lots and lots of people ombré stuff and dye white jeans mint. But most people who ombré cheat by using multiple dye baths. And since I wanted shades of 1 color that didn’t seem like a great idea. And as far as figuring out a mint dye…. Absolutely every blog and pin uses a different dye and formula. So after a week of googling and researching I was even more confused.

But I stumbled on the RIT website and they have a place where you can Email Rit and ask for a color formula. So that’s what I did. I sent then color I wanted to match (Behr’s mint parfait). And they sent me back a formula.

  • 3/4 teaspoon Kelly Green
  • 3/4 teaspoons Emerald
  • “Formulated for the low water setting on a washer”

But because I was ombré dying I needed to adjust this to a bucket instead of a washer. After some researching I figured out that the “low water setting” on a washer was 9 gallons of water. So basically it was 1/4 teaspoon of each color per every 3 gallons of hot water.

So I pre washed the curtains but did not dry them and put them on a tension rod in my showers over a big tub filled with 6 gallons of HOT water and 1 cup salt and the dye.

I placed the rod and the curtains in for about 2/3rds of the way in and let it soak.  I gave it about 5 mins and then moved the rod up about 5 inches, and keep repeating every 5 to 10 mins.

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They were right the formula was about the right shade, but it wasn’t meant to be an ombre. And the color wasn’t exactly transitioning.  So I began to panic that perhaps it wouldn’t turn out… so I added another 1/4 teaspoon of each color. I did that a few times and kept slowly moving the curtains up. It was definitely turning into an ombre.  But I had hoped that it would go from a pastel mint to a more vibrant and saturated version of the same color.  It didn’t.  It went from mint to teal.

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Rit dye it turns out doesn’t really make pastels.  So the only option is to use very very little dye and make a very light version of a color they do make.  I panicked again. I lightly rinsed the curtains and then threw them in the wash hoping that it would lighten up the teal and even out what had turned into a much harsher fade than I had meant it too.  It did manage to pull out some of the teal at the bottom, unfortunately it deposited it onto the past I had meant to be white. And the color still wasn’t right.

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Back to the drawing board! I went to Michaels in search of RIT fabric dye remover. My plan was to pull out some of the teal from the top of the curtain then give the bottom half of curtains a dip in the dye formula they had intended.  While there I saw this Tulip dye in teal. I had seen a few people dye jeans with it and it had looked good. So I thought I would take it as well, but just as a back up.

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So I put the fabric remover in the tub started soaking it

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and soaking it

soon it looked pretty white

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Now I had to rinse it and re dye the curtains

I ran them through a quick speed wash so they were rinsed free of the bleach and were damp again and set up the dye bath. I let them sit for about 15 mins but it didn’t look like the color was taking. As a matter of fact it looked like they were lighter. And the water in the dye bath looked almost clear. OH FUCK! I had failed to wash the bin free of bleach and had basically counteracted the dye I had added, and had bleached out some of the teal in the bottom of the curtains. I now had to rinse and wash them again. I re set up the dye bath. I felt like a total moron.

Plus I wasn’t confidant in this Rit dye anymore.

So I decided to take a bit of scrap fabric and test out the tulip dye.

I dipped it for about 10 seconds and it came out perfect!

So that was it. I was abandoning the RIT. And I set up the tulip in the now clean tub and started the process all over. I dipped it about 2/3rds of the way and started to slowly lift it up. This time I didn’t let it sit as long between moments because the dye was so much more saturated and powerful.

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HOLY CRAP! this was what I had been wanting all along. If I had used this dye from the beginning I would have been done in 20 mins on day 1.

So I gave it a quick rinse and then took them out to the yard to hose them off.

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It looked even better in the sun.

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It even looked good in the washer.

In the end I have the curtains I wanted for much less than I would have paid to buy them. But what I thought would be a one afternoon project took several days.  If you want to recreate these save yourself the heart ache and buy the Tulip dye the 1st time!

 


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