Boys will be boys

Boys will be boys

Saturday, July 27, 2013

DIY Ombre Curtains

Yes, you read that right... Do It Yourself Ombre Curtains...Orange Ombre Curtains in fact! We bought this amazing house and we chose this floor plan for its openness. The last thing I want to do is clutter it up with stuff...and that includes window treatments. I had a few things I was unwavering about...I want them floor to ceiling to keep the room long and open. I didn't want a solid color curtain (boring) and I'm not a fan of too much floral or polka dots or stripes or gingham basically I didn't want a pattern/design either... Then one day I stumbled across these at Target and it hit me... Ombre! It's perfect... it's not a solid color or a pattern. I bought a panel (did you see the price?! $25 a panel!!!) and called my sales rep to open the house (it was still being finished but the cabinets, floor and counter tops were in so I could really see if I liked it against everything) and help me with her keen eye (thanks Megan!). We both agreed they were fantastic. I chose orange because it felt happy and bright and welcoming... I also had a few chotchkie items in mind that I knew would compliment well with orange so I thought perfect!

There's a few things however about these curtains I didn't care for. 1. They wouldn't reach floor to ceiling. They would reach top of the window to floor but that felt like I was truncating the space (although my husband disagreed-it's not technology so his opinion doesn't matter. I am waiting for him to write a blog about his new in wall speakers....). 2. They were too definite. I didn't like that each section was lined. I can be a very black and white no grey about it type of gal but I'm not a symmetrical person at all. I like things to have a little more flow and freedom to them aesthetically speaking. 3. They were pricey. I'm cheap as my husband says although I prefer frugal. There are things that need a lot of money spent and there are things that don't. I didn't feel that I should spend a lot of money on curtains. The target curtains would do if need be but at $25 a panel and 5 windows it was sure to break the budget and leave me not completely happy. So, I started researching. I googled, I pinned, I search and searched. I found a few curtains/fabric on the market but none of it quite spoke to me or met my budget. That meant it was time to DIY!

I did come across a few bloggers that had created their own. I wish I could thank each of them personally that wrote detailed instructions or even mention their blogs in this post but I don't remember all of them. I do know I read and reread 1 of them as it seemed to be the most informative . I continued to research as I waited for my mom to come visit so she could help me with the sewing aspects as well as the dyeing, vision and help with the boys.

So here's the finished product (excuse our paper temporary shades please)! They aren't perfect. But I like them and I will look at them and remember all the hard work and fun I had with my mom making them. Below you will also find my tips/ do's and don'ts!

 Dining room
 Living room

I've written a general list of how we did the curtains followed by a LOT of tips. I started writing down the tips so I would remember if I ever wanted to do this again before writing the blog so I apologize if it seems chaotic and out of sink!

Step 1.
Buy material, dye and large bucket. All the dyes say to machine or sink or stove or who knows what. A large bucket outside with water works just fine. I do suggest following the tip about adding salt or vinegar depending on your material type.
Step 2.
Decide how much of your material will be light and how much will be real dark.
Step 3.
Fill your bucket with water and dye outside and dip material in the dye. Leave the end you want dark in longer than the other areas. I would suggest that you move segments every few minutes (2-5) as the dye saturates quickly and too long will just leave you with a solid color instead of an ombre affect. It's up to your personal preference if you want there to be lines dividing the sections or not.  I will say we initially loosely rubber band the sheets together and they still ended up with lines so be prepared for perfect lines or a slight color variation where you may not want it.
Step 4.
Lay flat to dry (or hang...If I had a clothes line I would probably had them hanging). You can see my mom was going over them with dye in a pitcher and we also had a spray bottle to try and fix the areas that were a bit "tie dyed" looking. I'm not sure it helped that much but you can't learn until you try.
Step 5.
Hang up (light side at the top) to rinse out. This is important as you want the dye to run down from the light to the dark or you'll mess up everything you just did! We just hung them over the fence and placed a few bricks on the top of the curtains to keep them up while rinsing. Be sure to rinse out til the water runs clear.
Step 6.
Let them dry again. They will be a lot lighter than when wet. The bottle says to double dye if wanting brighter or darker color but when we did this I didn't really notice that significant of a change in color to have wasted my time and water repeating all these steps!
Step 7.
Take them in the house (we wrapped in a trash bag; except the tops) and rinse them in HOT water in your bathtub until the water runs clear. Be sure to rinse out your bath tub IMMEDIATELY or it could stain.
Step 8.
Dry them in the dryer. The hot water should have set the dye. If it didn't and your tops get stained I apologize!
Step 9.
Hang and enjoy!

1. I bought FULL size FLAT sheets on sale in an off white/ivory color instead of buying a lot of material. They are actually really soft and were already hemmed around the edges and had a pocket in the top to slide the rod through- I thought this was pretty genius!! We did cut the sheet in half to create 2 panels and where I have smaller wall space we cut in 1/4s but that meant only 1 side to hem not 4! Again, genius!
2. Don't try to put it in dye forever. I read a lot of blogs that said to take it out a few minutes at a time and it will gradually darken- WRONG! It's like dyeing your hair. You can leave it on for an hour and it most likely won't darken/lighten/color any more than if you only leave it on for the 1/2hr the directions called for. My best advice; dunk your entire section you want colored (Please not there's another tip on this) and immediately take it out and rinse where you want it to be light. (I'm sure you could bleach or peroxide it if you made it too dark but I don't own bleach so...). After you've rinsed the light area then you can place the remaining sections in and let it saturate. We initially divided our curtains into like 5 sections and we noticed that there wasn't that much of a change as it went down...again it's going to saturate as much as it can and then it will be done no matter the time.
3. If you want the top to be the color the material came as then you need to wash your curtains in your shower with HOT water and avoid getting that area wet by anything ( the inital dye, the rinsing outside and inside). Let the curtains dry after the HOT water and then dry in the dryer so you know the color won't run. I wanted the tops to be ivory but now they are light orange because I rinsed them outside in cold hose water and the dye ran.  Again, I could try to go back and dip in peroxide or bleach but I decided they looked fine.
3. Buy a darker or a lighter color. If I were to do it again I would have bought 3 different orange shades and dyed section by section from the lighter shade to the darker given the issues we had with it not gradually fading as we had originally thought.
4. BE OUTSIDE (in the spring or fall so you won't pass out from the heat or freeze your curtains when rinsing). I also didn't want to risk splashing dye onto my BRAND NEW bathrooms!  I did bring them in once they were dry to rinse them in HOT water to be sure the dye set and didn't run anymore after the final dye.
5. Cut your material to size before dyeing. Also, you can try to do them all at the same time but bunched up mine ended up with a slight tie dye look throughout the middles where the dye didn't quite seep in as much. For my sunset look, it works alright but I'd rather it be a bit more cohesive as the first time around it looked more ombre side to side than up and down. We left the sheets whole and they were heavy when wet as well and a lot harder to move around and not splash dye on the lighter areas.
6. Be prepared to hang them up and take them back down to dye again. We actually went back to the store and bought a 2nd color to dip the bottoms in because the ombre didn't take as well as I wanted.
7. Have a spray bottle with the dye handy to catch any spots that didn't saturate. This is also useful to blur the solid straight line if you don't want it creating a more gradual change. You can also dunk the area right where the color difference meets a few times to get that gradual change.
8. The dye will creep up your material and I'm not sure how to prevent that. Since I didn't want solid lines this didn't matter to me.

Please feel free to ask me any questions if you need further explanation :D

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