a post from Julie
I'm always good for a color-loving DIY. I've been seriously wanting to dip dye something for a while, and curtains seemed like a great place to start. It's super easy! Here's how it goes:
- Fabric (100% cotton takes dye the best, but these are 70% polyester and only 30% cotton and it seemed to work okay, though I haven't washed them).
- RIT fabric dye (I used the liquid version available at Michael's and other craft stores.)
- A basin or pot that's not going to stain
- Hot water
Choose your material. I used cheap-o curtains from IKEA – I think they were $4/panel. Can't beat that. You could also use sheets (a top sheet makes a good curtain because you just cut open the end of the top hem and slide it over a rod), a tablecloth, baby clothes... the options are seriously endless.
Find your formula. If you go online to RIT's website, they have a .PDF of all the colors you can (almost) imagine. Pick your fave! Don't expect to get it perfect though – different fabrics dye differently, but you can get it pretty close.
Concoct it. You can find the basic formula beneath your color pick, but plan to at least double it depending on how much fabric you're dying, and how many dips (general rule of thumb: for every ounce of fabric, multiply the formula that many times). I did at least 6x the original recipe for 6 curtain panels, dyed three times each. I also added about 1/2 to 1 cup of salt, which was supposed to make the color more vibrant (if you're dying nylon, silk, or wool, use vinegar instead). Give it a good stir. If you'd like, you can test the color by dipping in a paper towel.
The good news: unless you have an extremely precise color in mind, this isn't rocket science. I estimated a lot of my measurements, and used hot water straight from the tap (which was pretty hot).
Now... dip it! Ready? Go ahead and immerse your fabric in the dye bath. If you're doing the lightest layer first, take a quick dip (less than 1 minute), then hang the fabric up to dry completely. Then go ahead and do the next layer of color, leaving it in for longer this time, say, 10-15 minutes. For the darkest layer, go ahead and leave it sitting there all afternoon or overnight. If it's not looking as dark as you'd like, add some extra dye, or a little more of just the darker color. Make sure you dry completely between baths – this will give you the nice separation of color, unless you prefer ombre. You don't want perfectly straight lines of color, so wrinkle that fabric as you dip it in and enjoy watching the color creep up. Tip: I used rocks to keep the fabric underwater and draped the white portion over the side of the deck railing to keep clean. Don't overthink it and just have fun!
So, not so scary! This was a rewarding DIY with a lot of color currency and definite trend factor. My next project: a tablecloth!
Some other ideas of dyeables:
- Dish towels
- Baby blankets
- Socks (the cuffs!)
- Pillow covers
I'd love to see what you come up with... tag me (Julie @bonjoybox) in your pics on Insta, FB, or Twitter!