One of the first things I did when we moved in was modify the curtains to make them more like shades. Most of the windows have pretty nice views with lots of plants/greenery, and I didn't like it that every time I wanted a little privacy I lost all the view. But they're plain white, and the walls are plain white, and I kind of crave color so something had to change.
Utrecht had a few different brands of dye, but I chose this one. It cost a little more than Ritt but I'm worth it. ;)
There are two types with this brand--one for natural fabrics and one for synthetic--make sure you get the right one.
The process of dying is pretty straightforward. This dye can be used in the washer or in a pot on the stove (the water needs to be hot). I don't have a huge pot so I used the kitchen sink filled with hot water.
Yes, the water was pretty cool by the time I dyed the last fabric panel but it didn't seem to matter. It might matter when I go to wash it...you can see I live on the edge!
I wanted a striped look so my plan was to fold the fabric like an accordion and dip one side. Of course you could get really intricate with the folding and have an equally intricate pattern on your fabric. But I wanted to keep it simple for my first time trying this and am also planning to add more decoration to them with stencils/stamps.
I wanted to see if dying the fabric wet or dry made a difference (and it did) so I tested it out using some fabric scraps.
The fabric on the left was dry when I dyed, on the right, wet. Aside from the wrinkles which can easily be ironed out, the wet dye has more texture in the gradient from yellow to white; the dry dye is much smoother. I liked the texture so, ironing afterward be damned, I wet the fabric first. Time to get started on the final pieces! Here are the fabric pieces folded and being dyed:
A few things: I held the fabric in the dye for three minutes, and moved it around a bit make sure it penetrated evenly through the folds. I definitely wished toward the end that I had invented a nifty way to hold the fabric over the sink to relieve my tired arm (maybe a long skewer and some clothes pins?). Also, I put rubber gloves on later in the process because I kept getting dye on my hands--not good!
I learned after doing one or two panels that the more wrinkled the fabric, the more interesting the texture and striations so I started scrunching it up during the folding process.
It was a little bit of challenge to keep those folds while holding it in the water but not too tough.
When the three minutes was up I'd pull it out, wait for the dripping to stop and hang it on a line to dry. Fortunately my line is right outside my kitchen. Unfolding the fabric to hang it on the line was definitely the most challenging part. What can happen is that a corner of the dyed section can fall against the white section, getting dye on the white section, and ruining your design. Fortunately I learned this with the test pieces and had no mishaps with the final panels. If you have a second person to help unfold and hang it's a lot easier.
Here's a "before and after" of my office area and my dining room "after". I have to say I'm loving the change and am now thinking how pretty a nice charcoal color would look on the walls in the dining room. Until next time...! :)