DIY ombre: Curtain, curtain, on the wall…


Living in a 100+ year old home lends a sense of character to your surroundings. It also comes with its fair share of quirks. One of those being that the windows aren’t “standard” sizes and accordingly, curtains that are reasonably-priced, not to mention match your decor, are nearly impossible to come by.

So, after seeing ombre on everything from clothes to hair to fingernails these past few months, I wanted to bring the trend into our apartment a la custom curtains for the bathroom.

After a couple tries of trial-and-error dying (if I can successfully tie-dye a tank top, how hard can it be?) I discovered that ombre was a little bit more difficult than you might think. But hopefully y’all can learn from my experience when trying this or a similar DIY dye job.


I followed the instructions for prepping the dye, as well as soaking time and post-dye washing, as outlined on the package of powder dye that I picked up for a few dollars at Wal-Mart.

The first time around, my entire dipping/dying process took an hour. That might have been my first mistake.

I wanted the darkest blue to resemble the post-rinse color (as seen below in bathtub), which was close to the shade of blue on the dye package. But after rinsing and washing, I ended up with a baby blue fade.

[Thanks to my sister Emily for hemming the sides and sewing a tube for the curtain rod!]

Because the pastel looked out of place among our cobalt blue bathroom accents, I bought more dye and repeated the process. However, for the second time around, I dyed the fabric for several hours, pulling the cotton out of the bucket of dye at much slower intervals that I had during the first go-around. I also washed it on the cold setting instead of warm.

I think the thinness of the 100% cotton fabric (less than $7 for 2.25 yards) contributed to the lightness of color post-wash. Had it been thicker, it might have better absorbed and retained the color.

And lastly, this is just a guess, but I probably didn’t need to initially wash the curtains on warm, unlike the package’s directions said. Since the fabric won’t be used for a shirt or anything that will be worn close to skin and washed a lot, it probably wasn’t that critical for me to do a warm wash to eliminate the possibility of the color bleeding, as hotter water tends to lighten colors more than a cold water wash would.

{Side note: I panicked at first because my attempt at ombre’s fading color effect looked more like stripes when I pulled the last bit of fabric out of the dye bucket. But thankfully, the shades of blue blended together after each wash.}

In conclusion, a second dye job helped, but the deepest blue still wasn’t as dark as I hoped.

Hmmm… I didn’t dump out that dye bucket…
Maybe I should give it another go… What do you think?


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