Dying Curtains

Months ago I bought white curtains for the living room.

The new curtains are too white white.
The new curtains are too white white.

I thought they were too white.

While the fabric was in the coffee dye bath it looked like it might be a good color.
While the fabric was in the coffee dye bath it looked like it might be a good color.

I wanted them more the color of the linen shades that were in the windows so I dyed them with coffee grounds and a small touch of navy dye to tone down the orange/brownish tint. I was going for greige.

The curtain fabric turned out very blue after dying with coffee.
The curtain fabric turned out very blue after dying with coffee.

Unfortunately the curtains turned out a baby blue kind of color.

I redyed the curtains without removing the first color.
I redyed the curtains without removing the first color.

Since they were hideous I’ve waited to write about it until I redyed the curtains.

Taupe liquid dye from Rit.
Taupe liquid dye from Rit.

This time I used Taupe by Rit dye.

When dying cotton add salt to the dye bath.
When dying cotton add salt to the dye bath.

I rinsed the pale blue curtains in the washing machine.  While they were spinning I filled our 30-inch stainless kitchen sink with 11 gallons of very hot tap water, half a gallon of boiling water, 2 cups of salt, and 2 bottles of taupe dye.

The curtains looked very brown almost immediately.
The curtains looked very brown almost immediately.

When I submerged the wet cloth it immediately took on the taupe dye which has a brown tint to it. I was hoping the blue would make the curtains more warm grey than brown.

The curtains are just a little darker than I'd prefer.
The curtains are just a little darker than I’d prefer.

The directions called for stirring the dye into the cloth for 30 to 60 minutes.  After about 15 minutes I called it quits.  The curtains seemed dark enough to me.  I rinsed the curtains well in the sink then washed them with a small bit of detergent in the washing machine.

The living room has been decluttered and curtains are hanging at the window.
The living room has been decluttered and curtains are hanging at the window.

I dried them slightly in the dryer and ironed them while they were still damp. I was hoping they’d be a little less brown and a little lighter shade. They’re kind of growing on me and I can have curtains up until I finish the lined pairs I’m making from scratch.

Have you ever dyed anything that turned out perfectly?

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Author: Jo

Welcome to The Glade, where the second generation of renovations has just begun and the mania about our home, music and other passions fill our days and nights. We’re Charlie and Jo in the music world; Mary Jo and Charles to family; and JoJo and Charlie to each other. We are renovating a midcentury house in a Victorian historic district where we want to live there the rest of our lives. It's a 1946 house located in Maryland. We were married in this house. Thus far (pre-blog) we refinished cabinets, added a window seat (still working on the cushion), rearranged a wall in the guest house due to sink/vanity replacement, planted a vegetable garden, and other quick and not-so-quick fixes. So this latest zeal for construction is the result of my having lived here since 1997 and feeling a need to ready the house for the next chapter and beyond.

3 thoughts on “Dying Curtains”

  1. I chicken out when I read the dye instructions in the store. I like the curtains now much better than when they were white.

    1. Thanks, Barbara. Dying is always risky. And things that are dyed fade easier than things that are not so maybe these will fade just a little and be a perfect color. Jo

  2. I was just going to say if you wash them a few more times they’ll probably lighten up to the perfect color! they look great, better than white for sure. i have never had luck with dye. i end up getting it everywhere and my clothes come out splotchy.

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