DIY California Chic Ombre Curtains

09.26.11 By //
Project Image

This project has been a long time coming. We talked a bit here about how many curtain projects will need to be completed before I have no more naked windows in my home! In other words… almost all of them! 2 down and 2 million to go, but one by one we shall get them all covered and looking snappy!

Finally! I am excited to share the tutorial for creating these fine friends…and super excited to begin sharing the family room transformation that is occurring alongside the office transformation, the garage, the living room…oh the list goes on… we are getting a bit decor happy up in here!

What do you think? Pretty good start, no?

I cut lengths of cotton muslin, purchased in a 15 yard bolt at my local fabric store for around $20, into 4 panels at 8’. Since my backyard is something is fairly small, I chose to work on this project in my guest bathroom. If you also plan to attempt a project of this nature indoors, be sure to keep in mind that your bathroom will be otherwise unavailable for 2-4 days while your panels air dry… unless of course you get clever and find away to shower around your panels. I clipped the panels up over my shower curtain rod, thereby creating a section of the fabric that I am able to keep white; it was about 1/4 of the total length of the fabric.

For the first 2 steps in this project I used this premixed Fabric Spray Paint, there are a few varieties to be found at the fabric or craft store and I chose this particular one for the color. For the last 2 steps in this project I purchased RIT fabric dye in Indigo in a powdered concentrate that will need to be mixed with warm water in a large bin or bucket of some sort. The fabric, and 2 varieties of dye were all that were required to complete this fun project so the cost was very minimal.

Since the object of ombre is to gradually step down (or up) the color saturation in a gradation, I began by creating the color for the lightest of the 3 dyed sections that I will complete, which was a dilution of 1/4 oz. of the Fabric Spray paint mixed with 3 3/4 oz. of water.

This squeeze bottle was the perfect 4oz. vehicle to deliver this color up near the top of my panels, since the first 2 layers of color were to be done using a dye that was not the sort to be mixed in a bucket or bin. A traditional squirt bottle would also be fabulous.

All I had to do was squirt my dye in a relatively random pattern and yet in a somewhat straight line. I wanted the sections to be well delineated but I didn’t want a perfectly clean line of color. You can see that this first color which butts up against the white section is very light and the perfect intro into the saturated sections.

I followed the same process for mixing the second section of color only this time I mixed a ratio of 1:1 or 2 oz. of fabric spray paint and 2 oz. of water into the same squeeze bottle and sprayed my heart out beginning about 18 inches to 2 feet from where the first color began (4 sections, each about 2 feet in length for a total of 8 feet).

The instructions on the package for the Fabric Spray Paint suggested allowing it to air dry and so I did for about a day or so. My original plan was to continue with the last color at 100% fabric paint with no dilution, but it was beginning to look much more turquoise than teal and so I decided to throw the Indigo RIT dye into the mix for a more purpley navy specimen of blue.

I mixed about 1/2 the box of concentrated powder according to the instructions on the box right into this small bin and set the bin into the shower along with my panels so the bottom of each panel could soak by hanging right into the dye for about an hour or so.

I did this one panel at a time, and you can see that the color was taking well, but of course there was that perfectly straight line I was trying to avoid…

Before I removed each panel from the dye bath, I used a plastic spoon to simply scoop and splatter the indigo dye up onto a portion of the previous section of color allowing it to blend a bit with the turquoise like teal shade I had previously completed. Yes, I was adding another section of color to the mix, but truthfully it needed to be done to make this into the set of curtains I had envisioned for my family room.

I continued on in this manner allowing each panel to rest in the dye for around an hour, then scooped and splattered the adjacent 14 inches or so before moving onto the next panel.

I allowed the panels to drip dry for a day before throwing them into the wash on a gentle cycle followed by a tumble dry, and then hanging them to enjoy!


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