Choose a color, or select two colors to create an in-between color. Dye is available in liquid or powder form; the less you use, the lighter the final result will be. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine the correct quantity of bottles or packages for the project.
Wash the curtains in the washing machine with a color-remover product if the fabric is dark. For white or light fabric, use detergent instead. Select hot water for the wash cycle and cold water for the rinse cycle. Place color remover or detergent in the detergent dispenser and start the machine. Remove the curtains after the rinse cycle has finished, but do not dry them.
Shake the bottles of liquid dye. Prepare powder dye by dissolving the concentrate in a glass bowl that contains 2 cups of hot water. Do not spill the solution or allow it to cool.
Pour 1 cup of salt into the washer tub if the curtains are ramie, cotton, linen or rayon.
Set the wash cycle to use hot water on the extended-wash setting. Put on rubber gloves. Start the washer and carefully pour the dye into the washer tub as soon as it’s filled with water. Do not pour dye into the detergent dispenser or spill dye on the floor.
Place the wet curtains in the machine and run the wash cycle for at least 30 minutes. For darker results, extend the wash cycle up to 1 hour. Rinse the curtains in the washer with cold water on the normal rinse cycle. Set the curtains aside.
Set the washer for a normal load. Select hot water for the wash cycle and cold water for the rinse cycle. Start the washing machine and allow the tub to fill with water. Using a large spoon, stir the manufacturer’s recommended amount of dye fixative into the water.
Place the curtains in the machine and run the wash cycle for 20 minutes. Allow the rinse cycle to run normally. Dry the curtains on the clothesline or in the dryer. Select low heat to prevent shrinkage.
Run an empty load in the washing machine on the hot-water setting. Add detergent and 1 cup of bleach to remove all traces of dye and fixative residue.
Iron or steam the curtains. Rehang them in the desired location.
Things You Will Need
- All-purpose dye
- Color remover
- Washing machine
- Glass bowl
- 1 cup salt
- Rubber gloves
- Dye fixative
- Wooden spoon
- Dryer or clothesline
- 1 cup bleach
- Clothing iron or steamer
- For nylon or silk curtains, manufacturers sometimes suggest adding a cup of vinegar to the dye bath. Review the package instructions before adding vinegar.
- After dyeing and drying the curtains, add trim around the edges for a more custom look. Use fabric glue to attach fabric ribbon or twill tape.