I’ve been redoing my bedroom. After removing the dark wallpaper, the white drapes were too boring. Plus they were too short for the room. So I thought I could dye them and buy more fabric to lengthen them instead of buying new drapes. Maybe I could spend $35 instead of $200 and still get the look I wanted?! Here’s some DIY curtain ideas.
The above picture is how the room started. Pretty, but the wallpaper was too dark and I felt like it looked choppy with the heavy wallpaper on top and white on bottom.
Plus, can you see how the drapes are barely above the window? They’re hung too low and make the room look shorter than it actually is.
So after I painted the top of the walls and added more panel molding, it was time to customize these drapes! Ready to see what I did?
DIY curtain ideas
- Super Pink Synthetic Dye
- Apricot Synthetic Dye
- Tub liner
- Color Stay Dye Fixative
- Fabric to extend the drapes
step 1- measure
Start by measuring the drapes. Mine were too short by 9 1/2″. It’s important to get the measurement while they’re hanging to get an accurate length.
what not to do when dying synthetic drapes
My drapes are a combination of 90% polyester and 10% cotton. Which means they’re mostly a synthetic material and need to be dyed in very hot water.
Before dying, always check the fabric contents so that you can know which dye is best to use. Natural fibers will dye much easier. You can buy standard Rit dye and it’ll have instructions on the bottle for dying.
I decided to try and see if my washing machine would get hot enough to dye my synthetic drapes
That was mistake number one. Mistake two is that I didn’t get the drapes wet and so they dye was very splotchy.
I hung them that night (since I like to sleep with the drapes up) and in the morning I could assess how bad they were-
Not good. The color was splotchy. And I didn’t like how they looked lavender. I really wanted them more of a coral look to coordinate with the new mural. So I went for round number two of dying.
step 3- how to figure out the right color of dye
To figure out the color issue, I was given the tip that Rit Dye has a site with color formulas. So you can scroll and see the color you like, click on it and there’s an exact formula to get that color.
I decided that I liked peach fuzz so I ordered some apricot orange dye to add to the super pink dye I already had and was ready to give the drapes another try.
step 4- the right(ish) way to dye
Next, I boiled water to get it to the right temperature. Synthetic fabric needs to be at 200 degrees to take the dye. Especially with a light color.
And then I poured the correct amounts of dye right into the bathtub. DON’T DO THIS!!!! Use a tub liner instead.
I wanted to dye the drapes on my stove top, but that just wouldn’t work- I didn’t have a pot big enough to dye one and I wanted a consistent color across all 6 drapes.
If dying something smaller that’s synthetic, dyeing right in a pot on the stove is much easier.
A big plastic tub would work if it wasn’t synthetic materials. I’m worried boiling water would melt a plastic bin. But I could be wrong!
Back to what worked with dyeing- lol. I drenched the drapes in water before putting them in the bathtub.
Then I put each drape panel in one by one. I made sure to stir the water so that the fabric got completely covered in the dye bath water.
The drapes sat in the dye for 30 minutes. I was excited at the end to see that the tassels were the same color as the rest of the drapes! When I dyed them in the washing machine, the tassels didn’t take on any of the dye and stuck out.
Everything being a uniform color is a good sign!
I emptied the bath and the tub was dyed pink- sigh. I still need to deal with this. So don’t skip a liner!
step 5- dye fixative
Once the drapes are dyed, since they’re made of synthetic materials, it needed to be washed with dye fixative.
So I threw the drapes in the washing machine with the dye fixative to keep the dye on the drapes.
step 6- extend the drapes
Along with dying the drapes, I also dyed extra fabric. I bought white fabric that is made of polyester and cotton so it would take on the dye in a similar way. It mostly worked!
So I cut that in 11″ strips. This is what will elongate the drapes the 9 1/2″ (plus a little for seam allowance).
I set up my ironing board next to my sewing machine so I could press the fabric for crisp seams.
I sewed the fabric onto the bottom of the drapes. Next, I measured and marked the 9 1/2″ length so that I could create the perfect size hem so the drapes would lightly touch the ground.
Once measured, I pressed the seam so it’d be easy to sew and professional looking.
Last, I sewed along the ironed hem to finish up the drapes.
After the drama of figuring out the dyeing, it felt so good to finish these!
Here they are all finished up! The extra length hits the floor at the perfect spot. You can tell the fabric is added on, but it doesn’t really bug me.
In this picture, you can tell that the drapes are super close to the mural color. I love this detail! Since the walls are all white, they reflect a lot of light. The coral curtains add a lot of personality and drama.
I love them! Sometimes I think that it’s worth the extra time to really customize something for your home. Especially if you own an item and with a little work can have it perfect for you.
Sure, it would have saved a lot of time to buy new drapes. But I love these! And since I put in so much effort, I appreciate them more.
more diy curtain ideas
In 2018, we rented in Florida. The house we lived in had zero curtains and a noisy neighbor so we added them. I could only afford cheap ones online, but I did add some fun tassel trim to the sides to customize them. I loved that little detail and it was so easy to do!
Another idea is to buy a roller shade. These are affordable and then to customize it, you can add grosgrain ribbon. Here’s the full tutorial for this DIY curtain idea.
If you have curtains that you don’t love or don’t have a huge budget to buy fancy ones, you have options!
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Michele Morin says
What a stunner shade you achieved for your drapes! It really changed.the look of the room!
Jo (A Rose Tinted World) says
The curtains look great! Thank you for showing how it can go wrong as well as how to put it right!
Our Hopeful Home says
Wow, they really transform the room (as well as the new white walls)! You are a saint for doing all that — I think I might have called it quits:) Love them! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm. xoKathleen