Not every project we take on has those perfect, shiny results we hope for. And in this case, our results were pretty much as opposite as you can get from the original goal, but as luck would have it, we actually think it worked out pretty alright. More importantly, our “client” and friend Penina (whose bedroom you may remember), actually loved the outcome. Because the last thing we want is an oh-no-situation and asking her to pass the bread over take out while feeling mega guilt.
So here’s the short story. She asked me to help her take her lime-colored living room curtains and dye them to the perfect shade of khaki-mustard beige-ish. Having dyed nothing else in my life other than a pair of long johns when I was 10 (what?), I agreed on the premise that she understand I don’t know the first thing in Rit-etiquette. She didn’t either. It was a match made in heaven – if only it was opposite day. Here’s where we started:
I think we were aiming for something between #364 and #52, or at least something remotely close (hint: that didn’t happen):
Now for the long and not-so-short of it. Because the panels were light in value (albeit bright), we nixed the idea of bleaching them first or using any sort of color remover. (Hence, this post’s title). Using the color formula guide on Rit Dye’s website, we figured out the highly mathmetical proportions of taupe to yellow in hopes of getting that not-so-bright mustardy color we were aiming for. Ten minutes later on a smart phone calculator, we figured that for 3 panels, we’d need 12 oz yellow and 6 oz taupe. (FYI, the formulas are different for liquid vs. powder, and the mixtures are diluted with warm water.)
We chose the easiest and most convenient method of dying by using the washing machine and allowing for 3 wash cycles. Another highly calculated move on our part was to use the oven timer, reminding us to turn back the dial on the wash load every 12 minutes. (Again, refer to this post’s title.) Rit recommends at least a 30 minute wash, but our washer didn’t have a timed option, and a regular cycle runs for 12 minutes. Chaos, I tell ya. Thirty-six minutes later, we found this color.
It was certainly yellow. Needless to say, Penina wasn’t thrilled, and we were surprised to see the lack of taupe show through. (Perhaps this is where step one should have been a color remover?) After a lot of what now?, we decided to heck with it. Let’s just go for it. Let’s go bold. If taupe doesn’t show, surely dark brown will. All reason went out the window – which was largely in part due to afternoon cocktails.
Two oven-timed beeps later, we got our brown. Of course there was a ton of girly shrieking (surely coming from me), followed by a what’s done is done sort of mentality. We tossed our three very brown panels in the dryer and crossed our fingers they’d come out lighter.
They dried, we ironed (okay, she ironed and I totally just watched), and we hung ‘em. And you know what? They looked good. The wet, dark panels turned a pretty chocolate-y shade, and the window light brightened them up even more.
While our original intentions were nowhere near the end results, we easily warmed up to the whole ooh-la-la dramatic effect they brought to the room. Penina’s green throw and patterned, colorful rug already add the oomph, and the curtains are now an elegant back drop. And lucky for me, I received a very happy email from my lady a few days later – well after she’d had the time soak up all the moody goodness.
Okay, we know y’all are pretty darn smart, so who out there successfully transformed something with dye? And what was it? Goodness knows my long johns weren’t experience enough, but surprisingly, I learned a thing or two along the way. Or, shall I say, I learned what not to do.