Dip Dyed String Curtain.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

So, this is how it goes sometimes:  I create something, do a doohickey, live with it for a bit, end up deciding it just don't work.  Time to move on and try something else.  And so it is.  Case in point:  dip dyed string curtain.

No worries.  It happens.  It's not a bad thing.  Hardly.

In fact, it's a good thing (for me anyway) as I get to have a learn and redo.  Granted, if I spent a sh*t ton of money on something only to find it doesn't pan out, welllllll, that's rougher.  And clearly not so easily changed.

But if it's a small thing or was inexpensive or merely a paint color, no big whoop.

And so it was with the felt curtain that's hanging in the laundry room.

felt curtain
Yep.  Felt curtain.
In my mind's eye, that thing stitched together, yesss, perfectly, it hung like a dream, it looked mwah, fantastic.  The reality of it, ehhh not so much.  I so wanted it to work as it strikes me as a fun, workable darn cool idea.  

Problem was, every time I was in the exasperating laundry room, the felt curtain would catch my eye.  And not in a good way.

Ultimately it hangs funny, all dopey kitty whomps and goofy so it looks...well....like poop.  Sad sad messy floppy poop.

Sigh.  Ah well.  Too bad.  So be it.  Such is life and design.  Shrug.

So it had to go.  No fear, I'll reuse the felt for something else surely; I have a screwy felt fixation.

But I need something to replace it as uh, a'-no way am I gonna peer into that creepy utility closet every time I'm in the laundry room.  No siree. And the door ain't going back on.  Nope.

Plus maybe this'll be my dip over the edge into some actionable steps to improve that wee room rather than pondering it and getting frustrated and bitter and mad and stomping off.

A while back I stumbled across a woman's creations online whom I am unable to relocate who does these large boho dip dyed wall hangings.  Super sharp.  Though, should you type "dyed wall hanging" into a search engine, golly, be prepared.  It's hardly an original concept.  Did I get the whom and who right?

Still, I thought mmmm maybe turn a wall hanging into a curtain as the strings will hang straight.  And maybe too it'll be a snazzy inspiration for the rest of that goodness-ly terribly laid out room that makes me batsh*t crazy with its ceaseless inefficiency.

Regardless, you just can't beat the 70's outta me, sorry 'boutcha.  Besides, macrame is cool again.  So there.

So I thought ok, reuse the cafe rod or tension rod* or whatever name it has and get some string.

All right then, what's not terribly wallet damaging?  Mmm, how's about cotton clothesline?  Yeah, that'll work.

cotton clothesline
Ah yes.  Clothesline.
Did a door frame height measure and got about 81.5" or so.  Generally speaking.  I wasn't going for exact.

I picked up two packages of 3/16" by one hundred feet of cotton clothesline* over by 'dere, my second home Menards.  Got home, tore open a package and huh, hundred feet's not terribly long.  Well, let's see how far these two packages go, my bad math brain said.

measuring clothesline to cut
Since my workbench table is five feet wide, I measured 21.5" from one end and made a mark.  Stretch the line across the full length then to the pencil line, and voila, 81.5" each and every time.  Well, double it, as I needed two lengths per string.  Sweet!
And that's when I realized my math was so wrong.  So wrong.  SO. Wrong.  My goodness.  So far beyond embarrassingly wrong; just outright ridiculously unfathomably bad and wrong and I'm going to math prison.

Honestly ya know, I think I was deluded by the two hundred feet.  It was not enough to complete this task.

So much for creating thriftier.

But, thankfully the clothesline at Menards is not horrifyingly priced at four bucks per hundred feet.  Still, I was not anticipating spending thirty six bucks on clothesline.  Boo.  Big boo.

Alas, I started the project and wanted to see it through, so back to the store for a boatload of clothesline.  Ahhhh rats.  Heh.

larks head knot
Montage de festón, aka larks head knot.  I totally don't speak French, fyi.
First I did some serious real measuring though.  And math.  Math.

The tension rod was about twenty nine inches wide.  One package made it about three and a quarter inches across the length of the rod, so that meant a total of nine packages.  Wow.  Sigh.

several knots on tension rod
To get the line of line across the front, the bunny ear starts in front.
Trundle back to store.  Load up cart.  Scary dude in the rope/chain aisle shooting me weird looks.  He was creepily testing bolt cutters -- I merely had seven hundred feet of clothesline.  Who's the odd one?!

All right, packages in hand, it was go time.

Not really a thrilling nor exciting process to be honest, getting nine hundred feet of clothesline cut and knotted onto a tension rod so I accomplished the task in spurts of time over several days.  Package here, two there, and whew, finally all knotted.

Surely at some point Mike wandered through and thought "jeez, what.the.hell is she making now? smdh, Cuckoo."

Next I hung it in the doorway to let the line relax a bit and ya know, get an idea of how the finished product will turn out.

string curtain test hang
Relaaaax.  It's ok.  Stretch out.
I realized then I didn't account for the amount of string the knot would take up.  So, be sure to add a smidge extra length of line for that.  Doh.  I really screwed the pooch on my math this time, wow.

Ok ok ok, math schmath, time to move on.  Next up, dyeing.

Dyeing things is a skill, near a fine art if you ask me.  I first encountered dyeing things in college with my pal Marcy who was studying costume design.  She showed me how to use their uber fancy giant dye vat and that was damn cool.

But, so, we're at the mercy of the relationship between the item being dyed, the dye,* water, and time.  It is what it becomes or you try again.  Control over the situation is, well, minimal.  

Unless you're an expert; I am not.  Nor does one need to be to do this project.  I've dyed enough things since college to know how much I can get away with instruction-wise so stick with me and you'll be fine.

First:  set up.  Rubber gloves,* dye left from my wall hanging adventures, a trash bin with a clean bag, and yeah, I think that's it.

packages of fabric dye
Hey, dye!  Uh, nice with the butt there, wow Dylon.
Plugging up the sink, I ran straight hot hot water about two or three inches deep.  Sprinkled in some dye, mixed it all around with a gloved hand, tested (do note everything will dry several shades lighter) with some spare line, took several deep breaths, a few paces around the miniature room (aka, spinning in circles) then dove in.

dye cotton clothesline string in sink
I used a light sprinkle of the denim here as I wanted a gradation of light to dark.
Gathering the whole thing together, down I dunked at a random spot.  After a few minutes of swishing and smooshing, out it came and into the trash bin holding station to drip.

Into the bath went more dye to darken things up, sprinkle sprinkle, mix mix, and grasping the previously dyed section and the bottom, the middle portion went for a swim next.

dyeing cotton string in laundry tub
Thump, into the garbage can to drip.  The second dip consisted of more denim plus navy.
Lastly, more dye, more sprinkle, more mix, more soak for the bottom portion.  Into the trash bin the wet ends went and outside we whisked to bask in the sun's drying rays.

more dyeing of cotton clothesline
Because I didn't have black dye (I always think I have black dye laying around for some reason and I just never do, sigh), I used brown.  So sploosh, more navy and all the brown into the pool.
Note:  I did not rinse any of the clothesline nor did I dampen the line first either.

A few hours pass and I went to check on the drying dye and ah dammit man, I'm disappointed.  Jeez louise, I'm so frustrated lately, nothing seems to go right, grrrr, heh.

The colors look lighter of course no surprise there, but the surprising part is they look washed out and not vibrant.  Raaaaaats.  Plus the brown in lieu of black didn't accomplish much at all but, not such a surprise.  More of a fingers crossed hope really.  Hm.

So I wait for it to dry, rehang and reevaluate in situ as the best determination for my next steps.

dip dyed string curtain hanging
What's wack-a-doo here is that the camera picked up the subtlety of the colors better than my eye.   Bad boob light lighting.  I bet too the off-white of the clothesline contributed to the wishy-washiness of the hues.  Hmph.
I mean, it's not bad.  It's not what I wanted but it was certainly passable.  But, as it was not what I wanted, I hit up Menards again.  Yes, they carry dye now!  Crazy, right?!  Hardware store?  Dye?  Yay!

Aquamarine was on sale (nice!) and black (of course, of course) made it into my cart.

Set with the new colors, it was back to the same dying process.  Dip, change color, dip, change color, dip, dash outdoors.

different color dyeing of strings
So it went partial bottle aquamarine part 1, the remaining denim with some navy part 2, a huge glug of black into the mix last.
Thankfully, I guess, as it was nine hundred bazillion thousand degrees outside, it dried in a hellfire instant.

dip dyed cotton clothesline string curtain
Pretty cool, yeah?
Much better.  The black isn't as black as I was hoping for but so it is.  Probably the nature of the clothesline along with the combo of water and dye and not really following the directions.

But it works and I like it!

dyed clothesline string curtain
Super cool and fun, right?
Now.  Onto the rest of the room.  Aw boy........

*The cafe/tension rod, cotton clothesline, fabric dye, and rubber glubs are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Nice to meet someone who's mathematical abilities are worse than mine, lol! Cool "curtain".....kinda looks like a tie dyed grass skirt!

    1. Hey, I do what I can to help others! Thank you very much!

  2. I love the finished curtain. Your writing style makes an interesting read too!

  3. I really like the finished results; gave me an idea for 'hiding' the water heater in MY very small laundry room... Thanks! (0=

    1. Oh excellent! I hope it works out for you! Thanks so much!

  4. So cool looking; love macrame/hate math and now you've given me a few ideas!!! You also crack me up :)

    Thanks for sharing this project :)

    1. We're on the same page here, excellent! Fabulous, I'm glad you've gotten some ideas! I hope everything turns out wonderfully. Thank you for your super kind words!

  5. I love your hilarious style of writing! You crack me up. I also am mathematically challenged, so I get you.

    1. Oh thank you so much! I'm so glad you got a good laugh today! Let us mathematically challenged band together in solidarity. Thank you!


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