DIY Yellow Curtains for the Playroom

There are only two bedrooms on the main floor of our house, the master bedroom and a large-ish room at the front of the house. For the first few months that we lived here, I used it as my office space, but it just didn’t really work for some reason. Then I had the idea to move my office to the big space above our garage on the other side of the house and make the old office our playroom.

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I had been a little worried that toys would end up migrating all over the house with this set up, where the playroom is right by the living spaces, but really, it’s been so great. I love both the studio space and this playroom, which we only very recently decided to quickly decorate in time for the Domino shoot. We had been planning on doing Evie’s room as the kid’s space in the spread, but the playroom ended up being the easier space to photograph in the end, so we threw this room together in about seven crazy days! These yellow curtains were our jumping off point.

I wanted this room to feel girly and playful, and I thought pretty curtains were a great place to start. We had no time and really no budget to make fancy curtains though, so IKEA came to the rescue. I had actually picked up three packs of these white cotton Ritva panel pairs a couple months before (when the room was still an office) and I just hadn’t got around to hanging them yet.

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I almost didn’t use them because I wanted the walls to be white, and I wanted the curtains to be a fun color to pop off the white. This image kept coming to mind when I was brainstorming colors. I only wish I had the budget to recreate these exactly!

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I figured it wouldn’t really be a wasted effort to try and dye the IKEA panels because I wasn’t able to return them at that point. So I picked up four bottles of RIT dye – two each of Golden Yellow and Lemon Yellow. It’s not for everyone, or for every tub, but I felt comfortable with dying the panels in my bathtub. I tested the dye beforehand and there was no staining on the fiberglass, so I felt good about moving forward using my tub. It made the project and clean up about a million times easier than using a big tupperware tub (and I have a front-loading washing machine, so that wasn’t an option).

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I got three of the panels wet in the shower first (which helps the dye soak up more evenly) while I filled the tub with about six or seven inches of the hottest water I could get out of the tap. I added one bottle of each of the two yellow colors and about half a cup of salt. Once that was all mixed, I put in the three panels and while wearing long gloves, moved the fabric around in the dye bath for a good 20-30 minutes until the color looked bright and even. I turned on the faucet again, to cold this time, and let the dye bath drain and the cold water run on the panels until the water was close to clear. I moved the panels to a laundry basket and took them to the washing machine for a cold water wash on the delicate cycle.

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I made a hanging station and let the panels air dry over night. And then I started again with the second batch of three panels and two more bottles of dye.

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Then we ironed each panel well before hanging them over white fabric shades from Lowes (which were less than $20 for the 48″ size!) and white wooden rings and rods, also from Lowes.

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I love, love, love how these curtains turned out. Because I had bought the IKEA panels so many months before, it practically felt like a $12 project, where I just had to buy the dye. :) And I think the color combo of the lemon and golden yellow colors really worked out perfectly, which was sort of a lucky break.

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I think when I have some extra time I’ll add a thick or even black out lining to these to add some weight and a clean white backside view from the front of the house (though the white roman shades help a bit with that for now).

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Have you had any successes with dying big projects like this? Have you used your tub or a tupperware container?

  1. Emily – I wouldn't try it. I think painted velvet doesn't read right. I'd just look for cheap green velvet on eBay (there are always tons of listings) and make my own panels or find a seamstress if you don't sew.

    OR use these cotton ones and dye them green instead.

    Hope that helps! xo

  2. J McManus – No problem with staining here! But black dye is probably a whole different thing! Can you use a bit of bleach solution to clean it up maybe? There's a RIT product that is a dye remover I think? Might be worth a try.

    xo

  3. Hi Susan! I *think* it is these Allen + Roth shades, but the price is not right, so it's making me second guess the link. But these are still pretty affordable!

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_338272-77732-ICC4872L_0__?productId=3371984&cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-HomeFashions,StorageCleaning-_-WindowBlindsShades-_-3371984&CAWELAID=1024029964&kpid=3371984&CAGPSPN=pla

    I was super excited when I just happened to stumble across them when I was buying the rods and rings! I had been planning on making my own white shades, which was going to take some time!

    Hope you can find them at your local Lowes! xo

  4. That's so smart! I just bought white IKEA curtains on Saturday because I couldn't find colored ones my husband and I could agree on! I may have to try this.

  5. I LOVE the cheery yellow curtains! I also love the way the curtains puddle on the floor. After this post, I somehow mixed up your blog name and thought "little yellow notebook." Those beautiful curtains have that much of impact :)

  6. I've been thinking of using the sanela curtains from ikea (velvet looking ones) in the turquoise/blue-green color–then using fabric paint in Kelly green to hopefully give me luscious Kelly green velvet curtains.

    Do you think that would work?? If it was you, would it be worth the $70 for the panels to attempt?

    • I don't think that would work, unfortunately. But ikea does have 100% cotton velvet curtains (maybe the sanelas?) that, being cotton, should take due well. I wouldn't dye poly velvet, but these should work. They come in white so just dye them like Jenny did here. Although maybe use extra dye if you want them super saturated. Good luck!

  7. Random question..(even though I'm SURE you would have mentioned this if it was a problem) You had no problem with dye staining the tub correct?

    I only ask because I used black dye for something and it accidentally got all over the kitchen counters and cabinets–it was a very intense 30 minute clean and I still wasn't completely successful in clearing all of it!

    • She does mention that it's not safe for all tubs and that she tested hers first :)

  8. Those look great! I love the happy pop of color. Do you happen to have a link to the fabric shades from Lowe's? I've been looking for something like those, but haven't been able to find affordable ones.

  9. Jenny

    Emily – I wouldn't try it. I think painted velvet doesn't read right. I'd just look for cheap green velvet on eBay (there are always tons of listings) and make my own panels or find a seamstress if you don't sew.

    OR use these cotton ones and dye them green instead.

    Hope that helps! xo

  10. Jenny

    J McManus – No problem with staining here! But black dye is probably a whole different thing! Can you use a bit of bleach solution to clean it up maybe? There's a RIT product that is a dye remover I think? Might be worth a try.

    xo

  11. Jenny

    Hi Susan! I *think* it is these Allen + Roth shades, but the price is not right, so it's making me second guess the link. But these are still pretty affordable!

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_338272-77732-ICC4872L_0__?productId=3371984&cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-HomeFashions,StorageCleaning-_-WindowBlindsShades-_-3371984&CAWELAID=1024029964&kpid=3371984&CAGPSPN=pla

    I was super excited when I just happened to stumble across them when I was buying the rods and rings! I had been planning on making my own white shades, which was going to take some time!

    Hope you can find them at your local Lowes! xo

  12. I've been obsessed with yellow curtains ever since that Domino mag with the apartment that Julianne Moore decorated! There were some fun yellow curtains in it, and ever since I'm convinced that vibrant yellow curtains = JOY. :)

  13. Ellen

    FYI – I have a front loader and have had many successful dyeing projects with it! :)

  14. Ahh! I've been curtain shopping the last few weeks and I wish I had thought of this! I ended up going navy in two rooms (living and master) but I might have to explore other color options for the remaining windows in the office.

  15. I do love these!

    And another question on the roman shades…do you know of any affordable CORDLESS options. I really want a nice tailored look in our nursery but want to avoid the cords for obvious reasons.

    Thanks!

  16. I too am a yellow fan because of domino. Your draperies turned out wonderfully. I kinda want to dye everything now!!

  17. Love these!! You nailed the color- yellow is such a tricky color to work with but you got it just right. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Another great Ikea hack! I have a pair of Ritva curtains that I have yet to hang, I am going to have to try this now!

  19. Krysta

    We dyed all of the napkins for our wedding. That was probably the biggest dye job I've done to date. The results were great!

    I have these same curtains and have been thinking about dying them for use in our guest room. I think this post has given me the confidence I needed to try it!

  20. I dyed these same curtains blue for my sons room and added a black out liner. And I juat dyed the Poang chair cover navy. Although that one staines the tub a bit. It is almost clean though

  21. I'm usually not a yellow person, but these really stuck me and I LOVE them! Great inspiration!

  22. Annie

    Love them! So bright and cheery! I haven't tried it on curtains, but I did have success dyeing the henriksdal chair covers in my front loader using a brand of dye called idye. They have a poly formula too! I got mine at Joann's. As long as you don't pack it in too tightly, it works great!

  23. Love them! I can never get enough yellow! People think I"m crazy, but I tell you, it changes my mood in a huge way.

    Tip from a bathtub dye addict — put one of those oversized plastic tupperware storage tubs (like the kind you use to store holiday decorations) inside the tub, then add dye and water. You can still drain off in the tub, but the exposure time will be minimal and not so risky when it comes to staining porcelain.

  24. Haley

    These look great! And so much like the inspiration photo! I've been dreaming of emerald green curtains, and a little DIY like this sounds right up my alley.

  25. Eva

    I have that same inspiration image pinned. I'm in the planning stages of a big home reno and the yellow drapes are one of the things to fit into it.

  26. FANTASTIC idea! You pull off color like nobody's business (I know we always say this, but it bears repeating).

  27. Also, this may be the dumbest question you have ever received (ughhhh sooorrryyyy), but how did you hang them with the curtain clip rings? Did you pinch the rod pocket thing on the back of the Ritva curtains and clip them onto that? Or, did you do something differently?

  28. I am a serial dyer. :) If I can dye something, I will. I dyed my guest room curtains using my washer (which is a pain because it's one of those new fangled ones that makes all the water level decisions for you – never again). Then I made a stencil and bleached a design into them. I also ombrΓ© dip dyed a shower curtain in a 5 gallon bucket, easy peasy. I used drop cloths for the bedroom curtains, but now I wish I'd used Ikea curtains as starters.

  29. This is genius! they look amazing!!

    x Lily
    whilemyboyfriendsaway.blogspot.com

  30. I super-recommend Dylon dyes instead of Rit if you're using natural fibers. They're "fiber-reactive" which means…um…I'm not sure what it means. But it results in fabric that can be washed a million times and the dye doesn't bleed.

    LOVE the yellow curtains. Why have I not thought of dying our boring off-white curtains??

  31. Wow these are so sunny and beautiful!

  32. Yellow is possibly the happiest color around and thus perfect for a playroom. I have a pair of Ikea curtains that's plain and this is a great idea to dye them.

  33. Hi,
    I just love the yellow you ended up with, such a sunny colour. Well done :)

  34. Jenny – I'm with you. Unfortunately I was in a big time pinch and they, believe it or not, are the only retailer here that sells these two colors of RIT! Should have taken the labels off before photographing to hide my shame more carefully. :) Forgive me?

  35. I love how bright and happy your curtains turned out, SO awesome. Pinning!!

    xo,Tanya
    twelveOeight

  36. I love you Jenny, and have been reading you for years…but Hobby Lobby?!

    For the love of god, please take your business elsewhere. There are tons of other places to go in PHX!

    :(

  37. Jenny

    Jenny – I'm with you. Unfortunately I was in a big time pinch and they, believe it or not, are the only retailer here that sells these two colors of RIT! Should have taken the labels off before photographing to hide my shame more carefully. :) Forgive me?

  38. Hey Daphne!

    Thanks for pointing out that photo gave the impression that Hobby Lobby was a sponsor of this site. They are NOT. I am super scatter-brained these days, and I wish I had realized this potential issue beforehand! Apologies all around!

    I kept the photo of the two dye bottles in the post (because I think it's important to be able to see the products clearly), but I covered up the Hobby Lobby stickers to help prevent future confusion.

    Thanks again for helping me to see this. I hope you feel comfortable coming back to LGN going forward!

    best,
    Jenny

  39. Autumn

    I dyed Ikea curtains with RIT last summer and they faded in the sun. Boo. I wonder if there is a way to seal in the color somehow.

  40. Daphne

    I realize that corporate sponsorship is important for your blog, but I'll be singing off as a follower now that Holly Lobby is part of that list.

    Thanks for the past years of inspiration, and best of luck to you.

  41. Whoah! @Daphne! Slow your roll…The post isn't sponsored by anyone or Jenny would have told us. She answered the HL question in a prior comment.

  42. Jenny

    Hey Daphne!

    Thanks for pointing out that photo gave the impression that Hobby Lobby was a sponsor of this site. They are NOT. I am super scatter-brained these days, and I wish I had realized this potential issue beforehand! Apologies all around!

    I kept the photo of the two dye bottles in the post (because I think it's important to be able to see the products clearly), but I covered up the Hobby Lobby stickers to help prevent future confusion.

    Thanks again for helping me to see this. I hope you feel comfortable coming back to LGN going forward!

    best,
    Jenny

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