ombre pinterest fail

Some people say cleanliness is next to godliness but I’ll be honest: I’m not as particular about things being clean as I am about them being in their place.  Even so, I couldn’t stand the fact that my white shower curtain liner had a mildew stain.  (I’m opening up my real life to you here.)  Never mind the fact that I wrung out the curtain every morning and washed it repeatedly; that stubborn pale orange line would not fade.

stained curtain

“Well,” I thought, “if you can’t beat ’em….”  (This is a recurring theme in my apartment-bathroom philosophy.)  I decided to dye the curtain orange.  Orange ombre, as a matter of fact.  This trend looks fun; I thought I’d try my hand at it.  Take that, unsightly mildew stain!  Rendered invisible by Sunshine Orange RIT dye.  Now who’s stealing the show?

wet fabric in sink

I stuffed the whole curtain into the kitchen sink to get it wet, per the instructions I read three or four times to make sure I had everything on hand and fully understood the steps involved.  I may or may not have audibly talked myself through the steps before beginning.  (Okay, I did.)  When the fabric was wet and gently wrung out, I draped it over a tension rod suspended over the sink.

wet fabric hanging over sink

I pushed the fabric to one side and filled the other side of the sink with steaming hot water, a cup of salt, and a bottle of dye.  I stirred until there were no more salt crystals and no more swirls of dye; everything reached a vibrant homogeneity.  When doing this step, I heartily recommend gloves without holes in them.

dyed finger

I rest my case.

fabric dipped in orange dye

Then I lowered in a portion of the curtain.  I let it sit for 25 minutes before lowering in a little more fabric.  That sat for 15 minutes before I plunged in the rest.  I think I gave that portion five minutes.  Then I rinsed the curtain in cool water, per the instructions, and hung it over a tarp to dry.

fabric fully submerged in orange dye

Does it feel weird to cover half your kitchen with a tarp?  Yes, it does.  Does it make your heart sink to your toes when you see that the project to which you just devoted an hour has emerged a complete failure?  Yes again.

finished project hung to dry

Not only was the ombre effect very slight, but the middle of the fabric bore unsightly blotches.  I was a little indignant.  None of the blog tutorials I read had warned about this.  I had stuck my gloved hand in the water (obviously) to make sure there were no undissolved bits of salt or anything in the sink.  (And I cleaned the sink before beginning, my opening comment notwithstanding.)  Ugh!  How to redeem this mess?

color contrast {orange}

Turns out there was a noticeable color difference between the top and bottom of the curtain, but not as dramatic as I expected.  And that gradation was no consolation–the curtain was still ruined, in my opinion.  And I had an orange finger.  Bugger!  I had to go to work; no time to fret or craft a Plan B.

While working I landed upon what I thought was a redeeming solution: I would re-dye the curtain a darker color, absorbing those spots into oblivion.  After work I dashed to Hobby Lobby and bought Scarlet dye.  How romantic!  How dark!  For an hour–an hour!–I stood there stirring constantly while watching Season Three of Modern Family.  (Okay, constantly except for a few seconds off to snap this picture.)

fabric in scarlet dye

And what do you think, but the scrumptious shade of scarlet turned PINK after I rinsed it.  PINKER after I laundered it just to see if that would save the day.  And it still had those damn spots.  (I’m claiming that’s a literary reference.  Bonus points to whoever identifies it in the comments–honor system: no Googling.)

What’s even worse: the next morning when I showered, the pink curtain stained the side of the tub!  I bought a new white curtain.  I still have the old one but its lot in life remains undecided while I scrub with bleach, a cleaning supply I did not own until this happened.

pink fabric = fail

This one’s going down as a definite Pinterest Fail.  See more here.  If nothing else, they make you feel better about botched attempts at domestic mastery.

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