I admittedly LOVE Anthropologie....as in I could spend hours and hours in that store petting all the things. Heck, I even purchased their curtains (on clearance) for my bedroom. And they are gorgeous and worth every penny.
However, for our formal living room, the budget was super tight and I needed to get creative. In my search of 118' curtains, the Santina Lace curtains from Anthropologie popped up and I was smitten.
But at $150/panel my heart was broken. Not today, anthro...not today.
Immediately I knew the most affordable way to start the DIY was to get my hands on some IKEA curtains. No joke they are the most affordable (and great quality) curtains you will find anywhere.
That's right folks...$35 for a PAIR of 118" curtains. They are sturdy and have a linen feel to them - I knew they would be perfect for this DIY. Unfortunately I don't have an Ikea near me anymore (womp womp) so I called up my bestie from back home and she headed straight to IKEA and shipped them to me. I'm a lucky girl!
Once I had the curtains picked it was time to find some lace! I started my search on Etsy hoping for a big selection of bulk lace. I narrowed my search to the United States because time was an issue and I couldn't afford a delayed or prolonged shipping time. I also knew I needed quite a large quantity so price was an important factor...after all this is a budget DIY! My other criteria was a wide lace (at least 4 inches) to mimic the Antrho curtains.
My original selection didn't have enough in stock so I chose this poly-blend lace from Zengs Lace and More:
The sweet owner Anna was one of our One Room Challenge sponsors and donated the lace for this DIY project. I used 14 yards @ $3.98/yd so it would have cost $55.72 not including shipping and tax. She had so many great options to choose from but this lace was beautiful and I love the final product. So far with curtains and lace we are at around $90!
Now here's where things get interesting....
The inspiration curtain has an ombre dyed cotton lace.
So I needed re-create that ombre look with this lace. I searched endlessly for 'how to ombre dye lace' and came up pretty empty handed. Plus, I knew I needed the edge of the lace to remain white to attach it to the curtain so this was proving to be a bit challenging.
I ultimately decided to use some Rit Dye that I picked up at my local craft store. I won't bore you with the experimentation of colors (who knew blue would dye straight up purple?!) so here's the final formula and technique.
14 Yards of 4 in wide Lace
1 bottle of Rit Dye in Navy
1 bottle of Rit Dye in Black
Container for Dye Solution
I used an aluminum tray to hold our dye solution and protected the counter with an old tablecloth.
To prepare the dye, heat a pot of water to a boil. In a large glass measuring cup add 2 TSP of the Navy Rit dye and 2 TSP of the Black Rit dye. Then add 5 cups of boiling hot water to the measuring cup. This is your recipe for the color concentration you need. Of course to make a bigger batch you would double the amount.
I poured the dye solution into the aluminum tray to make sure I had enough surface area to dip the lace. In order to ensure an ombre effect it was important to not just submerge the lace in the dye. The lace needed to be dipped standing up.
So my first attempt to keep each section of lace in the upright position was to wrap the lace around a board and attach with floral wire. After doing several I realized I didn't need the board. Simply holding the lace upright with my gloved hands worked just fine.
Then I placed just the bottom of the lace into the dye solution while holding onto the board.
Here's a quick video to show you the *magic* of the dye wicking up the lace. It's pretty cool.
How cool is that?! Once the dye got to about 1/4 of the way up the lace I removed it from the dye solution and placed standing up onto an old towel.
Now here's the even crazier part. Even though the lace was no longer in the dye, the color continued to creep up the lace. Here's the same lace about 15 minutes later:
Now this is where I wanted to dye to stop. But.....it had other plans. It continued to wick up the lace until I had this when it was all dry:
I was feeling all sad about myself and then realized that it was bohemian and added to the uniqueness of the overall DIY. If this ISN'T a look you love, my only suggestion is to perhaps hold the lace in the dye longer initially until the color is about 1/2 way up and then after it dries the dye should have wicked all the way up the lace. Or, you could re-dye the lace starting on the opposite side but you would lose the ombre effect.
We also tested this process on a piece of cotton lace and the ombre look was definitely more pronounced. The cotton also didn't allow the dye to continue to wick once removed from the dye. To be more true to the original Anthro curtain, a 4 inch wide cotton lace would work great as well. Here's how that looked-
So once I had all the lace dyed and dried I handed it and the curtains over to my sweet friend Jackie who then sewed the lace trim onto the edges of the curtain. I am not a seamstress despite my aspirations. My friend Jackie, however, wrote a little blurb to guide you on how she attached the lace!
"I lined up the lace along the edge of the curtain making sure all the lace was in the same direction. Starting at the top of the curtain, I pinned the lace so there was a slight overhang and the top and the lace could be folded over making a nice edge. I also made sure the pattern began at the same point on each side of both curtains. I then trimmed the lace, following the detailing to clean up the top edge. Then I sewed the lace on along the straight detailing which was the easiest to hide the stitching. At the bottom I again folded the lace over the end of the curtain to give a nice finish and trimmed the lace. I did a second stitch down the second straight detailing so the lace would not ruffle and lay flat against the curtain material. And voila...Colette's beautiful vision came to life!"
And with that a beautiful little package was handed over to me containing the most glorious curtains for the fanciest room in our house.
They add just the right touch of uniqueness to this room. They aren't overpowering- they are soft and romantic and allow all that beautiful light to shine in. So here's to DIY-ing our way through this room and saving $200. You can see more of our final living room reveal here.
And here's to good friends who know how to sew!
Have a great week friends!