How to Dye Drop Cloths for Patio Curtains

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Use Fabric Dye to Customize Drop Cloth Curtains

Store-bought drop cloths are big and inexpensive. Add some fabric dye and you’ve got custom curtains perfect for hanging inside or outside on your patio!


Rit has color formulas for just about any color under the sun! Select your desired color and they tell you how many bottles of each color you’ll need!

Why Drop Cloths

Drop cloths are relatively inexpensive when compared to curtain panels of the same size. And that’s important since they’ll be outside in the weather they will likely need to be replaced every few years.

But I love that they are the exact right size for the opening on the patio we’re working on without any sewing from me! And since they’re durable and washable, it’ll be easy to keep them clean.

Prepare Your Curtains

You’ll want to use hot, hot water for all steps in this process! I used buckets to pour water onto my curtains. But if you’re doing this in a bathtub, you can eliminate the buckets!

After the curtains are thoroughly wet, remove them and set aside. (On second thought, the buckets would come in handy for this step whether you’re working in a bathtub or not!)

Mixing up the dye with other amendments before adding the curtains back in is essential to the dye being even and not splotchy when you’re done.

Mix Up Dye

The dye directions call for adding dish soap and salt (vinegar for wool or nylon) to the water along with the dye to promote level dying. This helps drive the dye into your fabric’s fibers instead of keeping to itself in the dye bath.

Since I am using 2 different colors of dye, I’m mixing them in a separate container before adding to the water with the salt and soap. This ensures the dyes are adequately mixed for even color.

Once the dye and amendments are mixed well in the bath, you can add your curtains back in! The first 10 minutes are the most important in getting even color, so you’ll want to turn on some good music or a podcast and stir continuously!

To get a deeper color, leave in your curtains for up to an hour. Keep in mind they will lighten up once they’re washed and dried. I left mine in for about 45 minutes and wish I had left them in longer. After the initial 10 minutes, you don’t need to stir continuously, but be sure to stir every few minutes.

Rinse, Wash and Dry

After you got the dye how you want it, remove from the bath and ring out excess dye water. Rinse the curtains before washing them in your washing machine with warm water and regular laundry detergent.

Dry them on low heat and iron or steam any wrinkles!

Curtain Rod and Brackets

The outdoor space these were made to hang in has a beam on the ceiling. So I ordered special brackets* so I could center them on the beam and hang them upside down.

Denim Dyed Drop Cloth Curtains Hanging on Patio

I just used a regular curtain rod that extends for this big opening and matching curtain rings.

The Today’s Homeowner episode with this patio’s full transformation airs the week of April 20th! Click here to find what station it airs on in your town!

Thanks for Checking In! ~Chelsea

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

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