When I heard about the new Rust-Oleum NeverWet, my first thought (I may have even blurted it out loud in a meeting) was, “Outdoor curtains!” I love the look of outdoor curtains — sophisticated, ethereal, vacation-y — but they can be so expensive. I sew, so I love to make my own curtains for indoors, but weatherproof fabric can cost a pretty penny and it would be hard to justify that expense for our outdoor space right now. Weatherproof fabric also often has a stiff feel, and I was looking for a more fluid look for my patio.
“But if a spray product could turn indoor curtains into outdoor curtains,” I thought, “that might be just the hack I need!”
In addition to sewing, I also love to dye fabric using natural and handmade dyes. I’ve tried several sources of color, but I keep coming back to turmeric. This Eastern spice colors not only curry dishes but also almost any type of fabric. It’s so easy to get a rich, bright natural yellow dye from a little bit of turmeric. And it just so happens that yellow is a super popular color right now (especially in yellow and white stripes!) and a perfect choice to brighten any space. So I set out to make outdoor curtains out of naturally dyed fabric. Did someone say “challenge”?!
The packaging for Rust-Oleum NeverWet cautions that the product yields a “milky haze” on fabrics, so I knew it was a bit of a gamble. In anticipation of this dulling of the color, I added a little more turmeric than normal to the pot and kept the fabric in the dye bath as long as I could wait for it. The spray did dull the bright yellow some, but the result is still bold and colorful, as you can see. And a little water or other liquid just sheets right off the curtain! I can say from experience, though, that an all-out downpour of rain will wet the fabric. See?
I am imagining that this effect is specific to fabric, which is listed as a secondary application for this product. (Primary applications include wood and metal.) After I had such an experience (it has been raining non-stop here), I threw the curtain in the dryer, hung it back up, and tested a little water on the surface again. To my surprise, the treated fabric retained its hydrophobic qualities, even after being rain-soaked and heat-dried. Amazing!
My only issue with my outdoor curtain project is that it does have a slightly sticky feel, but that’s a small price to pay for a beautiful, handmade, hand-dyed outdoor curtain — don’t you agree?
Watch this video to see my project in action, then check out the how-to below for the steps I took to create this project, from buying fabric to hand dyeing to hanging outdoors. And let me know what you think or if you have any questions in the comments!
This post is brought to you by Rust-Oleum NeverWet — “You’ve never seen water behave this way!”