1. In a spray bottle, dilute bleach with water—about 2 parts bleach plus 1 part water.
Hint: we used two types of bottles, with two types of sprayers, for variations in the effect.
2. The process gets messy so put down some plastic to protect the floor—either a tarp or trash bags.
3. Hang each french-belgian linen panel as wrinkle free and taut as possible and be careful to not double up the fabric when hanging it since the bleach will seep through and affect the second layer.
Hint: we used clothespins to add weight.
Remember: the bleaching action breaks down particles—in this case the color molecules thereby removing the color—so take this into consideration going forward.
4. To maintain as straight a transition as possible, mark both left/right sides of the panel where you want the gradation to start/end—then start spraying the bleach mixture at the very bottom of the curtain.
Hint: since the bottom will be completely bleached out, use this space to practice the desired look of the final gradation—so you have the technique mastered by the time you get there.
5. Moving from side to side, spray the panel with the mixture going up a bit each pass. When the marked height is near, start spraying more gently. For best results, wait between spays to make sure it’s creating the desired gradation.
6. After the panel has been fully processed, make sure the bottom isn’t blotchy—spraying multiple times may be necessary to get it as white as possible.
Hint: edges of the panels are stitched with a polyester thread which will not be affected by the bleach and will retain their original color. Also, once the color has been bleached out, don’t be surprised if the fabric is a bit more off-white than white-white.
7. Let air dry to stop the bleaching action.
8. To further stop the bleaching action—which could eventually break down the fabric’s fibers—rinse the bleached area with cool water in a large sink or tub.
9. Launder panels per their care instructions, then hang!
As with any DIY, results will vary so—at your own risk—please proceed with caution.