Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Save A Penny: Painted Horizontal Striped Dropcloth Curtains

Recently, I started working on redecorating my son's room. We live in a rental and the walls in his room were peach (3 walls) and a burnt orange color. Needless to say, I wasn't a fan and haven't done anything with his room since we moved in months ago.

I recently had some time in my schedule and received permission to repaint the room so I got to work. I painted the walls Dover White. It's so nice to have a clean slate to work on. If we owned the home, I might have done something a bit more daring than white but since it's a rental, I wanted it to be neutral.

I rearranged the furniture just a little and refinished a chair with some new paint and a new pad. I painted the chair blue and decided that the white curtains that I borrowed from my daughter's room didn't do enough with the white walls. I found a tutorial on painted curtains on Pinterest that I loved so I decided to give painted curtains a try. I absolutely love the end result. I still need to change up the bedspread but overall, I love his room so much more now than I did two weeks ago!

Here's how you can make your own painted curtains. 

2 drop cloths (or regular curtains if you'd prefer)
1 gallon of paint (I used nearly a quart on just ONE curtain)
A small foam roller and paint tray
Blue painters tape
Plastic to put under the drop cloth as you paint.

I purchased two drop clothes from Home Depot. I didn't have much of a choice because HD is all we have here but I've read if you want to use drop cloths, Home Depot is the place to go. Lowe's has them but many of them have a seam down the middle. I purchased two 6'x 9' canvas drop cloths for just over $10 apiece. 

1. Wash the drop cloths.
2. Iron them out. This takes some time since they are so large. I found that the highest setting was too hot for them. They needed a medium setting. I didn't use starch because I didn't want to have issues with the paint if I used starch.
3. Hem your cloth to the length you want. I have 8' ceilings and I wanted them to go from ceiling to floor so they are 94" long. I folded down the edge to 94" and then sewed the hem. 
4. Decide how many rows you want and how wide you want each row to be. I was planning on doing each line 6 1/4" but after I painted the first curtain and was measuring the second, I found that I had actually made the blue liens 6 1/2 and the white was 6 1/4. You can't tell but it made my last line on the bottom a little shorter as a result.
5. Carefully tape off each row that you will paint. The wider the tape, the more likely it will be that you won't mess up while painting. I used 1 1/2" tape because that's what I had on hand. I didn't make mistakes but if I were buying it, I'd purchase it a little wider just to be safe. I taped off one curtain, painted it and let it dry then tried taping off the other curtain. On the second curtain, I kept making mistakes while I taped so I finally laid the first, finished curtain underneath to help me as a guide. I'm SO GLAD I did this as the lines would have been totally off if I had taped them separately. I'd highly recommend lining them up together to make sure you tape them the same.
When taping your second curtain, line your first up underneath to make sure you tape it correctly!!

Tip: I wanted the top line white and both times I started taping I messed up and put the tape where the blue line would be painted. I had to peel it off and start over. Make sure you start off correctly with your tape after deciding if you want the top painted or white.

Because the tape has to stay only in the part that's staying white, it creates sort of an optical illusion with the lines.Your lines should LOOK wide and narrow if you want even lines.

6. Lay down your plastic and tape the edges. Lay your curtain on top and begin painting. I sat on a piece of brown paper that helped in case I accidentally stepped in paint or got it on my pants or something. I didn't want to worry about accidentally smudging paint onto the wrong area of the curtain.
7. Load that paint roller and start painting. The drop clothes absorb A LOT of paint so don't skimp. I got pretty good coverage but really should touch up the curtains because with the light shining through them, you can see some areas that need a bit more paint. The back of the curtain doesn't look nearly as pretty as the front. I'd recommend sewing a panel to the back if you want it to look pretty. You can also try to paint the lines on the back. However, I haven't tried this and I'm not sure that it wouldn't ruin the front if you did that so be cautious. 

8. Peel off the tape carefully. Don't allow it to touch down on the curtain! Allow to dry overnight and then the curtains are ready to hang!

All finished!!!


  1. Question...it seems like a lot of people have mentioned the paint making their curtains too stiff. I want to try this, but I'm nervous about them looking unnaturally stiff. Did you have that problem at all and what type of paint did you use?

  2. The paint definitely makes the curtains stiffer than other curtains. I think some of the issue is the drop cloth is a pretty heavy fabric so it needs a good bit of paint for good coverage. Perhaps a lighter material wouldn't have that problem.
    Personally, I don't have a problem with it as I can still slide them open and closed and they hang very nicely. I've never considered the stiffness to be a problem and I LOVE how they turned out. I would, someday, like to put a backing on them so they look nice from outside. THe back is very splotchy...but you can't tell from inside.