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Never buy curtains again: 27 inspiring DIY curtains you can make yourself

I’m okay with the price of domestic plane tickets in general.

I know you were wondering.

Not that I enjoy paying for them, but I generally feel that transporting me through the air, defying gravity, is a service that should cost something. If Delta tried to send me to California for $3.99, I might feel suspicious.

However, based on my limited (and in some cases, nonexistent) knowledge of the world, there are many things that do cost more than they “should,” in The Economy According to Me. Here’s an incomplete list:
1. Lamps (Should be $10 a piece. Up to $50 if it’s fancy.)
2. Rugs ($2 a yard!)
3. Healthcare (Shazam, just dropped a current event on your face!)
4. Faucets
5. Underwear (How much did it REALLY cost you to make this tiny thing? Also, perhaps granny panties should be charged a different rate. But I don’t make the rules.)
5. Curtains and curtain rods.

Because curtains, after all, are just fabric. Much like underwear. And because they generally cost more than they “should,” curtains are an excellent candidate to make yourself. Today I’ve rounded up the most giant, inspiring list of DIY curtain ideas from some of my favorite DIY blogs so when it’s time to dress your nekkid windows, you can do so for less than the cost of a few pair of fancy-pants underpants.


Creative ideas to make your own curtains AND curtain rods! SO many inspiring ideas!

inexpensive DIY curtains, diy drapes, diy drapery ideas


easy_to_follow_sewing_tutorials

easiest no-sew curtains

Creative ways to DIY decorate curtain fabric

clever curtain hacks



Whew! No reason to ever pay for curtains again, right? However, I’d still recommend dropping the cash on underwear, regardless about how you feel about the price. But it’s your call.

Have you ever made your own curtains or curtain rods? What costs too much in the Economy of You?


Don’t forget to pin this so you can access these ideas when you need ‘em!



Creative ideas to make your own curtains AND curtain rods! SO many inspiring ideas!

P.S. If you dig this post, make sure you check out these inspiring before-and-afters too:



Let's connect

Comments

  1. cassie says:

    i will never ever buy curtains again!!!! thank you so much for including my natural rods! i am loving the anthro flutter knock offs!

  2. Megan says:

    So many fun ideas! Thanks for including mine!

  3. Marissa says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I’m a fellow sister in Christ who has been reading your blog for a while now and just realized I have never commented on anything! Shame on me. I had to write a comment on this one because I am SO glad you posted it! I just moved to Australia with my hubby of 4 years and let me just tell you that EVERYTHING is more expensive here, even curtain rods and underwear!! We are going to start building a house in the next couple of years so I have been trying to accumulate little ideas and tricks to make decorating it cheaper. Curtains are one of those things that just leave me stuck, but not after reading this! Thanks so much for compiling all of the ideas into one place! I even wrote a blog about your blog because I was so excited about it! Nothing gets me more enthusiastic than a great idea!

    Also, I just watched your cute video where you answer reader questions and I LOVED it! I still can’t stop laughing about the knees.

    Blessings!

  4. Lisa says:

    Wow – those ARE so BRILLIANT ideas!!! You have super smart friends!! :) I have lots of weekend reading here, especially since doctoring up so Ikea curtains on my to-do list! Thanks for sharing and including my rods, Kelly!

  5. Linda Slater says:

    I just love your blog!
    We have just finished our extensions and am now thinking about the curtains. My trusty sewing machine and skills means I’d never buy a set – just sew them – out of cotton voile! So easy so cheap. But the interesting thing is the cost and look of the curtain rods. I want handswept curtains and an industrial look, but not rods and rings. But the thing is THE BRACKETS are ugly ulgy ugly! So I reckon we will purchase a simple rail and get the brackets made. That will certainly be a LOT CHEAPER than the $1000 (AU) that I was quoted .(The quote was admittedly for the most beautiful rod and brackets – but I don’t like them THAT much!)
    Keep up your inspiring blog!

    • Taryn says:

      I just thought I would share some info I learned when I recently decided to sew my own curtains in cotton voice and dye them – I’ll save money, AND get the perfect color! I’m excitedly babbling about sourcing voile and choosing a color to my mother over coffee – my mother who was SHOCKED when I told her that no, you do not throw the sewing pattern away after you’ve made the garment once; that in fact, if you can find a pattern that fits straight out of the envelope, it’s practically priceless – and my mother suddenly looked…a bit constipated. I asked what her problem was. She put a catalogue on the counter in front of me – a catalogue I would NEVER shop from because no way am I paying $500 for a monogrammed sheet set. Only the page she showed me was not of bedding – but gorgeously simple, vibrant cotton voice curtain panels that start at $19/pair. I couldn’t beat the price. It’s a catalogue from The Company Store in New Jersey, US.

  6. Yes. Curtain rods especially are outrageously priced. I did the whole conduit and drawer knob thing here: http://annebronkema.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/master-bedroom-makeover-homemade-curtain-rods/
    I also channeled my inner grumpy cat along the way, because, just, NO. Who pays upwards of $50 for curtain rods? Eeeks.

  7. Those are brilliant! My sewing machine and I haven’t been friends in a while :( I might need to try it again one of these days! xo Kristin

  8. I will never buy underwear again, er … I mean curtains!

  9. Deneen says:

    Wow what a great place to come for all these great ideas! Thanks for including mine!

  10. Love this post :) Also can I add number 6: custom frames? What’s up with the pricing on that. They are so ridiculous even the stores that make them have perpetual 50% off and still the price is insane. Four pieces of wood *staple*, insert glass, *fiddle, fiddle* DONE!! That’ll be $250! Oh you have a coupon? That was the price AFTER the coupon thankyouverymuch.

    • Daricia says:

      Frames, yes! I just now discovered this blog through Pinterest, but I just had to add my #1 “costs too much” item, and then saw your comment, Katja! Frames are ridiculously expensive and I’ve never been able to figure out why. Anyone know? Maybe you’ve done a post about them already, Kelly? Love this post about curtains…they’re definitely deserving of the “too much” list as well! :)

  11. Bliss says:

    Sure you had to add a no sew option so I have no excuse not to make some myself. Think I’ll drop the home DIY and blogging all together and make thongs. Or maybe I can combine them with DIY, recycle sweaters and vintage fabrics. Lord knows wouldn’t need much of either!

    Bliss

  12. Keia Lee says:

    I have been wanting to add curtains in my living room for quite sometime now and this is perfect!
    Thank you!
    Keia

  13. Julie W says:

    I HATE paying for curtain panels and hanging hardware! I gets those granny panties I had to pay for in a bunch (wait, what?) Love all of these ideas. Except when I’d have to sew. But if I can make my mom do it so her machine won’t kill my fingers? AWESOME.

    I haven’t posted about it yet, because I wanted to see how the whole thing holds up, but I’ve recently hung a VERY okie-fied curtain in my oldest son’s room. It involves the use of the flat sheet he’s never used, heavy fishing line, and 2-inch wood blocks. I KNOW!

    I’ve also recently discovered the existence of replacement parts for vertical blinds. And they are METAL. My current verticals (in the dining room, on the largest window in the house of course) are all plastic parts. I’ve a mind to switch the hanging tabs out for the metal, hang the traverse high and add a huge stenciled dropcloth, ahem, CURTAIN. So, the goal for that one is, 1 – no sewing; 2 – no plastic; 3 – under $50. Dropcloths are cheap, but they ain’t free.

  14. Hannah says:

    Kelly! I’m moving in two weeks and we have no money to clothe our nekkid windows so this is a Godsend! I really love your blog and your ridiculously amazing ideas and it also comforts me that you get anxiety when designing a room :)

    God bless sister!

  15. Amy says:

    Ok, I have to comment :D
    For those of you who don’t sew, or for those who don’t have the time or patience for any of it ( I can’t sew, but I love that sticky tape stuff) you really need to go to nomorerack.com. I don’t know if I’m allowed to post sites on here Kelly, but they have all kinds of home goods stuff, Including curtains. They have extended lengths too an no additional charge! I just did my dining room window for $20 :D and my two living room windows for $24!! Wooohoooo!! The site changes frequently but is truly a great place to keep your eye on. They also have free shipping and $1 shipping from time to time. Hope this doesn’t take away from all the great ideas you posted, but I worry about the people who can’t sew!! We just sit here and drool over the gorgeous curtains everyone is making. Now we can have some too!!

  16. Amber says:

    I love this! I just bought a condo that has large windows, near neighbors, and zero curtains/hardware! We needed curtains STAT! So this was my first time buying window coverings, and I was floored! My husband and I talked constantly about the absurdity of curtain prices!

  17. Breanna says:

    Very very creative idea…. I love it❤

  18. Thanks Kelly for including my Sharpie curtains in this fabulous, talented round-up!!!

  19. verneyl says:

    I seen on tv that you could also use a painters drop cloth for curtains.

  20. Never again! Now what will I spend my money on ? :)

  21. I always sew my curtains. I hate the prep work, but the sewing part is so (or should I say sew) easy. Straight lines – no problem. I even have a tutorial on pleated drapes.

    http://www.willscasa.com/2012/03/how-to-sew-lined-pleated-drapes/

  22. Emily says:

    I hate the cost of curtains too and refuse to buy them unless I have to. I buy cloth shower curtains to use as window curtains and no one ever knows.

  23. Julia @cuckoo4design says:

    So much great stuff. I will officially try to never buy curtains again ;)….well maybe ;)

  24. Caroline says:

    Hi Kelly! Thanks for the great ideas!! I’m always looking for ways to improve the look of my home the cheapest way that I can. I can’t wait to get started :D

  25. Lily says:

    Another idea: Use quilts for curtains and shower curtains. Been doing that for awhile now.

  26. I think curtains are overpriced because so much fabric is overpriced. I have to be careful because it sounds all great to save money by making my own but when you need 3 yards per panel and there are 2 windows in the room, it can add up quickly.

    Another thing that’s stupidly overpriced: soap dispensers. Seriously, $12-$20 for one of them?

  27. I have some sadly unembellished (and, umm….unhemmed) drop cloth curtains waiting to go back up in my sunroom….so this is a timely post! Must get embellishing!

  28. bev says:

    A really cheap way to make curtain rods is to use 1/2″ copper pipe from a home improvement store. This is really helpful to save bucks on wide window areas or to enclose a porch area with sheers . Simply hang the pipes with large cup hooks and anything you like can be a finial from tennis or baseballs, to cutting an ore and using the paddle for one end and the handle for the other.Your decor will be the factor. You can use wine bottle corks to shove into the end of the pipe and screw in almost anything.like drawer pulls or just use fancy wine corks.

  29. Thanks for including my curtains! I don’t if I’ll ever buy curtains again. And I completely agree with your “Economy According to Me” incomplete list.

  30. Becca says:

    WOWza!! Thanks so much for including my homemade curtain rods in your round up, Kelly! I am also squealing inside to know you went to my blog!! Weeee! [Obviously I'm pinning the crap outta this!]
    xoxo Becca

  31. Jenna says:

    Thanks for the roundup of ideas! And you are right, curtains are WAY overpriced. No way am I paying $100 per panel. Maybe I’m cheap, but that’s OK with me! :)

  32. Caroline says:

    Super ideas here! Not exactly curtains but I made my own roman blinds by buying the cheapo ones from Ikea and attaching my lovely expensive fabric on top!! Dunno how to post a pic!

  33. Amanda says:

    I have turned shower curtains into panel curtains. So economical!

  34. Ooh great roundup, Kelly! Love all of these great ideas! Pinned for future reference! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, friend!

    ~Abby =)

  35. Thanks for the round-up! Over a year ago, I made my own curtain rod using a tree branch and I’ve loved it ever since. I finally got around to sharing pictures (http://www.turningithome.com/2013/07/tree-branch-curtain-rod.html) and what steps I took to make it safe to bring inside. I don’t like critters in my home, so I had to make sure I wasn’t bringing any in with it.

  36. Helen says:

    Thanks for the roundup! These are great! I actually just made some curtains from drop cloths, and I loved how easy they were! I also realized what a difference adding pleats can make :) http://mrsbomb.com/629/drop-cloth-curtains/

  37. Lara says:

    I have used copper pipe for curtain rods, with metal outdoor faucets sprayed the same colour as finials…It was really cute!
    I’ve also used wine-bottle stoppers stuck into the ends of a pipe for finials–nice if you can find large ones that aren’t too heavy. :)

  38. katie says:

    LOVE this round-up! So true! NO need to ever buy curtains when you can make them!

  39. Vicki Martin says:

    I havent bought curtains in years,I buy twin size sheets and use them as curtains,They are thick and last forever and cost next to nothing,You can die them any color(even Tie Dye)lol

  40. Just YESTERDAY I came up with my own window treatment “hack”! I needed a very long rod for a very large window, but didn’t want to pay $40. So I bought a long, thick wood dowel(?) from the hardware store and spray painted it black to match the finials I already had. Looks great!… and for only $15!

  41. connie england says:

    I couldn’t see anything here, picture were small, writting was cut off only showed half , got no instructions at all! I though I had something here.

  42. Fabulous round up Kelly! So many wonderful ideas… thanks so much for including mine in it!

    Nancy

  43. Kerri says:

    I used to own a condo built in the early ’70s. It had an 8′ sliding glass door in the living room and, in many ways, that was great. (I happened to be first floor, so moving the furniture in through a 4′ opening? Awesome.) However, as you might guess about anything built in the early ’70s, you would have to try really hard to make it any more energy inefficient. I could sit on the couch about 15 feet across the room (dining/living room was one big room) and feel the cold creeping across the floor to my feet. (And I live in Raleigh, NC! It still felt that cold.) As you curtain-buying/making folks might guess, curtains to cover an 8′ sliding glass door were not easy or affordable to come by — most sets are just short enough (made for a 6′ door) that I would have had to buy another set to cover the whole door.

    I can’t remember if the idea came to me in advance or if I was wandering around Kmart and saw the Martha Stewart fleece blankets on sale, for like $20 every size. Best of all, they had red, which was my living room accent color. I bought two king-size blankets, sewed a pocket across the top, slid them onto the curtain rod and voila! And they made a HUGE difference in the comfort of the living room. They also looked pretty good and most visitors had no idea they were fleece blankets until I pointed it out.

    The only downside was that they shrunk a teeny bit each time they were washed (once or twice a year) and by the time I moved out, they were not quite touching the floor, but considering that I got probably 6+ years of use out of $40 in fleece blankets, I can live with the shrinkage.

    If you’re cursed with an energy inefficient window/sliding glass door, I encourage outside-the-box thinking — fleece blankets, vellux blankets, affordable comforters that tie in with your decor, etc. may be cheaper (and possibly work better) than insulated curtains.

    For a nicer look, I’d suggest using a much wider blanket (or use two). Plus, if you’re using it to help boost insulation, the waves and thickness of the blanket(s) should help that performance.

    Btw, I used jewelry-making supplies from WalMart (a chain and lobster clasps) to make my curtain tie-backs for about $2 each.

  44. Urvashi says:

    Yes, curtains are so overpriced. But, I’m not a creative sorts. I wish I could do some DIY, but end up buying things. But, I’ll definitely give a try to one of your ideas. I specially like the before-after inspirations!

  45. Momma O says:

    I might have to try some of those No-Sew curtains… we are moving into our new house in about 2 weeks and have nothing but naked windows… was talking to my husband last night and told him to be prepared – it’ll cost a minimum of $100 a window to dress (Of course we need 100 inch curtains *slaps forehead* and that is even with Target for the curtains, rods and blinds. (Must have blinds, because lord forbid someone actually sees INTO the house) He almost had a heart attack when I reminded him we have 20 windows to dress – without counting the back sliding door.

  46. anna says:

    I just made lined drapes for my living room. The lining is a white king sized flat sheet from Walmart. I bought the fabric during a close-out at a warehouse-type fabric store for $3/yd. I used 1 1/2 wide grosgrain ribbon to make back tabs. The curtain rods I purchased from Ikea for $6. The are 1″ diameter white steel rods with a screw hole in each end to put finials (about $6/pr). The brackets were about $2 each. The rods and brackets can be spray painted if you want another color, but since my baseboards and trim are white I kept them as is. I hung them 3″ from the ceiling. Because of the back tabs, the curtains are higher than the rods, about one inch from the ceiling.

  47. Jordan says:

    I LOVE this post! This is a great idea. I just finished making curtains for my bedroom (spend about $12 for the fabric at JoAnns), but I wish I had seen this post just a couple of weeks ago so I could have made my own curtain rod! I need to make curtains for our guest room now and I am definitely going to use some of these ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  48. marla says:

    I always use flat sheets or lengths of fabric to create one of a kind (and no sew curtains!) blankets and quilts are great as well! :) I use tree branches as curtain rods.

  49. jean edwards says:

    I love

  50. pat says:

    great job !
    can you tell me why you used different size ribbon tabs?

  51. margaret maggert says:

    I have been making curtain rods for years they have always been expensive!my favorite is conduit and door knobs covered with sculpy clay and baked then I will antique them or just sealed depending on the color I was after,I have also covered ping pong balls and tennis balls and golf balls to make finials.I love to change the looks in my rooms and this way I don’t feel to guilty about doing just that!

  52. Bernadette says:

    Curtain making is always a lot of fun…it makes you stretch your decor skills…But there is nothing like Custom Draperies and hardware. Being in the drapery biz..Curtains will remain super fun an cheap. Custom draperies are soooo beautiful and expensive.

  53. Well, there is nothing wrong in designing and preparing curtains yourself if you have so much creative ideas and imagination. But what more important is that you do not find it boring and enjoy it.

  54. TNK says:

    Good list. I use bed sheets for my curtains. I just add a little flair to the tops by pleating them and then hemming them at the bottom. Super easy and super cheap. I have had many comments on my curtains and how the fabric is really cool. Yep, nothing more than $4.00 flat sheets from Walmart :)

  55. Fiona Scott says:

    brilliant example of self sufficiency.. and good for the pocket.. Can it be done with shower curtains as well??
    If so.. i’d love to see how thats done

    keep up the good work

  56. Janet says:

    I’ve sewn curtains for many people, and many times I told people to go buy them, because if you don’t want custom it’s almost always cheaper to buy them. Beware!

  57. Lynnea says:

    Love your ideas and your list of overpriced things made me laugh. I think I would add bathing suits to that list though right after underwear. I hate having to pay $100 for something that is made out of that little fabric. For that price my mommy tummy had better look really good.

  58. Deemarie says:

    “If Delta tried to send me to California for $3.99, I might feel suspicious”. LOL thank you for making me laugh this morning. I totally agree I feel suspicious to and would not get on the plane. Great article too on the curtain. 1st time I read your blog saw you on Pinterest.

  59. Hurrah! In the end I got a webpage from where I
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  60. Jeni says:

    I loved seeing the painters throw idea because I used them in my first home. I had a huge bay window and french doors that I needed curtains for. Thick curtains for privacy, oh and I had no money. (First home and all) So I used those painters throws. Even sold them with the house!! Now I’m getting ready to purchase more and put up curtains in my back patio for warmth and some privacy. Love the BLOG!!!

  61. DeWild says:

    I made some cute no sew blackout curtains out of fun dark fleece! I cut 3-4 in strips at top (like for a no sew tie blanket) and tied them to some colored twine, worked awesome!

  62. Mindy says:

    Hi there,

    Here is my dilemma. We have 13 ft walls and our windows go up almost as high. Curtains (at least standard) are not made this long and having them custom made I cannot afford.

    Was wondering if I could buy ready made curtains and buy 2 sets instead of 1 set and somehow do a band (or something?) where the 2 panels would meet, which would then make 1 nice long panel.

    Does that make sense?

    Need help!

    Thanks so much,
    Mindy

    • Kelly says:

      Yes, that makes sense. Maybe if you made striped curtains and you could somehow disguise the hem on the edge of the stripes?

  63. Susannah says:

    I love your list of things that are way more expensive than they should be! I totally agree! My husband and I are both big DIY people and can’t wait to get our first home (we want a fixer-upper!) and get started making it beautiful! Blogs like yours make me feel like I’ve found long lost “kindred spirits” and I immediately want us to be friends and do projects together! I’m so excited to follow you and enjoy your journey with you!

  64. Rachel says:

    What fun projects! I look forward to trying this with curtains in my new space.

  65. Sarah says:

    In college, I was desperate for dirt cheap curtains with some kind of design. I ended up buying a crazy cheap white sheet at a local discount store, cutting it in half, finishing off the edges and folding over the top to make a sleeve for the curtain rod, then I made three different sized leaf stencils and “embroidered” around them with yarn that I already had. I used three or four different shades of green to give more dimension and interest to the curtains. Not a bad fix!

    Also, internet service, chocolate (worth it, but…), and toilet brushes (because poop).

  66. Kimmi says:

    This is great, i laughed readding this but you are so right. I’ve always made my curtains, its so much cheaper. Plus you get to brag about how great and creative you are. And if you have any left over material, you can make matching pillows for the bed or couch. Greatness!

  67. These are amazing! I’ve always enjoyed the idea of having custom fabric designs around the house. I embrace DIY and have been looking around for something like this to suggest to other people when the want to make their own curtains. I’ll definitely show them this to help them out!

  68. Jennifer says:

    I love these ideas! I made curtain rods from electrical conduit, but then I needed mounting hardware. I found a cheap way to make my own! Here’s a link to the post: http://thecraftpatch.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-cheapest-curtain-rod-and-easy.html#.VDg0IvldUoM

  69. Susan says:

    I just bought conduit to make some custom roller shades for odd sized windows. I never thought about using it for rods, but I have to say Duh! right about now. Back to Home Depot to get more conduit. I have 22 windows to cover in a 106 year old house. Odd sizes, odd placements, just odd all around. I always knew I’d have to make my own curtains and drapes because of this, but I was put off by the horrendous prices for rods. Conduit, ping pong balls, and spray paint are now on my list.

  70. tiana says:

    One other curtain hack… I hate flat sheets, so I cut them up the middle, heat tape a hem on the cut sides, open the stitch at each end of the top and there you go… free (not counting the cost of the sheet set) coordinating curtains.

Trackbacks

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