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Normally, I write a column about hunting for quality thrift and flea market goods and transforming them to fit your style and space. But every once in a while there’s something that you need that you might not be able to find in a flea market (or, let’s be honest, you might not want to find). Fabric is one of these items-especially tricky because it can hold smells or even bring bed bugs! Curtains are certainly no exception. And lately, I’ve been having a really tough time finding the perfect curtain, one that includes a pattern and color I love and a price that isn’t equivalent to a plane ticket out of the polar vortex in which I currently live.

Curtains are always tough for me; I typically end up going through, oh, three of four sets of curtains until I find the ones that are juuust right. And while I own a house now, I spent many years as a renter in a completely white walled apartment looking for ways to easily spruce up the space without having to do the dreaded paint and then multiple coats of ‘paint back to white,’ when I move. That’s where curtains always come in handy; their fabric and pattern has the ability to completely enliven the room with little to no permanence.

That said, finding the right curtain can be a frustrating process. Most of the curtains that I have fallen in love with are prohibitively expensive, ($60.00 and up per panel? Not so much when you need more than, well, one). Even the ones I DID like didn’t exactly match the room colors. And in my quest to find the perfect curtains, I often end up buying the complete wrong ones and end up either returning them or, as is too often the case, stashing them in the back of my closet. So after scouring the internet for the Goldilock’s choice and/or trying to find a random promo code that would somehow give me, oh 75% off the curtains that I wanted, I decided to give up. Then my research led me to a number of people who had actually DIY’d their own curtains…by painting them. What? How did this not cross my mind? Let’s try it!

The Treasure Hunt: Okay, admittedly this is less of a treasure hunt than average. In fact, pretty much all the hunting can be done from the comfort of your own couch, (which totally rocks when there’s a Law and Order, SVU marathon on television). I spent some time trying to figure out what type of pattern and eventually decided upon simple stripes that mimicked a very pricey designer brand. The hunt was basically trying to find inexpensive but nice quality white curtains–not as difficult as I feared. Bonus, I would be able to use the leftover paint from corresponding walls to ensure a perfect match!

What You Need:

  • Curtains
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Roller/Paintbrush
  • Painter’s Tape

Step One, Iron Curtains: I’ll admit it: I totally skipped this step. But learn from your mistakes, right? Iron out all the wrinkles from the curtains so that you have a clean, snag-free surface. This will eventually prevent the curtain snagging during the taping aspect and keep your lines sharp.

Step Two, Measure And Tape: If you are going to stripe your curtains, decide both the height of the stripes and the distance between them. I tried to keep mine relatively even, so I measured my stripes at 13 inches high and 14 inches apart. If you’d like wide stripes, these measurements will work for a standard 84 inch panel.

Step Three, Tape Additional Curtains: Lay subsequent curtains over the initial taped curtain and use it as a guide. This will save time and ensure that your stripes match up when hung.

Step Four, Paint: Fabric soaks up paint like crazy! I used a small roller and the remaining wall paint. Run the roller over the stripe a few times to ensure an even coating.

Step Five, Remove Tape: Remove the tape and voila! How easy was that? And likely, even with all the materials, it was a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for custom curtains from a designer store. Actually, the only pain in the butt thing about the whole process (well, aside from the taping) is actually nailing in the curtain rod. Once you’ve done that, you’re all set!

Don’t hesitate to test out different patterns: chevrons, polka dots, flowers, diamonds, even you own IKAT design? What kind of design will you choose?

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