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How to DIY Striped Curtains

August 25, 2011

A few people asked how I created our striped curtain for the Kate Spade Green Office ….so here are the easy step-by-step instructions..Seriously, if you can roll a paint roller, you can do this!

We bought large white panel curtains from Ikea for real cheap. I know they sell similar ones at Tar-jay .

The first thing I did was iron the curtains so they were easier to measure.

Measure out the length you want your curtains. I wanted ours just touching the ground and used an iron-on adhesive to hem the edges.(this came with the curtains from ikea!)

The next part involves a little math…think about how many stripes you want visible and how tall you want them. We had 12 stripes total, 6 of each color, that were 8″ each for  a total of 96″ curtains.

Starting from the top, measure down in increments of 8” (or whatever height you choose) down each side and make a pencil mark. Stretch stripes of painters tape across from one mark to the other. There is your straight line!

* TIP: Be conscious of what edge of the tape strip you are measuring from (inside vs outside). In the stripes that are left un-painted, the area looks smaller depending on how wide your tape is.

I marked my areas that were meant to be left white with a few pieces of tape so I knew not to paint them – it seems obvious, but once you’re rollin’ they all look the same.

Once it’s all marked, it’s time for some color. The most ideal situation would be to use craft paint, but since that comes in tiny bottles at a few buck a pop, I figured I could get by with some leftover paint from our old apartment walls. The only problem is that regular old wall paint would crack on fabric and is certainly not washable.

Enter Golden Fabric Painting Medium. This was purchased at an art store for about $10 (for the larger size) and would typically be used by painters using canvas or clothing, but basically is the same idea for acrylic wall paint on fabric panels.  I mixed half the bottle with a few glugs (that’s an exact measurement) of wall paint, 1:1, and stirred it up. It was really runny at first, but after I mixed it more, got thicker.

Bust out the paint and get rolling (think Brittany Murphy “Rollin’ with the Homies” – Clueless.. as you roll, makes it way more enjoyable) I tried to avoid the silver grommets, but after one too many mistakes I decided that I liked the look of the silver covered in solid paint.

After the first coat I could still see lots of roller marks and inconsistencies in the fabric. It needed a second coat, so I added the rest of the fabric medium and a few more glugs of paint. Rolled it on..let it dry a few days and peeled back the tape…had NO idea what was going on under those pieces of tape…..drum-roll please…….and there are straight lines! Normally with painting you want to peel back the tape right away, but I wasn’t sure if I needed to do a third coat or not so I left the tape on until I knew I was finished.

After a day or two of dry time, take an old piece of fabric, lay it underneath and on top of the painted curtains and hold an iron on for a few seconds to heat-set the paint. This is what will allow you to wash or iron the panels in the future.

In case you skipped over all my steps and just looked at the pictures, here is the #1 tip of all. When you have guests over, make sure you keep the curtains open and keep them from “having a closer peak” so they don’t see anything like this!

Have fun with this project! It’s so easy to do, costs as little as you want..and you can do so many different colors and patterns. I’ll leave you with some fun inspiration for your own DIY curtains!

{image via pinterest}

{image via pinterest}

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{image via pinterest}

{image via pinterest}

{image via pinterest}

15 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2011 5:38 pm

    Thanks for the instructions! I’m SO copying you! 😛 And, love the pic of Dex lounging on the curtains!

  2. September 17, 2011 11:33 am

    Love these tips…I’m doing this project as we speak and have a few “imperfect” specks of paint on the white parts too 🙂

    • September 25, 2011 10:04 pm

      Would love to see how it turns out! Just think of those specks as character! We live in old houses, wouldn’t want anything too perfect!

  3. sue permalink
    October 4, 2011 4:01 pm

    Brilliant! Thanks SO much for the tips and picks, I’ve been going nuts trying to find a curtain color and style that just doesn’t exist. Now you’ve provided me with the perfect answer!

    • October 6, 2011 12:11 am

      Sue, so glad I could help! I would love to see pictures of your finished piece. I’m moving on to painted pillowcases & table runners & will share my tips (and mistakes) soon!

  4. christiedesilva permalink
    November 8, 2011 1:19 am

    How did you remove the grommets?????? Did the just pop off and back on?

    • November 8, 2011 1:12 pm

      Hi Christie! I actually just rolled my paint right on top of the grommets. I knew I wanted my top stripe to be painted instead of white – so I took the lazy way out and rolled right over them 😉 The paint scratched off a tiny bit when I was hanging them up..but nothing noticeable! Let me know how yours turn out – what color are you doing??

      • christie permalink
        November 8, 2011 7:34 pm

        I’m doing yellow stripes. I’ve had neutral forever, and I want some fun! 🙂 I also want to start with the colored stripe. They just look better that way. Rolling right over them makes me nervous…hmmm…

  5. Sasha permalink
    January 16, 2012 1:47 pm

    Hi! Where did you find the golden gac fabric medium? I have yet to find a craft store that carries it!

    • January 16, 2012 9:02 pm

      Hi Sasha!
      I had a really hard time finding it too, but I finally found it at an art store called Utrecht. Do you have any of those around you? I found they are available at more art supply stores rather than craft stores. Maybe try the internet, even amazon?

  6. Andrea McNally permalink
    March 19, 2012 6:57 pm

    I am going to do this with 5.00 white flat twin sheets from Wal-mart. I will be using just wall paint, I tested it and it was a bit stiff but no one is going to be snuggling them! LOL. Then after they dry I will cut the sheet lengthwise and hem the cut side with iron bond hem tape. So in the end the total price will be 10.00! I am going to hang with curtain clips, but you could cut the top hem at the sides and slide the rod thru as well! Thanks for your instructions.

    • March 20, 2012 7:49 pm

      Andrea, you are a girl on a budget – $10, you go girl! I would love to see how it turns out, what color paint are you using? I love curtain clips, they make the drapes look more modern and are easier to open and close. I got some really nice ones on amazon for about $7. Good luck:)


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