February 17, 2013

No-Sew Fringed Curtains and Cheap Curtain Rods

Hello all! Snowing here in Pittsburgh and it looks like a white out! But I am toasty warm in my house with my blanket and hot cocoa while my girls are playing Beach Bash in their bathing suits and goggles! I don't think they even know to be cold.  They have leis around their necks and sunglasses on, wet hair from the spray bottle and they are having a blast. I guess if they wish hard enough warm weather might happen!

In the mean time, I have been working on my new Living Room curtains this week. This was one of the projects I wanted to complete for the Living Room Reno.  We have 10 foot ceilings and really big windows. That is a lot of acreage to cover with fabric which roughly translates into a bunch of money.  I had bought IKEA white canvas curtains  when we first moved in 8 years ago but they have never been long enough and therefore I moved them to the girls room because they were in desperate need of new curtains. So that alone saved me  some dough since I just had to buy curtain rods for them. (More on the curtain rods in a minute)

They look so much better there! Still a little short but much better than the dark brown blinds I had made. What was I thinking????? 
What, pray-tell, did I make the curtain rods out of???  I had seen on BHG website some rods made of electrical conduit. Once I investigated the idea at Home Depot, I was sold. It only costs $4.00 for a 10 foot piece. Then you need some wall flanges, split rings and threaded pipe. Stay with me and you will see. I kept the conduit silver for the girls room since the curtain grommets were silver.

For each curtain rod:
(2) 3/8" galvanized split rings
(2) 3/8" galvanized ceiling plates
length of completely threaded rod ( I used a 26" piece for 4 windows and had a little left over)
Hack saw - to cut the threaded rod to length
pipe cutter - to cut conduit to length 
spray paint if so desired
First you have to cut your conduit to the correct length.  I wanted mine about 2 inches past the edge of my window moulding. I will be adding finials once I figure out how to attach them un-permanently since I need to be able to get the girls curtains off of the rod to clean them if I wish. Buy a pipe cutter and place your pipe inside the cutter with the blade at your mark. Tighten down  the clamp and start twisting it around the pipe. Once it is going around rather smoothly, tighten again. Keep doing this until you have cut the pipe in two. For the living room, I wanted a little of the brown from the fireplace mantel to show up around the room so I spray painted all the hardware in Oil-rubbed Bronze from Rustoleum. 

Here are all your pieces and how they get assembled. Make sure you buy threaded rod that fits the plate and ring. Just test it in the store.

Now once you have everything together, you want to hang the hardware. 
A word about hanging these rods. Electrical conduit is a bit heavier than most traditional rods. I also had to drill into brick walls to hang both of these rods. To make sure these do not fall of the wall, I used 1 3/4" concrete screws and 1/4"wide plastic anchors. Using a 1/4" masonry drill bit and a hammer drill, drill holes where you want the plate to be. Place your anchor into the hole and then screw the plate into the anchors. Now it is completely secure.
You really should listen to the adage measure twice, cut once. Or in my case bring the rod into to measure before drilling holes into your nice newly painted brick walls because you placed the rings too far apart! Yes, I have some touch up painting to do in my future.

 Okay, so now the rods etc are in the right place and ready for some curtains. 

What is my go to fabric?
OF course, did you think I'd say anything else? Well, may be a tablecloth or sheets but not this time.
I am a sucker for drop cloth because it is HUGE and CHEAP! Plus it washes up nice, is heavy and wears well. Plus it frays in the most beautiful way. 
"You want frayed edges!" 
Yep. I did say these were no sew and this is one way to make great curtains without sewing. If you don't like the fringe then just hem the sides and you will have a more finished look.

But you do not want the edges to continue to fray every time someone pulls the curtains closed. So what do you? Use Aleene's Stop Fraying. It is a light weight glue that is specifically made for fabric hems, seams and any cut edge (ribbon) that you do not want to fray.

Okay, How do you get fringy, no-sew curtains from drop cloth?

Here's what you need:
Drop cloth size and length of your window. (I like 8 oz. weight)
Stop Fraying
Curtain Clips

Wash and almost dry your drop cloth. Leaving it a little damp makes it easier to iron. I ironed one set and let the other set dry once it hung. I like the unironed better. Plus I realized on the smaller window I had bought the 10 oz. weight and it doesn't hang as well in my opinion. But that was also the set that I ironed so maybe that is the problem. I'll let you know if I figure it out.

Another thing about drop cloth. I had to purchase a 9' x 12' drop to cover the big window. This size is usually pieced together with two 6'x9' drops so you will have a seam. I thought it would mess me up having a seam running down one of the panels but when I opened it up, I was able to just fold it in half and cut off the seamed edge. 

Lay out your drop cloth so the back is facing up. Or the hemmed edge is facing you if that makes more sense. To get a good fringe, snip a starter cut and then rip it apart. Drop cloth will rip on a straight line and it is easier to pull off the threads to fringe the side then if you cut it. Cutting it makes you have very uneven threads to pull because sometimes you are not cutting straight.

 Once you have pulled enough threads to get the a fringe you will want to break out the Stop Fraying. I fringed about 3/4 of an inch. 
 The reason you want to apply the Stop Fraying to the back of the curtain is because it will dry with a bit of a sheen. You will want this to be hidden when the curtains are up. 
Run a bead along the edge of the fringe, include the very ends as well where the hem is
Run your finger along the bead now making sure to spread the Stop Fraying into the material AND the fringe. Let dry about 10 minutes then hang the curtain. It will still be tacky but not terrible and you want the curtain hung so it can dry with less wrinkles.

Result of "fringing" your curtains. 
Save it all! 
I have a great idea for these...if it works...but you'll have to stop back and see!

Now you are ready to clip your rings. I also spray painted these since I wanted everything to be uniform. Start by clipping both ends then I just eyeballed the rest. I wanted them to have a little bit of a pleated look without the hassle of pleating them on a machine. To do this I just pinched a bit of cloth and clipped the clip to the pinched pleat. This is what it looks like on the back.

And this is what it looks like from the front. Just a little bit of added interest to an otherwise boring drop cloth curtain. 

You will want to "train" your pleats so that they fall well when you pull them back and they don't need to be repeated every time. So pull your curtains in tightly together and about a foot from the bottom tie them in place then when they dry, they will stay that way.

This is the Stop Fraying after it has dried just to show the light sheen. 

 Here they are full length!
 Apparently aliens have arrived... 

Still working on my photography skills

This was the set I ironed and is the heavier weight.  Which do you prefer?
And would you add finials or not?
I am on the fence on that one.

Total investment for (4) 112" curtains:
$36 for drop cloths
$16 for curtain rods
$7 for spray paint
$28 for rings

Total: $87 which roughly = $43 a window. 
You can add another $16 for curtain rods for the girls room as well if you think that matters.

What I would have spent:
$200-$300 on 12 yds of fabric
$70 for curtain rods ($35 each for 84" rods)
$28 for rings

Total: $306-$406

I think this is a no brainer.

Stay tuned....there is much more to come on a tight budget
and you might see the curtains take on a little bit of a different look once we get our sofa and chair.

If you want to see other projects from the Living Room:

As always, Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read and visit! 
I truly appreciate it.

Always being renewed,

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  1. Your curtains and the rod are fabulous! I love that your girls are pretending it is summer in this winter weather. How fun!

  2. Kim one more time please... am I still a no-reply? :)

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  5. What brand of drop cloth do you use?

    1. I used the brand I found at Lowes. I am not sure of the name however


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