Tuesday, August 28, 2012

DIY Painted Curtain Tutorial!

For a long time, I had plain curtains from Target hanging in our guest room. When Jared and I decided to swap the guest room for the office/studio space, I decided to spice up the curtains! I love chevrons and painting, and after perusing Pinterest, I thought I had found the perfect tutorial for easy peasy painted curtains. I pinned it and later when I decided I wanted to give it a shot, the tutorial was for something entirely different. I saw simple striped curtains in the picture and decided that obviously they were painted and pinned it. (In case you're curious, this is what I pinned.)

I'm not sure why my brain leapt to that conclusion, but whatever. I came up with my own!

Here's what you need:
1. Curtain panel(s). If you don't want to spend much money, check out Goodwill or another thrift store to find cheap curtains to experiment with.

2. Painter's tape. DO NOT SKIMP ON THIS. I thought  I could use regular masking tape for a painting project once, and if I wanted my project to look horrible and messy then that would have been a perfect plan. But I didn't want that, and you probably don't either.

3. Acrylic paint in whatever color you'd like your design to be. If you have fabric paint, then that's even better. I didn't use it because it is pretty expensive. Whatever you choose, make sure you have plenty. For this one curtain panel, I went through at least 3.5 2 oz bottles of acrylic paint.

4. Normal painting supplies like brushes, water, etc.

5. A template or pattern to work from. I wanted a chevron pattern, so I used a memo pad from the kitchen and taped it together to be a giant chevron. 

6. An old tablecloth or something to protect the work surface.

7. Optional: fabric medium. Fabric medium turns regular acrylic paint into fabric paint, which is pretty awesome. I use it for my hand-painted bags and it works great! I didn't bother using it for this project because 1. It's kind of expensive and 2. I have never ever ever washed my curtains before this project, and that's the primary reason you use fabric paint or fabric medium. In fact, I thought it was a joke when someone brought up washing their curtains. I'm sure we've all got better things to do with our time. Like make cool stuff! Am I right? If you do happen to wash your curtains, it's probably best to invest the money in fabric paint or the fabric medium. Martha Stewart makes a great fabric medium that you can buy from Michael's for about 6 or 7 bucks.

First, I went ahead and washed and dried my curtain. That was the first and probably last time I will ever wash a curtain. I ironed it and hemmed it because it was a bit too long. Then, I spread it out flat in my studio floor.  I put my chevron pattern on top of the curtain and my sister and I taped along the sides of the template.

I think there might be part of a grocery list on the end there.
I enlisted my sister's help on this project because she's really good at math and I am not. I needed help with the spacing! Plus, I like her.

Once we got the curtains all taped up, I hung them back up so that I wouldn't mess up the tape, and they hung there for probably 2 months. Not because that's necessary to the project, but because I got seriously busy, then lazy, then busy again. 

 As you can see, I started with two curtain panels. Originally, I had the genius plan of just quickly (ha!) painting these bad boys outside in the driveway, and things were going good for a while until an unfortunate gust of wind blew one panel over my head and directly onto my paint. It wasn't good. Not to be deterred, I decided I liked the idea of just using one panel and started painting.

 If you attempt this project, be sure to check the tape and make sure it is all firmly stuck in place. Even after a couple of months most of my tape was still stuck, but there were a couple of rogue pieces that were coming loose. Probably out of protest. Either way, you want your lines to be crisp, so double check before you paint!

I love watching Hoarders while I'm trying to work. It inspires me to keep my space pretty and not junky.
Because I was painting the panel on my worktable and didn't have a ton of space, I painted a section and then waited until it was pretty dry to take the tape off and move to the next one. It took a couple of hours to paint 4.5 rows. (My bottom row is only half a chevron.)

Once everything was dry, I hung up the panel, and noticed that there were some places that I missed with the paint. I figured I had one of two choices.

1. I could add a lining to the curtain, which would probably involve math...
2. I could just add more paint.

I added more paint.

It was easiest to see the places I missed while the panel was hanging, so I just added more paint while it was hanging up. This was pretty easy for me with just the one panel, but if you didn't have a ridiculous painting accident and you have two panels, I'd only do one at a time. After that, you're done unless you used fabric medium, in which case you need to heat treat your curtains so you can wash them. The instructions should be on the bottle of fabric medium, but if they're not, I heat treat by putting whatever it is in the dryer on high for at least an hour.

After all was said and done, I like how the curtain turned out! I really like the geometric shape and the pop of color they add to the studio.

And now, here are a couple more photos! (Please excuse my messy desk. In a dream world, I would have a spotless house and studio, but I guess if I'm busy creating stuff, I'll never have a clean house! oh well!)

My dancing lady approves.

If any of y'all try this, please let me know how it goes!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks!! I just saw this for some reason, so I'm sorry for my late reply!


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