So remember a few days ago when I posted about coveting some DIY drop cloth curtains? Armed with some hem tape and fabric softener, I tackled my first homemade curtain project!

Quickie Materials List:

  • 2 Canvas Painter’s Drop Cloths
  • Hem Tape (for thick fabrics)
  • Iron
  • Tape Measure
  • Curtain Rod/Hardware

I picked up a couple of 6′X9′ canvas drop cloths from Home Depot for $9.97/each. I had measured the length I needed based on the new height of my curtain rod. At 108″, these were perfect to cut down to my custom 90″ length. First I washed them in warm water with a Downy ball of fabric softener. Now I realized after the fact that the hem tape I purchased expressly says in the directions that it should be used before washing and of fabric softener (doh!). Since I had already done these things, I figured I’d try it anyway. It seems to have worked, I made sure to take extra time with the iron to be sure. But now I’m getting ahead of myself…back to curtain washing….

I had read that these things can shrink, which is what prompted me to wash them in the first place. I laid them out to dry on my husband’s sawhorses (totally recommend making a few of these bad boys…so handy!).

When they were mostly dry, I popped them into the dryer on low heat for a bit of fluff action. The result was only a mildly wrinkled piece of fabric. Profuse ironing followed, however I would soon realize that it wouldn’t be enough. Just do the best you can then find a place to lay them out so you can measure your lengths. I picked about 5 spots along the width of the curtain to mark out 90″. Then I ironed along my new hem as a folded the excess fabric according to my marks. You want to be folding the excess fabric onto the “wrong side” (whichever side you DON’T want to see in your final product.)

Decide how wide you want the opening for the curtain rod. Most of the larger ones have removable ends, so 2″ or 2.5” should do the trick. Just make sure you check the curtain rod you will be using.

Ok I’m going to geek out a little bit here, but trust me when I tell you that the saying “Cut once, measure twice” is really good advice.

Your curtain rod opening, let’s call this measurement A. You’ll also want to account for the width of your hem tape before you cut (you guessed it- measurement B.). To create a clean, foldover hem with no fraying, you’ll need some extra fabric, about 1″. From the top of your fold, measure down A+B+1″. This is where you want to make your cut. Just like the first time, pick about 5 points along your fabric to mark this measurement to be sure you’re getting a straight edge. For the first hem, with the wrong side up, fold the fabric up 1″ and iron the fold.

Now, choose your weapon: I suppose any hem tape will do, but I bought Heat-n-Bond Super strength.

Lay out the tape between your two fabric faces and follow the instructions on your hem tape. I actually ended up doing triple time with my iron because the canvas is such a thick fabric, but you will be able to tell when the tape is bonding. When the fabric is completely cool and bonded, fold down your new edge (still wrong side up) to the A+B length, and lay your tape between the two faces again right on the edge. Repeat your ironing proceedure and voila! Ready to hang curtains! I gave mine another ironing, but I came to the conclusion that my iron is pretty terrible and I kind of liked the casual I-just-came-from-the-dryer look so I hung them in all their wrinkled glory!

2 Responses

  1. Kat

    Cool!! I have a friend whose been wanting to make these so I am forwarding your page to her!!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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    [...] Again August 9, 2010 6 Comments Auto Adsense WPI finally got around to creating another pair of drop cloth curtains for the living room. If you’re having a similar love affair with this oh-so-textured linen [...]


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