Breaking it down, curtains on the cheap

The inspiration for the curtains in the dinning room reveal I shared yesterday came from this lovely image.

Via Centsational Girl

After a little research, I found that this patterned fabric also comes in other colors, namely gold.  I thought it was so beautiful and hip and the perfect fabric addition to the new dinning room.  The price tag for this perfect fabric though, not so perfect. I did the math and the fabric for two 94″ panels would be around $180. Ouch! While beautiful, I couldn’t swing that price tag.

I remembered seeing ready-made curtains that had been stenciled with great designs, but I couldn’t find the right length inexpensively and locally.  So I decided to use the cheapest, long length of fabric popular with blogging DIYers- drop cloths!

I copied the style of curtains I had hanging here previously, a back tab panel.  I used strips of leftover drop cloth material to sew on the tabs, spaced almost exactly like the old panels.

I lined them with white twin flat sheets, thanks to a fabulous tip by Miss Mustard Seed.  Flat sheets can be purchased at Wal-Mart for only $5.00 a piece!

The drop cloths were purchased at a newly opened Big Lots for $10 a piece.  I believe the size I used was 4 x 10. Unlike the wider size, there are no seams in the middle and fairly nice edges.  I even had plenty of extra material at the bottom to use for other projects.

I could have bleached them, but after hearing the horror stories from my friend Dana who ended up with blotchy unbleached spots, I decided against that idea. (An important side note here, Dana says the Wal-Mart drop cloths are inferior quality to the Big Lots versions.  Just today, she had to have a plumber come and dig out all the strings that were stuck in her washing machine drain! Yucky and expensive.)

I have also had good luck with ones from Home Depot.  I used those for outdoor curtains on our pergola this summer and they have held up well, even after several washings.

I ordered the stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils. They are a little expensive in my opinion, but the quality really warrants the price.  I could justify the cost as well because I plan on using the stencil again in the powder room just off the kitchen.

This is how I secured the drop cloth to the floor and covered the floor with a plastic drop cloth to protect the floor.  It worked great.  Using the stencil was very easy and quite forgiving actually. I used a small, sponge roller (the ones for trim and cabinets) and latex paint. I purchased one of the “quarts to go” from Sherwin Williams for about $7 and have nearly the whole quart of paint left.  (Any great ideas on what to do with that left over paint?)
You’ll notice that I ended up using a happy green color instead of the gold.  I pulled that color from the fabric I used to recover the chairs.
There is also a hint of this green in decorative paper I matted and framed on the opposite wall. This is why good design is an evolutionary process. The gold, or even a blue green, I had considered would have been boring.

Here are the curtains again in the room.

It is with my sincerest gratitude that I dedicate this post to my dear friend Dana.  She is constantly fielding my “what if” questions and politely listens to all my “grand” ideas. This room would not be what it is today with out her support and encouragement. She’s the best!

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  • Dana
    December 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Aw, that is the sweetest thing said about me! Technology is amazing in that two friends, 12 hours apart, can work together to turn their houses in homes. Amazingly fun and it is a great source of delight in my life!!

  • Shirley
    November 11, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    You have done a grest job..looks beautiful.
    Often I shop Thrift Store bargains for curtains. Your design inspired me to try the drop cloth..seeing as I love the 96″ Length for making rooms look grand.
    Now I have been using chalk paints..think that could work on drop cloth fabric? Also the house has navy carpet..not so wonderful.
    Going to invest in a large printed cream rug.
    Any suggestions for pulling together farm house/ shabby/ contemporary?? This new house with old 2000s Floral patael color wall paper & Chandlers . Its giving me a real challenge. In blue carpet room …I chalk painted a gray ,white wash over paneling. Moving into kitchen the oak cabinet was a nightmare of scrambling to blend my color palette. White cabinet would be my choice..just too much work. So sanded with a Antique Walnut. Took off doors facing the entry view. Going now into white carpet with crystal chandelier. Here’s my biggest problem. What colors to blend… the old with the new? Any help would be great!
    So far was trying for blue or black curtains. Using with burlap seat pillows . Hoping to use in kitchen burlap lace trim curtains.
    So what would you think would work for walls or curtain colors.
    Wow that was a lot said…see now her I go thinking all night designing.
    Much appreciated by your ideas.


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