“Drop cloths??? In our dining room? That you paint??? No, honey. No. Please? No.”
Our dining room, even though it had come a long way with paint and a table makeover, was a blank slate desperately in need of curtains and personality.
Unfortunately, after almost two years of renovating, the budget for giving my house personality was hovering on empty, so I had to find a lot of bang for my buck.
Enter drop cloths, my newly won, fabulously chic Zamira stencil, and the motivation of hosting Easter (and 5 months after Easter, they are finally done!)
“I never should have doubted you, honey. You are always right and I’m the luckiest man alive to be married to you. Do you want a foot massage?”
“They look great! You can’t even tell they’re drop cloths.”
The drop cloths that I used were $20 (free shipping with Prime!) which breaks down to $10 each curtain panel (unlined). $10! Pretty good right?!
Also, drop cloths are 100% cotton canvas, come in a natural oatmeal color that works perfectly in my house, and have a bit of texture that I like.
Note: drop cloths come in various ounces, meaning the weight of the fabric. I used 8 oz. drop cloths (the less expensive version) and found them to have a nice drape.
Here is the scoop on how to make your own fabulous
stenciled drop cloth curtains!
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a note on textile medium: this is found at craft stores like Michael’s, and when added to paint, allows the fabric to remain flexible and washable. I used it on half my panels, ran out, and finished the other panels without it, and they came out almost identical in texture and stiffness to the panels with textile medium. for this application on drop cloths I don’t think textile medium is necessary, but I imagine on other kinds of fabric it would be necessary.
Make sure you put something under your panel before you paint because the paint will seep through the curtain panel. Because I have rolls and rolls of black craft paper from my picture framing days, I used sheets of it to protect my floors (but hit a snag with this underlayment, as you will see!)
Use painter’s tape to keep the stencil in place on the panel. Place the roller in the paint, then roll off the excess on another paper plate before applying to the fabric. Then move the stencil down and roll. Move and roll. Move and roll. Rove and moll. Moll and rove.
One down, three more to go.
Whatever you do, DON’T leave your freshly painted curtain on top of craft paper and go to bed because it’s 2 in the morning and you can’t keep your eyes open another moment, or you will end up with this: paint that has dried onto the craft paper on the back of your lovely curtain. So sad!!
(Thankfully the drop cloth fabric is so heavy that you can’t see these black stuck-on bits of paper even when the panel is hung in the window.)
I wasn’t even going to line these panels because I like the way the light came through them giving them a burnout affect, but my mother suggested lining to help them hang well and look more “professional” (if that is even possible when we’re talking about painted drop cloths serving as window treatments!)
Remember how I’m not much of a sewer?
I could have purchased cheap white liner fabric at Joann’s but the halved sheets have the finished edge that serves as the bottom hem and I think cost per panel is still less expensive using sheets.
To “hem” the raw edge on the top of the panels, I folded the curtain and lining over together twice, ironed a stiff crease, and clipped them to the rings. (Take your “hems” into consideration when cutting the drop cloths – you will need a few inches at the top to fold over and clip.)
The lining adds so much structure and weight to the panels – I truly can’t even believe how beautifully they hang!
Did I mention ironing??? This is a hugely important step to a pretty finished product.
The drop cloths require a serious amount of ironing. I would highly recommend washing your panels first to get the creases out, but remember that they are 100% cotton so be careful with your drying time, lest they shrink. Even if you wash the panels, I think ironing them before hanging helps them to hang nicely and gives them a more finished look.
We have two bay windows in our dining room and one of them meets the adjoining walls in this awkward way. There is also a built in cabinet under this window just to complicate matters. I could have used roman shades in this room but I really love the look of full-length panels, and this room needed some major softening with fabric.
Hanging the curtains on knobs made it possible for the curtains to “bend” around this space. From most angles in the room these curtains look perfectly straight like the other window:
(this panel needs one more knob so it hangs a little fuller)
I retrofitted common cabinet knobs (1), with hanger bolts (2). One side of the hanger bolt screws into the knob (3) , and the other side screws into the wall (4). The 8/32″ x 1 1/2″ hanger bolts did the trick for the knobs I used.
To hang curtains on knobs, a level is a must. Lightly draw a line using the level as your guide, then measure, mark and drill evenly spaced pilot holes for the knobs. Erase pencil marks and then screw knobs into the pilot holes.