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DIY Curtain Rods

 How to make sturdy and pretty curtain rods with a wooden dowel, ping pong bongs and paint.
 This post includes affiliate links.

This post is not so much about WHAT I used for DIY curtain rods, it’s more about thinking outside the box – and about rethinking what is important to spend your money on when it comes to your home.

In our previous houses I have spent a small fortune on window treatments. When it came to our home, we used to abide by the “Let’s Do This Right” mentality. As in, if we bought “proper” curtain rods (and good quality furniture and so on), we were Mature Adults making smart purchases that would last.

HA! Turns out Mature Adults do not go into debt furnishing a house, they actually do without or find a way to have nice things without spending money they don’t have. Huh. Novel idea.  Fast forward to this house, where I subscribe more to the High-Low concept. Some items are worth investing in, but curtain rods? That’s a really un-fun way to spend my very small decorating dollars.

Going to the other extreme, last year I hung Ikea curtain panels in our master bedroom on really, really cheap, rods I bought at Big Lots. It didn’t go so well:

Yes, the rings are a different color than the rod, but more importantly,  all three flimsy rods bent within a month or two. So annoying!

A while back I made a long rod for my living room out of pvc pipe and loooove it. I like that it has no seam like a regular extension rod, I like the overall look, and I love the price.

PVC makes great curtain rods, but the only issue is that it is plastic and tends to sag in the middle without a support bracket. This time I used wood dowel rods.

A 1/2″, 48″ long dowel rod (found in the wood trim section of Lowes or HD, or at craft stores) is less than $2 each. Spraypainted – BANG – instant curtain rod. Now you just need to figure out what you want to use as a finial for the end, so your curtains don’t slide off.

I walked around my house looking for something circular that I could make into a finial. Pantry? Nothing. Craft supplies? Nothing. Playroom? Ahhhh, here we go.

The ping pong balls, hundreds of thousands of which litter my basement at this very moment, are cheap and light-weight.

*caution*caution*caution* If you use ping pong balls as finials, be very careful with this next step. I would be so sad to know that something you read about on this blog and tried caused you harm. Please see my safety disclosure policy here.

To drill a hole in the ball, I placed it on a non-slip surface (rubber jar lid gripper on a cutting board) and very carefully used an awl to poke a hole in it (the ball is slippery so I slowly pressed the awl into the plastic and then applied pressure). Then I used a very large drill bit (about the size of my dowel), inserted in the pilot hole, to very slowly drill a hole. Don’t go fast or the drill bit will slip and potentially have a run-in with your hand.

After I drilled holes in all my “finials” I painted them to match the dowel rods. (See this tutorial for how to achieve the achieve the antique brass finish with paint!)

I hung clip rings on the dowel rod, placed the rod on the curtain rod brackets, and then used Gorilla Glue, run along the edge of the hole in the ball, to attach the balls to the dowel, holding each one in place for a few moments until adhered. The rings on the rod permanently, but the curtains are easy to unclip and take down to wash if need be.

 Cost breakdown per curtain rod, excluding paint

2 ping pong balls, $4.70 for 6 = $1.57 for 2
1 poplar dowel rod, 7/16″ x 48″, $1.48
TOTAL unfinished rod per window:  $3.05!


Drill/driver (this is the one I have and I love it!)
Drill bit (if you don’t have a set yet this is a good place to start)
Curtain ring clips (this is a cheap pack of 20 that you can spray paint!)
Curtains – Ikea

Check out these related posts…..


Create an antique brass finish with paint.


How to hide curtain ring clips.



How to hide the hanging hardware on roll-up bamboo blinds.

Painter's Remorse
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How To: Create An Antique Brass Finish
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Friday 15th of May 2015

I'm brand new to hanging curtains, and I have a question. Are you not intending to be able to close the curtains all the way? Because it seems like the curtain rod bracket would get in the way. Should I just not do curtain rod brackets if I want full movement of my curtains from the edges to the middle of my window?

Alicia Zepeda

Tuesday 18th of February 2014

I always made curtains with the flat sheets so it matches the comforters. NOW i'm going to make the rod. So brilliant.


Wednesday 12th of February 2014

How did I JUST find this now? This project is so amazing! We're redoing a few rooms in my house and I cannot wait to make some curtain rods! Thank you for sharing this awesome project!

Love Sam @ DIY Huntress


Thursday 23rd of January 2014

I just discovered your blog and love your style! I was wondering if you could share where your living room curtains are from? Thanks!

[email protected]

Thursday 16th of January 2014

The wooden dowels have not sagged at all, however they are fairly short and have light curtains on them. After 10 months they are still hanging straight, no problems!