DIY Curtain Panel Tutorial

I often look at beautiful rooms in magazines and find myself drooling over the designer window coverings, wishing I had the kind of cash that would allow me to throw down hundreds for pretty fabric to hang on my windows.  The problem is we live on a DIY budget and not a designer budget so with every room makeover I tap into my creative juices to find ways to accomplish the look I want for not a lot of money.

When we first made over our dining room I didn’t want to cover up our wall of windows with heavy window coverings so we bought some inexpensive matchstick blinds from Lowes and I have loved the look for the past three years.

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After three years it was time to retire the matchstick blinds and come up with a new look for the windows.  I still didn’t want to cover the windows but I wanted more privacy and a way to block the morning sun.  The solution was drapes.  I needed five 93 inch panels to span a 13 foot wall for under $100.  My first thought was find 15 yards of inexpensive fabric but even at $10 a yard I would still be over budget.  I rarely buy home decor fabric from fabric stores, it is just too expensive.  My secret is bed sheets.

I made these curtains for our guest bath out of a set of sheets I found at Marshalls a few years ago.

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I usually find what I am looking for when I scour the bed linen section at Ross or Marshalls and this time Ross proved to be good to me!

I found a queen and king set of sheets with the same print for only $30!  This was more that enough fabric.


The next thing I needed to figure out was how to hang the curtains.  I needed a 13 foot rod.  So I bought two 8 foot closet rods for $10 each and cut them down to size.

(you can see our nasty laundry room floor. YUCK!)

I then painted the rods in our trim color

painted rod
(Our nasty laundry room walls. EVEN MORE YUCK!)

and connected them with this connector screw.

rod joiner

I also bought two sets of brackets from Lowes for under $10 each (sorry no pic) and closet pole socket set.

rod cups

I painted the socket set the same color as the pole and screwed them to the wall.


I have always loved the look of curtains hanging from wooden rings but wasn’t sure how to make them so I did a little Google search and found out what I needed and how to make them.

First I cut the lengths I needed and hemmed the sides.  Because the fabric was so light I reinforced the top three inches so the panel didn’t droop. I cut three-inch thick strips of left over painters drop cloth and laid it right below the top three-inch hem.


Then I folded it over,


pinned it


and stitched it closed.

Once the top was reinforced I laid out my measuring tape to see how far apart I needed to space the rings.  The secret to attaching the rings are curtain hooks.  I bought mine from Lowes for $2 a package.


Once I figured out the spacing across the panel I figured out how far from the top I wanted the hooks.


Then I inserted the hooks making sure I pinned through the drop cloth.



Once the hooks were inserted I hung them on the wooden rings.


I needed my finished panels to be 93 inches long. I never hem the bottom until I have a chance to put the curtain up on the rod and measure to make sure the panel is the correct length.


The rule for curtain length is it should sit about a finger height off the floor.


This is why I make my own panels because pre-made panels often make my windows look they’re wearing high waters.


I folded up the bottom and pinned.



I folded the hem twice and stitched it closed leaving the ends open.


I needed to add weight to the bottom of the curtains so I inserted two pennies, one for each end.


Then I stitched the ends closed.


I then ironed and re-hung the panels.


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I love how they turned out!  I was about $50 over budget.  If I had sewn a rod pocket instead of using wooden rings I could have come in well below $100 but I think the look I accomplished was worth spending a little more.

With love,