Saturday, July 6, 2013

DIY Stenciled Drop Cloth Curtains


I was on a drop cloth kick a few months back, having made an upholstered headboard out of a drop cloth, a Pottery Barn-inspired bed skirt, drop cloth covered boxes, and drop cloth curtains.  The first three have been some of my most popular posts...the curtains, however, I've been reluctant to put on the blog because there was just something about them, that just wasn't exactly working for me.  They were just too plain...that is, until now.

Here's what you'll need: (By now, hopefully you know the drill, I list all the supplies, then I gather them into an Amazon shopping cart for you so you can order them all or just what you need...easy peesy).
  • Canvas Drop cloth 
  • 2 Small Containers of Acrylic Craft Paint
  • Stencil  (preferably plastic, but paper would work)
  • Foam Paint Brush
  • Round Foam pouncers (optional)

So, let me start from the beginning...to explain how I made these drop cloth curtains. First, I measured my window, including the trim, to see how wide I would need the curtain to be.   Then I laid the drop cloth out to cut out my curtain.   TIP: If possible use two of the finished edges...this way you will only have to finish off one other one edge.  The top you will fold over and make into a pocket for the curtain rod. 



Cut your drop cloth the length of your window plus seven inches.  This will account for a little over hang on each side, a half inch hem on the unfinished side, and the center pleat.  My curtain is about 16 inches long, but you can make the length whatever you desire.  Don't forget you'll be folding over at least an inch or two - so make sure you account for that when cutting the length.

Once you've cut out your piece, fold over the unfinished side edge, iron it, and sew it with a straight stitch to give it a nice hem.

(NOTE: If you want to stencil your curtain, stencil it now before moving in....read down about stenciling the drop cloth.) 

Before you finish off the top edge to make the pocket, you'll want to make the pleat.  Mark the exact middle of your curtain with a pin.  About two inches on either side of the pin, pinch the fabric together and fold it over towards the pin to create the pleat.  Before you sew, measure the new length of your curtain to make sure it's not too long or short to fit across the window. If it is, adjust the "pinch" by letting some fabric in or out an equal distance on each side.


Once you have the distance right, sew down the pleat.

Now, fold down the entire top edge about an inch or two to create a pocket.  If your curtain rod is a larger diameter, you may want to fold down even more to ensure it fits through the pocket.
Originally, this is where I hung up my curtain and called it a day...I left it like this for a month or two.  This has been one of my only DIY projects, that my husband honestly looked at me and said, "Um...what is that? I'm not feeling it."
Yeah....me neither.  So last week I took my drop cloth curtain down determined to save it.  But how?

As I was browsing the craft aisle at Walmart it came to me...I would stencil a pattern onto the fabric.  before you make the pleat in the curtain to make the painting much easier.
I bought this pack of 30+ stencil for less than $4.  About 5 stencils in I realized, a paper stencil was NOT ideal...as the paint was saturating the stencil and making it difficult to work with.  So,  I would recommend using a plastic stencil and not a paper one.  I did manage to create a duplicate of the stencil - but that's a whole different post (coming soon!). 

The stenciling is fairly easy, but it does take patience and planning.  First, I measured my actual stencil and used the measurements to cut out a piece of cardstock the exact size.  It doesn't have to be the same shape, it's just so you can basically see how the exact edges of the stencil will hit. I used the piece of cardstock to help evenly tape off my drop cloth.  This ensured that my stencils were even.

I started stenciling in the middle - or at least not right on the edge - then worked my way out, up, and down.  Be sure to tape down the edges of your stencil and then use a foam brush to add the paint.  Make sure you don't have too much paint on your brush or it will bleed under the stencil like this. <<<

I would dab my brush in paint, place it on the stencil and then kind of wiggle it back and forth while keeping the foam flat on the fabric.  (If you're wondering how I went from one stencil to three...I'll explain how I did it in a new post asap.)

I removed the stencil immediately after I painted the stencil and then moved on to the next one.

The paint dried quickly...it also went through the back of my drop cloth (ironic much??) - so take note: protect your surface or you'll end up like this!  (Magic eraser to the rescue!)

Instead of trying to stencil in the pleat, I decided to paint it a solid color.  (If you do the stenciling before making the pleat, as I recommend, you won't have this issue...unless of course you like the solid color in the pleat.)  I'm happy I did. I think it helps the pleat stand out.  It took me several hours and several sessions to stencil the drop cloth curtain, but I think it makes a huge difference...and for very little money.




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Posted by: Melissa


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