Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Make luxurious curtains

If I could be a channel on TV, I would be Home and Garden Television (HGTV).
Thus, I’ve incorporated a few tricks into my own home décor. Curtains can be really expensive (several hundred dollars)! Especially if you’ve got doors that are over seven feet tall so they are too tall for the standard 84’ curtains and too short for standard 96’ curtains. While I do have a sewing machine, it’s probably rusting from non-use.

So that brings me to one of my favorite tools: the staple gun

Yes, these are non-functional curtains. We have a giant tree outside our window, and no fear of anyone being able to see in. If we had to close them, I simply pull the vertical binds shut.

I’ve had many people ask me where I got my curtains made, and they I laugh as they yank on them to close them. They are in fact, stunned to learn that these are dummy panels.
What’s nice about dummy panels is that you can make your window look a lot larger (and in my case- make it appear as if it is centered on the wall). So you can see in some of the photos that most of the area covered by the panels is actually wall.

Here are the instructions to make them yourself:
Read all directions
Measure how long you want your fabric to be
Measure how long you want your board to be

Fabric long enough to make two panels, and a piece to cover the hardware on top (think discount curtains, Ikea, sheets, shower curtains, remnants…) The fabric panels should be two-three times as wide as you want them to be and long enough to cover the window plus six inches to staple to the board.
Staple gun
A board deep enough to fit on top of your existing vertical bind hardware and long enough to span your window (and any area of the walls that you want to cover)
Screws long enough to go through the existing vertical bind hardware and into the board.
Screwdriver (electric or manual)

Assembly everything you need in one place.
First measure out the fabric and cut it if needed.
Take the two panels and staple them on to the edges of the boards. Make them pleat nicely by:

Measuring on the ends of the boards, how wide you want your panels to be. Also measure out the center and the centers of each half (aka measure your distance in fourths). Then staple the edges of the curtain panel on each mark. Then find the middle of the fabric and staple that to the middle mark on the board. Take the first half of the fabric, find the middle of it, and staple it on the ¼ mark on the board. Repeat for second half. Now you have ¼ worth loops of fabric stapled onto the board. Find the center of each of these loops and staple in the center of the space on the board. Repeat until you can no longer do this. Now you will have nicely pleated panels.

You should have two pleated panels on each end of the bare board. It’s fairly ugly at this point. So we want to cover all evidence of the frayed and stapled fabric.

To do this you’re going to staple the last piece of fabric you have to the side of the board that will be on the wall. Staple all along the backside. Now take the fabric on the front edge of the board and go to one side edge. Like you are wrapping a package pull back the fabric and secure it on the back edge with a staple. Do this to the other side.

To secure it, use a ladder and a friend to help you rest it on top you your existing vertical bind hardware. Now using the brackets screw up through the hole and into your board. Repeat for the center and the other side.

Depending on how expensive your fabric is, my curtains were custom made (by me) for less than $100. Get yourself a beer and enjoy your handy work!
*Photo: From left to right and top to bottom
a- The curtains! Can you tell that the window is actually small and not centered on the wall?
b- View looking up at inside hardware, note how the board extends beyond the window to make it appear larger and centered on the wall
c- Tools needed: measuring tape, screws, staple gun (and staples), screwdriver
d- Curtains with vertical blinds closed
e- Alternate view of curtains
f- Side view- you can barely see the staples!
g- Close up on panel
h- Close up on panel, see how much of the wall I've covered
i- View looking up, unless you get really close (as I did in picture b) you can't see any proof of the old blinds or the new homemade ones.

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