How To: Our Double Trimmed Drop Cloth Curtains

April 10, 2012

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Last night, I hung my final curtain panel and breathed a sigh of relief and adoration…and exhaustion.  I gave you a sneak peak of the curtains I had fallen in love with and decided to replicate in this post from Friday, but as promised, I am back with a full tutorial on how I got them done.

Curtains like the ones in my inspiration photo, can cost hundreds of dollars per panel.  Possibly even closer to a thousand.  Considering our whole budget for our family room is $4000, I needed to get creative with my execution.

Now, I am not the first person, and definitely not the first blogger to use drop cloths for curtains–besides popular, they happen to be incredibly thick, durable and inexpensive. I picked up 4-6’x9′ canvas drop cloths from Home Depot for around $11 a pop.

Although they are all a natural, canvas color, the color can vary from cloth to cloth. I remember sorting through the stacks they had to find four that matched the most. I washed them all–twice (!) and loaded up on the fabric softener to get rid of any stiffness and smell that was present when I unwrapped them.  And then I ironed them. I don’t have a special, high-tech, expensive iron–which could be why this part took me some time, but I really think this is a crucial step.  I blasted them with steam and took my time smoothing out any wrinkles or creases.  I think the better they are ironed, the more expensive they look.

The great thing about these drop cloths (besides the price, thickness, size, yadda) is they come hemmed on all four sides.  I still broke out my sewing machine because I didn’t need my curtains to be 9ft long.  So I cut off the excess and re-hemmed the bottom and tucked my sewing machine away again.  I suppose you could use hem tape for that part, but I didn’t have that and I had already had enough ironing.

And then it was time to attach the ribbon.  Before I decided to do this, I was worried about where I was going to find 60 yards of grosgrain for a reasonable price.  The Ribbon Retreat came to my rescue!  They have every kind of ribbon in every color imaginable.  Here’s a small sampling of some of the 111 different colors of grosgrain ribbons they have:

And they have multiple sizes of each, too.  In the end, I went the safe way–black in 1.5″ wide.  They were so excited about my project, they sent me the ribbon for free, but 60 yards would have only set me back around $25 normally–which is a steal.

The high-quality ribbon arrived in a long spool and I was ready to attach it.  I used my glue gun–which turned out to be the best for me–a girl with no hem tape, little sewing skills and a loaded glue gun handy.

Adhering the ribbon took so long because I wanted make sure everything was spaced evenly and glued well, and then, of course, there is the fact that a double row of trim around 4 extra large canvases just takes time.  I scooted our level around with me to serve as a guide, lining up the edge of the level with the edge of the canvas and securing my ribbon right next to it.  And when one row was done, I moved the level-turned-spacer in and repeated the whole process.

When it came to bordering the corners, I knew I didn’t want to cut the ribbon and have to worry about frayed edges, so I folded, creased and glued to make it look like two pieces came together.

Nice, crisp, corners:

I used curtain clips from Ikea, $3.99 for 10, on each panel.  Once the ribbon was on, while the curtain was still laid out, I placed each clip 7 inches apart to make a handsome fold once they were hung.

Speaking of hanging, with our blinds in place, we needed our curtain rod to come out from the wall a little farther to clear the blinds and allow them to hang freely.  We picked up the brackets from Ikea, that were extra long and held our rod a good 6 inches from the wall.

There you have it (I hope I covered everything)–Our double-trimmed drop cloth curtains for less than $50.  If we paid for the ribbon, it would be right around $70….for FOUR curtain panels.  Still an amazing price and far less than one panel would cost to purchase.

Here’s the best shot I could get to show off the softness of the canvas panels.  I love the juxtaposition of the blinds and the drop cloth and the ribbon.  Mmmm.

And a wider shot of the room (I think Greta is hiding behind the right curtain on the far side of the room).

We both love the curtains.  Really, really love them–even if I did complain a few times during the process. Anyone else making curtains lately?  Or maybe you are ready to try these–did I skip over an important detail you are wondering about?  Are you as stoked as I am to find a site with such a huge array of ribbon colors!?

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What do you think?

  1. I just read your post and thought you made some really great points. I especially liked your take on your introduction. If you have a chance, I’d love it if you’d take a look at https://dubaicurtainsandblinds.com/how-to-get-wrinkles-out-of-curtains . I think it might be of interest to your readers. Thanks!

  2. Laurel says:

    Are you able to wash these curtains? If so, how well does the ribbon remain adhered to the fabric?

  3. Sadia Sattar says:

    I recently discovered your blog and I am in love with your place. I LOVE these curtains, but I am not at all a DIY girl. I’m apprehensive about making curtains from scratch, but these curtains would do so well in my new living room. I guess I need to muster up the courage to do a little DIY project because I really do love these curtains!

  4. […] How To Our Double Trimmed Drop Cloth Curtains Chris Loves Julia source […]

  5. tania says:

    Was just curious if you ever washed the curtains after you added the ribbon trim. I made these curtains, using IKEA curtain panels and I love them. But, they could use a washing since they have been up for nearly a year. I’m afraid it might mess up the ribbon trim. Any thoughts? Thanks.

    • FRANCIS says:

      Hi Tania,
      Like you, I used the Merete curtains in white from Ikea. I washed the curtains before I glued the ribbon because there was funky smell right out of the bag. In addition, I made tiebacks similar to the picture above. I do not think washing them would be a good idea as it might mess up the adhesive-ness of the hot glue.

  6. Francis says:

    Your curtains look so @#$% beautiful. So classy. I am doing this project as soon as I get the ribbon from RibbonRetreat.com. Thanks Julia :)

  7. […] finally found what I was looking for…dropcloth curtains!  Genius!  Now, I found blog posts (like this one) where people have taken this idea and really gone crazy with it. While these posts were […]

  8. Janardhan Reddy says:

    Thanks for sharing this post with us…its really very informative….Super Glue or Cyanoacrylate.

  9. christine says:

    You have inspired me to do the same! Simple yet elegant!
    Thank you for sharing!

  10. Nakia D. says:

    Where are your bamboo blinds from? And I love the curtians

  11. Beautifully done! I’ve been looking for curtains that look like this at an affordable price and couldn’t find any. You have inspired me to do my own! Thanks for posting!

  12. Funny, I have been eyeing white curtains trimmed in black grosgrain ribbon lately. Just came across your blog this evening via COCOCOZY and was taking a look around, and found your curtains. Drop cloths won’t work for me because I need my curtains to be bright white, but they look great in your room. The double ribbon trim is different than the norm, and definitely takes the design up a notch. Love!

  13. These are fantastic. I love how honest you are (in all your projects) about what gets tedious and what is worth it/ not worth it. Great job!

  14. sosurly says:

    Love these. In regards to washing before hand, did you let these air dry or did you stick them in the dryer? Thanks!

  15. this is beautiful! i’ve been searching for an elegant and affordable curtain project for our master bedroom and this is it! i am tweaking the bedding/pillows in the room for the move to our new house and our current curtains will no longer match.

  16. I love canvas drop cloth. I just made a picnic blanket out of one and can’t wait to post the tutorial! You have such a creative mind! I would never have thought to use them for curtains. Go, girl. These look uber fancy. :)

  17. Lucianna Teixeira Bartley says:

    Is the hot glue enough to permanently attach the ribbon to the curtains? I am asking because every time I use hot glue things come undone in time and it annoys me to death! LOL
    I LOVE the tutorial, I will be making those with navy blue ribbon as soon as I can! :) Thanks

  18. I haven’t had any issues with it coming off so far! :)

  19. wow these look amazing! I’m in the process of making curtains from drop cloths, and I love the touch of ribbon. I’m off to buy a truck load, for I have 14′ ceilings… thanks for the tutorial!

  20. Tamsyn says:

    These look so great, they look a whole lot more expensive than $70. Well done!

  21. Barb says:

    I just painted the main bathroom and it’s a little darker than I’d like. This might be the perfect solution to lighten it up – dropcloth shower curtain! Thanks for the inspiration and the terrific instructions!

  22. Eight16jen says:

    I have been a huge fan of these drop cloths but I am officially in LOVE with them now! I am going to HD to buy this girl some drop cloths right now…must have your cutains!!!!
    BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for sharing all the details…especially the ribbon site!

  23. It is on this page. Just select Black 107 from the drop down menu. It looks like the 1 1/2″ I used is sold out at the moment. Here’s hoping they get more in soon! http://www.theribbonretreat.com/Ribbon/solid-grosgrain.aspx?custom

  24. Anonymous says:

    They turned out great!……would you mind posting a link to the ribbon you used, can’t seem to find it. Thank you!

  25. Thanks, Jesse! I constantly moved my glue gun back and forth in a tight zig zag pattern to keep the ribbon flat. Hope it helps!

  26. They look great! I love how classy and expensive they look! I think I want to paint a drop cloth to use as a shower curtain for our guest room…

  27. Jessie McKinley says:

    They look incredible!! I would have never guessed you used drop cloths…what a great idea! And that ribbon shop?? Amazing. Question though–when you hot glued it, did you just do one strip or did you cover both edges of the ribbon? Does that make sense? Ahh it’s coming together SOO nicely!!

  28. Haha, nice! Can’t see what magic you work with them, Lyndsay!

  29. Mjcastleton says:

    You were featured on Ribbon Retreats Blog today! I am sure you knew that. But great job! Love that place! Love their little fabric store in Shelley! Curtains look Fab! I would never have guessed drop cloths.

  30. for some reason i have never read about people using drop cloths for curtains before, but i LOVE them! they give that cool natural fiber texture that is so “in” right now. and the ribbon really kicks it up a notch. i’m with everyone else, these look very expensive. i can’t wait to go curtain shopping at lowe’s!

  31. Emily ACanDoAttitude says:

    Like Jennifer I recently found your blog. This is such a great post. The curtains look so high end for the affordable/accessible materials. I need to figure out a curtain option for my bedroom, but I might need a little more light blocking. Maybe I can try something similar with light blocking curtains. Thanks!

  32. Robin says:

    The curtains look great! I definitely wouldn’t think they were drop cloths if I had seen them without the tutorial, I would have thought that they were verrrry expensive. Awesome job, love the blog!

  33. Malasite says:

    I love this!

  34. The canvas blocks out more light than regular curtains, but not as much as light-blocking curtains. However, the drop cloth plus blinds is money when it comes to not letting any light through. I can’t wait to see how Brinley’s room evolves!

  35. Ooo! I can’t wait to see!

  36. Thanks so much, Jennifer. I’m glad you found us! I constantly moved my glue gun back and forth in a tight zig zag pattern to keep the ribbon flat.

  37. Jennifer says:

    So great! I’m always amazed at how good some non-sewing options look. One question – did you run the hot glue down the middle, or some on each side of the ribbon to keep it flat or ??? They look awesome!

    By the way, I just found your blog and love what you’re doing – you’re quite the inspiration!

  38. meaganbriggs3 says:

    Breathtaking. Oh my gosh. This totally motivates me to do something different in our living room. I am ready for a change of colors too. My couch pillows look soooooo pathetic. And dirty. And I am ready for a New bold print. Is the canvas thick though to block out some sun?? I don’t think they will be closed much, but I’d I do something like that in Brinley’s room. But maybe with stripes? Oh man. Painted bold horizontal stripes. Stop it go on!

  39. Amanda @ Our Humble A{Bowe}d says:

    Your curtains look awesome, and definitely look more expensive than $70! Good for you! I have plans to make tons of curtains for the new house. Only solid plans for one room though.

  40. Love that you got the ribbon free (I need to start telling folks what I’m doing and asking for the goods) and that you made a point of noting that the ironing matters if you want high end looking curtains out of drop cloths. Time for me to get crafty!

    bernadette from http://www.b3hd.blogspot.com

  41. Stephanie says:

    Love the curtains! I needed inspiration for our guest bedroom and I think I’ve found it! Where did you get your blinds? Love those as well. Thanks.


  42. Seedawson says:

    Can you tell me where you got your bamboo blinds? They are a great color.

  43. Nice! We got our blinds from blinds.com. Here’s a whole post about them:https://www.chrislovesjulia.com/2012/04/blinds-are-bomb-dot-com.html

  44. Tish Perry says:

    Simply beautiful … my goodness you are brilliant!

  45. Anonymous says:

    They turned out great!……would you mind posting a link to the ribbon you used, can’t seem to find it. Thank you!

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

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