DIY color block curtains

It’s the first non-kitchen post!  Whee!

This diy project is so neat, and since my first attempt was a success, I just had to share.  If you have a room in need of new window treatments, or you’re pulling off a tricky color scheme (like me), this is the project for you.


I give you, painted curtains.  Say what?  That’s right.  Painted.  So, just a little background:  my two boys (“Boo”, 6, and “Roo”, 3) recently moved into a shared bunk room.  Up ’til then, Boo’s bedroom was red.  Lots and lots of red, with black/brown/blue/white.  Roo’s nursery was blue with red/brown.  I figured I’d keep the red thing going when they moved in together…but, my baby has a mind of his own.  He decided at a very early age that he loves…wait for it… orange.  With a passion.  A color previously banned from this Oregon Duck affiliated home.  Indeed, he is fearfully and wonderfully made. 😉

Red and orange.  Could I pull it off?  Could anyone pull it off?  Gulp.  Well, this mama was gonna try.  First I visited my local paint store, and selected a shade of red and orange that didn’t scream hatred at each other.  These are the ones I picked:

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“Stop” (left) and “Carnival” (right)

I knew it would be important to go with a really light, tangerine-y orange to not fight with the red.  I actually like this one.  Again, this coming from a girl who has been fiercely indoctrinated against anything Beaver-hued.  Oh, the sacrifices we make for our children.

Then, I found a neutral color that would allow both bold colors to pop.  This one happened to be in the running way back when we were choosing colors for our house’s exterior.  I guess I really like it.  It’s not quite brown, not quite grey.  Somehow both cool and warm at the same time.  The ideal base for mediating two adjacent bold hues of the color wheel.


“Dry Dock”

The plan was to paint all four walls in matte Dry Dock, and then use the red and orange in semi-gloss to paint accents throughout the room.  Flash forward to curtains.  I wanted my accent colors to come through in the window treatments, but it’s hard to find red *and* orange drapes…let alone in the exact shades I picked.  What to do?…I stumbled upon Beckie’s blog, Inferrantly Creative – with a fantastic DIY blog post on painting curtains.  I didn’t want stripes all the way up, just a couple big bold ones on bright white fabric.  I wanted room-darkening, but not blackout.  And I wanted grommets – black ones.  Beckie used Ikea panels, and you can too, but my style vision was a bit too picky, so I headed for the fabric store, snatched up nine yards of white canvas drape liner, and got to work.

First, I measured and cut my curtains.  These would be lined easily by just doubling them over.  I ironed, pinned and stitched the top 4.5″ wide, which would later give me room for grommets.  Next I hemmed them (shorter on the lining side).

Last step before painting was the grommets – this was ridiculously easy.  I bought two packs of black/bronze colored ones, roughly measured their spacing across the top, and followed the package directions to cut out circles and snap them in.  This was my first time making grommet-top curtains, and I’m pretty sure I’ll never go back.  They slide so nicely, they’re quiet (plastic, not metal), and they look sharp too.

Now, for the fun!  I laid the two lined panels face-up on plastic tarping, separating the lining from the front by bunching it up above the curtain-tops.  I measured, marked, and laid a straight edge down where I wanted my lines to be.  Then I blue-taped the lines (make sure your tape sits *above* and *below* where you want your stripe to be!), and burnished the tape with an old Uppercase Living plastic doohickey (to avoid paint seeping under the tape).

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Now – paint!  I rolled on my red and orange stripes (use matte paint) with a mini foam roller, going over and over until no white fabric showed through.  I pulled up the tape after each stripe was complete (still wet), so there wouldn’t be any seepage.  The lines came out perfect.  That was a relief!  When you paint fabric, there’s really no going back…so, whew!
**live and learn tip: try to do your painting on the smoothest, flattest surface available.  I used the floor, and unfortunately for my curtains, my hardwood has beautiful grooves and hand-scraping.  The grooves kinda show in the paint, but not too terribly bad.  Still, the flatter the better.


I let the paint dry overnight, then in the morning set to work sewing the side seams.  I didn’t do this before, concerned that the paint might soak through to the lining and look weird.  It ended up being a pretty big strain on my poor sewing machine, though, so just a warning: sewing machines do not like painted fabric.  We survived all four seams (just folded over and pressed like a hem), and the curtains were ready to hang!

Now, if all my rambling made you forget the end-product, head back up to the top of this post and check’em out.  Pretty sweet, huh?   They block out just enough light to darken the room softly, and the colors play together nicely.  No clashing.  Victory!   Rred and orange living together in harmony at last!  Best part of all – my boys love them.  And that’s what matters most!

To be continued…next DIY project will feature a custom sliding bookcase + Bible verse art in the bunk room.  You haven’t seen the last of red and orange!

In Him,