Master Bedroom Makeover: No-Sew Dropcloth Curtains (in which we use painting supplies to make fake drapes)

Well, my favorite part of decorating the master bedroom arrived last weekend! And that favorite part would be curtains. Call me crazy, but I think they’re the perfect finishing touch on a room…even if that room isn’t finished. Curtains can cover a multitude of sins, sort of like grace but not quite as good.

In order to be a good blogger and to try to continue to do things on the cheap, we decided to give dropcloth curtains a try. This is all the rage with home decor bloggers these days, as a quick search on Pinterest reveals. And if everybody’s doing it, we definitely needed to give it a try. So we picked up 4 of these “Blue Hawk” brand paint dropcloths from Lowe’s for about $10 each. We went with the 6′ by 9′ variety, though they did come in other sizes.

canvas drop cloth from Lowe's Blue Hawk

Now, the one downfall to using dropcloth curtains is that they are pretty stiff and scratchy straight out of the package. You’re not gonna want to rub your face on these right away, so the trick is to wash them once or twice with a bunch of fabric softener.

But then they’ll be all wrinkly, so you’ll probably have to spend several hours ironing these like I did…unless you’re into the wrinkly, unkempt look. But don’t fret. After you burn your fingers six or seven times you get used to it. :)

Then comes the fun part–figuring out how best to hang them. We had both of our DIY curtain rods ready to go, so it was just a matter of measuring where to attach the little curtain clippy things.

Oh, and Mom found this great solution that eliminated the need for cutting and sewing. Since the curtains are 9′ tall and the ceilings are definitely NOT, it stands to reason that we’d have to do some heavy duty dropcloth surgery right? Nope–we just folded down the curtains at the top and decided we liked it. I measured and folded them so that the bottom would just graze the floor and the fold at the top would be about 1 inch above the curtain rod.

new-sew dropcloth curtains with clips and rings

Then I began the very scientific process of attaching curtain clips. You know the type, right? Usually you clip them to the top of your curtain and they show, but we wanted to do a faux pinch pleat so that the rings wouldn’t be visible and so that our curtains would look a bit fancier.

tried  to use the tape measure for this step, but I think there was something wrong with it because I was just failing miserably at spacing these darn rings (it definitely couldn’t have been a user error). So I ended up basically eyeing it.

To create a fake pinch pleat look, you need to affix the clips about 2.5″ below the top of the curtain so that your rings won’t peek over the top of your curtains. I took a little pinch of the fabric (2 layers, since we folded the top down) and clipped those prongs on at an angle. You can sort of see what I did if you squint real hard at this pic. I did have to call for reinforcements because we chose the strongest clips on the planet and my poor fingers had had enough what with all the ironing and everything. Kenny was happy to help.

new-sew dropcloth curtains with clips and rings

Then comes the BEST PART: hanging them and seeing the fruits of your labor. I fussed and fluffed those dropcloths until they hung the way I wanted them to.

No Sew Dropcloth Curtains with a Faux Pinch Pleat

Inserting subliminal messaging: PIN THIS! Oh, hey, here’s a convenient button. (Will wonders never cease?)

I don’t think we could have chosen better fabric if we had tried. The dropcloths are a perfect natural color and are nice and heavy and textured looking, kind of like a really thick linen. They let a little light through, as you can see, but I think they’re a pretty great weight for curtains.

When it comes to hanging curtains, the general consensus is to hang them high and wide. Don’t be afraid to  go almost up to the ceiling…and we created the rods to go beyond the size of the window by 18″ on each side. That way, when the curtains are open, it looks like the windows are huge.

dropcloth curtains with board and batten and crown molding

As you can see, Mom and Dad might have moved back in to the room already! More on that later. There are a few things to finish up, but it’s definitely liveable and they love it. And no, I can’t stop looking at these pictures of the curtains. Mmmm.

UPDATE: THIS ROOM IS DONE! YIPPEE!! To see what we’ve done so far in this room, go ahead and go all click-crazy. Here, I’ll enable you by creating a nice little (read: long) list. And yeah, I did go a little “Friends”-like on ya here. So be it.

The one where we tore down the crazy moth wallpaper

The one with the dark gray-brown ceiling (and where I bemoan my haircut or lack thereof)

The one where we installed board and batten

The one with the craftsman-style wood-stained trim

The one where we removed the ancient carpet (I supervised)

The one where we went all crazy with hardwood flooring (okay, I wasn’t even there for this)

The one with Macaulay Culkin (aka, the one with the DIY curtain rods)

So has anyone else tried using painter’s dropcloths as curtains? It’s a little unorthodox (except in blogland, evidently), but that’s the way we roll around here. And what are your curtain hanging tips and tricks? I’m all ears. After all, this was just practice for when Kenny and I have a house with more than just three north-facing windows (I’m looking at you, apartment).

Have you liked the Planting Sequoias Facebook page? Go now. I made cool graphics and everything.

Also. I’m linking up with House of Hepworths!


  • Really ! Just bought six of these drop cloths for $20. Our master bedroom has been under construction for six years . I had torn the garage off the house and thought we’d be well rested by now. I will impress my wife by following your curtain recipe ! She has heretofore been unimpressed with my snailing progress.

  • So, was browsing your blog and saw the dropcloth curtain box on the sidebar, and seeing as how I have dropcloth curtains, naturally I was curious. I had never seen anyone use them except in one magazine article, where a lady lived in a loft and had really tall ceilings and large windows. She mentioned that she used painters dropcloths. I thought that was pretty cool. A few years ago when we were in the process of remodeling our little house I had windows that needed something inexpensive – I loved the look of linen or silk drapes that swept the floor but couldn’t afford 90 dollars per panel, so I remembered the dropcloths and had an epiphany and viola, instant curtains. I went with the 4′ x 15′ panels – I did trim some off the bottom, but have never hemmed them. They puddle a little on the floor and so the raw edges are mostly hidden. Someday I’ll get hem tape and iron a hem in them. I like the way you folded yours over – I would have had way too much extra to do that with the 15′ length and I kind of like the informality of the rings showing, so we go with it. Now, I see dropcloth curtains everywhere! they make great table and furniture covers too in the right sizes. I have several 4 x 5 sizes that I use for door curtains on my glass top doors in the kitchen and side entry. I also use that size for covers for smaller tables. Ok, enough about my curtains. I was just excited to see someone else use them!

      • I wouldn’t call myself a pioneer, but thanks! I was excited to use them. Yours look better though, more professional! I need to come back over and browse some more and see what else you have up your sleeve. :)

  • Hi Anne – Can you give some more info on how you clipped/hung the ends of the curtains? I can’t seem to figure that piece out, which is totally cramping the style of my faux-pinch pleat look! Thanks a bunch – the curtains above look great :)

    • Hi, Jen–We clipped a curtain ring right to the ends of the dropcloth (on an angle, like all the middle ones, and at the same height). They weren’t invisible, but they were hard to see. Hope that helps!

  • I have been planning to do this for ages but I just hadn’t gotten started. One thing that held me off was the sewing, now you have shown me how to avoid that. Thank you!!

    Did you use 8zo or 10oz canvas? Lowe’s offers both. I’m thinking the 8oz might be best due to the weight. Though, I was surprised that some light comes through. I thought they would be too dense for that. Do you think they offer much in the way of insulation against cold winters and hot summers?

    thanks! I hope I’m not posting so late that everyone has moved on from this post!


  • Love the idea! We first saw the use of drop cloths just a month ago at the Lincolnville Motel in Lincolnville Maine – just north of Camden. She used them for curtains for the windows and sliding door and for the throw pillows and day bed in the common house. We loved the look and plan on doing the same (along with some lace and burlap..) in our home. Thanks for sharing!

  • With frequent moves and (truly) little money – ever, it was a happy day when I came across several bags of metal clip-on curtain rings. There are many fabrics that can be cut without fraying and clipped. I also use sticks from pruned trees and bamboo as rods. Another apartment dress-up, if there is even a slight outside overhand, or porch, that made a big difference, was to hang fabric “curtains” there. Very fancy. Great to see what you’ve done.

  • I hope you have have the confidence to hear opposing opinion. The issue I have here is that they will always look like drop clothes. I have used these Blue Hawks for painting they are great that is what they are for but they are thick and bulky and IMHO rough in a way that I would not use them on my windows. These drop clothes are also not inexpensive either so frankly I would opt for off the rack French pleated panels. I am not sponsored nor work for the store but I can say after all these years 45 plus years JC Penny still has Royal Supreme Pinch Pleated panels they are lined and weighted and hang beautifully yet most importantly they are quality drapery panels not a painting drop cloth on hooks.

  • I wanted to use these in the living room but wondered how to open and close them without yanking them off their hooks…that kind of stopped me from proceeding. Any ideas???

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