DIY curtains! 3 different techniques

I have been waiting a long time to make this post and have been working very hard on these soon to be revealed projects!

DIY Curtains #1: BLEACH!

Who in the world would ever paint with bleach on black curtains! This crazy woman right here! I wanted black and white curtains. My mom, who has a textiles degree said its hard to paint white on black fabric. So I opted for bleach instead.

 Step 1: Choose design

I ran across this design on Pinterest a while back and pinned it because it caught my eye, without any clue what I would do with it. When I decided to do curtains for our bedroom I consulted my husband, who encouraged me to do an organic pattern rather than geometrical. So I went with this!
 Step 2: Draw

After you purchase your curtains, obviously. Draw design with white fabric pencil.  I basically cut the top design in half. Before I drew it on the fabric, I sketched is several times on paper first, then blew it up to this proportion.
Step 3,4, 5: Paint, paint, and paint

Painting with bleach is very tricky and I just played trial and error until I found what worked best. I tried Bleach pens, I diluted the bleach with water, I tried numerous brushes and the bleach even ate right through a lot of them! It also ate holes in my metal bowls! So a tip for you....use glass jars to keep bleach, get a face mask for the fumes, and use a thick fabric so you can use the bleach undiluted. I painted three or four coats to get the light affect, it was bright orange for a few days before I got it like this! Then I washed them.
Extra tips:

  • If you have a clothes line or a way to hang them outside, the sun will make the white even brighter! 
  • Also, remember that the bleach spreads after application so draw your design slightly smaller than you actually want it to be. 
  • Its very hard to do this project if you're a perfectionst or a control freak. You have to give up a lot of control because the bleach is unpredictable, kinda like yeast! You have to be very careful with it. See my orange drop on the bottom right there! That was a boo boo, but you can't really see it once they are up.
  • Take breaks! Its very tiring being on your needs and being in a fume filled room. You have to give the bleach a few hours to dry between coats, so its important to give yourself some break time too. 
Step 7: Hang them up and enjoy your work! 

This is the best part by far! Its very hard working on a hanging project while on the floor! You will realize that handmade projects do not have to be perfect in fact, as my mom taught me, the imperfections actually add to the character of the artwork.  

DIY curtains project #2: DRAWING!

Since we are expecting a little one soon, I of course wanted to make curtains for our baby! While browsing around one of my favorite stores, Ikea I ran across this fabric and instantly fell in love and inspired. I figured, I could either buy the fabric and sew them myself, or I could buy already made curtains and draw them myself. Option two sounded more fun! 

Step 1: Choose design-done! I didn't copy the design. I figured, I'm making homemade curtains, I can put whatever drawings I want on them!

Step 2: Look up clip art images to inspire you and sketch in a sketchbook first. I spent a lot of time doing this, and pretty much sketched on paper first for nearly every drawing, at least on the first panel. By the time I got to the second panel, I was warmed up and didn't have to sketch on paper first. 

Step 3: Draw entire design with pencil. I did one panel at a time.

Step 4: Get some good fabric markers and draw over your pencil. I used a tip that was soft like a paint brush and about medium thickness. I wanted all my strokes to have a similar thickness so some parts didn't stand out more than others.
Step 5: Enjoy your art! Here are images of each panel. I tried to make them as gender neutral as possible since we don't know the sex of the baby. And I tried to include subject matter that associates my husband as well and his likes and hobbies. 

Step 6: Fabric liner

I chose to line the panels with fabric, to actually keep the room a bit darker. I wanted to do a bright fun color. I'm really glad I went with yellow. When the sun is out, it gives a nice warm glow to the room and when its dark the curtains just look white. I just measured how many yards I needed and ironed on the edges with Stitchery tape. Again, its not perfect but no one can tell.

Step 7: Hang and enjoy your work! The left image is daytime and the right is night time.

DIY curtains #3: PAINTING

I'm really glad I went with this project last. It was by far the hardest, partly because they were much longer than the previous curtains I worked with since it was in our living room, which has higher ceilings.

Step 1: Design

I knew I wanted to do my third set of curtains and I pinned tons and tons of other curtains that caught my eye and inspired me. I wanted to add some color and print to our living room since, it was very solid and neutral color oriented. I fell in love with these curtains from Anthropologie! They are no longer available, but were being sold for a hefty $188! Although, this pattern was BY FAR the most challenging of all my pins, I couldn't stop thinking about it! My husband even liked it a lot and the colors, so he said "go for it!"

Step 2: Draw Chevrons on fabric with pencil (After purchasing the curtains of course! I got mine from Ikea for $20!)

This was very time consuming. I made a template shaped like a V out of cardboard and used that over and over again. I started with only the first panel, since I didn't know how it would turn out.

Step 3: Sketch out your color theme. 

This step is extremely important. You want the colors to flow. I made some changes from the Anthropologie curtains and just used that as a base idea. I am not a fan of purple, so I eliminated that color and used more blue and orange instead. Once I had this piece of paper to reference while I painted, I felt a lot more prepared. 

Step 4: Stencils

I knew I wanted few stencils and and few hand painted designs. So I picked out the zebra stencil and the geometric stencil. Looking closely at the Anthropologie design, I realized a lot of it looked very painterly and without a lot of order. So I felt empowered to really make it my own based on that.

Step 5: Paint!!!

This is the bulk of the project. I just kind of made things up as I went along. I tried to balance and alternate designs using sharp lines and curvy lines. I had not clue how I was going to do the gray, but I found that using a small roller and a small amount of black paint it gave me a good faded look. I worked very slowly on this project. I took breaks. I used Tulip, Slick Fabric paint (non puffy). Its a little sticky, but dries pretty quick. Make sure you use high quality Acrylic brushes. That will make all the difference in the outcome!

Step 6: Tape

I used craft tape and I didn't tape every Chevron, only the ones I wanted a dark line on. I loved adding the dark black and maroon lines. They add a lot of good contrast.

Step 7: Look at your work!

I just pinned it up to a wall to take a look at it. It helps to visualize it much better after you see it hanging. After the first panel, I started the second. I ended up making the second panel identical rather than continuing the Chevrons, but it turned out fine. The second panel can be finished more quickly since you're familiar with the process, but it is still tedious and you feel like you'll never be done with the project!

Extra Tips: Be sure to wash your brushes or keep them in water between using. Otherwise they will dry out and ruin forever! I didn't use containers to mix the colors, I just used oil paint palette paper to save the cleaning.
Step 8: Hang up and bask in your artistic talent!

I FINALLY finished at 2am the night before our housewarming party! I was determined to have those babies done! I'm very happy with the turn out! I wanted some subtle color and print and that's exactly what I got!

As fun as all these projects were, I am looking forward to not working on curtains for a long time!! I do hope you found these inspiring and will venture to do your own! Feel free to post any questions or queries! The only thing required to do projects like this is bravery, determination, and a good back! :)

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