- view all thumbnails
Made from a miniblind and midweight upholstery fabric, this Roman shade can be assembled in a matter of hours. First, lay the blind on your work surface with the front facing down. Set the length by adjusting the plug underneath the thick bottom slat according to the package instructions. Next, snip away only the strings that connect the slats on both sides. Maintain the slats at 7-inch intervals; snap off and remove the rest. Place the fabric facedown under the blind. Mark the fabric where it folds at the sides, top, and bottom of the slats. Remove the shade and press the fabric folds. Place the fabric under the shade, and glue the sides of the fabric to each slat and the top and bottom edges of the fabric to the top and bottom slats. Use clothespins to hold the fabric in place while it dries.
Learn how to measure for window treatments.
To create these pretty cafe curtains, purchase two 16x24-inch tea towels. Install curtain rods at your desired height. Attach ring clips to the top of the tea towels to hang them from the rod. If the towels hang past the windowsill, measure the fabric, cut off the excess, and hem the towels using a sewing machine or fusible web and an iron.
Add waves of color to plain white panels by progressively dyeing with two colors of acrylic crafts paint. We paired deep blue and teal. Dip the damp fabric into a solution of 1 tablespoon crafts paint per gallon of water. Add more paint to the mixture and dip the lower portions of the curtain repeatedly to achieve an intense color.
To make a peacock-print valance like this one, start by cutting a 2x4 piece of wood to the width of your window. Buy enough fabric to extend 6 inches on either side and 4 inches longer than the desired length. Finish the hem and sides, and embellish with a fun fabric trim. Wrap fabric around the wood and staple into place. Attach the wood to the wall with screws or L brackets.
You can make these pretty curtains using solid-color flat sheets. Cut each panel to twice the window width and 6 inches longer than the desired length. Sew a rod pocket along the top. Hem the panels to floor length. Make the ruffles by cutting strips of fabric twice the width of a panel by 4 ½ inches, then sew a 1/2-inch hem. Sew a basting stitch along the raw edge. Gather the fabric to the width of the panel. Starting at the curtain's bottom hem, pin overlapping ruffles to the panel and stitch them into place. Attach the top ruffle upside down, right sides together, and flip over to hide the raw edge.
When curtain panels won't fit or simply aren't needed, use an easy-sew valance like this one to add softness and color. Sew a rectangle to the window size, adding a rod pocket at the top. Stitch a length of wide ribbon on each end of the valance, 4-6 inches from the outer edge. Drape the ribbon over the top of the valance so there is a length of ribbon running down the back and the front of the valance. Stitch the ribbon into place and use each ribbon tail to tie up the fabric.
Striped draperies add interest to this mostly neutral dining room. Striped fabric like this is easy to sew, even for beginners, because the stripes provide straight-line guides. Affixing clip-on rings to the top of each panel ensures they remain easy to take down and clean.
Fashion this easy-sew valance using only a curtain panel and grosgrain ribbon. The project is simple, can be completed in a matter of hours, and is sure to boost the style quotient of any room. Simply hem the curtain panel to the desired length and width, then embellish the perimeter of the panel with ribbon. Use the excess fabric for pillows or seat cushions in the room for a coordinated look.
Valances add height and depth to plain windows. Here, Grecian-pattern grilles are screwed directly to the faces of painted Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) valances. Metal washers and twine attached to the drapery edges tie in with the industrial look of the valances above.
We love this window treatment idea: It serves the function of a valance but has the pleated look of a Roman shade. To make this window treatment, back a rectangle of the drapery fabric with a light-blocking fabric using fusible web (to prevent light-emitting needle holes). Iron in deep pleats and starch heavily. Stitch pleats into place and glue a grosgrain ribbon down the middle. Tie the ribbon in a loose bow at the bottom.
You can dress up purchased tab-top panels with a bit of trim you attach to the edges. Or get a similar look by making your own panels. You can buy yardage at a fabrics store, but you can also shop for table coverings or linens in the kitchen, bedding, and bath section of your local department store. There you will often find discounted or discontinued fabric items that you can cut up and use as yardage.
Don't toss out curtains you love just because they don't fit your new windows or need to be replaced. Instead, cut and sew them into panel-style window shades with rod pockets. Tension rods hold the shades in place and make them easy to change or remove. This trick also works to make outdated fabrics or drapery styles look trendy again.
If you like the look of fabric but your how-to skills lean more woodshop than workroom, try this nifty look-alike. Cut boards in the shape of a valance, attaching the front and sides. Cover the wood with a coat of primer and paint, then finish with a happy floral wallpaper that portrays a fabric look without a lick of sewing. Attach the valance to the wall with L brackets.
A cottage-style room would look amazing with windows dressed in these flirty curtain panels. Start with purchased panels and add the ruffle yourself.
With a little ingenuity and basic sewing skills, you can get the look of custom-made window treatments for way less. Start with a neutral drapery (maybe one you've had for years but now want to update) and sew a contrasting fabric to the bottom, measuring from the bottom edge of the window to the floor. Cover the seam with beaded trim or ribbon. This idea is great if you have recently moved and need to lengthen your old draperies to fit the scale of your new home.
Get away with daring patterned window treatments by choosing a muted color palette, like these canary and burnt yellow shades. The tone-on-tone style will get noticed but won't distract from the flashier pieces in the room that you've invested more money and thought into, such as a rug or sofa.