DIY Outdoor Curtains from Drop Cloths

Hi friends!  I’m super excited for this post today.  You know when you have an idea and it turns out exactly as you imagined?  It doesn’t happen every time, but this time it did!

If you are a regular here, you know I’ve been working on our outdoor living room and I’m so happy to say that it officially feels like a defined space to relax now that we have our outdoor furniture and these DIY Outdoor Curtains that I made from drop cloths.  And would you believe that I spent less than 10 per panel?

inexpensive outdoor curtains

I made 4 curtain panels for my patio.  I left 2 of the panels in the width they came because I am actually going to use these for privacy and to block the sun.  The other 2 I made with only one drop cloth that I cut in half.  These 2 are  just to complete the look, but don’t need to be pulled for privacy or sun blockage. This contains some affiliate links for your convenience.  You can find the full disclosure here.

**Link to the outdoor curtain rod tutorial can be found at the end of this post.

Supplies List and sources:

  • Drop cloths:  I got these medium weight drop cloths at Home Depot in the paint section. They came in a 2 pack for 10 dollars.  I bought 2 packs and have 1 left over cause I actually cut one in half so that it wouldn’t be so bulky.  You will want to know your measurements so that you can buy the right size.  I cut some length off of mine.  (You can also find good deals on drop cloths on Amazon.)
  • Spray paint:  I found these fun colors at Home Deopt.  They are the same colors I used on my Plastic Adirondack chairs and turquoise garden stool. (The colors are Rust-Oleum Lagoon, Seaside, and Key Lime)
  • Painters Tape:  Don’t skimp here.  Get the Scotch blue painters tape.  It really does work the best.
  • Paper bags
  • Heavy washers to weight your curtains:  I used 4 per panel (2 in each pocket.)

Here is what I did:

First you will need to take measurements in your space.  I measured from my patio cover to about 2 inches from the ground to get my length.

DIY patio curtains

With that number I added 5 inches for my bottom hem, marked it all the way across my drop cloth and cut off the excess.

Then, I measured 2 inches up from the bottom, and made a mark, and then 3 inches from that mark and made a mark.

I folded the bottom of the drop cloth at my first mark so that I had a 2 inch fold.  (Your mark will be directly in the fold.)  Then I folded again using the next mark and pinned to hold it together.

burlap curtains for the patio

I ran my drop cloth through the sewing machine sewing along the top of the fold you just made starting about 3 inches in from the edge and leaving 3 inches at the other edge.  Then I sewed down the side to hold the hem in place and down again at the 3 inch mark.  This will leave a little pocket for washers to weight your curtains.

painters drop cloth curtains

Now for the fun part!  The spray paint!  I taped off where I wanted my stripes to go making sure to tape both sides of the drop cloth before you start to paint.

IMPORTANT:  You have to get the tape on both sides of the curtain in the exact same spot otherwise your paint will show through.

Once you are ready, cut open some paper bags and tape them along the tape line so that when you spray one color it doesn’t go on the rest of the drop cloth.  I actually set up the bags so that I could fold them over and do the next color the second I was done with the first color.  I didn’t want to have to sit and wait for the paint to dry between each color.  I reused the same bags for each panel replacing the tape on the edge of the bags when necessary.

DIY Outdoor Curtains

When you first spray the drop cloths it is going to look like they have already faded, even with 2 coats.  Don’t fret!  Just be sure to apply two even coats and once you pull the tape they will look really vibrant.  Let side one dry before painting side 2.  I used 2 cans of each color.  Buy more than you think you will need.  You can always return what you don’t open and it will save you from having to stop in the middle.  Yes, I learned this the hard way :(

Once you are done you can hang them by creating an inexpensive outdoor curtain rod!

diy outdoor curtains tutorial

I’m thrilled with how my outdoor living room is coming together just in time to enjoy summer!

A few things to note…

  • I suggest that you spray your finished curtains with a water resistant spray, like Never Wet (by Rust-Oleum.)  If they get wet, over time they will get mold on them. I live in a pretty dry climate, so I leave mine up most of the year.
  • I’ve been asked if you can machine wash them.  I tested it, and the color of the paint was a little bit less vibrant, but they still looked good.

More projects from the outdoor living room…
How to make an Outdoor Curtain Rod
DIY Outdoor Candle Chandelier
Outdoor Living Room Reveal

This project was featured in the June 2015 issue of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine!


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About Corey

Corey is the creative behind Hey There, Home (formerly TinySidkeick,) where she shares easy-to-follow and beautiful home decor and entertaining ideas. Her mission? To make home decor accessible to everyone, even if you don't consider yourself crafty, and to empower people to decorate their homes in a way that they can actually be lived in, not just looked at.

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