DIY Outdoor Curtains From Drop Cloths

One of the main goals for our outdoor living space is to make it feel really inviting and like a true extension of our home. These DIY outdoor curtains that I hung from our patio cover not only do they act as outdoor privacy curtains and provide shade when sitting on our patio in the evening, but they add a ton of color and softness to the space as well.

The best part is, I was able to make these outdoor patio curtains using drop cloths and a little creativity. Drop cloth curtains are definitely a super budget friendly solution for outdoor porch curtains so I'm excited to show you the simple steps here today. - I spent less than $10 per panel!

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A Bit About My Outdoor Patio Curtains...

I made 4 drop cloth curtains for my patio.

I left 2 of the panels in the width they came because I'm actually going to use these for patio privacy and to block the sun.

The other 2 panels 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 to block the sun.

Supplies for DIY Outdoor Curtains

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  • Drop cloths:  I got 9 x 6 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 - Colors: Lagoon, Seaside and Key Lime (They are the same colors I used when I painted my outdoor plastic chairs.)
  • 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).

How to make DIY Outdoor Patio Curtains from Drop Cloths

Step 1: Take measurements in your space

I measured from my patio cover to about 2 inches from the ground to get my length.

I definitely like my curtain panels inside my home to go to the floor, but for porch curtains keeping them barely off the ground will make sure they stay dry.

Step 2: Create the bottom hem of your patio curtain

With that number I added 5 inches for my bottom hem, marked it all the way across the 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.

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I ran my drop cloth through the sewing machine sewing along the top of the fold I just made starting about 3 inches in from the edge and leaving 3 inches at the other edge to leave room for your curtain weight.

How to weigh down curtains using DIY curtain weights

I sewed down the side to hold the hem in place and down again at the 3 inch mark. This left a little pocket for washers to weight down the outdoor drapes and keep the outdoor curtains from blowing too much.

Step 3: Paint stripes on your drop cloth outdoor 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 I started to paint.

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

Then I cut open some paper bags and taped 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.

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When you first spray the drop cloths it's 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 two.

I used 2 cans of each color.

Buy more paint than you think you’ll 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. 🙁

Step 4: Hang the porch curtains on a DIY outdoor curtain rod!

Once you're done you can hang your outdoor canvas curtains by creating an inexpensive outdoor curtain rod!

DIY outdoor porch curtains

Step 5: Prevent mildew on DIY drop cloth curtains

To prevent mildew you'll want to spray your outdoor drapes with something that will help them repel moisture. I used Never Wet spray on them and they’ve held up pretty well.

I also put them away during wet months to have them last longer.

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I'm thrilled with how my outdoor living room is coming together just in time to enjoy summer and can't wait to spend evenings out here with my favorite people.

Frequently Asked Questions - DIY Outdoor Curtains

Did you have any trouble with the drop cloths mildewing?

I used Never Wet spray on them and they’ve held up pretty well. I put them away during wet months though to have them last longer. I’m also in Southern California where the weather is dry a lot of the year.

How did you get the square folds out of the drop cloths?

I ironed them and then hung them for a few days and the folds were gone.

How do you think DIY outdoor curtains would work in a windy back yard?

I suggest using tie backs if you get a lot of wind so they don’t get ruined. Also, with the clips that I used (you can see a photo in the outdoor curtain rod post) it is really easy to take them down during the winter months.

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