Custom curtains can transform the look and feel of a room. With some simple embellishing tricks, you can create beautiful, customized window treatments on a budget. Read on for easy DIY ideas to add personality to your curtains without breaking the bank.
Gather Inspiration and Materials
The first step is deciding the style and colors you want for your custom curtains. Look through home decor magazines, blogs, Pinterest, and photos of rooms you love to gather inspiration. Consider the existing decor in the room – you’ll want your new curtains to complement the furnishings and wall colors.
Once you have a vision, make a list of any materials you’ll need. This may include:
- Curtain panels or fabric yardage
- Curtain rods and hardware
- Embellishment materials like trim, tassels, and fabric paint
- Hand sewing supplies like needles, thread, pins, etc.
Shop thrift and discount stores first when sourcing curtains and fabric. Check sales and coupons at craft stores for embellishment materials.
Add Dimension with Rods and Hardware
An easy way to upgrade basic curtains is by adding beautiful decorative hardware. Dress up plain curtain panels with:
- Ornate finials on the ends of the rod for a touch of antique flair. Opt for finials that complement your room’s style – think glass, crystal, wrought iron, wood, ceramic, etc.
- Dramatic holdbacks secured to the walls beside the window. Choose holdbacks that match the finials for a coordinated look.
- Textured or colored rods like wood, metal, or brushed nickel instead of standard white curtain rods.
- Extra-wide rods that extend 6-12 inches past the window frame to make the window appear larger.
Don’t forget the functional hardware too. Invest in smoothly gliding curtain rings and quality rod brackets that can handle the weight of your curtains.
Sew On Trims and Embroidery
For a quick DIY project, sew trims, ribbons, and other embellishments onto ready-made curtains. Here are some easy ideas:
- Sew colorful ribbons onto curtain edges for a pop of brightness.
- Add metallic trim like lace, fringe, or gimp to create an elegant look.
- Sew on decorative fabric patches, appliques, or motifs using a zigzag or satin stitch.
- For a boho vibe, use embroidery floss to hand embroider patterns like flowers or geometric shapes.
- Outline curtain edges with fun fuzzy yarn or pom pom trim sewn on by hand or machine.
- Add fabric tassels to curtain corners or tie-backs for some playful texture.
Make sure any embellishments are securely stitched on. Hand-sewing may take more time but offers an artisanal look.
Design Your Own Fabrics
Unleash your creative side by designing custom fabrics for DIY curtains and valances. Here are some artistic approaches:
- Block print your own pattern onto fabric using carved vegetables, foam, or linoleum blocks. Use fabric paints or dye.
- Bleach solid curtains or fabric yardage to create beautiful muted patterns.
- Use a stencil and fabric paint to add a bold motif. Try geometric shapes, foliage, flowers, stripes, etc.
- Stamp fun designs using sponges, potatoes, corks, or other household items dipped in fabric paint.
- Tie dye or dip dye curtain panels and valence fabrics for a psychedelic effect.
- Use a transfer pen to trace clip art, photos, or illustrations onto fabric, then fill in with paint.
Heat set any painted fabrics so the colors stay vibrant. For best results, launder gently before hanging.
Sew Creative Curtains and Valances
For complete customization, sew DIY curtains and window valances using embellished fabrics. Here are some inspiring ideas:
- Sew a patterned valance from your custom printed or painted fabric. Add pom pom fringe for whimsy.
- Piece together fabric patches or leftover scraps for an eclectic collage curtain. Finish the edges with bias tape.
- Make lace curtains even more delicate by adding fabric yo-yos, cascading ruffles, ribbon bows, or appliqued flowers.
- For a sheer underlay, decorate inexpensive white curtains with fabric markers, stencils, or appliques peeking through.
- Sew rows of dainty fabric tassels, pom poms, or bells onto curtain edges for a playful sound and texture.
- Cut long bias strips of contrasting fabrics and stitch into bias tape to edge your DIY curtains or use as tie-backs.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match materials, textures, patterns, and embellishments. Layer different techniques like hand embroidery, printing, and applique for unique custom curtains.
Upgrade With Easy No-Sew Ideas
If sewing isn’t your thing, use these clever no-sew methods to enhance plain curtains:
- Hot glue trim, ribbons, lace, beads, or other embellishments onto fabric.
- Use fabric glue to attach appliques, patches, buttons, pom poms, or sequins.
- Wrap curtain tie-backs with colorful yarn, fabric strips, or cord.
- Use curtain clips to attach brooches, silk flowers, or fabric rosettes directly to curtain panels.
- Adhere decorative fabric tapes and trims using an iron-on adhesive like Heat n’ Bond.
- Edge curtains with pom pom fringe or balls using fabric glue or tape.
- Paint or stencil designs directly onto curtains using specially formulated fabric paints.
- Attach institutional pins and fabric collages to solid curtains for an artsy look.
With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless for adding personality to plain curtains without threading a needle.
Display With Decorative Hardware
Embellish your window treatments by hanging them on decorative rods and hardware. Here are some quick ideas:
- Suspend rod pocket curtains from colorful dowels or tree branches for a nature-inspired look.
- Hang lace or sheer panels from twig or driftwood curtain rods for rustic style.
- Display fabric on creative curtain rods like pipe, bamboo, tree limb, or wrought iron designs.
- Use ornate rod rings designed like flowers, snakes, or ocean waves to draw the eye.
- Hang pencil pleat curtains on oversized rings or bright mismatched rings for fun.
- Use pairs of metal plant hangers as make-shift industrial curtain rods.
- Attach clips or clothespins to “rope” rods made from plaited t-shirt yarn or fabric strips.
Check second-hand and dollar stores for quirky curtain rods and accessories before splurging on pricey designer versions.
With some simple embellishing tricks, it’s easy to transform basic curtains into beautiful, customized window treatments. Get creative with fabric paints, trims, sewing, stencils, and more without spending a fortune. Focus on choosing enhancements and hardware that complement your existing room decor. Mix and match patterns, textures, colors and styles for a unique look. Your personalized curtains will add warmth, style and personality to any room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are some cheap materials I can use to embellish curtains?
A: Some low-cost materials for embellishing curtains include ribbon, lace, pom poms, fabric tassels, upholstery trim and fringe, embroidery floss, recycled fabrics and clothing, buttons, beads, sequins, and scrapbooking embellishments. Shop discount fabric stores and thrift shops.
Q: How do I hem embellished curtains?
A: For heavy embellishments, sew a deep bottom hem and hand stitch decorations just above the hemline so they don’t weigh the curtains down. For lightweight trims, sew decorations along the hem edge before hemming curtains. Make sure embellished areas have enough give so curtains hang properly.
Q: Should I embellish both sides of curtain panels?
A: It’s generally best to embellish just the front side of curtains that will be drawn open and closed frequently. Decorating both sides can cause embellishments to catch and wear prematurely during opening/closing. Exceptions would be stationary curtains or valances that don’t need to glide.
Q: What types of embellishments work best on sheer curtains?
A: Lightweight embellishments like ribbons, lace, embroidery, fabric flowers, pom poms or fabric yo-yos are ideal for sheer curtains. Avoid heavy trims that could cause visible sagging. Place embellishments strategically so window privacy is maintained.
Q: Can I machine-wash embellished curtains?
A: Check any trim, applique, or fabric paint manufacturer instructions first. Some may recommend dry cleaning only. If machine washing, use cold water on a gentle cycle. Air dry embellished curtains to avoid damaging decorations and applied trims in the heat of electric or gas dryers.
Q: Where is the best place to buy discounted embellishments and trims?
A: Check sales and clearance sections of craft stores like Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. Shop online discount retailers like Amazon. Visit second-hand shops and thrift stores, which often have trims, fabrics, and craft supplies at bargain prices.
Q: What kind of stitch should I use to attach embellishments?
A: Hand stitch with a slip stitch along the trim edges. For sewing machine application, a zigzag or small satin stitch works well to secure embellishments. Make stitches close together so trims don’t come loose.
Q: Should I embellish my curtains before or after hemming?
A: Add embellishments before hemming so the stitching secures them in place. Try to keep decorations at least 2 inches from the bottom raw edge so weight doesn’t pull on the hemline.
Q: Can I use hot glue to attach embellishments to curtains?
A: Yes, fabric hot glue is a quick no-sew option. Carefully dot or stitch along the edges of trims or motifs and press in place. Be conservative with glue to prevent visible globs. Hot glue may not withstand frequent laundering.