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How to Make Pretty Pleated Drop Cloth Curtains

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Need new curtains but don’t have a big budget to spend? No problem! These easy DIY drop cloth curtains are the perfect way to add privacy and style to any room.

Making Curtains from Drop Cloth

I decided that I needed new curtains for my room. As you can see, the curtains in there had seen better days. They were worn and fading from the sun at the edges.

But I didn’t go to the store to buy fabric. Instead I chose to order canvas drop cloth online to make pretty, pleated drop cloth curtains.

I had heard so many great things about drop cloth from Lisa of The Purple Hydrangea but I was really hesitant to buy it for anything other than painting.

After all how do you know that what you’re getting is the right weight or the right density?  Well Lisa made it so easy for me because she included a link to Amazon for her personal choice.  

Well I took a leap of faith and ordered not one but two packages of the drop cloth from the same manufacturer. I figured better to have too much then end up with not enough. 

Supplies Needed to Make Drop Cloth Curtains

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How to Make Curtains with Drop Cloth

Once I got the package from Amazon, the first thing I did was to give them a good washing.  The reason for this is because they are 100% cotton and will shrink in the wash. 

The next step was to figure out the measurements for my curtains.   KariAnne’s book  DIY Home Planner was great at helping me figure out all those measurements.  I knew that I needed a width of about two and a half times the width of my windows. I also knew that I would need four panels.

I was just going to cut the two panels the same way.  And so I measured each drop cloth separately and guess what, they were not exactly the same. 

One had a seam in the middle so I chose to cut at the two ends and use the center piece (which had the seam)  for another project.  The second drop cloth had the sewed borders on the width instead of the length.  This made me stop and realize that I could not cut up this piece as I had done with the first.  

My advice is to know your measurements first and then look at each piece individually before you start cutting. 

I began by folding the edges and pressing them with an iron.  This really makes it so easy for you to get straight edges. 

At this point you can use an iron-on fabric binder or in my case I like to hand sew them because it gives me a crisper look without any pulling. And the thread does not show. I’ve also seen them glued together with a hot glue gun.  The choice is yours. 

I only had to hem the bottom of one of the sets since the other set had the binding already sewn.  Remember when I mentioned that the two panels were not identical.

Once the bottoms were hemmed and the sides were sewn it was time to place them on the rods. I had purchased those clip-on rings, but I was not just going to clip them onto the fabric. Instead I got an idea to fold them and then clip them to create pleats!  

I folded the fabric as you see below. 

Then pushed about an inch of the fabric inwards to get the shape you see below. It looks like a “W” shape. 

​I clipped this whole section of the fabric.  Like I said this was the center. 

The sides were just turned inward and clipped like a “V”.

And finally I added two more clip rings to make it a total of five for each panel.

Here they are hung up in the room and matching the wall color perfectly.  I couldn’t have been happier had I gone to the store and picked the fabric out myself. Yes, I’m one of those that has to touch the fabric before I buy. 

At this point I should mention that I had in fact gone to a fabric store and was flabbergast by the prices they were charging for this type of fabric weight. They were over $20 for a yard. At that price it would have cost me over $240 for these curtains. Instead I paid $40! Can you see the big smile on my face??

​I now have instant pleats without the hassle of sewing or gluing. And if I want to change them out I simply have to un-clip them. Easy Peasy!

A close up of the fabric and how densely it is woven.  Not all drop cloths are made the same.

I chose to leave lots of fabric on the bottom because I believe that cotton shrinks even more.  So I decided to go for the puddle effect this time and when I wash them again I can hem them to the length I want. (That’s just an excuse for me because I was in a rush to put these babies up!).

I should also mention that when placing the rods you should always opt for high and wide or up and out.  This creates the illusion that your windows are much larger than they are in reality.  It’s as if the curtain is framing your window when the curtain is opened.  And when shut it looks like mine, because I used enough fabric width so the curtains don’t look skimpy. 

Below you can see that my window is small but because of the placement of the curtains it looks much bigger.

And since this is the International Blogger’s Club I want to take a minute to discuss the curtains of Greece.  The most common way to hang curtains there is either with a valence hiding the track or with a band of fabric which incorporates loops.  This is sewn onto the back of the curtain.  The little hooks on the curtain rings are then attached to the loops.  Once you pull on the threads they bunch up and create a pretty pleated effect.

I actually did a little sleuthing and had a hard time finding plain curtain rings.  I guess the versions with the clips are much more popular now and so much easier to use.

I am so glad my girls over at the Int’l Bloggers Club suggested fabric for this month’s challenge.  I didn’t realize just how much I needed these curtains till I made them.  The actual pleats themselves took me about a minute to make! I hope you can take away some good tips on how to make pleated curtains with drop cloth.

Be sure to head on over to Lisa’s blog The Purple Hydrangea where she gives us  five very good reasons why we need drop cloth in our lives.

Finished handmade drop cloth curtains mounted on a black rod.

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Jennifer Mayer

Sunday 5th of January 2020

I love this simple method! Especially since I have absolutely no sewing skills LOL! I appreciate how well you described this process on you blog. I will link to this method on my drop cloth post coming soon! Thanks again!!


Friday 6th of December 2019

I just dropped in on the site and was greatly surprised as to what I see. Never thaught to use drop cloth. The curtains I bought need a back cloth. The material is too shear. I thaught to use plain white cloth so the painted cloth would stand out more. The drop cloth would work perfectly, providing the necessary off-white background and would even provide the necessary closed curtain for the winter. Thanks for the info.

Michelle Leslie

Monday 26th of March 2018

Love, love, love how your curtains turned out Mary. What a neat idea and we have loads of drop cloth at home too. It's look so incredibly classy the way you've hung them and I really like how they drape on the floor. I hope the don't shrink too much the next time you wash them


Monday 26th of March 2018

It came out really great Michelle much better than I expected and in essence it's a blank canvas so you can decorate the room any way you want. I don't think we're in danger of ending up with high waters with all that puddle on the bottom.


Monday 26th of March 2018

Mary!!!! Your curtains are gorgeous. Are you hooked on drop cloth fabric now???😍


Monday 26th of March 2018

Lisa thanks to you I am absolutely hooked. And you know I had a bit left over so I'll be making a few more projects with it. Thanks again!


Monday 26th of March 2018

Great job, Mary. Drop cloth is the best. As I look around me I find I have used it for a lot of projects in my home. You can't do better than drop cloth.


Monday 26th of March 2018

I have just come to appreciate it as something other than just protecting the furniture from paint Debra. I am more than impressed with it's beauty and durability.

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