Friday, August 29, 2014

DIY: Painted Horizontal Striped Curtains

Before we found out our baby's gender, I knew that I wanted wide horizontal striped navy and white curtains in the nursery.  However, after much online searching, I couldn't find what I wanted for less than $400.  So, I decided to gamble on some $30 Ikea curtains and try making them myself.  I was thrilled with how they turned out; while they're a little stiff to the touch, they look great (and why are you touching my curtains anyway?!)

These curtains use fabric medium and acrylic craft paint; don't skip the fabric medium, because it makes the paint less stiff and also makes it washable and permanent.  If you can't find the perfect color of acrylic paint, feel free to combine colors to create a custom color; I used a combination of dark blue and black paint to create the navy color I wanted. 

It took a couple of hours to measure and tape off the stripes, but the painting went pretty quick.  You should be able to finish all of the painting in one afternoon, and then complete the project by ironing and hemming the next day!


1 pair Merete curtains from Ikea in white
36 ounces (4 8-ounce and 2 2-ounce, or 18 2-ounce bottles) acrylic craft paint
3 6-ounce bottles Martha Stewart tintable fabric medium
1 roll Frog tape (this kind works best; the blue painter's tape allows more paint to seep through)
1 yard stick
1 pencil
1 small foam paint roller
1 paint tray
1 plastic drop cloth
1 roll iron-on adhesive hem tape
Ironing board


  1. Spread the plastic drop cloth out on a flat surface, taping it to the floor using Frog tape so that it doesn't move. 
  2. Spread the Merete curtains on top of the drop cloth, making sure to smooth out any wrinkles.  (I didn't iron before I painted them, but you can if you want). Tape the edges and corners of the curtains to the drop cloth using Frog tape so that it doesn't move while painting.
  3. Measure the length that you want your curtains to be (from your curtain rod to the floor), since the Ikea curtains come un-hemmed.  Measure that length from the top of the curtains and use the yardstick and pencil to draw a line to mark the bottom of your curtains.  Allowing about 2 inches of extra fabric below your pencil line, cut off any excess material.
  4. Decide how wide you want your stripes to be.  Mine are 12 inch stripes, with a 3.5-inch white stripe at the top (to avoid having to paint around the grommets).  Measure 3.5 inches from the top of the curtains and use the yardstick and pencil to draw a line.  Then, measure 12 inches from that line and draw another line.  Continue down the length of the curtains.
  5. Use the pencil to draw several "X"s in the stripes that you plan to paint.  This will help you from getting confused while painting and accidentally painting a stripe that should be white.
  6. Place Frog tape along your pencil lines to outline your stripes.  Make sure that you place the Frog tape ABOVE the line marking the top of the painted stripe and BELOW the line marking the bottom of the painted stripe.  (If you put the Frog tape either in the same place for every line, your stripes won't be evenly spaced.
  7. Press down on all of the Frog tape to make sure it is securely adhered to the curtains.  If it's loose, paint will seep under the tape and mess up your straight lines!

  8. Mix the fabric medium and acrylic paint in a disposable container.  Follow the directions on the fabric medium; the Martha Stewart brand calls for 2 parts paint to 1 part fabric medium. 
  9. Pour the paint mixture into a plastic paint tray.  Using a smooth foam roller, paint the stripes you marked with an "X", making sure not to drip onto the white stripes.  Be generous with the paint -- it will take several coats, since the cotton curtains suck up a ton of paint.  If you don't use enough paint, the stripes won't be opaque when you hang them; they will have an uneven, watercolor effect.
  10. Let the paint dry for half an hour, then touch up any areas that appear lighter than others to make sure that the stripes are fully opaque.

  11. Allow the paint to dry for at least 12 hours before moving the curtains.  When dry, use an iron to heat set the curtains.  This sets the fabric medium and makes the paint permanent and washable.
  12. Fold the hem of the curtain on the pencil line marking the bottom of the curtain.  I did a double fold so that the hem would look more finished from the back (rather than having the uneven frayed edges where I cut off the excess material show).
  13. Cut a length of adhesive hem tape the same width as each curtain panel.  Place it in the fold between the curtain and the folded hem, and iron it.  Follow the directions on the brand of hem tape you buy to determine how long you need to iron the hem tape for it to secure.
  14. Hang your curtains and enjoy!


  1. They look awesome! I have seen this idea before, but never knew how easy it was to achieve the crisp lines. Maybe I will add this to my never-ending list of projects. Ha!

  2. Beautiful curtains, they really make a statement! Beautifully made!


09 10