Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Even curtains can be frugal!

A question my dad asked made me realize I should probably mention something about this. I was giving my parents a tour of our newly re-arranged apartment via Skype when my dad paused and asked me to go back to show him our curtains.

"Where did you get those curtains?"

Interesting question Dad...

Everything is from IKEA. The sheer white panels were two for $10 and could be adjusted to whatever height you needed. The red panels are also from IKEA, but you won't find them with the other curtains. Because I may or may not have done something a little different.

I was wandering through the store trying to think of some inexpensive window treatments for our then colorless apartment. Colorless because if we paint walls, we have to paint them back before we move out and that's a step I just can't bring myself to take. And fabric stores are not exactly a bargain lately, as far as making them from scratch goes. And I just couldn't find anything I liked for under $20...a PANEL, anywhere. 

Let me rephrase that. That means it would be at least $80 to put some form of colored curtains up around our apartment. Hmm.

That doesn't fly well with me. 

Determined to beat the system, I started thinking. "Well, I could use flat sheets..." Which I've done before. But all the flat sheets And would still have been around $40 by the time I bought each sheet.

And then lo and eyes landed on a duvet cover. Twin size, with matching pillow sham, for $10.

Have I mentioned I love IKEA?


Okay. Anyways. I'm afraid I don't have pictures to document the process of how I turned the duvet cover into curtain panels, since I wasn't blogging at the time that I did this and it didn't occur to me to document the process. However, here are the basic steps, all of which only took me a couple hours on a Saturday.

 It should be noted that these panels aren't meant to actually cover the window, but to provide a visual frame and some interest. If you want panels that will cover your entire window, I recommend using a larger duvet cover, like a full or queen-size.

  • Remove and wash duvet cover & pillow sham. Dry, and iron.
  • (Here's the tedious part) Rip out all the seams of the pillow sham and duvet cover. Some people are talented enough to do this by an actual ripping motion, but I usually wind up doing more damage so I put on an episode of Friends and sat down with my seam ripper, going to work.
  • Once the seams are removed, you should have two basic large panels, and two basic small panels.
  • Cut each of the large panels in half "hotdog-ways" to form four narrow panels. The pillow sham panels will provide you with the fabric needed to make your tab-tops.
From here, I leave you with the first video in a "How-To" series on how to make tab-top curtains. Because it's just a bit too complicated to try and type out. Go here to check out this great series.

End result? I'm proud to say that I was able to outfit our two large picture windows with curtains for $30. Now THAT is my kind of bargain! Hopefully this has given you a hope that it's possible for you, too, to find affordable window coverings. 

Have you done anything crafty and frugal lately? Please share!



  1. I LOVE THIS. The nasty gold drapes in our living room have GOT TO GO. When are you coming to visit again??? ;)

  2. What do you know, I am off to find curtain fabric tomorrow! I don't think I can double a duvet on 7' x 7' windows, though... so I'll have to find inexpensive fabric. And the last IKEA duvet I bought to repurpose is now on my bed. It found a way into my heart, what can I say?! Anyhow, LOVE this. So you. (see also: I don't even know where to buy a seam ripper. Please.)