Making drop cloth curtains is a simple project for the beginner DIY’er that can be completed in less than an hour and for less than $20 even for the biggest of windows. These curtains look right at home in a farmhouse style or shabby chic home but with a few twists can also work with contemporary and transitional decor.
Drop cloths are made from canvas fabric and give a soft natural look to any room. They are cheap to buy and come in many different sizes so you can choose the closest sized one for the window you’d like to make curtains for.
A quick measure of the width and height of your window will help you buy the best size of drop cloth, or you can follow a more traditional measuring method if you have something a little special planned.
Choosing and Buying Drop Cloths
When you buy a drop cloth, you’ll want to look for several things. Go ahead and open the package a little bit if possible so you can feel the fabric. Consider the following:
- Size – Choose one slightly larger than what you need but keep in mind that they may shrink when you wash them so choose larger if it’s close
- Weight – Choose a lighter weight drop cloth for a flowy curtain and heavier one if you’re using the curtains for privacy.
- Color – Make sure you like the color and that it is consistent throughout and free of any blemishes or tears.
- Seams – Choose seams that you like the look of and are well sewed if you’ll be keeping them as part of your curtains. Some drop cloths have seams running in the middle of the drop cloth so keep that in mind when choosing size and amount.
You can buy drop cloths at your local hardware store in the painting section, close to where the paintbrushes are. You can also buy drop cloths online, and there are several great brands available. Here are the ones that I’ve had the best luck with.
- 6 X 9 Drop Cloth Tarp – No seams in the middle of the fabric and medium weight.
- 6 X 9 Canvas Drop Cloth – This one is on the thin side but the price is great if that doesn’t matter to you.
- 9 X 12 All Purpose Canvas Cotton Drop Cloth – These have double-stitched seams and hems and 100% duck canvas.
- 12 x 15 Foot Jumbo Drop Cloth – This is a good one if you need a very large drop cloth.
- 5 X 20 Canvas Drop Cloth Runner – This is a unique size and is great if you are just making valances.
Prepping the Drop Cloths
There are a few things you should do to get your drop cloth ready for your project.
- Wash and dry it once on normal settings. If you notice a lot of shrinkage, wash and dry it one more time to make sure that it shrinks as much as it’s going to before you make it into curtains.
- Take it out of the dryer when it is damp, not all the way dry. This will help prevent wrinkles from forming.
- Iron it on a medium-high or high setting. Use a steam iron or a spray bottle with water for any wrinkles that appear.
How to Make Drop Cloth Curtains
Here are 9 free drop cloth curtain tutorials to help you create the look you want.
Easy DIY Drop Cloth Curtains
Here are some easy DIY drop cloth curtains designed by Seeking Lavender Lane that will take you just ten minutes to make and it’s completely no-sew. All you need is a drop cloth, chalk, measuring tape, and fabric tape. Measure your hem, tape it up, and they are all ready to hang by sliding a curtain rod into the hem.
These drop cloth curtains are left long so they puddle on the floor but you could easily increase your hem or cut them to make them a shorter length.
Outdoor Drop Cloth Curtains
This tutorial for outdoor drop cloth curtains comes from Debbie Doo’s and is perfect for a porch, patio, or any other outdoor area. She simply keeps the hem on the bottom and uses the whole length of the drop cloth for total privacy.
Ruffled Drop Cloth Curtains
A Small Snippet has a tutorial for ruffled drop cloth curtains that adds some feminity to your normal drop cloth curtains with a bottom ruffle, giving them a perfect shabby chic feel.
This is a great tutorial that gives specifics on how to add the ruffles as well as some tips on how to measure your windows.
DIY No Sew Drop Cloth Curtains
The Liz Marie Blog has a DIY no sew drop cloth curtain tutorial where she uses the length she doesn’t need to fold over the top to create a casual valance. Very clever!
Hang these curtains on a simple curtain rod using curtain clips and you’ve got some great curtains that you made in minutes.
Painted Drop Cloth Curtains
She has complete instructions for painting stripes on the curtains and finishes them off with curtain grommets for a nice modern look.
Stenciled & Lined Drop Cloth Curtains
After the paint is dry, she uses cheap King sheets to line them and no-sew hem tape to keep everything together. She uses cabinet knobs to keep the curtains stationary, but you certainly could use another method to make them more usable.
No-Sew Chevron Drop Cloth Curtains
DIY Network shows you how to add a modern touch to your curtains with this no-sew chevron drop cloth curtain tutorial.
Directions include a tutorial on how to make a template to get those chevrons looking perfect and how to attach grommets to the top of the curtains.
Drop Cloth Faux Roman Shade
Take a drop cloth, double fold bias tape, and some velcro to make these Faux Roman shades from Jenna Burger.
This is an easy sewing project that takes some measuring and straight stitches to create the look.
Outdoor Drop Cloth Curtains
Hey There Home made these outdoor drop cloth curtains and is sharing how she did it with you.
Spray paint is added to give the curtains some color and she also shows you how to use weights to make sure the curtains stay put.
Styling Your Drop Cloth Curtains
Here are some styling tips for your drop cloth curtains if you want to go the extra mile with this project. All of these should be done before you sew (or no-sew) your curtains.
Bleaching Drop Cloth Curtains
If you prefer your curtains to be more white than natural colored, here’s a great guide on how to bleach drop cloth curtains. You’ll need bleach and vinegar to make this happen.
Dyeing Your Canvas Drop Cloth Curtains
Drop cloths can also easily be dyed with RIT fabric dye in your choice of shade. High Heels in Traning Wheels tells you how to do it.
Stenciling Drop Cloths
Check out these curtains! They don’t look like drop cloths do they? Sondra Lyn at Home shows you how to stencil your drop cloths to get this look.
Add Trim to the Curtains
Add some trim to your drop cloth curtains. There are all kinds of options here using fabric, ribbon, rick-rack, pom-poms, and just about anything else. Chris Loves Julia shows you how to add this double trim to her drop cloth curtains.
Smock Those Drop Cloth Curtains
Here’s a unique twist you can to your drop cloth with some hand sewing. Check out how Maison de Pax added smocking to her curtains.
Pleating Drop Cloth Curtains
Adding pleats to your drop cloth curtains is a no-sew addition that will give you a nice clean tailored look. Lemons to Lovelys shows you how to hang curtains with pleats.
Add or Make a Tie Back
If you’d like your curtains to be kept out of the way, consider sewing or using tie backs. You can sew one out of left over drop cloth, or you can use something else like this ticking fabric to create one.