Earning Our Stripes


Dear home decor companies,

Why oh why are your store shelves void of striped curtains?  Don’t you know your shoppers are pleading for you to add such items to your inventory?  There are thousands of households out there in desperate need of glamorously striped window decoration and you are letting them down.  Please address this issue.  Immediately.


Seriously though, I’m seeing striped curtains everywhere now but apparently the only way to add a little stripe to your drape is by either painting or sewing it on yourself.

So while the shopper in me was frustrated as can be, the DIYer in me was itching at the chance to make my own striped curtains.

I mean, look at these beautiful things!


Sources (left to right): Amanda Carol at Home, Bag Fashionista


Sources (left to right): Dear Lillie, Reckless Glamour

I found the perfect curtain candidate.  I had installed a set of white grommeted (extra long!) curtains in our ex-hoarders room (more on that later).  They needed an extra umph and that umph would be stripes!

I’m still amazed to see floor space in our ex-hoarders room.  These pictures were before we really jazzed up the room (more pictures of the full room to come later).

Now the question was what color.  I like the look of gray or salmon colored curtains so I tested a few samples on an old T-shirt to see how they looked.

For the salmon color, I can’t remember the name and it wasn’t printed on the label but the formula is FL 6, RL 115, TL 71 with a base of UL204.

Chris picked his usual choice, the darkest option (Cement Gray), so naturally my feminine instinct chose the exact opposite option, the lightest (Natural Gray).  The other two grays looked almost black when held up to the sunlight and the salmon was beginning to look a little pink.  That left our winner, Natural Gray.

I read on another blog that this process took them about 4 hours to complete so it took me awhile to finally suck it up and take on this project.  The competitor in me was convinced I could get it done faster though.  I was also convinced that I had to keep the “4 hour precedent” a secret from Chris or this project would never see the light of day.

Fortunately, Chris didn’t figure out the time commitment on this project until we were too far in.  Unfortunately, the blog was right.  It ended up taking about 4 hours.  Oh well, it looks great and, thus, was well worth it.


Julie and I occasionally (read: usually) fight over home decor. I rarely care about colors, patterns, etc., but Julie always wants my opinion, whether it exists or not.

One thing I really don’t care about is curtains. Julie spent my ability to pretend to care when we picked out curtains for our master bedroom, and I was able to “fake the funk” for the living room. So, by the time it came to picking out the sixth set of curtains for the house, I really, really, really didn’t care, and was not able to feign behavior to indicate otherwise. Naturally, this became a point of contention.

Now, it’s important to note that I actually did care about one thing: price. After spending what seemed like years in the curtain aisle at Target, I somehow convinced Julie that the cheapest set in her “maybe pile” would look best. Little did I know that she was merely setting me up for a new project.

So here’s what I thought was a victory: plain, simple curtains.

These were apparently too “blah” for the room, and we were now planning on  painting them. Like, with wall paint.

Step 1 was to iron them. Julie is terrible at ironing, but my mom had made my sister and I iron our clothes every day since we were six. So I do all the ironing in our house:

Next, we had to measure where our tape would go. We went with thick stripes spaced 10″ apart:

Once we had our lines measured out, we (carefully) laid painter’s tape. Keep in mind that every other stripe is unpainted, so your outer tape lines are what need to be 10″ apart. Also, we used the green tape, as it is quite a bit stickier than the blue or white varieties.

Next, we laid the curtains out on the tile floor.

Step 5: remove dirt, dust, and pests.

At this point, I decided it was time to change the spark plugs in my car, so Julie actually did some work this time, painting until she ran out and we had to make a Home Depot run (FYI: we used 3 cans of sample paint for this project but really could’ve used a fourth… so if you take this project on, do yourself a favor and just buy 4 sample sizes at the start).

<Insert Home Depot run for more paint.>

We ended up doing 2 full coats because it’s really difficult to get the paint even. Also, the grout lines of the tile showed up as thin spots and were a huge pain to paint over.

After letting everything dry, we pulled up the tape, fully expecting uneven stripes, bleeding lines, and thin spots, but we were pleasantly surprised.

We put the curtains back up only to realize that sunlight really highlights the thin spots, so we just pulled them straight in front of the window, turned off the lights, and touched up anywhere we saw sunlight coming through.

I’d say this project was a success because we saved tons of money, but until someone invents an affordable time machine I will never get those hours of curtain shopping back.


Voilah!  Striped curtains.  Take that manufactured curtains!



Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

12 responses to “Earning Our Stripes

  1. Oh, I love it! Turned out great! Love gray and white 🙂

    • DO or DIY

      Thanks! I was a little bummed when we didn’t end up going with the salmon color but I think in the end, I like the neutral-factor of the gray. That means I can switch it to any room if I need a quick, easy, no cost makeover (which is music to Chris’ ears)!


  2. Katie

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the last picture with your cat! that’s way cute!

    • DO or DIY

      Thanks Katie! It’s funny how tough she acts inside, staring down squirrels and birds, acting all high and mighty, but the minute we take her on a quick outdoor field trip, she becomes the biggest baby and scrambles to get back inside behind the comfort of her windowpane. 🙂


  3. GaGa & Pop

    You guys are sooo clever! What a great idea and the curtains look great! Hugs & kisses,

    • DO or DIY

      Thanks! They’re now hanging in Christopher’s new room. Chris said salmon was too “girly” which helped lead us to the decision of gray. What can I say- I just don’t know how to design rooms for boys!


  4. Fab ideas and terrific explanation! X Cat

  5. They look great! totally cracking up at your hubby’s comments about not getting back those hours lost to curtain shopping. But it is sooo true that manufacturers need to listen up and supply us with stripped curtains! But of course by the time they do we’ll be crying for something different! Thanks for the shout out!

    • DO or DIY

      You’re so right, I suspect we’ll start seeing striped curtains in-store in a year or so… just as they phase out and I’m looking to update the room again! So glad you stopped by, Amanda!


  6. Sarianne Sve

    Did you notice if the curtains felt different after you painted them? Seems the paint would be ‘crusty’? Im having trouble finding striped curtains for our nursery and this DIY looks awesome! Curtains are ridiculous to buy!

    • DO or DIY

      The curtains definitely feel different in the painted section. They have more of a harder, less stretch feel. They look almost like a suede material- it doesn’t look like paint. It’s only when you touch it, can you figure out that it’s not fabric. For a room on a budget, I would definitely suggest this approach. I’ve seen a few tutorials on sewing striped curtains but I would do anything to avoid a sewing machine!! Good luck with the nursery!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s