DIY Painted Curtains {Tutorial}

If you’re a Pinterest lover like I am, then you’ve probably seen projects and wondered if they *really* would work. I felt that way anytime I saw DIY painted curtains–with stripes.  I’ve always loved them, just didn’t know how those stripes would actually turn out.  Then when I needed new curtains for the music room, and I just knew that stripes would be perfect for that space.  When I started looking at striped curtains online, I quickly realized how pricey they were, and that I didn’t want to spend that much on them. So…I decided to give painted curtains a try, and I’m SO SO glad!!!

diy painted curtains |

 Honestly, I am in LOVE. They are so perfect in this space, and every time I walk by them it makes me happy.  I wish I would have tried it a long time ago!!  It ended up being WAY easier than I thought it was going to be, but there are a few things that can make a big difference. If you’re in love with striped curtains, and don’t want to pay the big bucks, this is definitely worth a try.  Instead of the $200 I could have paid, I spent $40!!! The panels were each $15 at Target, and the paint was $10 at Walmart. I didn’t want or need expensive paint, and it worked just fine for this project.

diy painted curtains |

 I actually painted them at night after my kids went to bed, because I had to have them laid out on my kitchen floor, and I knew it would be too much of a temptation for some of my kiddos to handle.  ☺  The curtains dried overnight, and by morning they were ready to hang!!!

 I used white curtains, and painted brown stripes on to it.  It’s better to buy light curtains and use dark paint instead of the other way around. You also don’t want too thin of curtains-I think a thicker curtain will absorb the paint better for crisper lines.  I used sailcloth curtains from Target, and they were perfect. Super easy to work with, and the little lines in the fabric made the stripes easier to tape off!


-curtain panels

-interior latex paint

-foam paint roller

-frog tape

-measuring tape

-something to protect floor:  cardboard, butcher paper, tarp

diy painted curtains |


1.  You can do this outside if you have a place where the curtains will stay clean and free of dust and dirt, but I preferred to do it inside on my kitchen floor. You’ll need something to protect your floor–big enough that one entire curtain panel will fit on it.  You could use a large piece of cardboard, a tarp, or even strips of butcher paper layered over each other so the paint doesn’t seep through.  Secure it on the floor with painters tape so it won’t wiggle when you’re painting.

2.  Decide if you want to start with a painted stripe or a white stripe!!! Then, decide how big you want your stripes to be based on the size of your curtain (you want even stripes), and use the frog tape to create them.  I wanted mine big, and went with 12 inches. I sued 84 inch curtains, and 12 goes evenly into 84.  THIS IS IMPORTANT: make sure you take into consideration the width of your tape, and factor that into the stripes.  For example…

Stripe #1 (starting from top of curtain):  I measured down 12 inches, and put down the tape, with the TOP of the tape at the 12 inch mark. This is the stripe that will be painted.

Stripe #2:  I measured from the top of the tape, down 12 inches (the space includes the tape), and put the BOTTOM of the tape at the 12 inch mark.  This is your white stripe. You want the tape in your white space, since it won’t be painted. If not, then your stripes will be off.

Stripe #3:  I measured down 12 inches from the TOP of the tape, and placed the TOP of the tape at the 12 inch mark.

Repeat until all your stripes are completed! Add a bit of green tape to the stripes that are going to stay white, so you’ll remember not to paint them!

3.  Use your foam roller to apply the paint in the sections that will be stripes. Before you paint, make sure all the frog tape is pressed down really, really well.  You do have some leeway with the frog tape on both sides, but be SO careful of splatters, because you don’t want to have to try and clean off paint specks from your curtains. Try to paint evenly, and covering well.

diy painted curtains |

4.  If your curtains are on a tarp, you can leave them there until they are totally dry.  If you used cardboard or paper, you don’t want them to dry completely on it.  I used butcher paper–because my tarps were in use and I didn’t have any cardboard–and after they dried for about an hour, I removed the curtains from the paper. They weren’t totally dry, but dry enough that I could lay them across our picnic table outside to completely dry.  Butcher paper is not my favorite option, and if you can avoid it–I would.  I only used it because I was feeling impatient, and didn’t want to wait for the projects drying on my painting tarps, or to go and get cardboard.  ☺

 Once they are completely dry, you’re ready to hang them up!!! If you find that once the curtains are dry, there are spots that are “see through”, you can go back and touch them up. I actually lucked out, and didn’t end up having to do that, but I was really careful to cover the space really well with paint.

diy painted curtains |

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  1. What a wonderful tutorial! I can’t wait to try this as I hate having to drag out the sewing machine! Love the music room and the white frames on the wall. Do you mind sharing where you got them? Thanks!

    1. Thank you, Sara! I got the frames from Cut It Out Frames, and they have so many cute ones to choose from!! I got bare frames, and painted them white.

      Here’s the post I did on the photo gallery wall:

      Thanks so much for dropping by!!! xoxo

  2. This room looks beautiful!! I love the curtains and the color you choose!! Do you mind sharing where you got the bookcases from in the picture? I love them too!

  3. Love it. I really admire the way you have decorated your home. Thank you for sharing your fun projects and the beauty of your home.

  4. I’ve wondered if painting curtains would turn out like they show on Pinterest. They turned out pretty! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I’ve seen other tutorials that tell you to use a fabric medium. Did the painted parts of your curtains end up with a weird texture because of the paint? I’d love to try this, and if I don’t have to spend the extra money on fabric medium… ;)

    1. I didn’t use a fabric medium. I decided to try them without it, and I think they turned out totally fine! They were going to be in a room without much use or high traffic, so I wasn’t worried about having to wash them. The painted part is a little stiffer than the unpainted sections, but that’s to be expected. It isn’t so stiff that the curtains don’t bend, or fold nicely when they’re swept to the sides. I would do it again without the medium for sure, but if they were going to be in a really high traffic era, especially the kitchen or even a family room, I would most likely add the medium, so I could wash them. Good luck!!! xo

  6. BEAUTIFUL curtains! I, too, had wondered how painting curtains would turn out…and they look just like I imagined they would! Great job and great tutorial, Kierste! Easy to follow, and I am anxious to try it..
    Here’s something that could be used instead of curtains, if you’re interested: At any of the big box stores, (I happen to work at Lowe’s), in the paint dept., right next to the regular tarps, are cloth-like tarps that look almost like linen, tan in color, and come in a variety of sizes. It takes a little bit of math to figure which way they need to go, but it can be done..for example, they come in 9′ x 12′, so if you need 68″ x 84″ long….well, you see what I mean! Of course, you also have to apply grommets or ties or clips or whatever you’re going to hang them with, but that’s minimal…A plus is that they are pretty useful at blocking out light, like black-out curtains, and at keeping heat in, etc. etc.
    Anyway, I have yabbered on, but thought you might be interested in this fact too…Keep the good ideas coming, Kierste, and thank you so much!

    1. Yes! Canvas drop cloths! I love them, and have used them in so many ways, but never curtains–great idea!!! Thanks so much for stopping by! xoxo

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