I have a beautiful front room. It’s kind of why I bought this house.
So many windows. So much sun. In the day, it’s lovely. But at night I feel like I’m on a stage, all lit up and surrounded by windows so that the neighbors can watch whatever performance I decide to deliver.
As a single girl living by myself, this was not okay.
So, my number one priority for curtains was that they be thick enough to provide significant privacy. They didn’t need to be blackout curtains, but I wanted something that would mostly obscure my silhouette. Thus, heavy and lined.
However, my number two priority for curtains was that they be cheap. I had three whole walls of windows to cover. Six long, wide curtains in total.
Since most of the curtains that were heavy enough to provide privacy and long enough to be hung above the windows cost at least $50 per panel, I had a bit of a dilemma. I couldn’t afford to put out $300 in curtains, no matter how much they make me feel safer. So, then what?
I turned to Pinterest. But all my “cheap curtains” searches turned up sheets (too thin,) tablecloths (maybe?), and drop cloths.
As drop cloths were the thickest, I went with them. But they shrunk in the wash, and didn’t bleach white, which left me back at the beginning, except now out $45 and stuck with a bunch of short, cream colored drop cloths.
So I bought some sheets. And then clipped the drop cloths to them and called it curtains. At less than $20 a panel, they came in around $120. I’ll take it.
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5-Minute, No-Sew, $20, Thick White Curtains
Materials (Per Panel)
- One 9′ x 6′ drop cloth- I purchased mine from Harbor Freight
- One Flat Sheet- I have tall ceilings, so needed my curtains to be extra long. Therefore, I purchased a queen sized sheet (the Mainstays Walmart Queen Sheet, to be exact.)
- 6 Binder Clips
Step 1: Prep the Fabrics
For the drop cloths, I washed and bleached each one before starting. This made them super soft and more curtain-y. That being said, bleaching was probably unnecessary. Just washing them would probably soften and shrink them enough for this project, since they won’t really be seen.
The sheets were a bit less involved: I just washed them with hot water before starting.
Step 2: Cut Slits at Each End of the Sheet
At the top of the sheet there should be a two-layered section. At the each end of that section, I cut a 1 inch slit through the back layer. See picture below.
This is where your curtain rod will enter/exit the sheet to hang it up.
Step 3: Clip Drop Cloth to Sheet
I used six binder clips to clip the drop cloth to each sheet. I clipped them on the back layer of the folded over part; the same part where I cut my slits.
If you’re using 9’ x 6’ drop cloths, and Walmart queen sheets like I was, you’ll run out of drop cloth before you run out of sheet. I was fine with this, since the drop cloth alone was enough to cover my window.
When bunched at the side of the window, you can’t tell some of the sheet isn’t lined, and when the curtains are drawn, there is more than enough drop cloth to cover all the windows, so you still can’t tell, because the “unlined” section is still bunched at the wall.
If your windows are too wide for this to work (aka, the curtain needs to cover more than 6’ of space), you might want to purchase actual fabric to line the sheets with (or try something else entirely.)
4. Hang curtains
If you have plaster walls and are unsure about how to hang curtain rods on them, check out my other post!
But that’s it. All done! Admittedly, they would probably be higher quality if I bothered to sew the drop cloths to the sheets like a real person-who-can-sew.
But I had six sheets, I’m not that great at sewing, and that seemed like extra work. The binder clips can’t actually be seen, and they don’t annoy me enough when I’m opening and closing the curtains to make sewing seem worth the time.
I’m more than pleased with the way they turned out. Full disclosure: They’re not quite as luxurious as the real, $300 billowing white curtains would have been, but for a third of the cost, I think they make an acceptable substitute.
Did you try sheets or drop cloths as curtains? I’d love to hear about it. Or did you think of something else cheap and creative, in which case, please share in the comments below, because I would have loved to be able to think of more options when I was starting this project.
And if you’re planning out your curtains right now, check out my other curtain posts about how to hang curtains on plaster walls, super cute heart curtain ties, and why drop cloths make terrible curtains!