DIY Drop Cloth Curtains (modified for a large window)

diy drop cloth curtains

I’ll start by being honest with you – I sort of figured this out as I went along.  I had all intentions of sharing a detailed tutorial, but then my phone went swimming in the kiddie pool, and I lost a lot of the step by step photos.  Besides the fact that it would be confusing for all of you, I wondered if I even remembered all the steps I took!  Although I used about three different tutorials as references for my curtains, here’s the post from Two Twenty One that is the closest to the process I used.  She does a really nice job of giving all the step by step photos.  Then, I’ll share the changes I made by using a drop cloth and how I made them big enough to span a large window.

cottage room in progress

We have a massive window in one of the rooms of our cottage.  This room has never really served much of a living purpose – it was a toy room when we were kids, and then a storage/art room when my grandparents lived there, and now, we’ve moved some beds and a futon in there, so I supposed it’s a living area/bedroom.  Up until now, it never mattered that the sun streamed in through all 3 walls of windows at 5 am, because no one ever slept there.  Now, when people sleep in that room, they’ll never admit that they woke up early because I’ve been too lazy to put up window treatments, but I know it’s the case.

The main purpose of these curtains is to block out the light, but they needed to be cheap, cheap, cheap, and maybe, if I could swing it, coordinate with our “vintage camp” room décor.  I set out to figure out my own way to make curtains to fit our needs.

I started with a large drop cloth, 9′ x 12′ and cut it in half, so I had two pieces, each 9′ x 6′.  The window is 13′ long, so I knew I needed two panels that were at least 6.5′ long.  At this point, my panels weren’t wide enough, but I had fabric I found at a flea market that I thought would work for our theme.  I just cut two pieces of fabric, each 9′ long by 3′ wide, and then sewed each strip to the end of each drop cloth panel.  Now, each of my panels were 9′ by 9′, which at this point was too wide for the window, but I would need that extra fabric on each end later on.

diy drop cloth curtains 2

I hadn’t installed a curtain rod yet, so I had some flexibility on the height of the curtains, so the 9 foot height gave me plenty of wiggle room.  If you are a first timer at making curtains like me, I would highly recommend waiting until the curtains are made to install the curtain rod.  This allows you to make lots of mistakes in measuring, and not have it matter at all!  I just put the curtains on the rod, had two people hold it up, and I eyeballed it until it was the right height.  (Just how the professionals do it, right?!)

I had a piece of drapery lining (3 yards long), but it ended up not being even close to wide enough to span the width of my curtains.  Standard draping lining width is 54″, and my panels needed to be 78″, so I needed to get creative.  Rather than buying more drapery lining and spending more money, I just decided to make my fold over larger.  In the tutorial, you’ll see that it shows to make your curtain fabric a couple of inches wider than your lining, and then just to iron the fold to create the edges of the curtain.

DIY drop cloth curtains 4

My curtain fabric ended up being much wider than the lining (remember, my lining was 24″ shorter), so I just made the folds much larger.

I ironed them in place, and then sewed a quick seam to keep the fold in place.

diy drop cloth curtain 5
this is the back of the curtain

I learned the hard way by trying to iron with my ironing board standing on its legs. Trying to maneuver yards and yards and pounds and pounds of fabric hanging off the board is not easy.   I finally smartened up and ironed with it on the ground.  So much better!!

diy drop cloth lined curtains

As you can see in this picture, the sides of the panels do not provide as much light blocking, because it’s really just two layers of fabric.  However, because the drapery lining is blackout lining, these curtains make it plenty dark in that room!  (I know, curtains aren’t supposed to look this stretched out when closed, but I only had so much fabric, and they are only like this at night when people are sleeping, anyway!  Otherwise, they are open with views of the lake!)

Another tip I had to look up – “which side of drapery lining is the “right” side?”.  Of course, I know that all fabric has a right side and a wrong side, but on lining, I really couldn’t figure out which was which.  The best way I found it explained was to put, “rough to the road”.  Once I had that in my head, it was easy to figure out how to sew it all together.

diy drop cloth curtains with ribbons

In the tutorial post, she just sews the ribbons in place.  I found that it was easier to  just sew a stitch all the way across the top of the panel (also hitting the top of each ribbon) and another stitch all the way across the bottom of each ribbon in a line across the whole panel.   I personally really liked the finished look it gave to the top of each panel.

diy drop cloth curtains with lining

In the end, I think both of these curtains cost a total of $35 ($15 – drop cloth, $15 – drapery lining, $5 – vintage fabric).  I don’t think I could have possibly found blackout(ish)curtains large enough to fit this window at that price!

diy drop cloth curtain tutorial

diy drop cloth curtains lined

You might also want to check out:

Drop Cloth "Slipcover"
Drop Cloth “Slipcover”


painted bunk beds with fabric
Bunk Bed Update


Update an Old Light Fixture with Rope
Update an Old Light Fixture with Rope

Come look inside our little lake house cottage in Wisconsin!


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11 thoughts on “DIY Drop Cloth Curtains (modified for a large window)

  1. Oh no, sorry to hear about your phone! But these turned out so pretty, and I love the little bit of colored fabric on the leading edge. I just did an upholstery project with a drop cloth, and now I want to use drop cloths for everything! Nice to meet you on Merry Monday, and heading over to follow on IG…

  2. I love the way the curtains turned out, I haven’t looked at the couch that you recovered. I headed there now.
    This just might be my next project! Thanks for sharing and passing it to others.

  3. Good job! Could you have used the lining width wise as the window isn’t floor length? Also can you wash them, or are you thinking at this price you can just make new ones! Never thought of using drop cloths before….great idea!

    1. Jayne, that’s a good point. I think, although I can’t totally remember, that I tried the option of using the width of the lining to stretch the to floor, but I think the curtains were too long. I haven’t washed them yet, but I believe blackout lining is machine washable. Sorry I’m not of much definitive help!

  4. So Jenny, I actually grew up in southern Wisconsin. (we’re now NW Wisconsin, about 25 miles from St. Paul, MN) I wonder if your cottage is by my hometown? When I first clicked on the link for the cottage, I actually thought it was my parent’s old home. 😉 Fun for you!

    1. Oh, that’s so fun to hear! It’s on Lake Como, but we’re technically in the town of Geneva. Most people know of Lake Geneva or Lake Delavan, but people who know the area definitely still know of little Lake Como. Did you grow up close to there?

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