3 Ways to DIY Your Own Window Treatments

posted: 08/10/15
by: Blythe Copeland

Window treatments can be the perfect finishing touch for a room-- but they can also be wildly expensive, especially if your windows call for custom sizing. If your sewing skills petered out after 7th grade Home Ec, you can tackle homemade versions of some of the most popular styles with a few simple hems (or, in some cases, no need for the sewing machine at all).

1. Box valance

A box valance may be the easiest type of window treatment to make for someone who doesn't sew, though you will need to cut, nail, and glue. Start with plywood (or sturdy foam core) cut long enough for the width of your window and tall enough for the height you want--the height is flexible, but take into account how close you want the fabric to come to the ceiling and how much of the window glass you do (or don't) want to cover. Then attach two smaller pieces perpendicular to the ends, cover the entire piece with batting and fabric (you can use glue, iron-hem, or a staple gun) and mount it to the wall outside your window trim. Customize your valance even further by adding decorative trim or cutting the front piece into a pretty shape. One note: these won't block a lot of light or offer much privacy, so you may want to use them in combination with blinds or fabric curtains.

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2. Curtains

Curtains are another super simple way to dress your windows without a lot of fuss. You can make your curtains any size -- floor length, cafe length, sill length, or somewhere in between. Tutorials suggest buying enough fabric for 1.5-3 times the width of your window, to allow for hems and pleating when they're pushed open, and the height plus 18 inches: The extra will give you a bigger hem on the bottom, where the extra weight helps the curtains hang more smoothly, and enough at the top for creating a rod pocket. (If the idea of a rod pocket sounds too complicated, plan to hem the top and use ring clips instead.)

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3. Roman Shades

Roman shades look complicated, with their multiple folds and crisp lines, but they're easier to make than you might think. Many craft stores sell kits with framing and cords so you just add your own fabric, but you can also hack a set of mini blinds into the skeleton of a Roman shade by removing most of the slats. Using a solid color fabric will help hide any imperfections in your finished product, and once you're confident in your abilities you can add ribbon trim to the edges, use a graphic striped pattern, or choose a bold floral.

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Window treatments come in nearly endless variations and DIY bloggers find inspiration just about anywhere. Try curtains made from drop cloths, kitchen towels, or stenciled fabric; or no-sew options for an even simpler solution. Add ribbon or pom-pom trim to plain fabric (or an inexpensive store-bought pair) for a custom look. Modify the basic Roman shade tutorial by adding ties, or creating a more relaxed silhouette. And if the box valance is too square for your taste, try a looser version by hanging fabric on a rod without the box or making a rolled fabric version. The possibilities are endless!