Colour Me Rad – DIY Painted Curtains

Ahhh curtains. One of the most expensive and frustrating things to buy for a home. At least that’s how I view them.

Curtains have always been an issue for me. I either couldn’t find anything I liked, or the ones I liked were an arm and a leg. Mr. RQ was shocked to learn that one panel could cost anywhere from $25 to $60 on average. We needed six (6) panels total for our living room and bedroom :S

I’m not cheap, but I hate overspending on things other people make for cheap then jack up the retail price by 500%!

So the most logical solution was to paint the curtains we had. Right? ( Let’s just say Spock and I would never agree on anything…am I right Trekkies?)

Right now we have these lovely thick, sturdy drapes I found at IKEA years ago. I don’t remember exactly, but I think I got each panel for about $15 on sale.

Living room make over 015


They’re nice and all, but plain. I wanted some drama at the window because as much as I would like to shift the focus, that wall with the patio doors is the de facto focus piece in the room. Why not make the best of it?

I thought about experimenting with patterns, but didn’t want to waste my curtains if I made a big mistake.

So I decided on some simple thick black and white stripes. Classic and clean.

What you’ll need:

Acrylic pain, fabric/textile medium, small foam roller, plastic tarp, curtains, patience.

You’ll likely want your curtains to be washable, so you need to use fabric paint. You can easily make fabric paint out of any acrylic paint by adding something called either fabric or textile medium. I got my 8oz bottle at Michael’s for $9.99, and I used the weekly ad to get 10% off.


1) I started by washing my curtains and tossing them in the dryer.

2) Measure your curtains from top to bottom. Determine how many stripes you want, then divide the space equally. Lay your curtains on a piece of plastic drop material. The paint will bleed through!

Tip: take into account how the stripes will look while hanging, and how you are painting. I chose to make my top stripes white to avoid having to paint around the metal curtain rod loops.

3) Using a tape measure and starting from the top, measure and mark where your lines will be along the very edges of your curtain. Do this on both curtain ends/sides. (I don’t mean front and back, I mean left and right if that makes sense.)

Curtains measure edited 

4) Remeasure to make sure both sides are equal. (I ended up with one side of marks being a couple of centimeters off at the end, but that’s just how it measured out. Must be the way it was sewn. My stripes were each 13 inches thick.)

5) Use low tack painter’s tape to line up both marks on either side. I did this by myself, but it works much better if you have a second person.

Remember that you want to tape OUTSIDE of the line where you’ll be painting. Once taped, the sections that are staying white should look smaller than the ones you’re painting. They will be even once you take the tape off.

Think of it this way – if you had a square you were trying to paint, you would put the tape on the outside of the square, not the inside. Think of your painted section in the same way, and you’ll figure out where to put your tape.

Tip: Use frog tape if you’re particular about paint bleeding. I didn’t mind so much because close up the bleeding was minor, and from far away it was unnoticeable. I used cheapy painter’s tape from the dollar store.

Curtains taped off


6) Mix your fabric/textile medium and paint in a ratio of 2 to 1. Meaning 2 parts paint for 1 part fabric/textile medium.

My paint is regular acrylic artist’s paint I found at the dollar store. Use whatever you like! Not sure it matters if it’s gloss or flat finish.

7) Paint! Use a foam roller to go over each section. The fabric medium seems to make the paint very absorbent, so expect your fabric to completely suck up the paint. It took a bit of elbow grease to ensure I was actually getting paint off of the roller and into the fabric.


I got some splash marks on the white parts due to a lack of caution. Also, Mr. RQ wasn’t quite performing his babysitting duties and didn’t contain our dog, so I have a few paw prints on one of the panels ha ha ha! (I love the detail actually. It’s very us 🙂 )

Curtains being painted


Curtains dog and splash spots

8) Let dry, and take off your tape! It seems to dry quite quickly, and I took my tape off when it was about 80% dry.

Voila! I absolutely LOVE how they came out, paw prints and all. Why buy when you can DIY?!?!?


Curtains After

Curtain Collage

Here’s what I paid for my project:

Paint x 7 – $7

Fabric/Textile Medium x 1 – $9

Paint rollers and tray – $3.25

Plastic Drop Cloth x 2 – $2.50

Painter’s Tape x 3 – $3.75

Total: $25.50


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