Posts tagged "curtains"

How can I revamp some plain curtains with recycled/upcycled materials?

Following on from my recent “how can I revamp a kitchen so I don’t need a new one?” question, Janet has asked a similar (smaller scale!) question about curtains:

I have ordinary plain curtains that need to look snazzy. I like the “wacky” type of design,whether it’s adding on old buttons,bits of fabric etc. Any ideas? Many thanks,Janet.

I think you’ve already got a few good ideas on there: cover the bottom quarter/third of the curtains with a strip of contrasting fabric and decorate the join with a row of buttons (mmm, buttons on curtains) – or go shabby chic with a whole row/section of buttons and misc (badges, charms, pompoms, bows, rosettes – whatever you can find). Or use scraps of old fabric and yarn to make a bunting design higher up – old patterned clothes or bedding would be fab. I’ve seen curtains that looked like they had tufts/short tassels of yarn every 15cm/6ins or so in lines down the length of them, which would be easy to replicate. Or sew on ribbon/thin strips of scrap fabric to add stripes or wiggly lines – for thicker stripes, this chevron idea is nice and I’ve seen a similar appliqué idea using strips of a design cut from old lacey net curtain. Alternatively, you could make reverse appliqué patches – cut out simple shapes and add a contrasting shape/fabric behind to peek through (reverse appliqué tutorial). A simple no-sew idea is to attach ribbon/yarn/strips of scrap fabric to each curtain ring/clip – like the idea (about a third of the way down) on this page.

If the curtains are 100% cotton, you could try dyeing them – ombre/dip dye ones would look interesting (as if all the dye from the curtains had slid down to the floor ;) ) – or if they’re too dark for that, selectively bleaching them. (Obviously do try a test patch first.) If they’re too big to be manageable in a dye bath, you could try printing onto them instead (possibly using a linocut technique or an even simpler stamp for something like polka dots — or for a fun or kid-centric room, hand prints ;) ).

How would you revamp or embellished plain curtains using recycled/upcycled stuff? What did you do? Have you got any tips or suggestions for Janet? Any non-sewing idea or ones that use alternative materials to fabric/yarn?

How can I reuse or recycle old net curtains?

We’ve had an email from Shannon:

We’ve got loads of net curtains from the days before we all realised they were naff! They’re chintzy and are nylon or polyester or something. Do you have any recycling ideas?

If they’re still in good condition, you could try passing them on – ask on Freecycle/Freegle or ask a charity shop if they’ll take them (a charity shop with a lot of furniture or a furniture specific charity would probably be best, if there is one near you). Most charity shops have a “rag man” for items they accept but can’t sell – so if they can’t sell them, at least they’d get into the textile reclamation cycle that way.

If they’re not in good enough condition to be passed on – and a wash doesn’t revive them enough, the better condition parts maybe be suitable for reusing or upcycling.

Lee Meredeith – aka Leethal – used lacework doilies as stencils for decorating plain picture frames for her wedding — if there are parts of the net curtain with a nice design, they could be used for something like that. I think I’ve seen a similar method used to decorate clear jam jars recently – making them into shabby chic candle/tealight holders.

Or if there are any focus-point designs, you could cut those out and use them as doilies for other craft projects – if there isn’t enough of the real thing outside where you are, these snowflake doilies are a fun festive window decoration. Sticking with the fabric stiffening idea, these bowls are fun too.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle curtain swatches?

We’ve had an email from Stephannie:

Just having our lounge curtains replaced and got a lot of fabric swatches to check out colours etc before hand. Not sure what to do with them now. They’re mostly about A4 size with fractions of big patterns on. Thought about little coin purses or pin cushions but patterns don’t really work for that.

A friend of mine at uni got a book of (admittedly plain) curtain fabric swatches and sewed them together to make a patchwork curtain for over their draughty door. That needs a 60+ swatches though, so probably more than you’ve got.

Earlier in the year, I was looking at basic fabric doorstops – basically cubes with a handle. If you’ve got six swatches that are good colour matches, that might work.

Or colour coordinating mini-quilt padded coasters – where the general colour is more important than the pattern. We’ve got some little padded coasters with cloves in them so they let off a pleasant aroma when “activated” by a hot drink.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle plastic curtain tracks & hooks?

curtain-trackWe’ve had an email from Rachael, asking about:

Curtain tracks. The ones curtain hooks run along. What can I do with the hooks too? We’ve replaced the rails with poles all around the house and now have quite a lot to get rid of.

Get thee to your local Freecycle/Freegle group or charity shop immediately – chances are, there is someone new you who needs curtain paraphernalia, especially at this chilly, drafty time of year.

I also have half a memory of seeing a wardrobe project using curtain rails – used as tie racks on the inside of wardrobe doors, allowing easy flicking through the collection – but my Google-fu is failing me. Anyone?

Any other suggestions?