Painted Drop Cloth Curtains

You may remember when I “made” drop-cloth curtains to cover our front doors.  Since they were so easy and economical I knew they’d be the perfect choice for Halie’s place.  We decided to liven up the panels a bit by painting wide horizontal stripes on them.

Painted drop-cloth curtains on the windows.


These two panels were made with the original intent of going on a single wide window…for the first apartment she chose.  We were able to make them work for this place by separating them and just using one panel for each of the small windows.

If you’d like to make some of your own, here’s how to go about it:


Two 6′x9′ drop canvas painter’s drop cloths

blue painter’s tape

latex paint (color of your choice)

clear polyurethane and sponge applicator

measuring tape


small paint tray and a small sponge roller

large sheet of plastic to protect surface underneath curtains while painting (in case the paint seeps through)


First wash your drop cloths in hot water, dry in the dryer, then iron out all of the wrinkles.

Once you’ve got them all prepped, lay out the plastic sheeting, then lay your drop cloths on top.

Measure the lines and tape them off.  I used 12″ stripes on this pair of panels.

I put extra pieces of tape on my “do not paint” blocks just to keep myself straight.  It seems obvious not to paint in those areas, but if there’s a mistake to be made you can guarantee I’ll do it.  So I suggest marking your “do not paint” blocks…as a precautionary measure.

Once you get your tape down and you’ve checked, double checked, stepped back, gotten a glass of sweet tea, checked your lines again with a level, fixed the two you messed up, and checked again, rub down the edges of your tape really well.  (Ugghh…this is really how all of my projects go, pinky swear).

In addition to making sure the edges of my tape were down well, I also put a clear coat of polyurethane over each tape edge to further prevent paint seepage underneath.

That didn’t take too long, and I’m so glad I did that step.  From there you’re ready to start adding color.  I used my favorite color black paint by Behr.  It’s called Black Suede.

It’s just regular household latex paint.

To apply it use a small sponge roller.

This is what it looked like after one coat.  Blechgh!  It really soaked into the fabric a LOT more than I was expecting.

This is what it looked like as the second coat went on.

Finally after the third coat, I thought it looked like there was thorough coverage.

Be sure to remove the tape while the paint is still damp. This prevents the tape from pulling the paint off once it dries.

I was really pleased with how these “drapery panels” turned out.  They were easy though a little more time consuming than I was anticipating, since I had to apply 3 coats of paint.

My initial plan was to use up some black paint I had from a previous project.  I had about 1/2  quart to start with.  I used that up in no time and had to go get another.  On the second can I used about 3/4ths of it.  Like I said, this project used much more paint than I was expecting.  I really do like the finished look though.  Be aware that the paint on the fabric does make the panels a little “crispy”.

The total cost for the drapery project was about $32.  About $10 for each drop cloth and another $12 for paint.  I already had the other supplies.  These panels are hung on rods with clip rings from Ikea.  We used the HUGAD rod, with the BETYDLIG brackets, and the BLAST finials.  Total cost for the 2 rod sets was about $28.  So I guess that brings the living room curtains up to $50.  A little pricey when you add it all up, but I know we’ll be able to re-use the panels and the rods in the future.

Even though we had to split the pair up for this installation I think they still look nice.  The windows are quite small, but with one panel per window there is full coverage and then some.

If you’ve done this painted drop cloth project or are giving a try for the first time I’d love to hear about it.

**I have received no compensation for specific products or retailers mentioned in this post.