Three Easy DIY Custom Curtain Hacks

April 03, 2009

I've learned a few drapery tricks in the decorating "biz" that I thought I would share with you. These make store bought curtains look much more custom! 

"Train" your drapes to pleat

If you love the look of the look of pleated drapes -- something like this:
no sew inverted pleat drapes

You can "train" your drapes to do the same thing! Now this depends on the fabric, and it helps if they are lined and a little heavier, but it works on most. 

Just take a piece of fabric, a ribbon, etc. and loosely tie it around around the drapes, after you have the pleats the way you want them:
"train" drapes for pleated lookMake sure it's loose enough it doesn't leave a dent. It's best to leave them as long as possible -- a few days to a week. 

When you take it off, the pleats should hold. (This is ruling out dogs/cats/two-year-olds messing with them of course.)

I just redid these two toned drapes for the toy room. 

Next is an oldie but goodie. 

Hang 'em high! 

You may remember when I "retreated" the bathroom drapes:
tied valance on window
I've had these hanging at this height for five years. For some reason, they seem way too low to me lately. 

I wanted more light to shine in the bathroom, so I just raised them six inches:
hanging valance higher than window ALWAYS hang your drapes higher than the window. 

Even in our rooms with soaring ceilings, I hang them at least four inches from the top of the window. 

This is especially helpful in rooms with eight foot ceilings -- it draws the eyes up and gives the illusion of taller windows and walls.

My final and favorite (oooh I love it!!) trick for you is one that will make your drapes look like custom, pleated drapes, even if they are not.

Pinched pleat look with clips

Instead of hanging your drapes with the clips at the top of the curtain -- grab the fabric and pinch about two to four inches down from the top, and clip the fabric from the back:
pleated drapes trick

Your drapes will need to be long enough for you to raise them up a few inches. 

In our bedroom, the drapes are super long, and I wanted a really luxurious look, so I clipped them about four inches from the top:
purple faux silk drapes

Same for the living room. 

I love that you can't even see the rings. (That I spent a lot of money on. Huh...)red faux silk drapes

In our family room, I didn't make the drapes quite as long because of our cat that used to like to pee on drapes.  :)

She's cured now though, so I will be adding some length to these soon. For now, I only clipped them about an inch or so from the top:
dark brown diamond drapes
The dining room drapes I just made too short. (Dang. Fist shaking in the air!) 

So I did the same here:
red gold floral drapes
Here's another view from the back to show you how to do it:
Faux pleated drape hackAfter you get them clipped, poof them from the front to get them the way you want them. This trick also works best with thicker fabric, or drapes with lining. 

If you have silky drapes or lightweight drapes, it may not work. If you have the length, try this one out for sure. You will LOVE it!

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  1. Great drapery treatments. I always tie mine when I make them, and they do look much better and hold the pleats in really nice. I didn't know about the clips being clipped low. That sounds like a good trick. I will have to try that one too. Congratulations on the birds. They are gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  2. I love that clip idea! I have a lot of cutains with clips. I am going to try that tomorrow!

  3. Thanks for the window treatment tricks. And congrats on winning those darling birds!!

  4. oh I love your tips- how smart to clip from behind- never would of thought of it

  5. Thanks for all the tips! I'm gonna have to use that last tip on the drapes. Love it.

    LOVE those birds! I was *thisclose* to winning them too, she told me. I love AnNicole! :)

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Great tricks to share in decorating! I can't agree more with hanging curtain rods high, makes such a difference! Love the little birdies, so sweet! Now all you need is a nest to complete it. lol.

    Hugs to you,

  8. Thanks so much for the tips. Looks like I need to go buy some clips now.
    I love your style. It's so fresh and full of color.

  9. Thank you for all of your step by step tutorials on how to make/do stuff. I really don't have any drapes or dimmers in our house right now. Someday, when I have the confidence to try, I'll know where to look for help. I have yet to finish my own fabric backed shelf, but I've bought all the supplies. I'm feeling guilty. I went to Joann's and bought fabric for my shelf. After looking at this picture, I just realized I bought your SAME FABRIC!

  10. Congrats on winning your birds! The drapery tips are all good ones.

  11. I have been making my own draperies and curtains for more than 30 years (started in the WOMB, naturally), but until reading this post I'd never thought of clipping the rings down low --- it is BRILLIANT.

    My dining room drapes are comin' down today for some re-clipping action. Good thing they aren't hemmed yet!


  12. Cool tricks! Thanks for sharing them. :) I am so envious of girls who can sew their own drapes...I am TRYING to learn, but so far a square pillow cover is all I can do. ;)

  13. That is a new trick on the drapery clips. Thank you very much for sharing.

  14. Your posts are always so informative. I really appreciate the way you explain things. Congrats on your giveaway win. I love Suburban Cottage too.

  15. Many thanks for showing these...I learned a lot today.

  16. Thanks, just moved and need to make drapes. Knew wanted to take high, but other ideas great to consider how.

  17. Great post. Thanks for the ideas. And I love your new birds. Get working on some nests, now! :)

  18. Yes, the biz is super, down to nothing, SLOW! Thanks for posting these tips. You got some great shots of the clips. Like, camera magic! Have a great weekend.

  19. I loved the great tip about clipping the rings to the back of the drapes. Looks great!

  20. I "snnop" your blog all the time & I LOVE the tips you give. In one of your pis it looks like a wrought iron thingy hanging in the window? Can you share about that & how you did it? If indeed it is iron hanging there? Thanks sooo much!!

  21. Sorry I meant "snoop" not "snnop"!

  22. Also meant pics not pis. Alrighty...I'll be exiting now....thanks so much!!

  23. Thank you for the fabulous tips, especially about training the pleats. Am going to do that right. this. minute.

  24. Can't wait to see what goodies you create with 2 more yards of lovely fabric!

    Thanks for the tips with the rings. I'm going to try that this week.

  25. Love the pleated look and will try the ribbon trick out! Thanks

  26. I do love all of your ideas for drapes. I wish I had bought longer ones for our MB. This would have looked great.

    Congrats on the precious birds!

    Have a wonderful week.
    ~Melissa :)

  27. Love the ideas!! Thanks :D But what I *really* want to know is, how you "cured" your cat of peeing on you curtains. My cat doesn't pee on curtains, but on any article of clothing on the floor. She goes in the litter box just fine, unless she see a shirt/sock/jacket laying on the floor!! Gggrrrrr!!!

  28. Oh wow! What beautiful window treatments! You are very, very talented!!

  29. Hi Sarah, thank you for posting all your tips on the drapes. I really need to take my drapes down and make them a little bit taller at the window, closer to the ceiling.

  30. Oh my stars girl! thank you so much for the tip on how to use the curtain clips. I've been having curtain issues since moving to this house 2 years ago. Can't even tell you how many curtains I've bought and returned! My SIL just gave me some tab top linen sheers and while I liked them, I hated the 'tabs'. I was constantly fiddling with them to get them just so. I folded the tab over twice and then clipped the back to make a pleat and they now look AMAZING and they hang right. Yay!!!! thank you so much for posting that!

  31. I kmow I'm three years late replying, but I've bee trying to figure out how I can find 90" drapes without sewing or having to speciall order....

    Your idea of hanging them with clips from a few inches down instead of from the top is brilliant!


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