Some of you may have known right off what my new curtains in my eat-in-kitchen makeover post were made from. If you guessed sheets you were right!
I am all about hanging my curtains high and wide! I had picked up the cheap sheers several years ago before I saw the difference that hanging your curtains high makes. But in order to hang your curtains high and wide, you usually have to be a little creative when it comes to finding curtains the right length.
I am not sure why the stores haven’t caught on yet, but curtains really should come in 90-92 inch lengths instead of 72. Standard ceiling heights in an average home are 8 foot high (96 inches from floor to ceiling). So in order to hang your curtains almost to the ceiling, you will need 90- 94 inch curtains. Most curtains come in 84 inch lengths. So you have a few choices when it comes to finding LONG curtains:
- Search and search stores to find curtains in 90+ inch lengths
- Buy curtains from IKEA (most of their curtains come in longer lengths and are a great price, but you are limited to the colors/patterns they have)
- Buy plain white IKEA curtains and then stencil or paint them to the design/color of your choosing. (Check out my tutorial on how to make DIY painted striped curtains with regular paint!)
4. Sew your own curtains – if you buy material and make your own curtains you can customize them to any length and width you want!
5. Use twin or full size sheets as curtains (again white sheets could be painted or stenciled to your choice of design)
Standard twin flat sheets are 66 inches wide x 96 inches long. Standard full flat sheets are 81 inches wide x 96 inches long. So it is completely up to you on how you want to make your sheets. Most store bought drapery panels are 54 inches wide. And you will want to take into account if you will be drawing your curtains closed or now. I personally absolutely NEVER draw any of my curtains closed. I have faux wood blinds in most of our windows and we close those at night and never touch the curtains. I LOVE and CRAVE light so my curtains are pushed all the way to edge of the window – only covering an inch or so of window on each side (because my rods are hung much wider than the window giving the appearance of wider windows )
You can see even better in this drawing the difference high and wide makes:
So here’s your options when it comes to making curtains from sheets:
- you could use one twin flat sheet for each panel (very full curtains at 66 inches wide)
- you could cut a full sized flat sheet in half (making each panel 40.5 inches wide)
- or you can do what I did and cut a twin flat sheet in half (making each panel 33 inches wide)
And one more thing to consider – the twin flat sheets are $4.97 at Wal-mart and the full flat sheets are $9.97. Very few stores sell flat sheets separate – most sell sheets in sets of a flat and full sheet together. Walmart had a big selection in their Mainstays store-brand line and Target had a few. And of course you don’t have to do white. Want red or navy curtains for a boys room or pink or purple for a girls room? You might even be lucky and find some kind of stripe or polka dot. And you could always make a colored curtain and then sew (or fabric glue) some cute ribbon or ruffles on it, or even a wider stripe in a different color. The possibilities are endless!
I was going for CHEAP, long, and pretty! So 3 twin flat sheets at $5 each makes my entire wall curtains in our bay windows cost $15. I can definitely handle that! And not only are they CHEAP, but they are HEMMED already for you too!
But I wanted tabbed curtains (where the rod hangs behind the top part almost invisible and the curtains form almost a pleated look on top.) You could sew pieces of ribbon on the back (little loops like these on my painted curtains)
Or you can do the no-sew method! So let’s get started.
First wash and dry your sheets to get all the fold lines out. You may have to iron them too – I did with some heavy starch to give them a little stiffness.
Then if you are going to cut them in half, lay them out on the floor or table folded in half and cut along the fold.
Because I wanted to create “tabs” I am using the larger hemmed part (the top of the sheet) as the top of my curtains. If are going to hang with rings or some other way, you can use either side of the sheet as the bottom/top.
I measured across and figured out that I could do 2 inch tabs with 4 inches between each one and it about work out evenly across the top (I think I had one extra inch so I fudged a little on the tabs on each side and made them 2+ inches. One tip – your curtains will hang best if you start with a tab at the very edge on each side.
Then I cut open the end and just used my wood measuring stick to run along inside the pocket. You are only wanting to cut one layer of the pocket so be very careful to not cut both layers.
And I cut slits only in the back layer from the middle of the pocket down to the bottom of the hem as you can see in the picture. IF you cut the slit along the entire length of the hemmed portion you curtains will hang with the rod visible at the top more like visible tabbed curtains. And if you don’t want a big puddle on the floor you will probably have to hem them a bit.
Cutting it this way allows for there to be a small “ruffle” of curtains above the rod, allows for the rod to be hidden, and once you bunch the curtains together on the rod you can pull out each section between the tabs and create that “pleated” look.
Seriously, in the time it took me to type out these detailed instructions, you can make your own set of curtains! So easy, cheap, and quick!
Once again here’s the before and after:
Store bought/too short curtains that are just bunched on the rod/not pleated.
Or $15, no-sew, back tabbed curtains
And yes there was a paint change that happened too – see the before/after and details on the paint colors in this post.
- The EAT letters were a cheap and easy DIY project too – tutorial here.
- If you need some help hanging curtain rods (no husband required!) – Beth wrote a post with some great tips
- And if you want to DIY your curtain rods for cheap, check out these tips.
Kayla H says
All of the curtains in my home were made from these very same sheets. We have an old house with very high ceilings and windows. Buying sheets is sooo much cheaper than buying long curtains. I have never thought about cutting spaces for tabs on the back. That is an awesome idea! I am going to pin this idea for when I put curtains in my bedroom. Thanks!
Fabulous idea to snip tabs on the backside! I sew, so I think I automatically do things the hard way without trying to think of something faster (and better!) They look great 🙂
I modified your idea. I took fleece and made a “dust ruffle” for my massage table using a tension rod. I used pinking shears to cut the fleece and it looks awesome! Thanks for the idea.
I loved it!
From wich fabric these cheets are made? looks pretty dense. Christina, how do you think will simple cotton look great? Thank you fot your tip! It’s exactly what I was looking for.
I love the ingenuity.
I was lucky enough to stumble on your site today. So far I have sat here 2 hours looking at all the amazing things you have done. You truly are talented and a inspiration! Keep it up!
Jasmine Diane says
Great tips! I just lifted my curtains and everything on my walls. My room looks and feels bigger. I can’t wait to make curtains for my first apartment. Thanks for these amazing tips!!
I love the idea and was in the midst of making some myself but with ribbon for the back tabs which I got the idea from another site or posting.
When you slit into the fabric like that, would you not need to somehow bias the slit so it will not unravel or tear? I hope you understand my terminology as I have not sewn in my lifetime. I heard my mom talking at times but either I was too busy doing other to learn or something 😛
I have crazy grandchildren 😀 and getting them not to hide behind curtains, swing on them etc might be a problem.
Love the idea and ready to try it but how do you get the scissors in there to cut the slits? so the cut isint too big
Esther Hecker says
How can I add a no sew valance ?
I’ve found flat sheets at Kmart as well!! Since the width of the twin sheets are 66″, I’ll be cutting them in half as you did. They cost $5.39/sheet. I’m so excited to make these curtains for my morning room! Thanks so much for this tutorial!
I’m so glad you posted this for me to find! Exactly what I needed, right down to the layout of your windows. Our living room windows are just like that, and it’s the very room that needs re-curtaining! ( <–I made that word up just for you because you're awesome. Lol) Thanks a million!
Jerry Alter says
I remember when my Dad with my mother’s help made curtains out of bedsheets for our living room in the late 1950s when we were little kids using my grandmother’s old treadle sewing machine. My Dad was disappointed with the way the sheet curtains turned out. He thought he did a crummy job, but my sister and I disagree. She and I believe he did a pretty good job making them. These sheet curtains had ruffles all around.
Oh thank you so much for this. You just saved me from almost ordering expensive curtains, that I didn’t even like but needed the length. I’ve never been so excited to go to a Walmart, lol. Your instructions are so clear that I have faith that even I and my husband can do this.
susan m whitfield says
Question: Could you make living room curtains from satin sheets?
Christine Murray says
Thank you, thank you! We had new windows put in the front of our house and I needed something temporary to give us privacy and protect furniture from the sun until we decide on window treatments. I made curtains from the Walmart sheets as you suggest, simply by adding brass curtain hooks available at the hardware store, and hanging them on a tension rod, also available at the hardware store. I was surprised at how great they look. Simple, but elegant. They may not be temporary because I like them so much!
Christine Murray says
Thank you, thank you! I made these curtains without tabs, simply using round brass hooks from my local hardware store, and attaching them to tension rods within the frame of the window. It is supposed to be a temporary solution until we decide on more permanent window treatments – but they look so great, I don’t know… These may be keepers! Simple, but elegant.
My grandmother always made curtains out of sheets. I have done the same. It is so much more friendly to your bank account! 🙂
Thanks for this awesome idea! I have two porch type rooms in my house that I need to figure out window treatments for fast so that guests can sleep there next month. Windows wrap around 3 walls of both, so I need a LOT of fabric and was stressing about how much this was going to cost. I did want to share that I found flat sheets on amazon (for hospitals/hotels/massage tables, etc) that are sold in 6 packs. The price is comparable to the walmart ones, but walmart didn’t have the sizes in stock I need and since I need a lot of these and a lot of width, the 6 pack is really ideal anyway. I just plan to use the curtain clips to hang them. Easy peasey! Thanks for the inspiration!
I’ve been making curtains out of sheets for almost 30 years now. Never thought to do the cuts like yours were. Cool.
Donnita Hoffman says
I absolutely loved this! It was so easy and I didn’t have to buy anything!! I used the flat sheet that came with my bed set (I’m very particular about my sheets) and some white ones I have accumulated. They look amazing!!
Great DIY project.
Cynthia Walker says
Amazing ideas! I have changed my room recently and I didn’t take my old curtains from my old room. Now I have to find out new to buy new curtains but I don’t think it’s important now. I can make a new one with sheets. Thanks for your ideas.
The Walmart Mainstay sheets are 60% cotton and 40% polyester. Your pictures look great, but I’m concerned with the polyester. I usually use all cotton. Just wondered. How are they holding up? Any yellowing?
Kathy A Jay says
Outstanding. Especially how you cut the tabs.