pinterest challenge: stenciled curtains

14th March 2012

Some of my fave blog gals got together for a winter edition of the ‘Pinterest Challenge’. Also known as – stop pinning, start doing. (PS. Are you on Pinterest yet? You should be. It’s amaaaazing for inspiration. Seriously).

The gals behind this challenge? Sherry from Young House Love, Katie from Bower Power, Erin from The Great Outdoors, and Cassie from Hi Sugarplum.

Remember how I stenciled our office/guest bedroom a few months back (check out that room here)? Well, I was itching to use my Moroccan-inspired stencil again (it’s the trellis from Cutting Edge Stencils). So when I started seeing some stenciled curtains on pinterest (see some of the ones I pinned here, here, and here), an idea took shape. Stenciling curtains… seems a little wacky, but definitely worth a shot.

I originally went out to get some inexpensive white fabric and planned on sewing my own curtains (or using iron-on hemming tape if I chickened out of the sewing part). But once I realized I would need 6+ yards of fabric and couldn’t find a white fabric that was less than $5/yard, I thought I should have a quick look at IKEA. And wouldn’t you know it, they of course had some great plain white beauties for a mere 30 bones (check out the Lenda curtains here).

So first up was to prep everything. As with most IKEA curtains I had to hem the bottom a bit (they come with iron-on hemming tape) and while I was at it, ironed the rest of the panels to make sure that there weren’t any creases (which would make them hard to stencil!). I taped down a plastic painting sheet that I had kicking around to protect the floor underneath. I actually used two of these – one on top of the other –  just in case.

Then I taped down my panel. You want it to be pretty stuck in place so it doesn’t move around as you paint. As you can see, I couldn’t get *all* of the wrinkles out of the panel, but it was actually pretty flat.

Then it’s time to get out the paint supplies. I wanted the curtains to be pretty neutral so I went with a medium gray – I thought about doing a fun yellow or chartreuse, but thought that they would be a whole lot of pop of colour AND pattern in a relatively small room (and would therefore dictate the rest of the decor). You want to use a small high-density foam roller, acrylic paint, and some textile medium to soften the paint (you can get this from any craft store, like Michael’s). I did a big blob of the paint and an almost-equally big blob of textile medium and mixed them together – luckily the medium is transparent so doesn’t change the colour of the paint.

Position and tape down your stencil…

…and get painting! I made sure not to have TOO much paint on my roller because I didn’t want it to seep through the stencil.

Then you pick up the stencil, move it to the next spot, tape it down again, and paint. And repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Let me tell you, it’s exciting to see the pattern come through, but it takes a loooong time to do and I was definitely getting the “claw” (you know, when your hand cramps up and looks seriously deformed?).

It was seeming all worth it when I saw the final product, and then I remembered I still had to do a second panel. Ugh.

However, I was really happy with how they turned out. There aren’t many areas with imperfections, and even where there are small leaks, they are hardly noticeable – especially from a distance.

I let them dry for a good 24 hours before putting them up.

They definitely add some drama and height to the room, which is fab. The not-so-fab thing (for the hubs, anyway) is that this has sparked a bunch of ideas about things I want to do to the dining room. So many ideas swirling around in my head right now… I’ll keep you posted!

I was worried that they would turn out a bit crunchy, but the textile medium definitely does soften the paint quite a bit. They move well and look nice and soft. Having said that, you can definitely feel the painted part – it feels more rough – but it’s really not bad. Plus, it’s not like you’re curling up with your curtains very often (right??).

Total cost was $35 (for the curtains and textile medium – I already owned the rest). Not too shabby, compared to the pre-made curtains I had been looking at.

So there is my latest DIY, folks! What about you guys? Been doing any stenciling projects lately? Added any window treatments to your pad? Go check out the rest of the Pinterest Challenge entries over on Young House Love for some serious eye candy and inspiration.

  • Andrea

    Great job. I love the stencil you used. Thought about stenciling some curtains myself but afraid I would ruin them.

    • gemma

      Hi Andrea –

      Yeah, I wouldn’t have used curtains that I really loved, because I was worried this was going to be a big flop of a project. Good to use inexpensive or old ones that you don’t have any sort of attachment to!

      Good luck!

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.stephshodgepodgelodge.blogspot.com Stephanie

    Wow! LOVE your curtains! You did an amazing job!

  • http://notahousebutahome.blogspot.com Emily-Jane @ Not A House, But A Home

    Wow Gemma, that looks awesome!! Your lines look super sharp. I also love the trellis stencil. Great job :)

  • http://www.madeinmorningside.blogspot.com Ashleigh

    They are great – where did you get the stencil from? or did you just make it yourself? We were thinking about getting those curtains for our bedroom so have already pinned yours to remind me to jazz them up a bit!!

  • http://familylovehome.blogspot.com/ Lori

    Wow! They came out so beautiful! Love the pattern and color you chose!

    • gemma

      Thanks Lori!

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.theberryliciouslife.blogspot.com Melissa

    Wow they look amazing! Where did you get your stencil from?

  • http://thisdustyhouse.com Jeanette @ This Dusty House

    I love it! I definitely want to stencil something some day… I’m just not sure what yet!

  • http://www.thesocialhome.blogspot.com Jen O

    Love this!!! They look absolutely fantastic. Came over from Pinterest Challenge, and adding you to my blog roll now! Keep up the great projects :)

    Jen @ Social Home
    http://www.thesocialhome.blogspot.com

    • gemma

      Thanks so much, Jen! Just checked out your blog – I love the wallpaper in your bedroom and your blog header is super cute!

      xo,
      gem

  • http://LittleHouseintheBigD.com Samm Spangler

    Super cute!! Love them!

  • http://www.newlywife.com Emily @ NewlyWife

    Wow, these turned out great! I have a couple boring panels that I was thinking of painting and now I’m ready to take the plunge!

    • gemma

      Amazing!! Good luck!!

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.theremodeledlife.com megan

    oh my gosh, I want to stencil my curtains so bad – especially now after seeing how amazing yours look!! You did a fantastic job!

    • gemma

      Thanks Megan! You should totally do it!! :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.thescottscrib.com latoya @ the scott’s crib

    I love these;) They are beautiful!

  • http://thebernout.blogspot.com Laura B.

    This is incredible! Thanks for sharing!

  • http://decorandthedog.blogspot.com michelle@decorandthedog

    Your curtains are amazing!! Love, love, love. Keep going…husbands never know what’s good for them!

    • gemma

      Ha ha! They always come around in the end, don’t they? :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.thesocialhome.blogspot.com Jen O

    I love this! They look absolutely fantastic!

  • http://www.thesocialhome.blogspot.com Jen O

    Hahaha, oh my goodness, I loved your post so much I commented twice without even knowing! I read it earlier but didn’t think I had commented! Holy blonde moment! Excuse me while I feel like a wierdo…

    • http://www.thesocialhome.blogspot.com Jen O

      And apparently I had the same reaction the second time, as the same words came out of my mouth! Lol- I swear I’m not a commenting bot. Okay, time for me to leave and stop embarrassing myself.

      • gemma

        Ha ha! This string of messages made my giggle. Thanks for the love, Jen!! And don’t worry, I don’t think you’re a commenting bot :)

        xo,
        gem

  • http://honeyiamthehelp.com Maggie

    Just be sure to heat set the drapes before you ever launder them! Either take them to a laundromat with super hot dryers and let them bake in one for as long as you can stand to be there or iron them on highest possible setting. I would settle myself in fron of the TV and iron through an hour long show to cover both panels long enough to heat set the paint. Otherwise you are sure to end up, even using fabric medium, with faded and possibly uneven drapes.

    • gemma

      Thanks for the tip, Maggie! Luckily curtains aren’t the type of thing you need to throw in the wash very often :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.chicnsavvyreviews.net Kelsey Apley

    WOW you did awesome!! Great thinking on doing curtains!!

  • http://www.willscasa.com Amber @ Wills Casa

    Holy Wowza! These turned out incredible! Talk about nailing it!

    • gemma

      Thanks Amber! :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://adaywithlilmama.blogspot.com Mindy

    gorgeous! Came from cutting edge’s FB page. How long did it take to do the 2 panels? I have a 2 year old and a condo, so I’m trying to see if it’d be feasible.

    • gemma

      Hi Mindy! Thanks for popping by :)

      Each panel took about 2 hours (and then you have to give them drying time)… so it definitely wasn’t a quick project. It also takes a fair bit of space since you have to lay them out on the floor, so I would suggest doing them in a less-used room if that’s possible.

      Good luck!

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.hobbylobbyist.com The Hobby Lobbyist

    I am so glad I found your post via the Cutting Edge facebook site. I am actually attempting this exact same project– with the same pattern and curtains– this weekend. I am so happy I got to see your (amazing) finished product! I’m diving right in with a deep navy color, so we’ll see if it’s too busy or not.

    • gemma

      Ooooh the navy sounds lovely! I’m sure it’ll look fab!! Good luck :)

      xo,
      gem

    • Design Dreamer

      I am thinking of doing the same thing. I found this link today. I am thinking of doing white on Navy curtains from Ikea. I’d already found the curtains and wondered if I could spray a stencil on them. This assures me it is possible and that it will look great. So EXCITED!!

      • gemma

        Amazing!!! I’m sure they’ll turn out nicely. Good luck! :)

        xo,
        gemma

  • http://www.yourmoderncouple.com Catharine @ Your Modern Couple

    Wow! Those turned out to be just fabulous! I’ve never had luck with stencils, maybe I use too much paint? But your project turned out so great that I’m thinking of using that same stencil to do my dining room wall. I’m nervous/excited!

    • gemma

      Hi Catharine – Yep, you want to make sure not to have your roller too goopy with paint otherwise it will leak. It does mean that you have to go over the stencil quite a few times and get “the claw” (ie. a sore hand!), but it’s worth it!

      good luck!!

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.compartmentlife.com Shannon

    Gemma,
    Those look fantastic!!! Did you have any issues with the lines not coming out clean, or the paint bleeding under the stencil? I’m way jealous!

    This is the pinterest project I did for the Pinterest Challenge http://www.compartmentlife.com/2012/03/pinterest-challenge-shannons-end-table/

    XOXO
    Shannon

    • gemma

      Thanks Shannon! Luckily I didn’t have much bleed through at all. A few little imperfect spots here and there, but nothing you can really see from a regular distance.

      Love that table you made over! :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://maggieandrob.blogspot.com/ Maggie {Okay, now what?}

    Wow! Those look fantastic! You did an amazing job with the stencil.

  • http://maxandmeblog.blogspot.com/ Tamsyn

    Wow, these curtains look amazing. They look as good as anything you can buy in a store.

  • http://gracefullysearching.blogspot.com Laura

    This is genius- amazing, and the price is insane!! WOW

    Laura

    gracefullysearching.blogspot.com

  • http://www.missinformationblog.com Kelley Wilson

    I can’t wait to try this thank you for the inspiration!

  • Nicole

    Wow, your curtains look fantastic!
    I just found your blog the other day, and I’m really enjoying all the DIY projects! Keep up the great work!

    • gemma

      Thanks Nicole! Glad you popped by! :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.hodgepodge-babselou.blogspot.com barbara@hodge:podge

    Wow – impressive! Looks like the real thing!

  • http://graceadkins.blogspot.com Grace

    These curtains look a amazing! Great job! I made some for my pinterest challange too (here http://graceadkins.blogspot.com/2012/03/diy-striped-curtains-for-pinterest.html) but I think I like yours better. If you don’t mind me asking where did you get the stencil? and for how much?

    • gemma

      Hi Grace,

      I love your curtains!! Nice work. The stencil I used was from Cutting Edge (their allover trellis).

      xo,
      gem

  • http://visualeyecandy.blogspot.com Debbie {visual eye candy}

    I have those exact same curtains and stencil! I was just about to stencil my curtains thanks for such a great tutorial! They turned out great.

    • gemma

      Sweet!!! Good luck :)

      xo,
      gem

  • http://www.abakershouse.com Holly

    Gosh, this is beautiful! I am on my way to Ikea this morning and am going to pick up some of those curtain panels. I found you through House of Hepworths. What a nice job you did!
    holly @ http://www.abakershouse.com

    • gemma

      Thanks Holly!! Good luck with yours!!

      xo,
      gem

  • Lauren

    Great job on the curtains, I am gonna try it this weekend. I was wondering where you purchased the bookshelf in the corner by the curtains? Thanks, Lauren Phelps

    • gemma

      Thanks Lauren! The bookshelf is actually from IKEA (something we’ve had for years) called Benno. It’s their CD/DVD shelf, which we just use for books now.

      xo,
      gem

  • Emily

    Love the project,but where did you get a big stencil?

    • gemma

      Thanks Emily! The stencil is the “allover trellis” by Cutting Edge Stencils.

      xo,
      gem

  • Leigh

    Gemma- The curtains look awesome in your home! What paint color is that on your walls? I love it!!!

    • gemma

      Thanks Leigh! It’s called grey leaf by CIL.

      xo,
      gem

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  • Catherine

    I just love your curtains. I sew so I usually get a good deal on fabric but it sounds like you did really good. I am very impressed!! You are very creative!

    • gemma

      Thanks Catherine! I’m dying to learn how to sew… so jealous that you do your own curtains!

      xo,
      gemma

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  • Michelle

    You just convinced me to do this. I’ve been on the fence about it, and kinda skeptic. Thanks for the great tips. And thank you for the inspiration!

  • http://turnedtodesign.blogspot.com/ Genevieve

    Love this! I hope you don’t mind that I included a photo and link in a post I did on stencils.(I’m new to blogging and unfamiliar with linking etiquette). Thanks for the inspiration!

    Genevieve http://turnedtodesign.blogspot.com/

    • gemma

      Lovely! Thanks so much for including my curtains!! :)

      xo,
      gemma

  • Amanda

    I just came across your post while googling grey curtains – I love yours! Can I ask some questions? How much paint did it take? Are the little bottles you have pictured all you used? I’m planning on doing grey as well but wasn’t sure if it would take a ton of paint to get a rich colour. Also, have you had any issues with the paint flaking off? Thanks!!

    • gemma

      Hi Amanda! Glad you found the blog and popped by!! The paint took 2 tubes of the grey paint shown, and no, nothing flaking after several months. Just make sure to use lots of the fabric paint stuff (that you add to your acrylic paint), so that it dries softly.

      Good luck!

      xo,
      gem

  • Jenny

    I am trying this soon. Just ordered my stencil. I am getting the panels at west elm, same price shorter drive! Thanks for the post!

    • gemma

      Oooh good luck! Have fun :)

      xo,
      gem