The curtain rods in our new house looked like something out of a 1960 Sears catalog and they had to go. Knowing I had 16 windows to buy for, I realized the cost would add up fast for something so simple. Since I wanted to spend more money on curtains, paint and accessories, I decided to figure out a way to make my own rods.
We moved into our house a year ago knowing we had lots of projects ahead. Every room was crying out for a makeover, but honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Making curtain rods was another opportunity to put our own touch on a house we love so much.
What You Will Need:
Electrical Conduit (I used ½ inch which is actually ¾ in. in diameter)
Spray Paint (I used Rustoleum Universal in Oil Rubbed Bronze)
Super Glue (Gel is best for this)
4” screws with a Flat Head
Hot Glue (optional)
Rod Connectors for Bay Window Rods (optional)
First, go to the electrical section in your favorite home improvement store for electrical conduit. I had thought about using wood dowels, but you would see the wood grain when it was spray painted. PVC was another option, but it was too flexible, which is why electrical conduit was the perfect choice.
Electrical conduit is my new best friend. Not only is it durable, and easy to cut, but it is also extremely cheap. An 8’ piece of 1/2” electrical conduit will run you less than $3.00! Be sure to pick conduit that is straight as some can be a little bent.
The best deal I found on curtain rod brackets were at Home Depot. Make sure your bracket will fit your rod diameter. These worked nicely with the ½” conduit.
Assuming you already have curtains, measure for your brackets to match your curtain length (don’t forget to account for the height of the rings and clips if you use them). I needed new curtains in the whole house so I put the brackets where I wanted the rods before even making the curtains. I bought 110” curtains at Target because I decided that re-hemming Target curtains was cheaper and easier than making new ones from scratch.
Measure the desired width of your rod and add at least 4 to 6 inches so it extends a couple inches past your window on both sides. In several cases, I extended my rods over a foot on each side of my windows. I did this to make the window look larger than it actually is.
Notice how small this window is but it looks much larger when I extended the curtains out as far as they would go. It also lets more light in which is always a good thing!
Mark the new rod size with a pencil so you know where to cut. To cut the rod, you simply tighten the pipe cutter so the round blade is in line with the line you marked. Tighten it just enough that you can still rotate it around the rod with some tension. Keep rotating the pipe cutter around the rod until it gets loose again, tighten slightly and continue to spin it. Do this until the groove in the rod is deep enough that the end pops off at the cut.
Be sure to check around to see if you can borrow a pipe cutter. They are not very expensive but I bought one for myself, only to find out my husband already has one and my dad has two.
Now it’s time to work on the knobs. For the bay window in the kitchen, I wanted the look of these round glass finials at Restoration Hardware but wasn’t about to pay $50 a pair, especially when I would need so many. So, I stumbled upon 30mm Glass Cabinet Knobs at Amazon for just over $1 each. Jackpot!
Next, super glue the head of the screw to the bottom of the knob. Trust me, it works!
I used an ample amount of super glue and used an egg carton to hold them in place as they dried. As they dry, you will see some white residue from the glue on the base of the knob but the paint will cover that. Let the finials dry 48 hours to be on the safe side.
Now it’s time to paint. We saved this step until now so we didn’t ruin the paint finish when cutting the rod or gluing the knobs.
My favorite spray paint is Rustoleum Universal and I used Oil-Rubbed Bronze. Read the directions on the can. They are serious about those recoat times!
At the same time you paint your rod, you will also want to spray paint your finials (cabinet knobs) and any other hardware. If I had to do this over again, I would have painted the brackets too so they are exactly the same color.
For the curtains in the dining room, I some orange knobs I found really cheap on Amazon. Then, I just spray painted the entire knob. For the glass knobs, I just taped off the glass sphere with blue painter’s tape before painting.
After the paint has have dried overnight, I wrapped electrical tape around the screw so it would fit snugly into the end of the conduit. Be sure to wrap at least 2 rows of tape around screw. This will take some trial and error as you find the right amount of tape so the finial end fits. I just kept adding tape until it was tight enough. Secure it with hot glue if that helps.
For the bay window rod, I used these connectors which happened to fit my curtain rods.
Below is our master bedroom curtain rod, the tie-backs for the breakfast area bay window and the rod for my daughter’s room.
After attaching the finials to the rods, I hung my curtains. I repeated this project for all 16 windows in our house and estimate that I saved a minimum of $500 if I bought all Target curtain rods. Each rod with finials and hardware cost me about $5.
Soon on the blog, I will share my secret on how I faked pinch-pleat curtains with pleater tape, binder rings and paper clips.
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‘Til Next Time,
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