I Just Dyed in Your Arms Tonight

After hemming and ironing longer than I would have liked, I finished the curtains yesterday.  And I’m now convinced I need to invest in a higher quality iron.  Apparently, the ten-dollar one I have isn’t fit to iron curtains, hence the hours of ironing.  But let’s start at the beginning.  As I pointed out yesterday, we needed a way to take the curtains down without removing the rod.  Why?  This might explain it.

Rather than going the conventional rod route, Ben and I agreed it would look cool to use galvanized pipe for the living space.  Once attached to the wall, it will be difficult to remove just the rods.  The living room window is 125 inches wide, which means we need a looooong curtain rod and extra wide curtains.  When looking for 144 inch rods, its slim pickin’.  Target didn’t have anything longer than 120 inches.  Home Depot had 144 inch rods, but all are more traditional looking that we wanted, like this one that was $45.  However, our Home Depot doesn’t carry that same rod in a shorter length.

So I called Ben while shopping to see what he thought of pipes turned industrial curtain rod.  Luckily, he was down for it.  We discussed the sizes available and came up with three flanges, three 3 1/2 inch nipples (I can tell men named these parts), two 90 degree elbows, and one tee, all 1/2 inch diameter per window.  The larger living room window needed 72 inch long pipes, while the shorter dining window was fine with 60 inch pipes for the rods.

Using a flange, nipple, and tee in the center of each window gives an extra support and allowed us to use two shorter lengths of pipe.

Ben was apprehensive about using drop cloths for the fabric, but I told him it would be okay, so he trusted me.  I walked out of Home Depot $163.76 lighter (dang pipes are expensive) with curtain and rod material in hand.  Now the pressure was on.  I actually had to make these look good.  A quick stop at Joann fabric for three boxes of black fabric dye and I was ready to get to work.  The process of sewing wasn’t difficult, just time-consuming, including a ton of measuring.

With the top, sides, and snaps done, I decided to dye the panels before ironing and hemming the bottoms.  I really wanted a medium gray color, but Joann had light gray and black dye.  Black was my best bet to get a mid saturation, so I mixed one and a half boxes of powder dye with a huge bucket of hot water.  I’m not sure how many gallons, but trust me when I say it was huge.  Then I soaked each panel, one at a time until the colors seemed uniform.  Because I was alone with the boys, I didn’t time anything, just left each panel in a while until it seemed to reach maximum saturation.  Then into the washer for a short, cold wash and a toss in the dryer.  Quite pleasantly, all panels seemed to match and didn’t have uneven spotting.  Success!

And here are the washed, measured, sewn, tabbed, snapped, dyed, hemmed, and ironed curtains in place.  Looking lovely, if I might add.

Each panel barely grazes the floor.

Back tabs are the shiz.  Look how nicely the panels bunch and hang.

But there is one small downside.  Even though the drop cloths are marked 9 by 12 feet, they’re actually about 8 1/2 by 11 1/2 feet.  Straightening up the edges and adding about one foot of rod length makes the large window panels look short when closed.  Oh well, the window is covered and that’s what really matters, right?

The dining panels are perfect though.

You can kind of see that I didn’t make panels for the French doors out to the deck.  When we replace the windows (which will probably happen next summer), we’re changing things up.  No more door there.  Muhahahaha (that’s my evil villain laugh).

Now if we could just get a dining table.  And a light.  Ha.

Can you tell I’m excited about the new curtains?  I’m loving the warmth they add to the room.  Just makes it look lived in.

Mission accomplished.  We’ve got (pretty) curtains.

And here’s what it cost us:

For living room:  $33.90 for two 72 inch long pipes, $2.24 for one tee, $18.72 for three flanges, $3.12 for two elbows, $4.38 for three 3 1/2 inch nipples, $21.98 for a 9 by 12 foot drop cloth, and $2.29 for one box of fabric dye for a total of $86.63

For dining room:  $27.40 for two 60 inch long pipes, $2.24 for one tee, $18.72 for three flanges, $3.12 for two elbows, $4.38 for three 3 1/2 inch nipples, $21.98 for a 9 by 12 foot drop cloth, and $2.29 for one box of fabric dye for a total of $80.13

If I had bought two standard curtain rods, I would have spent 90 bucks on rods, so basically four curtain panels cost about 75 bucks.  Not too shabby.  But I’m not completely done yet.  I think I’ve decided what I want to do, so I’ll be back with more details when I actually get around to that.

Do you have odd sized windows to work with?  Have you used pipes for curtain rods?  Drop cloths for curtains?