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DIY Patio Curtains from Drop Cloths (with no sewing)

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Are you looking for a simple solution for the summer sun beating down on your patio?  These DIY Patio Curtains from drop cloths may be exactly what you need to add a bit of shade to your outdoor space.  Bonus- you can make these curtains with no sewing!

Are you looking for a simple solution for the summer sun beating down on your patio? These DIY Patio Curtains from drop cloths may be exactly what you need to add a bit of shade to your outdoor space. Bonus- you can make these curtains with no sewing!

Our back patio faces west and even though it’s covered, the relentless Texas sun bakes our patio between the hours of 2 and 7 pm.  The heat makes it impossible to enjoy our patio until the sun dips below the treeline.

We’ve looked into a few shade options, but everything has been out of our budget.  We finally decided to give some simple patio curtains made from drop cloths a try.

no sew curtains from drop cloths

The curtains have been up for over a month now.  I wanted to fix up the porch a bit before trying to get photos and posting about the curtains, but it’s already well into July and before you know it, summer will be over.  (Plus my hubby brought home that monster of a baby pool you see in the photo, so I figured it really doesn’t matter now anyway…)

no sew curtains from drop cloths

What makes these curtains so great is we bought enough of the drop cloths, so when you pull the curtains open, they are wide enough to reach all the way across the open space between the cedar posts.  Blocks every bit of the sun!

no sew curtains from drop cloths

DIY Patio Curtains from Drop Cloths

Disclaimer:  As I am sure you know, any cotton fabric left bunched up after being rained on, will mold/mildew.  Drop cloths are made from cotton. To ensure your curtains will last, be sure to open them so they can air dry after it rains.  If you live in a perpetually wet/humid climate, you might want to spring for the special outdoor fabric.

For the curtains I used:

(Someday, I hope to get real Sunbrella outdoor curtain fabric.   At $15.00 per yard with a 12 ft tall and 60 foot wide opening, I don’t even want to calculate how many yards I would need… OK, I calculated it, I would need almost 60 yards, ouch.)

[irp]
 

To make the curtains, I didn’t want to spend too much time sewing these in case they were a bust, so we simply folded the top over and used metal clip rings to hang them.

I considered using some inexpensive curtain hanging accessories from Ikea, but we were afraid with only one support in the middle, the curtains would sag.  So instead, hubby put together a few metal conduit and brackets from Lowes and spray painted them oil rubbed bronze.  They blend right in!

I used 1 4 x 12 Drop Cloth to use for ties.  I just cut the fabric into strips and braided them, but if you wanted a more upscale look you could go with these indoor/outdoor tiebacks.
 

 

No Sew Drop Cloth Patio Curtains

 

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100 Comments

  1. I would love to see pics of them open! Thinking about doing this with our pergola!

  2. Very beautiful I love it. Iā€™m doing one myself . Thank you

  3. Carlachernandez@yahoo.com says:

    My patio cover is not made of wood. It is actually vinyl like. It is a lifetime patio cover, so sturdy, and never needs to be painted. Problem; I can not drill into it to hang a rod

    Do you have suggestions for hanging?

    Thank you.

    Carla

    1. The only think I can think of is using a tension rod, like a shower curtain tension rod.

      1. Use metal piping and make sides any height you need with metal rod connecting. There are metal pieces you screw on to the post to screw into wood flooring. Looks like n upside down U when finished.

  4. Cindie Webb says:

    Jamie, do I need to wash or iron the drop cloth before I hang it? Did yours have fold marks on the panels straight out of the package? Please advise. Thank you, Cindie from Denton, TX

    1. I did not, the folds didn’t bother me. If you wash the drop cloth, take into consideration, it will shrink and wrinkle like crazy. I imagine the wrinkles can be ironed out with a lot of pressure and a high heat iron.

      1. Ruth Nicholson says:

        Just pop it in the dryer for a few minutes and the fold marks will be gone.

  5. My wife and I love your idea. We are changing our carport into a outdoor space. Concerning the rings and clips: Have you found that over time, the weight of the drop cloths have caused the rings to bend/warp, and/or the hooks (the ones that connect the rings to the clips) to stretch out/warp? If so, any suggestions on finding similar products that might handle the weight better? My wife suggested that doubling the number of rings/clips would distribute the weight better, and lessen the strain on them.

    Your thoughts

    1. Yes, definitely don’t skimp on the # of rings. We’ve since sold this house, but while we lived there, we replaced the curtains once, and the rings we bought held up at least 4 to 5 years.

  6. I would like to know if they blow a lot in the wind. I had hung sheets last year and they blew in the wind and was coming out of the tie backs, so this year I was going to try something else. Was thinking of a drop cloth. I did not know if you can find the type of material that is on the pergolas that are all framed together that you can buy ready made.
    Like your ideas.

    1. they do sway in the wind, (but, we didn’t get much wind, so it was never really an issue.) However they are definitely heavier than a curtain, so they definitely don’t move as much as something lighter weight. On the other hand, since they are so heavy, it is important to spread them out to dry after a heavy rainstorm.

      1. I live in Central Texas. Did this on our deck. Works beautifully, looks great but…….we had several days of rain and I did not open them to dry. BIG mistake. They are now covered with mildew. I have tried washing with bleach and borax to no avail. Any ideas ?

      2. I think once they are black from mildew, they cant be restored.

      3. Catherine Neisen says:

        When it rained, did you pull them open to keep the deck dry? Wondering if the drop cloth will keep a covered patio dry

      4. I did not, our porch was large enough so there was always a portion that stayed dry. However, I did pull them open after it rained so they would dry out. (Mine were made of cotton and had the potential to mold if not dried properly.)

  7. Just made a sun curtain for my from porch. Super easy and so happy with the end results. Have Coolarado sunshade on the same porch and the drop cloth is cheaper and better in so many ways

  8. YOU have saved me a fortune!! Our screened porch has hot in the afternoon’s coming thru on the right and nosy neighbors on the left. That is not bearable. We were about to spend almost a $1000 on blinds. I didn’t like the look and sure didn’t like the price. I do, however love this look and the price is Amazing! Thank you so much!! YOU HAVE MADE MY YEAR!

  9. Virginia Storm says:

    I did something similar for my pool deck/arbor. I took some small chains from Lowes, threaded large silver key rings through the end of the chains, then threaded small diameter PVC pipe through the rings and hung the chains from the cross-tie of the arbor on small hooks. Then I hung heavy curtains I had picked at the local Salvation Army store and viola! Instant privacy/sun protection! I kept the south side closed most of the time for privacy, but the west side was only closed when we were out there, and of course after the rain to make sure they didn’t mold. Worked very well and lasted all season. Next year, got new curtains from Salvation Army and had a whole new look.

  10. I think I’ve just found the solution to my patio problem. Like you, I’d love Sunbrella curtains, but holy moly, they are EXPENSIVE! I have two questions. Are the curtain clips you have sufficient to keep them clipped in high wind? (I live in MT where the wind just howls at times…) And second, did you attach the metal pipe from the top as well as the sides? Is it permanent or can you take the metal pipe down. (I’m considering putting grommets in mine…if it were permanent it would be hard to take the curtains down in the winter). Thanks!!!

    1. The clips have held up very well. We’ve replace the curtains with new drop cloths last year, but are still using the same clips. (We added these curtains in 2012.) I would recommend tying the curtains back in heavy winds as they will whip around. The pipe is permanently attached.

  11. Do you have any cool ideas for weighing them down when it’s windy? I live in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plains, and I wouldn’t want them blowing around while I’m avoiding the volcano sun in July and August. I do love this idea.

    1. I’ve seen people sew in weights, but if I were going to do something to keep them in place, I would add grommets to the bottom and figure out a way to anchor/attach them from the bottom.

      1. I’ve tried different outdoor curtains on the deck for years and once put heavy washers in the bottom hems. When the wind blew the curtains (and washers) knocked everything off the patio table, lol! I just tried Jamie’s dropcloth idea and so far so good.

  12. Hi, pardon my ignorance, but what is drop cloth?
    And has it any seams at the top and bottom?
    I live in Pretoria, South Africa

    1. Hi, a drop cloth is a large piece of inexpensive and low quality canvas fabric that painters use to catch paint spills. Here is a link to a drop cloth in the Amazon store: http://amzn.to/1WbBesU

  13. I tried this but found that after a rain that they grew mold. What say you?

    1. Yes, definitely- the fabric is a cotton/canvas, so if you don't open them up to dry after getting wet, they will mold.

  14. I found this picture while doing a search and thank you! This will work for me and I'm going to Lowes asap! I had a hard time thinking about paying for grommets that I couldn't use because the rod in our cabana doesn't come out. This should be just perfect and the price is right!

  15. Hi! Wonderful post. I live in Texas too and needed something to help block the Texas sun. I am so going to do this. Thanks so much

  16. Your home is gorgeous! I'm going to have to stalk, er scour, your site now for more pictures! We have some outdoor curtains that I made a few years ago on our back pergola. I had gotten the fabric on sale for a great deal. While it's been great out there, they are starting to show their wear & tear, the FL sun can be pretty brutal. I think I'll have to do just drop cloth curtains soon. I do love the added ties you did with braiding drop cloth strips!

  17. Looks nice but doesn't the paint scratch off when you open and shut the curtains?

    1. It has not scratched off 2 years later, though the curtains do not get daily usage. And if it did, I would repaint them.
      ~Jamie

    1. just accomplished this very easy task; they sell the clips in the curtain isle lowes, walmart…i bought 3/4" conduit!

  18. We did the same thing on are screened in front porch in Florida, but instead of using drop clothes I used shower curtains (green to match my shutters) so I didn't have to worry about fabric being ruined/mold and also used conduit. P.S. I have yet to have to replace any shower curtain in the past 5 yrs.

    1. Shower curtains are smart! I wish they made a 10 ft shower curtain!

    2. Jamie,
      I know its been several years now of use…have you had any problems with them? Any mold? I live in Arkansas where if you don't like the weather now just wait a minute! I have a porch on the front of my home that I would love to put these on but I wonder how they will hold up over time. Also any ideas on how to hang them on a metal roof over?

  19. I just moved to Austin and have a nice westward facing back patio. I have spent all morning researching fabrics and curtains – so expensive! I now have drop cloths coming my way via Amazon! So excited! Thanks for sharing this fabulous idea!

  20. How many curtain rings per panel did you use to hang these? Thanks!!!! I love it!!!

  21. Your curtains are so nice, great privacy and getting out of the sun. Hope you don't have excess wind.
    We lived in KY where the humidity is 100% in summer. We always had mold on north side of our house, had to spray it down all the time. Every thing mildewed. This was hard for me to learn to live with after coming from dry climate (MT).
    Our back deck/door is directly facing west in western CO so it gets super toasty in summer. No cover on deck yet but hopefully we'll get it up this summer. It gets so hot I can't touch the door knob. We also get high winds out here that just about blow us away.
    Great project, glad you shared.

  22. You are a GENIUS … THANK YOU for sharing this