How to Upcycle Old Curtains


Replacing your curtains with custom blinds or shades can add modern sophistication to a room, making it a common upgrade for homeowners. But what should you do with your old curtains? On the silver screen, Scarlett O’Hara fashions a dress out of her green velvet drapes in Gone with the Wind and Maria sews curtains into play clothes for the Von Trapp children in The Sound of Music. Not much of a seamstress? Don’t worry if your sewing skills are subpar or you don’t have a Hollywood costume designer on hand. We’ve put together some clever DIY ideas for repurposing old curtains and giving them a second life as functional pieces in your home.

Easy, No-Sew Ideas for Repurposing Old Curtains

When you don’t want to throw away your window treatments but lack the time, energy, or supplies needed for more involved projects, try one of these no-sew ideas to repurpose your old curtains:

No- sew apron

If your former window treatments included a valance, you can easily turn that into a half-apron. Simply thread a ribbon through the rod pocket, then wrap it around your waist and tie.

Bed canopy

bed with canopy

Photo by mark chaves on Unsplash

Repurpose sheer curtain panels by hanging them from the ceiling over your bed to create the look of a canopy bed.

Cover messy open cabinets or replace a closet door

Using a tension rod, hang old curtain panels in place of a closet door—one that disguises what’s inside without adding much bulk or requiring construction. This also works for bookshelves or other open-style cabinets you’d like to be able to cover.

Decorative shower curtain

curtain as a shower curtain

Photo by House Method on Unsplash

Grommet- or tab-style window curtains can double as shower curtains with no further modifications—pair with a vinyl shower liner and use rings or hooks to hang from the shower rod. Curtains with a rod pocket work, too: snip small, evenly spaced holes in the back side of the pocket (12 to pair with a standard liner; 6 and 6 if using two narrower curtain panels), then hang using ball-style shower hooks.

Drop cloth

messy art project

Photo by Taelynn Christopher on Unsplash

Are you planning to repaint a room? Have little ones who love messy art projects? If your old curtains are ugly, damaged, or outdated, use them as drop cloths to catch spills and messes.

Fabric-covered hangers

hangers covered in fabric

Brighten up boring plastic hangers and keep clothes from slipping off by wrapping them in fabric. Cut old curtains into long, thin strips. Start at the hook (or skip the hook and start near the hook joint) and use masking tape to adhere the starting end to the hanger. Wrap strips around the hanger, taping down the ends of each piece as you go and wrapping the next strip to cover the tape. When you get back to where you started, tie and knot the strip to keep the final end in place.

Create a kids’ fort

kid fort

Photo by Kate Darmody on Unsplash

Why sacrifice blankets to make a fort when old curtains can take their place? Then, when it’s time to get cozy (inside the fort or out), there’s no need to tear down the walls.

Crafty Upcycled Curtain Projects – That Require a Little Sewing!

If you have even a little sewing or crafting experience, these upcycled curtain projects are beginner-friendly ways to turn curtains you still love into something new:

Area rug

cute area rug

Photo by Catt Liu on Unsplash

If the color or pattern of your old curtains (or material of shades like woven wood) still matches the room—or perhaps another room in your home—make them into an area rug. Cut and hem curtains to size, then glue or sew a non-slip backing to it. Add a layer of batting in between for a plusher rug.

Cloth napkins

cloth napkins

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

Create a set of matching napkins from your old curtains. (This works best with washable fabrics, of course!) Cut several squares of the same size, then hem the edges prevent fraying.

Fabric-wrapped bulletin board

Wrap an unframed cork board with the curtain fabric, cut so it’s an inch or two longer on each side than the board. Use spray adhesive, craft glue, or even upholstery tacks or thumbtacks to secure the fabric on the back.

Table runner

Table Runner From Curtains

Drapery fabrics often make excellent table runners—those decorative accents that run down the length of your table, often on top of a tablecloth. Measure and cut your curtains to length, then hem them for a polished look. Pointed ends add an elegant touch.

Throw pillows

table runner with flowers on table

Turn your old curtains into attractive throw pillows! For each pillow, cut two pieces of fabric to the desired size and shape, allowing an extra inch or so on each side for the seams. Place the “right” sides of the two pieces together so the inside of the fabric is facing out and sew three sides together. Leave an opening about the size of your fist in the fourth side, then turn the pillow right-side-out. Stuff the pillow with loose batting, then hand-stitch the opening closed.

Cloth Face Mask

DIY cloth face mask

Recently, the CDC released an article on DIY cloth face coverings that suggests creating cloth face coverings from household items and common materials. Old curtains are the perfect option for creating face masks for you and your family.

Ready to upgrade your window treatments and repurpose your old curtains? Reach out to Bloomin’ Blinds today for a free consultation on new blinds, shades, or shutters for your home!

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Karen About the Author: Karen McGuffin, Bloomin’ Blinds
Karen is the original founder of Bloomin’ Blinds. She has nearly 30 years of experience in the window treatment industry and is an expert in window covering sales, installations, and repair. In her free time, Karen enjoys traveling, volunteering at the local food bank, being an active in the chamber of commerce, and “cruising” through her neighborhood in her little blue and white polka-dotted golf cart she calls a buggy.