Are you interested in making drop cloth curtains or no-sew drop cloth curtains?  Here’s an easy guide with tons of answers and a little FAQ.

drop cloth curtains in office with cream rug and desk

You all are the BEST.


I’m so thankful for you and your encouragement and your e-mails and your exclamation points and your drop cloth curtain questions.

Yesterday’s comment section was full of them.

I don’t think I’ve ever really gone into detail about my love affair with drop cloth curtains and why I use them and how I use them and where I buy them and how they helped me climb Mount Everest.

So let’s talk drop cloths today–a little drop cloth curtain FAQ.

I’m answering questions (total aside: if you have any questions about specific things in the house you can find them here) and giving advice and going all Scarlett O’Hara and making the twins dresses for prom out of them.

Just kidding.

Maybe. 🙂

drop cloth curtains in office from hallway with mirror and table

What is canvas drop cloth fabric?

Drop cloth fabric is otherwise known as fabric used as painter’s drop cloths.  Known for its durability and thick canvas material, drop cloths have been used by painters for years.  The fabric is ideal for making soft goods for the home, such as curtains, pillows, slipcovers and throws.

Are canvas drop cloths washable?

Yes.  Drop cloths are washable and should be washed before used in a sewing project.  Please note that drop cloth has a tendency to shrink when washed.  Most drop cloths have a double stitched hem with neutral-colored thread.

Can you paint a drop cloth?

Yes.  Drop cloth is the perfect back drop for a painted project.  Use stencils on the canvas drop cloth, or free-hand a painted design.  You’ll want to use fabric paint when creating your design, so the drop cloth curtains or pillows can be washed.

Can you make drop cloth curtains no-sew?

Yes.  This is an easy project. All you’ll need is a standard curtain rod, curtain clips and a drop cloth the length of your windows.  Install the curtain rod and then clip the drop cloth onto the curtain clips.  Thread the clips on the rod and hang.

Q:  Love the room! How in the world did you hang those amazing curtains???

I’ve hung drop cloth curtains several ways.

drop cloth drapes in the dining room

1.  Long skinny rods

I’ve used a long skinny rod that stretched all the way across the top of the window and extended out six inches on each side.

You can kind of see what I’m talking about in this super old picture of the dining room at the farmhouse.

I used to have drop cloth curtains here instead of these smocked jute curtains and I hung them the same way.

2. Make a no-sew version of drop cloth curtains.

You just clip on clips and hang.

I like the really small rods because they let the curtains shine (and they are less expensive, too).

3.  small wood rods

These are small dowel rods with finials and brackets.

The curtains are stationary.

I used shades with these curtains for privacy.

If you don’t want to make your own, I found these inexpensive wood rods.

4. Small metal rods

I hung the curtains in the office with these small metal rods.

You can find them here at Target.

The bay window didn’t have enough space to fit the curtain rod, so my father-in-law bent them for me to fit.

He just kept bending them until they fit into place.

He’s super strong like that.

I guess he ate his spinach.

Q:  Please give us a tutorial on the curtains!!! How did you make them? How do they hang? Are they just stationary?

Here’s how I made no-sew drop cloth curtains.

  1. I bought the drop cloths at Lowe’s (my favorite place for drop cloths).
  2. They come in a variety of sizes.  6 x 9, 4 x 6, 10 x 15, and 9 x 12.  These curtains are 9′ x 12′.  I needed the extra length because the ceilings are 10 feet tall and I wanted to hang them above the windows to elongate the height of the space.  I use the entire 9 feet for the width of the curtains.  I think that’s the secret that makes them look so pretty—it’s all that extra width.In real life if you came by the office for coffee—the curtains look like they are made from a heavy linen.
  3. Install stationary rods.  These rods are stationary.  You can’t pull them across.  That’s why I’m adding shutters at the bottom and a roman shade made from over-sized buffalo check.
  4. Hem the curtains if needed.
  5. Line up the curtains and fluff.

Q. How do I make drapes that wide and long?

I just used one drop cloth at each window.

These are the exact ones I bought.

They come in standard and heavy-duty.

I like the heavy-duty ones better because they hold the folds better.

office with drop cloth curtains

Q:  Do you have a tutorial on drape cloth drapes?

How to make folded drop cloth drapes:

  1. To make these drapes, all I did was fold over the top of the drop cloth six inches.  It helps if you iron it in place.
  2. Then I sewed the fold in place.3.
  3. Then I came back and sewed another stitch across the middle of the fold to create the pocket and the ruffle.  I didn’t hem the sides.  They already had a rough finish on them.
  4. After the curtains were hung, I cut off the excess length and left about an extra four inches at the bottom to hem.  I hemmed them on the rod so the length would be perfect.  It’s kind of hard to hem them if you take them off the rod because they are so heavy and so long.
  5. I pinned the hem in place, ironed the hem to get a crisp edge and sewed with a whip stitch.

Q:  Beautifully perfect! Love the drop cloth curtains details please!

Here are just a couple of other tips I learned on making these curtains over the years.

  1. After I hang the curtains, I spray them with water or Downy wrinkle remover to take out all the wrinkles.  I’ve tried to iron them before, but by the time I get them hung back up they are all wrinkled again.
  2. I take the curtains and create folds with my hands.  The drop cloth curtain is so stiff that it stays in place perfectly.
  3. They are NOT stain resistant, so you want to make sure to address any stains immediately with stain remover.
  4. The key to making them look so curtain-like is to add extra width.  That’s why I like the 9′ x 12″.
  5. The price of these is so affordable compared to curtains.  I was going to make my own curtains and I needed 4 yards per panel.  The fabric I was looking at would have cost me $120 for the four yards.
  6. Whew.

That is a LOT of curtain talk.

I’m all about a drop cloth curtain and I’d love to help if you are thinking about this project.

If you have any other questions ask away and I’ll answer them in the comments rather than e-mailing you individually so we can all have a Ph.D. in drop cloth.

Happy day friend. 🙂

PS I’ve just posted a new video of the house tour and all my other curtains here.

drop cloth curtains

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    1. Image for Thistle Wood Thistle Wood

      It just came with the house. I think it's an old picture frame. I wanted to take it down, but then the top of the paneling would show. We need to add crown at the top. :)

      1. Image for Mah Mah

        Pretty sure it's a picture rail. A lot of older homes have them. Some are higher than yours, my house has them and I would never take it down, adds that character we love.

    2. Image for Faye Darden Faye Darden

      It's called a picture rail, Lots of older homes had them to hang their pictures by, they used wire hung around a nail hammered into the rail so as not to mess up the plaster walls. Now its very decorative!!1

  1. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    They look great! Speaking from experience, it can be difficult to pull curtains closed when the ceilings are very high. We have 14' ceilings, the curtains weigh a ton (I added blackout lining) and they don't like to slide, even though we got the rings with silicone inside for better slipping. All to say your tactic of fixed curtains is wise. To make perfect folds, you can buy a strip that has strings running through it. You sew it on and then pull the threads (tying one end first!). It's like magic.

      1. Image for Linda Johnston Linda Johnston

        Joanne Fabrics has an assortment of 'tapes' that do different jobs for curtain making. Shirring tapes, pleat tape, etc. Give a look-see. If you are unfamiliar with this product, it is really fantastic in my opinion. I too, use drop cloth for a million different home decor projects. Can't be beat!

    1. Image for Susie Susie

      When I moved into my 100-year-old home, the drapes had these long rods attached to the top edges of the drapes. What the Heck? A new, elderly neighbor explained that, to smoothly close the heavy drapes, you simply grab the rod and pull it down the curtain rod. How cool is that? I added the rods to other drapes in the house, and they work like a charm. It costs very little to try, see if this helps. : )

  2. Image for Kerry Purcell Kerry Purcell

    I love this idea. Curtains can be so expensive. These look amazingly crisp, clean, and timeless. You are a rock star, Karianne!

  3. Image for JC at the uncommon pearl JC at the uncommon pearl

    These curtains are so lovely for the space. When I have used drop cloths in the past (same brand/store), I have found that quite a few of them have been pieced together leaving a seam, sometimes diagonaly or horizontally, across the cloth. It makes it hard to use the entire cloth. Have you run into this issue before? Also, as an aside, I was receiving your fun 30 days of free decor in my inbox, then they stopped. I saw day 4, then day 9, then sadly nothing.....? Thank you!

    1. Image for Thistle Wood Thistle Wood

      JC, Let me follow up on that! The e-mail has been a little challenging. :) I'm about to send out today's---let me know if you get it! Happy day! karianne

      1. Image for JC @ the uncommon pearl JC @ the uncommon pearl

        I got it! Thank you! You're the best! No problem, computers have a mind of their own and don't always do what we tell them. ;)

  4. Image for Sharon Sharon

    I love them. Do you wash the drop clothes before you make the curtains to soften them up? Love the look and especially the cost!

  5. Image for Mary S Mary S

    So to be clear, you purchased 2 drop cloths 6 x 9 for each window.... one on each side of the window... These are so very pretty... I'm always confused about the little curtain rods. Mine are too thin and are bent in the center and look really bad. I like the way the rods on yours don't show. Gonna have to fix that very soon! Thanks so much for your tutorial.

    1. Image for Thistle Wood Thistle Wood

      These are actually 9' x 12' on each side of the windows. I bought two of those for each window! Does that make sense? LOL! ka

  6. Image for eileen plese eileen plese

    You said you used 1 drop cloth for each window. So that means you cut it in half lengthwise. How then, did you finish the two cut edges? I haven't re-decorated in years, (I'm old) But I follow you every day and wish I was younger to do some of the things you do.

    1. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

      She actually explains that a few comments before. She used 2 per window, 1 per side, I follow her everyday also and am inspired by her!

  7. Image for DeAnna DeAnna

    I'll do my best to explain my drop cloth experience! We live in an old farmhouse and it's drafty...that's just the way it is. We've upgraded, we've added on, we have central heat & air, and we have a wood burning's still drafty. We began to realize the warm air was shooting right up the staircase and the cold air up there was coming down and making it miserable to enjoy our living room. Because you always talk about drop cloth curtains...I went to my son's hardware store and bought one. I bought a long heavy duty extension rod and after sewing a pocket all along one end, I hung it all at the top of the stairs across the landing. It's exactly what we needed to make everything more efficient! Thanks for always 'preaching' about drop cloths!!

  8. Image for Pam Harris Pam Harris

    One question, have you used drop cloth to make curtains that are not stationary or is the fabric so thick and stiff that it is not suitable to open and close the curtains? I would also like to tell you how much I enjoy you, your family and all your wonderful stories coming into my home every morning when i open my computer, you are a blessing, thank you.

    1. Image for Thistle Wood Thistle Wood

      Pam, You could totally open and close them. It's just hard to get them to look cute again after I do that---so I just leave them stationary and use shutters for privacy. :) karianne

  9. Image for Amy K Amy K

    I love this look. You said you used one drop cloth per window. Does that mean you cut it in half? or did you mean one per side?

    1. Image for Katie Heidinger Katie Heidinger

      She answered that same question a few comments earlier. So I thought I'd let you know. She said she used one drop cloth per side, two per window.

  10. Image for Pam Pam

    What a gift you have. I have seen where others bleach the drop cloths, do you do this? I am also wondering how often you run into odd seams. Have you ever dyed them a color?

  11. Image for Mary S Mary S

    Just thought of another good reason to use the metal curtain rods. The curtains wrap around the ends, rather than just hanging "straight" off the rods.. which mean you can see behind the rods. The more I think about it I'm going to get these. My curtains are very light weight (from Ikea) so that won't be a problem.. Again thank you, KerriAnne!!

  12. Image for Mildred Mildred

    Love the drapes and The Look. However, with all that fabric, do you think you really need to add a Roman shade and shutters? The Buffalo check would be an awesome contrast, but that’s SO MUCH fabric on each window. I think it looks great as is. The Office looks great. You finally found the proper furniture arrangement. I think it’s awesome you are living in your childhood home.

  13. Image for Mari Mari

    They look great! My questions are; 1)Do you wash them first? 2) Do you bleach them or are these the original color?

  14. Image for Sharon Garner Sharon Garner

    Good morning! I'm working on a drop cloth slipcover for an old, invaluable upholstered arm chair. I have old feed sacks from my childhood home and can use the blue/red stripe to go down the side and armrest. I plan to just make them rather rustic and not really fitted or corded. I did the ottoman and it is my favorite so far. Any ideas on how to do the casual fit? I am planning to just "wing it"! I am an experienced seamstress and am not afraid to cut & stitch!! I love the drop cloths and have plans for more projects from them. Harbor Freight is my go-to place to buy them and I've never been disappointed. Thank you! Love your blog!

    1. Image for Rhonda Rhonda

      Miss Mustard Seed has an excellent tutorial on her blog for making chair slip overs from drop cloths. She even includes a video.

  15. Image for Sue Raddatz Sue Raddatz

    Okay, I'm adding my, "Love, love and simply love, your new drop cloth curtains!" Your office is so special; so you. Thank you.

  16. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    I love dropcloth curtains! One other hint to help with ironing—after hanging, I have used my steamer to just get major wrinkles out. Don’t overdo. I don’t want to remove that “amazing stuff” finish they have, just remove major wrinkle issues. I personally love the look with the blinds in your office. I know your vision always amazes me...but I don’t think you can improve on this look!

  17. Image for Lynette Lynette

    Wondering how you feel about a visit to Ohio to perform your magic on my house? Please bring your talented brother and sister also! lol. Another beautiful job!

  18. Image for Claudine Claudine

    Beautiful, Karianne!! Drop cloths will never look the same to me!!! Thank you so much for all the explanation! I will keep these in mind for next time I decorate a room! Mwah 💋

  19. Image for Dianne Dianne

    I have used these drop cloths for several projects. They are very stiff out of the package. I have washed and dried them to make them easier to work with for some projects. Like upholstering a bench or making pillows. They definitely shrink and loose the ‘coating’ they come with. It depends on what you’re wanting. I also keep a couple of unwashed ones for paint drop cloths or covering my huge kitchen island when I’m using it for a project like painting furniture etc. I ordered mine from Amazon. My Vintage Porch just posted a blog of how she bleached hers for big fluffy pillows, check it out.

  20. Image for Marjorie Marjorie

    Love your drop cloth curtains. I purchased a couple several months ago and never did anything with them. Maybe I will purchase some more and make them for our family room. You always inspire me with all your decorating.

  21. Image for Sandy Sandy

    KariAnne my eyes nearly popped out when you said drop cloth prom Thank you for posting about making drop cloth curtains!!!

  22. Image for betty betty

    You do such a beautiful job with drop cloths that it provides an incentive to try my own though it has been a zillion years since I have sewn anything (even donated my machine to the Salvation Army). My question is about the extra long rod you used. Was it a regular curtain rod or something else, like PVC or another building material (perhaps I missed your mention of this). I agree with previous comments that your room looks perfect as is. I also have a question unrelated to the curtains: Where did you get the beautiful rug? Many thanks, Betty

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      I found the extra long curtain rod at a store (I've seen them at Lowe's before). It comes with an extra rod and support in the middle! And the rug came from Soft Surroundings. Thanks friend!

  23. Image for earlene hastings earlene hastings

    you forgot to answer JC@the uncommon pearl's questipn about seams in the dropcloths, what do you do about that? do you wash them first?

    1. Image for Pam Pam

      I purchased drop cloths that had a seam, and I just returned them to Lowe’s and bought another package. Sometimes you can see a seam by looking at them in the package too

  24. Image for Robyn Robyn

    This was just the post I needed as I have been wanting to use drop cloths for curtains forever!! Now I THINK I can pull it off. Thank you so much! U ROCK! BTW, your office looks perfect!

  25. Image for Melissa Melissa

    Could you just fold the tops over and use curtain clip thingys - that way no sewing nessasary & then you could pull the open & close easier???

    1. Image for Jane Jane

      I have done this at my lake house. Looks like a ruffle at the top and no hemming🙂. I did wash the drop cloth first and used a lot of fabric softener. Karianne, your new/old house looks amazing!!

  26. Image for Gina Gina

    I purchased 9x12 drop cloths for curtains but found a huge seam down the middle of the cloth. Have you ever experienced that? I gave up after 4 packages were returned.

  27. Image for Nan, Odessa, DE Nan, Odessa, DE

    I was one of those people who commented with lots of questions. Thank you so very much for all your answers. NEW Questions from comments: Do you pre wash the drop cloths? Have you experienced the seamed panels? If so, how did you handle this? Another question: give us some paint colors for walls and triim that these ready made panels look GREAT with? Details, color, brand, etc. (SEE it keeps getting deep. HA! HA!) Your room is lovely. I wouldn't have guessed drop cloths were these curtains! You, your blog, and you family stories are inspiring to all!!!!

    1. Image for KariAnne Wood KariAnne Wood

      Nan, The paint color in this room is SW Sandbar and it goes perfectly with the drop cloths! I also used Extra White for the trim. I have run into a few odd seams, but I just fold them so you can't see them! karianne

  28. Image for Peg Peg

    I didn't think I could love the new/old house the way I loved the farm house, but I really do, and it's drop cloth curtains, too!! xoxo

  29. Image for laura laura

    i have drop sloth curtains in my future and i hope they have a lot of seams! they really add to the character of the curtain!

  30. Image for Linda Kelaher Linda Kelaher

    Could you please tell me where you purchased the area rug in the photo? Absolutely stunning! Thanks so much, Linda

  31. Image for Jean Jean

    Just need a little clarification. You stated you used one dropcloth per window, So, did you cut the dropcloth in half so that each panel is 4.5 feetwide. That would make more sense as the canvas is pretty heavy and thick to squeeze 9 feet on that short curtain rod. That would make one dropcloth per window with two panels from each cloth. Please clarify as I want to run over to Lowe's tonight and get started. Thanks so much.

    1. Image for Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

      She used one on each side, or two per window. Yes, its thick, but in order to get fullness, you need to be 2 1/2 times the width of a window for curtains.

  32. Image for Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker Brandy @ The Prudent Homemaker

    KariAnne, my eldest daughter made vintage reproduction overalls out of drop cloth. It's not a dress, but she could make a beautiful dress of out them too if she wanted! Here are the overalls she made:

  33. Image for Kristy Miklas Kristy Miklas

    After seeing drop cloth curtain tutorials all over Pinterest years ago, I used them on our outdoor lanai in Florida. It did not go well. After just one year, they were all mildey and gross looking. I had to replace them with actual outdoor fabric. So if you are thinking of using these outside....don't.

  34. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    We are moving next month out of state and I will be using your drop cloth curtains in my new house! Can’t wait to get started making my curtains! Thanks for the insights and great tips!

  35. Image for Paula Paula

    Hello Karianne, Wondered if you could tell me a little bit about your experience painting your brick fireplace? I have a large brick expanse in my kitchen and wondering if I should paint mine. I love how yours looks and how it changed your room so dramatically. To say I am nervous about painting mine is an understatement! Love all your results in your study! That rug is fantastic... Great job!

  36. Image for Mary Mary

    I followed your instructions for width and length in your book and made some for my bedroom. Couldn't be happier. I used the clip ons and also turned them into pleats just by folding them on top. Easy peasy!

  37. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Love using dropcloths for curtains! So affordable and they look great. Can I say how much I love your office again? PS Where are you getting your buffalo check shades? Can't wait to see them!

  38. Image for DeMarie DeMarie

    Howdy. Love drop cloth curtains. And I wish I would have thought of bending those metal rods as I have a bay window that I really needed a curved rod on. I may have to re do what I did now that I know about this nifty little trick. Does your father-in-law hire out? ;-) I've made tab top paint cloth curtains which is a little more (ok maybe a whole lot more) work. If you have to cut some of the length off you can use the cut off portion for making tabs. You certainly can't beat the price, either. I'm always shocked at just how expensive simple curtain panels are. Can't wait to see the shades. I'm a sucker for anything buffalo plaid or large checks.

  39. Image for Brandy Brandy

    I TOTALLY think dropcloth party/formal dresses could be a real “thing”!! Wow.... think on that more Karianne!! 😁 My fav quote: If you can’t see it... before you see it... you’ll never see it!! I can SO see it...and I bet you do, too! 💕 b

  40. Image for Loryl Loryl

    I laughed so hard with your comment on making prom dresses out of drop cloths. I could just imagine your girls coming down the staircase going all “Carol Burnet as Scarlet” saying I saw them in the window and couldn’t resist! I have always loved your drop cloth curtains and keep threatening to make some of my own. Your office is awesom!!

  41. Image for Cindy Lou Cindy Lou

    Hello from my Idaho farm! Love your posts SISTA ! Hey !those smocked jute curtains are amazing ! Where did you get them! Thanks!Cindy

  42. Image for Amber Biggers Amber Biggers

    Have you ever tried bleaching out your drop cloth? I’ve read so many mixed reviews. Some swear by it and others claim it to be a hot mess.

  43. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    "He just kept bending them until they fit into place." ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!! I have an odd corner in which this will work wonders! Sweetie, you just made my day! Have a great weekend!

  44. Image for Connie Connie

    Drop cloths make good upholstery covering too! I have used them on a sofa and they look great. Another idea for those tall windows (such as holidays) is to use tablecloths that are 120" long and two makes your curtains. Also, the tablecloths are good for shower curtain with plastic liner underneath. One word of warning about the tablecloths. They say they are 120" but you can buy several and they are off by 1/2 inch or more. A great way to décor for the holidays in some areas of your home when you buy them on sale. Keep up the good work - have both of your books. You did an excellent job on both.

  45. Image for Fran Baca Fran Baca

    Hi I really love the curtains so much I am on my way to Lowes to purchase drop cloths! I saw you said you used one cloth per window, but I saw two cloths on each side of window so did you cut cloth in half? How wide are you windows? Thank you Fran Baca

  46. Image for Sarah Sarah

    This makes me want to run out and get all the drop cloths!! My curtains in my dining room are woefully sparse. I think I’ll be switching to drop cloth to get more volume and fullness on the cheap-😍 Thanks for all the answers!♥️

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