How to avoid my drop cloth curtain pinterest fail

You see them all over Pinterest. Simple and beautiful farmhouse style drop cloth curtains. They look so easy to DIY and frugal to boot. Sadly, mine didn’t turn out and I wanted to share a few tips on how to avoid my drop cloth curtain Pinterest fail.

My experience found them to be just as expensive as buying new curtains and too much of a hassle for my busy, crazy life with lots o’ little kids. They also weren’t what I wanted in texture or color.

I always love to experiment and learn new skills, so it wasn’t all for naught. This could still be a worthwhile project, I just didn’t feel like investing any more time or energy in it. This season of life has its challenges sometimes.

So I have a few quick tips for you first on how to avoid my Pinterest fail on making drop cloth curtains, listed rapid fire if you want to cut to the chase and then I also have the details in story form below.

So here are my tips on how to avoid my drop cloth curtain Pinterest fail:

1. Pay attention to the weight of the cotton canvas.

This would probably be better off done in person at the hardware store than online at least until you know what you are getting.

2. Dye them in your washer (after you convince your husband haha).

3. Don’t dye them when you have a house full of kids running around breaking windows and such.

4. Follow the directions. (Always a good idea, not something I always adhere to obviously ha!).

5. Don’t pick the hottest day of the summer to do it.

6. You are going to need a sturdy sewing machine needle if you get this far!

7. Check the seams.

In Lisa’s (at Farmhouse on Boone) drop cloth curtain tutorial she says you don’t need to sew up some of the sides because they are already done, but had I gotten this far I would have cut those seams out and redone them. The seams on the drop cloth I was working with were rough, not well sewn and wouldn’t match the home sewn seams. 
But most people aren’t going to be looking at your curtains examining seams so maybe it doesn’t matter??

8. Keep in mind the drop cloth will shrink pretty significantly.

Fabric shrinks quite a bit even though I had prewashed the drop cloth, because you are putting cotton in really hot water. They still would have worked for my windows I believe but any bigger and it wouldn’t have worked. My curtains definitely weren’t pooling on the floor if that is what you are going for. They do sell a larger 12×15 drop cloth that might be worth trying for more length.

Now for the story on how to avoid my drop cloth curtain Pinterest fail:

The blinds had to go:

I’m not a natural decorator and, you know, I’m just a tad busy, what with 6 kids ages 9 and under running around breaking blind slats and such. So I’m happy with just some fresh flowers and books neatly arranged most of the time. Let’s just say I have put decorating off.

Therefore I don’t have any curtains. It’s also hard living in a fixer upper, because you know when you have a hole in a wall, two toned floor, a ceiling that needs the popcorn muck scraped off, a half done built in, and whoa does the list go on and on, the pretty stuff doesn’t always feel like a priority.

I saw the tutorial and had been pinned on Pinterest a long while back. With my chronic illness and pregnancy then newborn stage it just wasn’t happening. I didn’t have the energy to try them. We’ve been replacing cheap blinds that the kids keep breaking slats on. It’s bad. They are scotch taped some of them. And some of them just hanging on by a thread. But they blinds had to go people.

First set back…

My husband brought me home a piece of canvas drop cloth from work and it looked like nice fabric, I was hooked! I got him to pick up drop cloth in the hardware store. He got a 6 x 9. Then I encountered my first problem. There’s a big seam right down the middle. So for our size windows a 6×9 would work but it would be on the skimpy side and that’s not what I wanted for our living room curtains. We needed 9×12. I used the link in farmhouse on Boone website to get exactly what she gets, cotton canvas from amazon. It was shipped to me prime and I ordered some navy blue RIT dye. I was still feeling positive about the progress despite the first initial set back.

When the drop cloth from amazon arrived though, I was confused. The fabric wasn’t like the 6×9 we had gotten from the hardware store and I couldn’t figure out why. It took me a little while, then i realized apparently there are different weights of drop cloth. So the 9×12 I ordered was a heavier weight. The weight is measured in ounces. So the 6×9 from the hardware store was a 6 ounce and the 9×12 was a 10 ounce weight.

I should have known, but I was determined…

I also should have known this wasn’t going to go as planned when my husband said I should not dye them in the washer. He was afraid it would dye the inside of the washer. (Does that even matter? Ha!) To keep the peace I followed his suggestion of dying them in a container. This meant instead of just simply filling the washer with hot water and adding some boiling water as instructed, I was boiling pots of water on the stove and dumping them and refilling hot water into a plastic bin.

I waited for the baby to go down for a nap and I got to work hauling this water out. It was only then I realized I actually didn’t have matching bottles of dye. He had bought sapphire blue and I had bought navy blue. Dang it. Oh well, I eyeballed pouring half of each in the container.

Then it all went down hill…

The first panel had dyed quite well, but i was less motivated to haul all the water back out and feeling frugal with the dye so I just put the second panel in with a little extra water. By this time the baby had woken up and a child had broken a window and I was losing my patience over the whole DIY project haha. Did I mention it was the hottest day of the summer?! Or maybe it only felt that way because I was hauling boiling water in the heat.

They sat in the water for quite awhile, and would have actually dyed fairly well but I just didn’t get them swished well enough. I would have been better off splitting the dying process into two sessions and using full amount of dye each time. Washer easily done, bins and hot water in pots not so much. The second panel ended up splotchy. It was disappointing to say the least.

Deciding they weren’t going to work:

I’m still glad I tried them. But my husband and I unanimously voted to buy curtains instead of buying more drop cloth and trying to dye them again. The curtains I found actually will cost less than to make the drop cloth ones without hauling any pots of water or sewing. I think they look quite nice.

How to avoid my drop cloth pinterest fail
Curtains from costco

It is actually quite nice fabric. Heavier than drop cloth, though the lighter weight cloth had a natural farmhouse feel to them that would have been nice had they turned out for me.

I’m sure we will use the fabric for something, since I have kids that love crafts and a couple daughters learning to sew right now. If I do ever dye fabric again, it’ll be done in the washer because guess what? It didn’t dye the plastic bin at all!

Soooooooooooo……..All that to say, I hope if you plan to try and make your own drop cloth curtains that you will have better success than I did. I hope that my tips with help you avoid a Pinterest fail.