Hi, guys, it's Mandi here with an easy budget curtain rod DIY you won't want to miss! It's taken me over two years to clothe the windows in our dining and living rooms because, well, gosh darn it, you guys! Curtains aren't cheap! And the fact that we had no window hardware to start with made saving up for window dressings all the worse. After a little thinking, though, I figured out a way to do stylish curtain rods on the cheap so I can save my dollars for delicious drapes.
If you, like me, prefer simple and modern shapes in your decorative hardware, you might want to skip the expensive and bland finials at the store and just make your own! Check out how easy and inexpensive it is to make a curtain rod set that perfectly suits your own style.
-steel pipe: $10 for a 10' length (mine is 1/2" thick to fit my rod supports)
-paint/primer duo: $4
-curtain rod supports: $10 average or $20 for two
-corks: $2 average for a pack at the craft store
-super glue and/or wood nails: $1 average
-wooden blocks or other finial objects: $1
Total Cost: $38 for an 8-10' curtain rod, ready to install
I had my pipe cut down from 10' to 8' at the hardware store and made sure there was no threading on the pipe. I took the scrap piece with me to the craft store to find the perfect size cork that would fit tightly inside. I also used the scrap piece to be sure the rod supports I purchased would fit the pipe.
If you are making multiple smaller curtain rods, instead of one long rod as I did, you can have a long pipe cut down to multiple pieces at the hardware store. One pipe could make you lots of rods! The main cost behind this project is buying the rod supports, so save up your coupons before you head to the store!
Step One: Paint the rod and blocks with multiple coats of paint/primer that matches the rod-hanging hardware. The key is to do lots of light coats to avoid dripping. Make sure each coat is really dry before you flip it to do the other side. You may want to place a piece of wax or parchment paper underneath the pipe after flipping it over, to help keep the freshly dried paint from sticking.
I started my painting with a bit of clean metal primer, because I had it on hand. But if you're hanging your curtain rod in a low humidity area, you shouldn't have to worry about rust occurring with the regular paint/primer duo.
Be sure to let your paint cure for about a week before moving on to the next step.
Step Two: Attach the corks to the side of your finial objects with super glue and a wood nail. (Only use a nail if your finials are wooden.) I used wooden blocks for my finials because I like their simple geometric shape, and they're also super inexpensive! You could also buy wooden spheres from the craft store, or get creative and use objects you have on hand, like stones or minerals, plastic balls, figurines, or even shapes made with polymer clay! One thing I really like about using a wooden finial is the extra holding strength a nail gives to the cork.
After you've mounted your curtain rod supports securely into studs or appropriately sturdy drywall anchors, you can hang the curtains on your painted rod and pop the finial into place. It's important to wait for the paint on the rod to cure before putting any kind of rings on it, or they'll definitely scratch the paint. After the paint has cured, though, the paint won't be easily scratched.
I love how clean and graphic my curtain rod is, and I'm certainly glad I skipped paying over $80 for a long rod at the store! The really great thing about this project (besides the money savings) is how easy it is to customize. If you're looking for a brass curtain rod, you can just use brass paint instead of white and rub a little black acrylic paint on it for a nice patina. Going nautical? Just add a little bit of rope. Oh, the possibilities! -Mandi
P.S. Here's a similar curtain rod project I found on Design Sponge that uses a different technique.