How to make DIY gray and white horizontal striped curtains
I have been obsessed (like so many of you) with horizontal striped curtains for a long, long time. I guess my obsession is stripes in general! Vertical stripes or horizontal stripes, it doesn’t matter. I have painted them so many times (even my concrete porch is painted in stripes) and can’t get enough of them. My mom already told me that I’m overdoing it a little. But anyway, I researched them all over the internet where I found a couple of different versions.
I’m a big fan of painting on my own drapes to make them more affordable and have painted black and white fabric painted curtains, ombre painted valance, and DIY Marbled Watercolor Curtains just to give you some examples.
One of my favorites is “Little Green Notebooks” dark striped (but not painted) curtains and “High-Heeled Foot in the Door’s” yellow painted stripe curtains. And I’m sure that if you have googled “horizontal stripe curtains” you crossed paths with those links just like I did.
I finally tried my version a year ago for our dining room and I loved them so much that I made a bunch more for our living room.
painted gray and white horizontal striped curtains
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So, for my tutorial version, I used the IKEA Merete curtains. They are the best white curtains to use for fabric painting.
I was so glad that I had purchased about 10 packs of them when they were still $20 each. I knew that I was going to use them someday and had them stored away. My husband hates our attic due to my decor hoarding. I wish I’d have a lot more space! “Sigh Out loud”
For the paints, I used textile medium mixed with acrylic paint. You have to play with different colors to get it just right. You don’t actually have to purchase expensive fabric paint. The textile medium turns any acrylic paint into washable fabric paint. I love it and the possibilities are endless. But you have to make sure to follow the instructions on your textile medium’s label when mixing the paint with the medium.
On the medium that I used, Delta Cermacoat, the label read: ” Delta Ceramcoat Textile Medium can be mixed with Delta Ceramcoat Acrylic Paint for flexible, washable fabric paint. It penetrates fabric fiber for permanency and the paint won’t run or bleed. It dries flexible on fabric with no cracking. Prewash fabric to remove sizing, do not use fabric softener, after painting with a 2:1 ratio of paint to Textile Medium mix, let dry 7 days and heat set. Machine wash with mild soap on gentle cycle and air dry. Water-based for easy cleanup has a low odor and is non-toxic. 8 oz”
And that is exactly how I mixed my fabric paint.
Painted Horizontal Striped Curtains supply list:
Instructions for horizontal striped curtains
You have to wash and iron the curtains before you start with the project.
Then I measured out my stripes and marked them on the curtains with my large ruler and pencil which was a little difficult because the fabric isn’t completely straight. I taped the lines with frog tape and then used a small roller to paint the stripes.
Here is what I did a little different: I have a glass dining room table and I laid the curtains out on the table to paint. I used a spotlight under the table to illuminate from below. The reason for the light is that when you paint fabric, it gets very uneven. You can’t see the spots where the paint is thinner. The light under the table is similar to the sun shining through a window when the curtains are hanging up. My first attempt didn’t look so good. I had a ton of uneven areas. The light really helped a lot and they look great now in bright sunshine.
This is a picture of an area that is blotchy and with the light it is visible.
The instructions on the textile mediums label require you to heat set the painted areas after drying time usually with an iron, but I put my curtains in the dryer on the highest setting for about 10 minutes to make sure all areas got covered. And then I ironed some of the wrinkles out! So far so good!
This next photo is a very old photo from several years ago. Scroll to the bottom to see them in my current living room:
Then my living room looked like this:
And these are current photos of the curtain panels hanging in the dining room:
I love wide stripes and below are some pre-made curtains for sale:
Check out my black and white cross accent wall treatment and DIY artwork gallery.
And if you are a fan of gray and white then check out my friend’s gray and white kitchen.
I have had them for over three years now and I still love them very much!
Don’t they make you want to go out and give it a try as well? Don’t be scared!
Awesome! I saw your post on rate my space so I came over to see the how too! Thanks for sharing.
I saw it on RMS too! Great tip, thanks!
Beautiful! Did you put more than one coat on and then put them in the dryer? Or did you put them in the dryer between coats? And when did you remove the tape? Thanks for posting this!!! 🙂
Hi and thank you! The light under the table showed me where I had to put more paint after my first coat. So it ended up being 1 full coat and the second only where needed. After that I pulled the tape off.
I only put them in the dryer at the end when they were completely dried.
LOVE these! I too have been obsessed with horizontal curtains…but could never find fabric with the right width to suit my tall ceilings. Thanks for the hints!!!!
Love them!!….found you from rms.
Love the curtains -better than any I’ve seen anywhere!
Hi I was wondering if you could share how you painted around the grommets at the top of the curtain? I have the same curtains and was wanting the painted stripe to be at the top just like yours. Thanks so much!
Hi, good question! I forgot to mention that. Sorry! I just used a very small brush with harder bristles and painted around the rings by hand. No biggy if you get it on the!ring because you can just scratch it off with your fingernails later.I hope that helps!
Thank you so much!!
Good luck with your project!
So gorgeous! I can’t wait to try a little fabric painting myself. i have the same curtains in the dark brown color…they could use a little lift 😉
* There’s still time to enter the fabulous Good Belly giveaway at Her Split Ends!
These are exactly the style and color I want for my son’s room (only have to do one!) I am definitely giving this a try! They look awesome, great job! http://www.styleoyster.blogspot.com
Thanks and good luck with your curtain!
Can you tell me the paint colour of your living room walls? In the photo they look like a nice soft grey, just what I’m looking for 🙂
the paint is from Lowes called Seashell Gray (4003-1A) in eggshell. I love it and I actually used the same grey just a couple of shades darker in my dining room and bedroom called Rocky Bluffs (4003-1C). You can see it at the end of this post https://cuckoo4design.com/2012/06/i-do-get-lucky-sometimes.html
They looks awesome. I like the colors in this room.
Well I kind of wish I hadn’t seen this post honestly, because now I want to change my curtains to be like these! Great idea and beautiful execution! I really like the overall look of your living room too. The mixture of colors and patterns is wonderful. Jealous! thanks for posting! ~Angela
Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing this. I found your blog thanks to Knock Off Decor. I have these same curtains on our covered patio and have been starring at them for several months now wondering if I dare give them stripes. I wasn’t so sure it would work but now you have answered all my questions on your blog. Thank you so much!
Thanks for stopping by my blog 🙂
How many bottles of paint did you use for 2 panels?
LOL, good question…. I can’t really answer that, since my first try was with the fabric paint and the rest of the panels were with the acrylic paint and fabric medium. I’m on vacation right now but when I get home, I will try to find my notes and see if I can get you a better answer.
I love these! Currently attempting to recreate but concerned about the amount of paint needed. Please share colors and bottle quantity to complete the project. Also, my first stripe feels a bit stiff and I used the textile medium at 2:1 ratio, is this normal?
Yes they are a little stiff. I followed the fabric medium bottle’s direction. I’m on vacation in Germany right now for another 2 weeks and can’t look at my bottles right now, sorry!
I mixed the paint color myself. I used a lot of white bottles mixed with a little black and a grey/green to get the grey that I wanted. I’m sorry that I can’t give you a specific combination.
I can look at my bottles again when I get home in 2 weeks.
Could you tell me colors and bottle quantity to complete the project. How wide are your stripes?
Is there another kind of curtain you would recommend? The closest Ikea is over an hour away. Thanks so much! 🙂
Is there another kind of curtain you would recommend? The closest Ikea is over an hour away. Thanks so much! :)Sunny
Oh that’s a bummer, because the Ikea curtains are about the only ones that are cheap and a thick good quality. I looked for a very long time at places like Bed Bath Beyond, Overstock and a couple of other places because the white Merete curtains were out of stock for almost one year.
I have to drive for an hour as well to go to Ikea. When they finally had them back in stock I went and bought 20 pairs of them. I had noticed during my hunt that people sell them on Ebay for more during a dry spell 😉 You could check Ebay to see if there are some affordable white Merete curtains but otherwise I haven’t found any that are as thick and long.
Good luck and let me know if you find a different option.
Hi! I don’t know if you mention this anywhere but how many inches wide are your grey & white stripes?
Hi and no I didn’t mention it anywhere. They are 7″ stripes.
Hi there, thanks so much for this information. I had resigned to painting my curtains for the last year or so but haven’t found the time until now. I’ve been struggling with finding the right curtain to start with (not too expensive in case I mess up but good quality).
I’m going to get the Merete off of Ebay – can you let me know, did you use the white or the beige? I’m also going to be doing the dark gray stripes and was hoping for an off-white or ivory base. I can’t tell from the pictures if the beige is too dark.
Anyway, thanks for the tips, I can’t wait to get started on this project.
thanks for coming over to my blog! I used the WHITE curtains. But the beige would have worked as well, especially since a lot of the things in my room are a cream/beige.
Good luck with your project and stop in again 😉
Wondering if these are washable? I saw the curtains on Crate and Barrel today and after seeing how expensive they are there I google striped curtains and found you! I want to try but I have four kids and am afraid of the inevitable dirtiness they will create the curtains! HA
Hi and thanks for stopping by. I have to say that I had my curtains up for almost two years now and they are fine. I have two kids and 4 cats! I lint roll them once in a while and I guess eventually I’ll have to stick them into the wash, but not yet. I have painted pillow covers the same way before and washed them as well and they were fine. So I don’t really think you have to be scared. Well at least I’m not 😉
I’m staring at 6 Merete white curtains and gathering courage to follow in your footsteps (Thank you so very much for this awesome idea! :))
I’m also going for the grey stripes (totally share your obsession btw), but my stripes would ideally be about 30% lighter than yours.
I have a couple of questions about the process and I really hope you can help me out:
1. How many 8oz bottles of the Medium and how many of the Acrylic Paint did you use per panel?
2. Are your panels 84″ or 96″ long? (trying to figure out the size of my stripes)
3. Any tips on mixing the paint color to be exactly right? Does it change at all after it’s completely dry?
4. Taping: do you tape only one side or both? If one, how come the paint doesn’t go over the tape line when it gets through the fabric on the other side? Is it even supposed to go through the fabric – or the opposite side stays white?
5. Does it really take full 7 days for the paint to dry? Is it better to lay them flat on the floor or is it ok to hang them while the paint is drying?
6. At what point is it safe to remove the tape?
7. You put curtains in a dryer after they dried (after 7 days?). Did any paint get on the white areas?
8. Do you wash the curtains at any point in the process after you paint them? Here is where I got confused: “…let dry 7 days and heat set. Machine wash with mild soap on gentle cycle and air dry.” Does it mean the steps are: “paint > let sit for 7 days > put in a dryer > wash and air dry” OR “wash and air dry” is not even a part of the staining process?
I apologize if some questions seem rather silly – I’ve never painted fabric before, so I’m a bit confused and looking for more specific directions… 🙂 Thanks again!!!
Sure I can help you out.
It was wash, dry then paint (shhh, I didn’t let it dry for 7 days) and I put them in the dryer after one day, no washing after I was done. You wash the curtains before painting to get out any starch or other products that the curtain fabric was treated with.
The Ikea Merete curtains that I used several years ago were a very heavy material (Don’t know if they still are) but I didn’t have to worry about the paint coming through to the other side. I have seen another blog where a lady used different curtains. She painted on top of her carpet. I think she even painted on a drop cloth and the paint still came through. So make sure you paint on a solid wipeable surface.
I removed the tape pretty much right after painting.
The curtains I used were longer than 96″ and after painting I trimmed them to the length I needed.
As for mixing the paint, I can’t exactly tell you how I did it because I went with the flow. I used a large bucket and just mixed a large amount of paint. It’s not too hard and I used a scrap piece of fabric to put test paint swatches on. The paint gets darker when dry. Just use a lot of white paint and a little black and test it. You can always go darker if needed.
I hope that helps.
Good luck and let me know if you need anything else.
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I just found your blog. What a great site. I have been searching for ideas for my house. It hasn’t felt like home since we moved in. Everything I show my husband, he thinks I’m crazy. Too much pattern, too much colour, and so on. As soon as I saw your house I took a sign of relief and I know my hubby will love it too! 🙂
I also love how you incorporated some of your German things. My Oma and Opa are German and I have a few things from their home that I’d love to put in my house but haven’t been sure how to do it, or if I should. Now I will, with pride 🙂
Hi Sherry and nice to meet you. I’m glad you like it and that you found a way to be proud of your Oma and Opa’s things because you should 🙂 , right?
How many bottles of paint did the curtains require? Thanks!
I’m actually not 100% sure since I used the more expensive fabric paint for the first 2 panels and then made my own fabric paint with the acrylic paint and fabric medium for the remaining 5 panels. I used the large bottles of white acrylic paint mixed with a little black. I used around 20 bottles for sure and I had to run to different craft stores to clear out all their white bottles 😉
Sorry that I can’t be more specific. It was a trial and error ind of project.
I found your blog looking for some DIY lighting, and here you were: beautiful posts, pictures and projects. I absolutely love your blog, so easy to read!!!
I have a question for you and hope that you will answer: did the color come through on the other side? None of the blogs have pictures to tell how the curtains looks from the outside. My windows overlook our neighbours’ house and I wouldn’t want to show paint here and there on a white curtain. What do you think, based on your experience? Thank you,
Hi Oana, what a pretty name!
The Ikea curtains are pretty thick and mine are fine. I wouldn’t trust any thinner curtains though.
If you want to, I can email you a photo of the back of my curtains. Just send me an email by clicking the email button on the top of my blog and I’ll reply to it with my picture.
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Do you think I can use regular wall paint for my curtains? I have the Ikea ones just like you.
I have used window paint on my DIY ombre striped window valance but that one doesn’t get move or washed. On curtains, I would still mix in fabric medium though if you use latex paint, just to make them more flexible.
Where can you buy fabric medium??
At any craft store, usually with the acrylic paints.
I must know…where did the deer pillow come from in the “more recent photo”? Great curtains, btw. Saw them on Pinterest and thought they were C&B!
I bough the deer pillow on my last trip home to Germany.
Oh I would love to try them! I love stripes also and I think this will match the sofa I just bought last week.
You should sell this!! Lol!! I want to try making it myself but im too scared to try and dont want to spend $200 for a pair of curtain 🙁
Email me if you are interested?
Oops, so sorry for not getting back to you earlier regarding the curtains.
I think it only pays off if you do more than 2 panels. You have to buy white curtains, paint and fabric medium. This alone will cost you around $100+.
It really is better to try making them yourself since it takes a lot of time as well.
I know I’m not being a big help. Sorry!
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Hi Julia, just have a question about the gray chair, did you recover it yourself? If so what type of fabric did you use & where did you get it? Thanks
I was looking for some DIY for cat’s home and end up in your blog and I can’t stop reading all of ur post. really great blog and HOME! I really want to have a home like yours! it’s really remind me of Samantha Pynn’s design. keep up the good work!
Thank you so much! That’s so sweet!
What’s the color of your walls?
Hi, my wall colors are Seashell Gray 4003-1A by Valspar in my living room and
Rocky Bluffs 4003-1C by Valspar which is in my dining room and also in my bedroom.
Where did you get your couch and loveseat? I love them!
I’m thinking about making these curtains as well. They are awesome! Thanks for the tutorial!
Hi Hilary, my couch is from Macy’s. It’s the Claudia sofa and love seat.
Good luck with the curtains.
These look awesome! I think I may try and do black and white striped ones. I think I’ve read most of your comments, so I am sorry if I am asking a repeat question! I don’t have a glass surface to work on. Any recommendation of how to take this on without being able to shine the light through like you did? Do you think if I am trying to do black I will have to do more than one coat? Thank you!
Hi there, black and white striped curtains will look awesome!
And yes, I think you will totally need more than one coat. You can paint it on the floor but make sure to put a plastic tarp under it, because it will leak.
Two or three coats should do the trick.
You just saved me a ton of money!! Thank you!!!! I’m doing the same color for my living room.
Well, I really love that. Glad it helped!
You have convinced me to take the plunge and get everything I need to take on this project. I actually bought the curtains from Crate and Barrel that you talk about, but the grey is more taupe/beige than silver grey and ended up returning them. There is a fabric paint in metallic silver that I am looking to paint with on the curtains. I am curious why you didn’t stick with straight fabric paint? Would it have been too expensive? I need to do 3 panels so maybe it won’t be too bad. The idea of mixing all those paints together like you did overwhelms me. Also, I have white crown molding and pillars in the room I am putting the curtains in, but my seating is more cream/ivory in color. I am thinking I should still go with the white merete curtains…what do you think?
Thanks! This project is amazing!
You can do it 😉 That’s exciting.
First of, yes stick with the white Merete curtains. My sofa is ivory too.
And I did mix myself because the fabric paint was so so expensive and I wanted to cut costs. You don’t have to if it scares you.
Good luck and let me know how it works out.