Upcycling Curtains – New Life for Old Cotton

Last year when I moved into my flat, I was greeted with the site of some truly hideous, dirty, ill fitting curtains in both bedrooms. They were quickly taken down in the back bedroom to be replaced by something that actually keeps to cold and light out (two fairly fundamental areas that the old curtains failed in), but lingered for a while in the front room. However both pairs have now been re-purposed for a new life and been given fresh purpose; truly they can claim that they now “I block light, therefore I am (a curtain)”.

My starting canvas was not great; two further curtains of similar decrepitude had already been removed from the back bedroom:

The original curtains in all their ‘glory’

But from humble origins two new sets of curtains arose, plus a sheet for protecting the floor for painting. The first were for the front room, and had a clear purpose – to insulate the single glazed windows and block out the street light. I took down the curtains and separated them into front and lining. The fronts were dyed with two packets of Velvet Black Dylon (from the mighty Wilkos, obvs, £10.00), and then sewn back together with some very fluffy interlining and thermal blackout lining (£17.45 and £14.95) respectively. I then attached the top of the curtain to a strip of 44.5mm stripwood moulding, and hung over two strips of grey ribbon per curtain. Finally I attached the stripwood back into the holes from the original fittings to make fully insulated roll up blinds.

The second set were  for the living room; we have glass doors into the kitchen, which is so cold it might as well just be outside. We decided that putting up curtains would help keep our little lounge toasty warm in the grim mid-winter. Again, I split out the front and lining, and dyed the front Dark Green this time (two packets again to make sure the colour is strong). I then reattached the lining, sewn in eyelet tape and covered the tape with eyelet rings (£18.47). I had also recycled the backing board and the curtain pole holders from the original curtain set up, painting them white to match the walls. I picked up a cheap curtain pole (WILKOS!! £9.00) and all was good in the world.


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