June 7, 2010

PVC-pipe curtains rods: a tutorial

  • PVC pipe (I prefer 3/4" but choose your scale according to your project)
  • Brackets (I use these from Levolor, in white, and they typically come in a pair)
  • Finials (I also use Levolor finials because they're just about the perfect size and come in an array of styles, also in white, and they also come in pairs)
  • Paint
  • Hot glue gun
  • Cordless drill
  • Screw driver
  • Tape measure (I also use a yard stick to help me measure)

    When you purchase your PVC-pipe (which is in the plumbing department, just FYI) it normally comes in either 10-foot or 20-foot lengths. If you don't own a truck that can accommodate these sizes, no worries (have you seen my little car?) because you can cut them right at the store. Find an associate and have them help you because it's much easier.

    However, you can also cut them at home using a jigsaw or a PVC-pipe cutter if you own one. Just be careful not to get too anxious with your cut and snap the PVC-pipe in half because it will not snap with a straight edge! But if this happens--like it has to me on numerous occasions--it's fixable (and we'll get to it in a sec).

    Start by priming the pipe, if you choose, or skip straight to painting. I've found a great technique and time saver is to just use a flat finish paint. It eliminates the need to prime and I love the finish it gives the pipes.

    Repeat these steps for your other "rods," brackets, and finials. I use the flat black on everything else as well to keep the finishes similar.

    TIP: When painting your finials, use a box to hold them upright. Don't worry about the undersides yet. Once they're dry, stick them into the sides of the box to get all the other angles easily and without causing drips.

    Once everything is thoroughly dried, you can start gluing the finials on the ends of the brackets. However, if you're using grommet drapes, curtain rings, or anything else that is limited in size, put them on before you glue the finials to the ends. You won't be able to get anything over the finials.

    Moving on though, don't be stingy with your hot glue gun. Once everything is hung you won't be able to tell if you used an entire stick on a single finial. Be sure to press the finial to the end of the rod and hold it securely until the glue has hardened. Repeat for the other side.

    As I mentioned above, if you happened to get too over zealous and snapped your pipe, you're probably looking at something like this right about now.

    Ugh, I know: frustrating! Take my word for it, you cannot just hot glue your finial on the end and cover it up. The finial will rock back and forth until it falls off as well, and then you'll be genuinely displeased! But, there's a super simple way to fix this. Hot glue to the rescue! Simply take your hot glue gun and fill in the space between your even edges and your valley. It make take a couple rounds but if you take your time this will work. Just make sure you rotate the pipe to keep the glue from dripping inside or outside. Once it's cool you should have something resembling this.

    You can see how the different amount of glue filled in the space to even everything out. Now just glue on your finial as before.

    TIP: To prevent the PVC-pipes from sliding around when you pull your curtains this way and that, add a generous dot of hot glue to the rod holder and let it harden. The glue will grip the plastic and keep in from moving around.

    Next, hang your brackets. Depending on what brand and type you bought, your installation methods will vary, so I'm not going to do a step-by-step for this part.

    Now all you have to do is hang your curtains! I've used this method in our master bedroom...

    ...our guest bedroom...

    ...and our living room. I think I've saved well over $200 by choosing this avenue versus regular curtain rods!

    Hope this helps you save money on your next window treatment project! Happy hanging!

    1. LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE IT !! FOR SURE gonna do this my next time around ! We are planning hopefully to build A HOUSE within THE NEXT YEAR OR SO...

    2. Anonymous3/21/2011

      I have 6 windows side by side spanning 194 inches so I am going to try this. Great tip for painting the finials! Wish me luck!


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