Keep Sewing: Basement Curtains.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Ok so suddenly The List is piling on, especially as Mike has decreed it finish-projects-time.  I actually did rewrite my entire running list last week and attempted to meld all my various lists (paper, phone, head) into one handwritten master.  Totally sure there's stuff not on there.  But hey, it's a start!

So aside from that list and its lengthy outdoor portion, now I forgot what I was  That's fun.


Well anyway.  I expect to be making a mess in the basement, what with all I plan to do.  That pile o' storage opposite my workbench tends to get coated in sawdust every time I crank into a new project.  Surely I can thin that herd yet more, or so hope springs eternal, but it needs to be hidden from view regardless.  Anti-visual clutter!  Rawr!

Yeah, I know.  I really need to work on that zoo more.
Originally I had planned on buying this system from Ikea but the cost and effort were kinda mushrooming.  I knew I could DIY for less.  Yep, it may not be as stylish but for this locale, it doesn't have to be.  Right now anyway.

Besides, my DIY idea is faster and easier.  Take into account that Ikea is about an hour away sans traffic too.  Plus this method is a lot safer for my wallet, if ya know what I mean.  Mike panics any time I mention Ikea soooo....

Sure, a million people have used drop cloths as curtains in a million ways so this is not a revelatory notion here.  But I did want to show you how two simple drop cloths, a pair of scissors, and some conduit can change your life for the better just anyway.

My materials list:
And that's it.  The distance across is 15'-10" and the height varies um a lot but is no more than 6'-6" or so -ish.

My super handy laser measure* which gets a workout during a show.
Therefore, two of those drop cloths cut in half length-wise were thoroughly perfect.  Plus they were on sale for $9.88 each, aka gazillions of dollars less than buying heavy weight canvas by the yard.*

Added bonus?  These drop cloths are already hemmed all nice and purdy on all four sides.  So when I slice them down the middle, all I have to do is stitch the cut end into the conduit pocket and bingo, what a time saver!

Pre-hemmed!  Yeah baby, nice.
What did I pay total...hang on here:  $27.20 sans tax for four curtains and two curtain rods.

So heh, mmk, did some math.  Yay.  I cut each of my conduit pieces to 7'-11" or thereabouts using my faboo grinder.  Next was installing the hanger thingies.

That...yeah....I mean it was fine.  This house and how things are constructed are often a serious mystery.  Needless to say the soffits holding the ductwork were not constructed as I suspected they were.

No worries.  But don't forget, when you're opening things up or drilling holes into places where you're unsure of what's behind or where behind, be very very very careful.  Especially if you buy a house from an idiot like ours.

They used that same drywall corner edge stuff I had used but weirdly, there was no drywall behind it.  So like edging floating in space.  Seriously.  And no 2x either, which is what I expected to find.  Or any wood.  But no.

There's some kind of stuff up in there, here and there.  I found drywall in one spot but an inch and a half up.  But no idea what it is in there or how they built that or what.  They stumped me on this one.

My first hanger was not a complete success but I couldn't back the screw out of the anchor to put in a longer one.  The anchor got pushed in and the screw said I'm here to stay.  Eehhh, it's fine.  Wiggly but it's ok.  The rest, though each attempt being a surprise, all went in better.

First wiggly hanger up.
So I slid on the conduit pieces and hey, gee, guess what?!  You know when you're in the car on a warm summer day and you've got the window wide open and your arm out surfing the air?  Yeah, that's what both the floor and ceiling are doing, that wavy wave.

I think you get the general drift about the ceiling soffit here.  Ahem.  And no, that's not the conduit drooping.  How does one even do this?!
I opted to hem each piece of canvas separately and custom to each specific location because yeah, the ...  it's ... yeah that bad.  I pulled the canvas through the top, pulled it up or dropped it down as necessary, pinched the tops, yanked the canvas off, and viola, top fold.

A steam ironing, a quick stitching, and then back downstairs to hang them up.

Tip:  tape the ends to make sliding the fabric on easier, lessening the chance of a catch and rip.
Shoulda had my phone on me tracking my steps again.  Up down.  Up up down down.  Up down.

And so aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaah.........

Not sure why it was so hard to get a decent enough picture of this.
A.)  All our piles (mostly mine I guess, sigh) of crap are now hidden from view.
B.)  Less dust will pile up on all our (ok fine, my) piles of crap.
C.)  I finally got a project done that I've wanted done for over two and a half years.  Finally.


Butt wiggle dance!

This one's not any better.  Weird lighting going on or something, huh.  But, la la la la la la can't see you!
Hey, again, ain't perfect and clearly I'm a terrible ironer person (good thing Mike handles his own dress shirts) but whatev's man, all our (my) stuff is no longer terrorizing my eyes.

A cool thing about this drop cloth as curtain concept?  The customizing of them, the options are endless.  Right?  Dye 'em, paint 'em, stitch on embellishments, cut out patterns and line them with a different color, leave 'em plain, whatever.  Endless.

I wanted them to be innocuous so I wouldn't notice them though I could attempt a light blue dye job to blend them further.  Hm.  A thought for later.

So ok, all righty....what's next?

*The drop cloths, conduit hangers, and laser measure are Amazon affiliate links.  The canvas by the yard link is a Joann Fabrics affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. I plan on doing something similar to this for my front porch. The afternoon sun hits it and it becomes brutally hot and heats up the living room. I've had shades there, but they tend to last one or two years, then fall apart, and they're significantly more expensive than drop cloths.

    1. Sounds like a great idea! Drop cloths would be perfect. Let me know how it goes!


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