Curtain rods are such a racket. Can I get an amen? On CLEARANCE at Walmart a decent looking curtain rod (48″-84″) still cost more than $40 EACH. What? So crazy.
After some looking around online, I followed this tutorial on instructables.com to make some high quality, sturdy curtain rods for less than $5 each. Really it was closer to $3 each, because I had some materials on hand (like screws and spray paint). This is a great idea, especially if you need some really wide curtain rods. Using this method, you can make curtain rods up to 10 feet long.
First, gather your supplies. You will need:
- 1/2 inch electrical conduit (only $2 for a 10 ft length at Home Depot)
- 1/2 conduit straps (2 per curtain rod)
- L-brackets (2 per curtain rod)
- 1/2 inch machine screws (make sure they’re small enough in diameter to fit in your L-bracket holes) and nuts (2 per curtain rod)
- 4 2-inch screws (or anchors and screws) to mount the L-brackets on the wall
- 5/8 inch wooden dowel
- decorative knobs (2 per curtain rod)
You can also check out the tutorial on instructables.com, but here’s how I assembled the brackets.
- gather the materials
- screw together the conduit strap and L-bracket with the machine screw and nut as shown
- tighten the screw as much as possible
Next you need to determine how long you want your curtain rods to be. My windows measured 36″ and 40″ wide. I decided to add 13″ on each side of the window so the curtain panels don’t hide the window when they’re opened. (Looking back, I’d probably do 10″ on each side, but it’s up to you and your personal taste.) So for the 40″ window I cut the electrical conduit down to 66 inches long. The 36″ window is located really close to the corner of the room, so I added 13″ to one side and only 4″ to the other (since the other wall was right there), making the total length 53 inches.
To cut down your electrical conduit you can buy a pipe cutter (the cheapest one is about $6) or use a hack saw. I went the free route and used my dad’s hack saw. First I clamped the pipe in his vise grip to make sawing a breeze.
It took less time to saw through the conduit with the hack saw than I expected.
Next I was ready to prime and paint all of the components. I also spray painted the screws I’d be using to attach the brackets to the wall since they were chrome and I wanted them to blend in.
Spray several thin and even coats of a metal primer first, rotating the pipe and flipping over the brackets when they’re dry to hit every side. After sufficient drying time, go back over with your finish of choice. I went with Krylon’s Oil-Rubbed Bronze spray paint, but you could do the finish or color of your choice. This could be a great way to add an unexpected pop of color to your room!
Lastly, mount your brackets on the wall and you’re ready to add your curtain panels. Here’s a shot of my almost* finished curtain rods.
Here they are in all of their curtain rod glory…
*You may have noticed that the ends of my curtain rods look rather bare. In the instructables.com tutorial cabinet knobs act as inexpensive finials. I found some knobs I like at our local Habitat Restore (for only a nickel each!), but in the craziness of the past month have misplaced them. When I find them I plan to use the 5/8″ dowel (cut to 1 inch pieces), drill a hole down the center, and attach the knobs. A quick douse of spray paint and I’ll stick them in each end. They can be easily removed if I want to change out the curtain panels. I’ll update this when I find the knobs and finish this project.
Costs (for 4 curtain rods):
- 2-10 ft lengths of electrical conduit (Home Depot): $4
- 8-1/2 inch conduit straps (Habitat Restore): $.40
- L-brackets (Home Depot): $5.34
- machine screws and nuts (already had): FREE
- 8 cabinet knobs (Habitat Restore): $.40
- 5/8″ wooden dowel (Home Depot): $2.34
- metal spray primer (already had): FREE
- oil-rubbed bronze spray paint (already had): FREE
- 16-2 inch screws (already had): FREE
Total Cost: $12.48
That’s only $3.12 EACH! Totally worth the extra time and effort to have strong, sturdy curtain rods for almost nothing. I had some of the supplies on hand, but even if you had to purchase the screws and spray paint, you’ll save a ton!