Oct 172012

how to make cheap curtain rods naptimediy.com

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.

    1. gather the materials

curtain rod 1

    1. screw together the conduit strap and L-bracket with the machine screw and nut as shown

curtain rod 3

  1. 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.

curtain rod 4

It took less time to saw through the conduit with the hack saw than I expected.

curtain rod 8

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.

curtain rod 5

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!

curtain rod 6

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.

curtain rod 7

Here they are in all of their curtain rod glory…

how to make cheap curtain rods naptimediy.com

*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!

  18 Responses to “How to Make Curtain Rods (for less than $5 each!)”

  1. This is a GREAT idea. I had been thinking about rebar but this conduit is a much better idea. CLEVER! I like skirting the traditional and coming up with my own ideas.. especially with the outrageous prices. I was thinking that maybe, maybe some old Christmas ornaments might be adapted for finials.. painted, of course. I’ll think on that. Great room! I like what you did with the yellow fabric (?) Very inspiring.

  2. I have purchased conduit and intend to use it for curtain rods but have not been able to find brackets. I love your idea of putting brackets together yourself. I am so excited to try this. I purchased the fabric for the curtains and they are ready to hang . I am almost finished painting and am so anxious to see the room all completed . I also made my own finials by gluing wooden doll heads, wooden wheels and a two inch piece of dowel together. The finial will be painted and inserted into each end of the curtain rod. The doll heads and wheels were purchased at .a local craft store.

  3. great mom!

  4. I am trying to make these curtain rods but the pictures are no longer visible on your site. Please help!

  5. Fantastic idea! We are on a budget and in a new house. I’m happy I can finally afford to properly dress the 18 windows on our main floor! YAY! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Mass producing these should be pretty easy, since the most time consuming part is waiting for spray paint to dry! Good luck!

  6. What is habitat restore? I would like to find some cheap knobs but everywhere I look they are at least $1 each!

    • Habitat Restore is a diyer’s thrift store basically. People donate used or new home materials (cabinets, doors, vanities, flooring, even furniture) and proceeds go to the habitat for humanity. Our city has three and I love them!

  7. Love your post. What is the wooden dowel for?

    • Oh, the dowel is for the “finial” on each end, which I didn’t have in this post because I’d misplaced the knobs I was going to use. You just cut a 1 inch piece of dowel, drill through the middle, secure your cabinet knob with the screw it came with, and you have a finial you can plug into the end of your curtain rod. I’ve seen some people use wine corks instead!

  8. Kathy has been telling me just how amazing you are and all that you do. In looking at your website, she is absolutely right. You are amazing!!! I enjoyed seeing all your projects. Thanks for sharing.

  9. We are a junk drawer/stock pile/don’t throw anything away family.. I believe people like you and I could be millionaires and would still find an easier or cheaper way to do projects like this. I used the straps, screws and L brackets but PVC pipe for rod. I do have heavier curtains so I am doing the conduit rod next (AWESOME IDEA)-I get to brake out the saw—-My husband builds custom homes and gets door knobs constantly-sooo in the kids rooms I put the door knobs on the end–hehe

  10. Thank you so much for this post. We just moved house and have 15 windows to decorate. I followed your instructions exactly and it looks amazing! For around $4 per window!

  11. Great idea! What is the wall color? Need to get some tomorrow and get my room painted .
    Thanks, 🙂

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