How To Paint Curtains – Thistlewood Farm

Looking for an easy curtain DIY? Here’s how to paint curtains. These step-by-step instructions are so easy you can finish in an afternoon.

how to paint curtains

Remember this room?

I transformed it on a budget with an idea that’s been circulating around in my head.

It was all about curtains and painting them and deciding to turn them into an optical illusion.

Just between us?

I’ve never painted curtains before.

How hard could it be?

There’s just fabric and paint and the painter’s tape I’ve used for a zillion projects, Frog Tape. So I dreamed big and went bold and crossed all ten fingers and toes.

Then we painted a wall and a few curtains.

And turned this space into THIS.

how to paint curtains stripes

See those painted curtains?

Aren’t they amazing?

But wait.

Just when you thought the amazing couldn’t get any better?

how to paint curtains closed curtains

This showed up.

An optical illusion.

We painted the stripes to match the curtains exactly so that when you close them? They disappear into the wall.

There was a little bit of math involved—but after that?

The actual curtain painting part was so much easier than I thought.

Good thing I went first with this project to work out all the details and I’m sharing how to paint curtains and a few of my very favorite stripe painting tips that I learned along the way.

how to paint curtains DIY

Step 1: Determine the stripe width

Paint your walls with the base coat.

These walls are Pure White SW 7005.

Now it’s time to paint stripes. The key to this project?

Measure and measure and oh wait….measure. Start by measuring your wall from side to side for vertical stripes or floor to ceiling for horizontal stripes.

This wall was 175″ wide.

how to paint curtains wall

When you are painting stripes here are a few truisms:

  • aim for an odd number of stripes
  • You want to make the lighter color slightly smaller than the darker color to make the stripes look even
  • it’s kind of an optical illusion—even though they are different colors they will look the same size
  • make sure to start with the darker color on each side to define the wall
  • if you have an odd number, you can start and end with the darker color
  • don’t over-skinny your stripes
  • start with where you think you want the width of your stripes and add an inch or two

The measurement for these stripes is as follows:

  1. darker stripes—7 inches
  2. lighter stripes—5 inches

Measure with a ruler and mark the dots on the wall and check with a level. Then tape the stripes on the outside of the lines where you want to paint the darker color with FrogTape.

It’s so important to remember that the stripes you are painting should be taped on the outside. Trust me. This reminder comes from experience…

..and a lot of re-taping. 🙂

(Total aside: you KNOW how much I love Frog Tape. It’s my go-to for all the projects and the lines are amazing and crisp and clean when you pull off the tape. Just wait until you see the curtains.)

Step 2: Score your tape then paint

I really feel like scoring the tape makes all the difference when using FrogTape. When I score tape, I use a card (I used my Kroger super saver card) and run it along the edges and press firmly.

Scoring helps you make sure that all the tape is firmly attached to the wall and your stripes will not be wiggly or bumpy or paint splattered. It’s also a great idea to mark the stripes you are not going to paint. I know this seems elementary, but when you are in the middle of painting it’s easy to forget where and when to paint.

Now it’s time to paint.

One quick tip—it’s so much easier to paint if your stripes are the width of a roller. It saves so much time with painting.

These stripes were painted Redend Point SW 9081—Sherwin William’s 2023 Color of the Year.

I love the contrast with the white. When picking a paint color for your stripe, it’s important you go lighter than you think on the darker color. The white paint changes the color of the darker stripe and the contrast makes it look so much darker.

how to paint curtains painted wall

Step 3: Remove the FrogTape

After you paint the stripes, pull the tape right away for the crispest, cleanest stripes.

When you remove the tape make sure to pull it off in the direction of the wet paint. That way any drips of wet paint go back onto the stripe.

Now it was time to paint the curtains.

how to paint curtains curtain before

How to Paint Curtains

Step 1: type of curtain

Here are the curtains that we used for this project.

They were the PERFECT curtains to paint. You can clip them with curtain clips and hang them on a rod or slide the curtain rod through the back tabs.

Here’s what to look for in curtains you want to paint:

  • Thick curtains work best—these curtains are actually blackout curtains and slightly thicker than regular curtains
  • smooth surface (no ridges or nubby weave)
  • hemmed curtains—no unfinished edges
  • curtains without grommets or metal hooks

Stretch the curtains out as flat as possible. We laid them on a drop cloth outside and taped them in place with FrogTape.

Step 2: Measure the width of the stripes on the wall

The measurement for these stripes is as follows:

  1. darker stripes—7 inches
  2. lighter stripes—5 inches

Measure with a ruler and mark the dots on the wall and check with a level. Then tape the stripes on the outside of the lines where you want to paint the darker color with FrogTape.

The FrogTape worked AMAZINGLY well on the fabric on the curtains.

It held in place perfectly and was so easy to work with.

Step 3: Score the tape

Use a hard edge and run it along the edges of the tape and press firmly to prevent seepage.

It’s also a great idea to mark the stripes on the curtain you are not going to paint. I know this seems elementary, but when you are in the middle of painting it’s easy to forget where and when to paint.

Now it’s time to paint.

Step 4: Paint the fabric

These stripes were painted Redend Point SW 9081—Sherwin William’s 2023 Color of the Year. The curtains were already white, so we didn’t paint a base coat. One quick tip—it’s so much easier to paint if your stripes are the width of a roller. It saves so much time with painting.

You can see the curtains that we used here.

I love the contrast with the white. It’s so crisp and pretty.

Step 5: Remove the FrogTape

We only used one coat of paint on the curtains, so the tape was removed immediately. After you paint the stripes, pull the tape right away for the crispest, cleanest stripes.

When you remove the tape make sure to pull it off in the direction of the wet paint. That way any drips of wet paint go back onto the stripe.

And now?

The room went from this.

To this.

I’m SO HAPPY with the space.

If you have some curtains that need a change?

Stripes could be your new situation. 🙂

disclosure: This post was sponsored by FrogTape. All are opinions of my own. Please see my disclosure page for more information. Affiliate links are used in this post.

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