How to Paint Herringbone Curtains

Remember back in October when we took a plain doormat and gave it a serious upgrade?

Herringbone rug and doormat

Yeah, that project was pretty awesome and oh-so-easy. (If you need some holiday doormat inspiration, here’s a little more for ya…)

Well the herringbone doormat project gave me the courage and confidence to tackle a much larger painting project…

pattern here?

…my Ikea curtains!

I kept going back and forth about whether or not I should give them a teeny, tiny splash of color at the bottoms. Ultimately I decided, “why the heck not?!” If I screwed them up I could simply head back to Ikea and get some more inexpensive white ones. Life isn’t fun unless you’re trying something out of your comfort zone right? At least that’s what I kept telling myself during every step of this project.

Once my mind was made up, I got to work and gathered my supplies.

Painting supplies

I knew I wanted to try out the herringbone pattern again. It wasn’t too difficult the first time and would only require painter’s tape to create the pattern. I also got some light blue paint, a sponge, drop cloth, pen, measuring tape, and a bottle of fabric medium.

Martha Stewart Fabric Medium

I had absolutely no idea what fabric medium was until this project, but boy am I happy that I found out about this little bottle. Fabric medium reduces the stiffness that can often occur when you paint fabric. You mix a bit of fabric medium in with your paint, and the end result will be a flexible and washable fabric. Genius! I would have had some stiff looking curtains if it wasn’t for this stuff. This is a must buy for this tutorial!

Once I had all of my supplies raring to go, I set up shop in front of the TV and got to work while catching up on episodes of Scandal <—seriously amazing show!

Rookie Tip: Make sure you use a drop cloth underneath your fabric. The paint may seep through to the other side and no drop cloth would make for quite the mess….

How to do a herringbone pattern

Now the tricky part…figuring out how to measure the herringbone pattern. (Warning: things may get confusing up in here. Just grin and bear with me as we figure this one out together!)

I decided I wanted to paint 20 inches at the bottom of the curtains.  That would make 4 5-inch sections of pattern. So I taped off 2 of the 5 inch sections and secured the tape horizontally.

Painter's tape for herringbone pattern

Next, I created the diagonal sections with painter’s tape and taped it up from end to end.

3 inch gap

I decided to go with 3 inches for each strip of color and measured as I taped it all down.

Rookie Tip: Make sure that the painter’s tape is very secure on the fabric. You don’t want any paint seeping under. Keep those lines looking crisp!

Blue fabric paint

Once the number crunching was over, it was time for the fun part…painting. I simply went and painted the pattern in between the painter’s tape. I made sure that I covered each strip evenly and firmly pressed through so the paint soaked into the fabric.

Painting curtains
I let the paint dry (about 30 minutes) and then held my breath as I peeled off the tape…

and it was a success!

After seeing my first pair of stripes, I was motivated to tackle the rest of the project.

How to paint herringbone stripes

I simply taped off the rest of the fabric to make the stripes go in the opposite direction. Then I got to work painting…again.

Blue striped curtains

Boom…one curtain panel down, one more to go. #ugh

Trust me, I was very tempted to just paint one of the curtains because currently the other is hidden behind the back of our couch. My rookie counterpart (cough, cough Bridget) suggested I just do one of the curtains and someday paint the other panel. But I knew that I would never have the motivation to finish off the pair (and I might not remember all of the steps exactly), so I put in the hours and! It took a long time (many episodes of Scandal), but I’m very pleased with the end result.

Herringbone striped curtains

(Excuse the poor photography. It is incredibly difficult to photograph windows, so these pics may not seem quite as light and bright as our usual pictures.)

Blue painted curtains
Painted Ikea curtains
Here are the curtains behind the couch. I had to throw in a picture so you all keep me accountable for finishing up our projects every time!
how to paint ikea curtains
I really don’t think the photos do them justice. They look awesome in person! They’re still very light and airy, but have a bit of sass at the bottom.
However, I may not be painting anything until after the new year. I’ve done my share for 2013…
Casey DIY Playbook

The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.