DIY Grommeted Curtains

Hallelujah!  I got to do something “fun” whilst getting ready for this sell-our-house thing!  I’m tired of painting the kitchen ceiling, touching up loads and loads of trim paint, cautioning the kids against touching anything (“Do NOT drag your toys along the walls pleeeeease!!!”), washing siding and trim, etc…

I got to make curtains!IMG_8717


If you’ve been a long-time reader, you might remember that once upon a time, I scored a long curtain rod at Dirt Cheap and flanked our living room’s french doors with some long curtains to make the room feel more “homey”, as I put it.  I started out with some sheers and then later made some tan and white, geometric-printed curtains that I loved for a long time.  Well, I wanted a change in pattern so I sold those and found some plain white, thick fabric remnants that I thought would be a perfect medium to do knock-off these curtains from West Elm with…but then I decided that I wanted the curtains to be more subtle and blend into the walls a little more so I just kept them white.  There’s still a chance they’ll look like those West Elm curtains someday but right now, I am loving them as-is.  Phew.  That all sounded like a mind-making disaster, didn’t it?  If you’re looking for someone to pick a design and stick with it, don’t look here.  The winds of change blow quite frequently in this casa. 

The parts I love the most though, are the grommets at the top.  I’ve always used rings to hang curtains because it was the easiest to just sew a big rectangle and hang it up.  But then a good friend of mine put grommets at the top of her living room curtains and told me how easy it was and I just had to.  I mean, look at how they fall!  I toyed with them a little before I took pictures but really, for the most part, the grommets create those big folds that go from top to bottom and they hold them there.

I bought these grommets at Walmart.  They’re the exact same grommets sold at the fabric stores I looked at, only without the coupon mark-up (I’m convinced stores that always have running coupons mark their items up…these are $12.99 at JoAnn Fabrics.)  You can also find them for a little bit more on Amazon.   

So, let me tell you my grommet story.  It’s so easy.  You’ve gotta make some grommeted curtains.


First, make your curtains.  If you sew, it’s as easy as grabbing some fabric, cutting to size, and hemming the edges of a big rectangle.  If you don’t sew, grab that fabric, cut to size, and then use some no-sew tape (Sherry has a great tutorial here) to get those big rectangles.  I like my curtains extra-wide so I used one whole width of an extra-wide home decor fabric plus another half a width (achieved by cutting a full-width in half) and sewed them together length-wise.  I would’ve just went double-width but the fabric I found and used were a bunch of remnants and so I just grabbed everything they had.  I also like my curtains hung extra high and slightly bunched at the floor so they’re pretty long at 94”.

I sewed each side and the bottom with a one-inch hem and made a four-inch wide hem at the very top where the grommets would be placed.  Since my curtains were so wide, the only place big enough to lay the entire top out flat was on the living room floor.  Because you’ll be measuring along the top for grommet placement, you’ll want to find somewhere to lay yours out flat too.  IMG_4994

As far as how many grommets you’ll need – most 54” curtain store-bought panels have eight which is also the number that was included in the grommet packages I purchased.  Since my curtains were each a one and a half times wider than that, I used twelve grommets per curtain.  To make complete folds, you should always use an even number of grommets.  To figure out how far apart each grommet should be (center to center), first subtract 5 or 6 (depending on how far apart your want your first and last grommets to be from the edge) from the width of your curtain.  I placed my first and last grommets (their centers) three inches in from the edge but if your curtain rod is small, you may want to place them 2.5 inches in from the edge.  Then, take that number and divide it by the number of spaces you’ll have – I had twelve grommets so therefore, eleven spaces.  So, my finished curtains measured 86” wide.  86 – 6 (the space between the centers of the first and last grommet to each edge) = 80.  80 / 11 (the number of spaces) = about 7.25.  So each of the centers of my grommets are 7.25 inches from the next.  Does all that mumbo jumbo make sense?  I hope so.

To physically measure, I grabbed a measuring tape and a ruler.  With the measuring tape, I measured the width I needed between the center of each grommet and I used the ruler to find the exact center of the four-inch hem (which actually ended up being slightly more than four inches because someone didn’t iron her hem before sewing).  IMG_4995
When I lined the two up, I made a small backwards L.  IMG_4996That’s all you’ll need because you’ll be able to line that L up with the grommet template.

IMG_4997
Oh and also, make sure you make your marks on the back of your curtain just in case you make a mistake and have to remeausre and mark.

Next, I grabbed the template that came with the grommets, lined it up over each mark, and penned (when I really should’ve been using a pencil) in the circle.grommet trace
Then I cut each of newly traced cirlces out.IMG_5008

Holy curtains anyone?  ;)IMG_5009
Then it was time to install the grommets.  Each grommet has two sides – one side with a smooth ridge around the middle and one side with some sharp points all around.PicMonkey Collage
The side with the smooth ridge should be placed on the front of your curtains with the pointed side on the back where you won’t be able to see the points once the grommets are installed (they peep through the plastic on light colored fabrics like mine).

With the back side of my curtains facing up and on our wood flooring (installing grommets on a hard surface works best, in my opinion)  I placed the smooth-ridged grommet underneath and centered into one of the grommet holes I had just cut out.IMG_5012
Then I grabbed a … pointed side of the grommet and carefully placed it on top.IMG_5013

Using my palm, I just pressed the two together.IMG_5014
If you have them lined up center, they should pop together easily.  If not, adjust them, making sure your ridged grommet is still centered, and try again. 

IMG_5015
It only took me a couple of minutes to install all the grommets.  It was so easy.

And that is that.  I paid $30 for all of the fabric and just under $20 for three packages of grommets bringing my grand total to about $50.  Considering that these plain white, grommeted curtains from Pottery Barn would have run me back $59 per panel bringing my grand total for wanting two-on-each-side to get the width I wanted to $236, I’d say doing-it-yourself is definitely the way to go…but I always say that, don’t I?  ;)

What I can’t say is that these curtains stay prim and perfect all day long.  As it turns out, they make the most perfect hiding spot and snack (she eats e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g) a la Gianna.IMG_5064

Ciao!

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curtains with grommets

6 comments

  1. These are awesome! I'm going to have to try grommets the next time I DIY curtains. I've done the sewing method on my own before, but they lack a certain professionalism I'd like to get. I'll try this out!! :)

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    1. I feel like, because of how much better the curtains hang with grommets, they do look store-bought! And it's so easy! Definitely try it!

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  2. Sheena, I am so impressed you took the time to make these! I love them!

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    1. Making = therapy Lizzie! Always needed with kids underfoot...I know you know. ;)

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  3. From the sweet as always Lisa. :) Thank you!

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