Do you have open storage shelves in your classroom that could use a pretty disguise? I did!
Actually, for years I have dreamed about having curtains to hide the junk teaching supplies on the seven shelves that run along an entire wall in my classroom. It just bothers me to look at exposed storage all the time.
Now, I will begin by telling you that I do know how to do a basic straight stitch on a sewing machine. I’m definitely not a seamstress, but this type of sewing is pretty much as easy as pressing a pedal. If you don’t have a sewing machine, go ahead and recruit a friend or relative who does. Hey, I kidnapped my mom for the day! You could always hand-stitch these curtains, but then they might not be ready in a jiffy.
Okay, so here is my best advice for quick classroom curtains. After years and years of waiting, my dream finally came true, and it was all because of this simple trick. Don’t start from scratch! Modify some already-made curtains from the store! Hopefully you can find a fabric style you love on clearance like I did. It will save you lots of time and money.
I found these beauties at Kmart for $16. per 2 pack of panels. They were much too long for my cabinets, so I was able to cut them in half and get an extra set out of each package. Buying the fabric this way was much less expensive than paying for fabric by the yard. I had also considered using flat bed sheets, but these curtains were much better quality and the best part is, they were already hemmed on the sides! Here’s how we did it.
The curtains I found had large metal grommets at the top that I did not need. My curtains would be hung with small spring rods, so I just used a pair of sharp fabric scissors to zip across the top of each panel and remove the grommet strips.
I know those strips will come in handy for some other project, so I saved them for another day. They were just too nice to put in the trash. You may just see them again in another blog post!
Now, the thing that worked out nicely is that the hem on the bottom of each panel could be used as a pocket to hold the spring rod at the top of each curtain. I just had to turn the curtain upside down and pull out a few stitches on the side of each hem in order to open it up for the spring rod.
We wanted the finished curtains to hang at 26 inches in length, so my mom measured and cut to allow enough fabric for a one inch hem on the bottom, plus a one and a half inch slot for the spring rod across the top. After folding under for each hem, it ended up being 31 inches of fabric. Some sections already had that slot for the spring rod, so on those pieces, we just had to hem the bottom. I ironed and pinned while my mom did the measuring and cutting. If you think I am detail oriented, you should meet my mom!
Once all the measuring, cutting, ironing, and pinning was complete, the sewing went really fast. Zip, zip, zip, and the job was complete!
Now I smile every time when I look at those curtains. It was worth the effort to go from this.
I know this post was not very technical or specific. The exact measurements and details will ultimately depend on the size of your shelves. Hopefully, it will at least inspire you to start browsing some curtain clearance racks. One day, the perfect color and design might be right there waiting for you at the perfect price! Modify those things the best you can and put them on a spring rod. No one will ever notice if your hems aren’t perfect! 🙂
You and your mom did a nice job. Love the fabric!
Thank you for sharing! I am a brand spanking new campus and it was literally still being constructed when we moved in! I just got my permanent cabinets installed 2 weeks ago and I am dying to put curtains up! You just gave me the momentum to tackle that project.
Oh…I just wish we had Kmart here! I was talking to my mom about that a few weeks ago. We haven't had Kmart in this area for 20 or more years.
how did u actually get them to hang up?
Hi! I used a spring rod. 🙂
Do you happen to have a picture of the spring rod?
I don't have a picture and can't get into my classroom right now (sorry), but you can cut and paste this URL to see a picture of a spring rod from Walmart. :-)goo.gl/vN7tCq
Just a question, why did you cut grommets off? They could have just slid onto the spring rod.
Hi Lorri, I cut the long curtains in half to get the most out of the fabric (since my shelves are short). The bottom part of the curtain wouldn't have any grommets, so I just cut them off to be consistent.
These are awesome! Thanks for sharing!!
Thank you! You’re welcome! 🙂