15 Easy Window Treatment Projects for Autumn 2013

What's one surefire way to make a room looked polished and finished?

Dress up the windows. Whether they are DIY treatments or store bought versions, drapes, shades, valances, or any of their cohorts will take your rooms from bland to wow.

Take plain white curtains up a notch with a simple flower embellishment. To create the rosettes, trace around a 3 inch diameter drinking glass on the flower fabric. Repeat until you have five same size circles per rosette. Cut out circles and fold into quarters. Hold all the quarter circles in your hand and stitch together with a needle and thread at the base of the flowers. Create the number of rosettes that you want and stitch them to a pair of curtain panels, alternating heights. Run a bead of fabric glue from the flower to the bottom of the curtain panel. Place a length of green yarn on the glue, wrapping it under the bottom edge of the panel and gluing to the back of the curtain. Cut leaf shapes from green cotton fabric and position next to the yarn. Sew a straight stitch down the center and around the edges to secure.

Put scraps to use as fresh window treatments. We used sheer scraps to create a soft, shimmery effect. Choose your fabrics and plot out the pattern for the panels on grid paper to scale. By using grid paper, you can determine the dimensions of each fabric piece you'll be cutting. Label each section according to the fabric used. We used seven different sheers to get this effect. Cut fabric and pin together in rows. Stitch the pieces into rows, then stitch the rows together. Sew a rod pocket and the side and bottom edges to finish.

Set your windows apart with dyed linen strips. Start with sheer white linen and cut into strips. Divide the strips into four or five groups. You'll dye each group a different shade. We created five different colors using red and yellow crafts paint. Mix 1 tablespoon of crafts paint to 1 gallon of water and stir. Test the dye on a scrap of linen. Experiment with colors and saturation levels before you dye your final strips. Once you're happy with the color, plunge a length of fabric into the mixture. Remove and hang to dry. Repeat until you're satisfied with the mix of colors. Iron the dry fabric to set the color. Line up the strips in alternating colors, then tie to a curtain rod. Cut the fabric strips to the desired length. (These were cut short to create a cafe curtain.)

Go geometric and paint a chevron design onto a plain shade. To make a chevron stripe, determine the center point of the fabric on the Roman shade and position the pattern for pleasing symmetry. We allowed for 4 inch stripes. Use a plastic artist's triangle tool (or create your own triangle shape out of cardboard) and pencil to trace lines onto the shade. Use a straightedge to make sure the chevron stripes are level. Tape above and below the pencil line with painter's tape. Repeat for each stripe. Use a brush or roller to paint on fabric paint. Remove the painter's tape and install the shade once the paint is dry.

Create custom marbleized fabric that starts with a design you create on paper. Click the link below to learn how to marbleize paper and then upload your design to a fabric printing service (we used Spoonflower), order your fabric, and sew it into basic drapes.

Made from a miniblind and midweight upholstery fabric, this Roman shade can be assembled in a matter of hours. First, lay the blind on your work surface with the front facing down. Set the length by adjusting the plug underneath the thick bottom slat according to the package instructions. Next, snip away only the strings that connect the slats on both sides. Maintain the slats at 7 inch intervals; snap off and remove the rest. Place the fabric facedown under the blind. Mark the fabric where it folds at the sides, top, and bottom of the slats. Remove the shade and press the fabric folds. Place the fabric under the shade, then glue the sides of the fabric to each slat and the top and bottom edges of the fabric to the top and bottom slats. Use clothespins to hold the fabric in place while it dries.

To create these pretty cafe curtains, purchase two 16x24 inch tea towels. Install curtain rods at your desired height. Attach ring clips to the top of the tea towels to hang them from the rod. If the towels hang past the windowsill, measure the fabric, cut off the excess, and hem the towels using a sewing machine or fusible web and an iron.

Add waves of color to plain white panels by progressively dyeing with two colors of acrylic crafts paint. We paired deep blue and teal. Dip the damp fabric into a solution of 1 tablespoon crafts paint per 1 gallon of water. Add more paint to the mixture and dip the lower portions of the curtain repeatedly to achieve an intense color.

To make a peacock-print valance like this one, start by cutting a 2x4 piece of wood to the width of your window. Buy enough fabric to extend 6 inches on either side and 4 inches longer than the desired length. Finish the hem and sides, and embellish with a fun fabric trim. Wrap fabric around the wood and staple into place. Attach the wood to the wall with screws or L brackets.

You can make these pretty curtains using solid color flat sheets. Cut each panel to twice the window width and 6 inches longer than the desired length. Sew a rod pocket along the top. Hem the panels to floor length. Make the ruffles by cutting strips of fabric twice the width of a panel by 4-1/2 inches, then sew a 1/2 inch hem. Sew a basting stitch along the raw edge. Gather the fabric to the width of the panel. Starting at the curtain's bottom hem, pin overlapping ruffles to the panel and stitch them into place. Attach the top ruffle upside down, right sides together, and flip over to hide the raw edge.

When curtain panels won't fit or simply aren't needed, use an easy sew valance like this one to add softness and color. Sew a rectangle to the window size, adding a rod pocket at the top. Stitch a length of wide ribbon on each end of the valance, 4-6 inches from the outer edge. Drape the ribbon over the top of the valance so there is a length of ribbon running down the back and the front of the valance. Stitch the ribbon into place and use each ribbon tail to tie up the fabric.

You can dress up purchased tab-top panels with a bit of trim attached to the edges. Or get a similar look by making your own panels. You can buy yardage at a fabrics store, but you can also shop for table coverings or linens in the kitchen, bedding, and bath section of your local department store. There you will often find discounted or discontinued fabric items that you can cut up and use as yardage.

Don't toss out curtains you love just because they don't fit your new windows or need to be replaced. Instead, cut and sew them into panel style window shades with rod pockets. Tension rods hold the shades in place and make them easy to change or remove. This trick also works to make outdated fabrics or drapery styles look trendy again.

For a simple update, give drapery panels a makeover with tiebacks. An easy to make tieback adds a polished look and a splash of the room's yellow accent color to this window treatment.

With a little ingenuity and basic sewing skills, you can get the look of custom made window treatments for way less. Start with a neutral drapery (maybe one you've had for years but now want to update) and sew a contrasting fabric to the bottom, measuring from the bottom edge of the window to the floor. Cover the seam with beaded trim or ribbon. This idea is great if you have recently moved and need to lengthen your old draperies to fit the scale of your new home.

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