A Frugal Curtain

Last night I made a curtain to go between our downstairs bathroom and the under-stairs storage area behind it.  The whole thing cost about three dollars, and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.


This is an old sheet (leftover from when I bought fabric to make diapers for our first son five years ago), a black dowel, a couple pieces of wood to mount the dowel, and a set of shower curtain hooks.  The wood, dowel and shower curtain hooks all came from our local used building supply store, for a little less than three dollars.  The tiles came from the same place, by the way.  The whole bathroom is done in mix-n-match tiles because they didn’t have enough of any one tile (that I liked) to do the whole thing.  That was last weekend’s project, and we love how it turned out.  More floor pictures coming soon…

Anyway, back to our quick, easy, cheap curtain solution.  We had an opening about three and a half feet wide at the end of the bathroom, leading to the under-stairs storage area.  We wanted something to separate the two rooms, and a simple curtain seemed like it would work well.  This is probably the lowest-traffic area of the whole house: storage under the stairs, off of a guest bathroom.  So we knew that the curtain didn’t have to be anything fancy.

I spent a few minutes last week looking through the curtain rod section at the used building supply store.  I knew I could make the hooks and dowel work, so I brought them home. I didn’t want to spend big bucks on a pre-made curtain, so I started looking around the house for something I could use.  A shower curtain would have been great, since it’s purpose-made to go with shower-curtain hooks.  But alas, shower curtains are about six inches too short for this space.  I hung up the one I’m planning to use as the actual shower curtain in that room, just to try it on for size.  It looked ridiculous, so I went back to my scavenger hunt.

In my material box, I found this sheet and decided to give it a try.  I folded to top of the sheet over to get it to roughly the right length (I erred on the side of too long, since I wanted it to bunch up a bit at the floor).  Then I measured across the top and marked where each hook would go so that I could get them reasonably evenly spaced.  I used embroidery floss to make a few stitches at each mark, and then hung it up by pushing the shower curtain hooks through my new stitches.  I decided that I liked the way it looked, so then I added reinforcement stitches to make the whole thing more sturdy and permanent.  I stitched around each hook and through the fabric under it several times, and they’re all solidly attached now.  I can take the whole thing down if I want, by just unclasping the hooks.


This would have been even easier if I had found clip-on curtain hooks.  I got an awesome package of those at Goodwill recently for a dollar, but I’m saving them for the guest bedroom – they’re really nice, and I want to put them in an area where they’ll get more use.

Overall, I’m very happy with how this curtain turned out.  My husband mounted the rod in just a few minutes:  We cut it to the length of the opening and then drilled holes for the rod to fit into the two little pieces of wood.  Then he screwed the pieces of wood to the walls, with the rod in place.  I’ll probably go back and add a piece of trim to the front of the wood on the right hand side, since it doesn’t fit all the way flush against the wall at the top.  But it’s nice and solid.

And I love the way the curtain bunches up just a bit against the tile.  It turned out just how I had pictured, which is not bad for something I threw together at 11pm.


I can’t wait to see this room with baseboard (also from the used building supply store) and the vanity we found on Craigslist.  It’s coming together really well, and we’ve been able to use lots of second-hand stuff.

I want to leave you with a great video that I found this week – an update from a retired Amy Dacyzycn of The Tightwad Gazette.  Some of you might have already seen this, as the Family CEO posted it over a year ago.  But if you haven’t, enjoy!  I love the point she makes about how frugality isn’t just for the bad times.  If we’re frugal (that doesn’t mean cheap!) and careful with our money in good times, the bad times won’t be so bad.  It’s easier to weather financial storms if we’re already in the habit of being careful with our money, and we’re also a lot more likely to have a savings cushion built up if we’ve been careful with our money during good times.

If you want a little more inspiration for using a sheet as a curtain, check out this post from Economies of Kale.  She scored a discounted pack of clip-on curtain hooks, which would make the whole project even easier.  And I love the purple color of her curtain.

Have a fantastic weekend!

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  1. Leah Penn Inman says

    Thanks for the Amy Dacyzycn link! I have her TG in three volumes (oooold copies) and have been reading them since I was a teen. My dad is really into frugal living.

    And yay for finding low-cost ways to get stuff done. We live in an apartment that’s mostly done, so our frugality comes out in other ways. But I look forward to someday owning a house and being able to put a lot of sweat equity and creativity into making it our own.

  2. Machelle says

    Great job! Just use a little paintable caulk in the gap between the wood piece and wall. After painting, you will never know it was there. Caulk does wonderful things!

    • frugalbabe says

      Caulk is definitely a good idea for that little gap, but I’m thinking I might also add some trim to the front just to fancy it up a bit so that it’s not a blunt edge. The other side has a nicer edge, so I may try to match it. Or I might just caulk the gap and forget about it :-)

    • frugalbabe says

      After I finished this curtain, I was trying to remember where I had seen someone else using a sheet as a curtain. Thanks for reminding me! I’m going back to add a link to your post so that my readers can see your sheet curtain too! The hardest part of mine was attaching the shower curtain hooks – clip on hooks would definitely have been a lot easier.

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