Mom Unplugged Gets Handy! – Homemade Curtain Rod

By , September 8, 2008 10:18 pm

Yahoo! My bedroom extension is finally finished! Ever since I moved into this house four years ago, there has been a horrible leak in the playroom ceiling which was underneath a deck off the master bedroom. Look at this sad picture!

The leak was obviously coming from the deck, but where? Floor? Wall? Windows? (If so, which one?) Door?

After a few expensive and unsuccessful attempts at repair, I decided to get drastic. A remodel. I never used the deck anyhow. With three kids, who has time for a quiet morning tea on the bedroom deck listening to the birds? I figured it would be wiser to spend the cash making the bedroom nicer and hopefully getting the money back in the additional square-footage at resale.

Neither I nor my husband are in the least bit handy, so we obviously hired a contractor. It was all a bit complicated and involved shoring up rather minimalist foundations (probably the cause of the leak in the first place).

I LOVE the new space, but with the wonderful new window, it is a bit of a fishbowl.

The problem however, is that curtains don’t really work with a curvy window like the one I chose. They would have to go on the remains of the old exterior wall that I decided to keep as an accent feature, but that would mean a rod that would span 184″ (467 cm). Custom rods were going to run $250-$300 (ugh), so I decided to head to the hardware store in search of creative inspiration.

In case anyone out there wants to give this a try, I will share my experience with you.


This is what I brought home from the hardware store:

Two 1/2″ (1.3cm) diameter copper plumbing pipes, a copper connector, three copper hanging brackets, two cute little copper end caps (labeled “valves” but I thought they’d make great finials), and six screws (unfortunately not copper but I can always touch them up with copper metallic paint later if they bother me).

The pipe was sold in 10′ (305cm) sections, but the hardware store cut each section down for me to 92″ (233cm) for free!

Also, if anyone out there wants to try this, be sure to buy the cheapest copper pipe. At my hardware store they had two types: L (blue printing) and M (red printing). The M was a bit cheaper and lighter than the L. Cheaper and lighter is what I wanted in a curtain rod. Glad I asked someone!

By the way, my 2 year-old gave me lots of “help” with this project. When I started, she left to get her “tools” and reappeared with some tweezers from my oldest daughter’s microscope kit. Tweezers? Hmmm…..

She also made off with the screws, and several important bits of hardware just as I needed them. She had to go potty at least four times, always when I was up on the ladder at a crucial moment.

What should have taken even a not so handy person like me about 45 minutes at most, took two and a half hours. Oh well. Such is the life of the mother of a 2 year-old. My advice: find a baby sitter for your 2 year-old.

Anyhow, once you have your 2 year-old nicely tucked away somewhere else, you can begin.

While using nail polish remover to wipe some sticky labels from the pipe, I happily discovered that it also very easily removed all that ugly printing on the pipe:

Next I marked in pencil where the screws for my brackets would go, then I drilled pilot holes for the screws. First mistake: In an effort to be sure not to drill the holes too big, I drilled them too small. Pick a drill bit that is just a little smaller than the screw, but not too small. I had to redo.

I screwed in the brackets with the drill, but whatever was underneath the wood was so tough that I had to finish by hand with a screwdriver (and still didn’t get them quite all the way in, but they are good enough).

Next came the fun part, the valve “finials.” I slipped one on to an end of each rod. Aren’t they cute?

I was sorely tempted to simply hang my four Ikea “Arden Blom” curtain panels and let gravity have its way with the wrinkles as I DESPISE ironing. But, I heard my mother whispering admonishments from beyond. In honor of her memory, I decided to iron the curtains. I used her old iron and ironing board and knew she would approve.

Well the cats had a great time rolling on the curtains as they were draped over the ironing board. Also, I hadn’t ironed in so long (did I mention that I DESPISE IRONING?) that the elastic was all gone on the ironing board cover so it kept coming loose and bunching up. Even worse, the iron decided to steam out rust all over the white curtains!

I washed the rusty spots in the sink, threw out the cats, told my 2 year-old to go “bake Mommy cookies” in her play kitchen and was finally able to finish pressing the curtains.

I then threaded the curtains, two on each pole.

First I put up one pole:

Then I fitted on the cylindrical connector and slid on the other pole.

I had to undo the second end bracket to get the other finial end of the pole up into the bracket which was a bit of a pain, but honestly, how often will I be changing (and IRONING) my curtains?

Here is how they look closed:

Here is how they look opened:


Total cost:
Rod (pipe & hardware): $43.52
“Quality time” with 2 year-old: Priceless

10 Responses to “Mom Unplugged Gets Handy! – Homemade Curtain Rod”

  1. Allison says:

    Wow. It’s beautiful!

  2. Heather says:

    I love that new window! We (not actually me) pieced together 2 smaller wooden curtain rods to fit the big window in our living room but it isn’t straight, maybe I’ll have my husband try cooper pipes.
    I also hate ironing (I finally got rid of the ironing board since I never used it and now I iron on the diaper box if I really need to).

  3. Great job! I recently got new curtains for the living room, and I most certainly did not iron them! heheheh

    Julie K in Taiwans last blog post..Soft Sushi Toys

  4. Great idea! Thanks so much for sharing. I have a huge window that needs curtains, too. Off to the hardware store…

    Laura at Wild Parentings last blog post..Dangerous Things Kids Should Do

  5. Meg says:

    Yay for moms who don’t iron! :) Your house looks absolutely beautiful.

    Megs last blog post..Acorns of Knowledge

  6. Tracie says:

    Absolutely fabulous! What a great retreat area for you (and the two yo lol) Love the finials on the copper piping, cool idea!

    Tracies last blog post..just

  7. Heidi says:

    Love it! I was just wondering to myself about using copper pipe since it is cheap and I don’t have a big budget then I found this and I am doing it! Thank you so very very much, you saved me!

  8. Mom Unplugged says:

    Good luck with your project. It was fun and easy and cheap. I did mine some time ago now and it has held up perfectly and I still love the look. Thanks for your comment!

  9. Beth says:

    A couple years after the fact have you had any problem with tarnish (either the rods themselves or stuff getting on the curtains)?

  10. Mom Unplugged says:

    Great question! No I still have no tarnish. The rods look just as shiny now as they did in those photos!

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