This project was born out of wanting a certain look and not being able to find it for our budget. AKA Creative Problem Solving. It never fails that our best projects start out this way! Either that or we just create a lot of problems for ourselves to solve….
I had originally planned to sew some curtains with some beautiful floral home decor fabric we saw at Joann’s, but apparently I paid zero attention to the price of that fabric because when we went back to get it it was $55/yard. Whaatttt. Even with the magic that are Joanns coupons, we still couldn’t fit those into the budget we had already set in stone. So we looked up and down the rest of the aisles of fabric, and while there were lots of lovely floral fabrics, none of them were quite right and they were still more than I really wanted to spend. Sadly, we left with no fabric and no ideas!
Later that night I was looking for new fabric options online, and after looking through about a billion options that were way expensive and not really what I pictured, I had the thought that it would just be so much easier if I could paint the exact flowers I wanted and print my own fabric. Then I thought, could I just paint the curtains??? And what do you know, Pinterest answered with angels singing and a tutorial for painting fabric with watercolors. This tutorial was for a simple color wash on pillows, but the principle was that watercolors could be made permanent with the magic of FABRIC MEDIUM.
This stuff says it’s for mixing with acrylic paint to create a fabric paint, but it works with watercolor too! Basically, you paint as normal, with watercolors and water, then you go back through with a mixture of water and fabric medium and saturate your painting again so it’s all soaked through. I used a spray bottle with the diluted medium. It is super sticky stuff, so just be aware of that when you do that step, I stopped a few times to clean up drips and residue that got on the stuff around me while I was spraying. To make it permanent, you need to iron it to heat set the medium (using a rag or something as an in-between piece so you don’t ruin your iron or spread any color around).
To create our curtains, we first looked around for a good white fabric to use. After looking at cuts of fabric (linen, duck cloth, cotton…all of them) we were getting pretty discouraged because even that was expensive! How on earth were we going to make these curtains fit our tiny budget? We went to Home Depot for some other things for the room, and decided to peek at their curtains just to see what they had. Lo and behold, perfect white cotton curtains for $15/panel. And the angels sang again. Bonus, we will wouldn’t even need to sew! Here’s the process, in pictures: