Dapper Drapery: Matisse-Inspired DIY Painted Curtains


Hand-painted stenciled curtains

Over the years, in each of my nutshell-sized spaces,  dressing up the windows was one of the easiest ways to add color, a style punch and a custom look to a generic shoebox. It can be easy on the budget if you make your own and the best part, you can take them with you.

I change the look of my rooms often so I don’t like to invest too much money into window treatments. For the new drapes in the living room, I bought white Ikea Vivan curtain panels. They are sold in pairs for only $9.99.  If you need panels that are longer than the standard 84″, Ikea is the place to shop.  The Vivan panels measure 98 1/2″ long.

Matisse Cutout

Still From Carrie Diaries

I knew I wanted a hand-painted pattern on the curtains and was inspired by Matisse’s paper cutouts and the set design of the now defunct Carrie Diaries. Just love that green wall covering! Making my own custom stencils was the way to get the look for less.

DIY Curtain Stencil

Martha Stewart Fabric Medium

Custom Curtain Stencils

• Draw and cut out two stencils, sort of free-form leaves,  from mylar available at craft stores. Alternate each leaf stencil in the overall design.

• Buying fabric paint can get expensive and the available color palette is limiting. Instead, use Martha Stewart Tintable Fabric medium and mix it in with Martha Stewart Meyer Lemon acrylic paint color.  Follow the directions and use 2 parts paint to 1 part paint medium. The medium will not change or dilute the color of the paint. Use a sponge brush for easy applicationThe paint should be runny and when it dries it will be soft and flexible. Let the paint dry for 24 hours and then on the reverse side, heat set with an iron on medium-high heat.

DIY Close Up Painted Curtain Stencil

When all is said and done, I have custom-painted drapes for about $10 per panel. Cheap, cheerful… and oh, so chic!