Sometimes when I'm trying to get an expensive look without spending much money I end up spending so much of my time on it that it would have been wiser to just buy it in the first place. Which raises the question of 'How much is my time worth'? Hmm.
These electrical conduit curtain rods are NOT one of those projects.
I don't think I'll ever buy ready made curtain rods again. 🙂 They were super simple and I love how thick and sturdy they are.
Let me tell you a little story about our bedroom curtains. When we first got married we had 'curtains' in our bedroom like this:
In case you can't tell from the small, grainy photo, that is a random piece of fabric tucked into the top of the window. It did its intended job of keeping us safe from our neighbors' eyes, or them safe from us, depending on how you look at it.
Obviously, this was NOT intended as a long term solution and I was pretty eager to move on to something nicer, so I made these:
The goal was to have those lovely, tall, floor-length curtains that caught my eye all over Pinterest. I tried to spend as little money as possible so only made one (narrow) panel per window, to be drawn to one side. They were fairly cute, and I tried to love them. Oh, I tried so hard!
But there was something that just wasn't right, so I finally sat myself down to figure out what I didn't like and do it right once and for all. I realized almost every picture of curtains that caught my eye looked similar to this:
Doesn't it just look so well put together? So dreamy? So designer-ish? So what was it that was catching my eye in these lovely Pinterest pictures? (Cue pen tapping table in deep concentration.)
- There was usually a thick, solid-looking rod with nice finials. (Not a super skinny rod that was bending in the middle because it wasn't actually long enough. Like mine. Oh dear.)
- The curtains were hung below the rod with curtain rings. (Hmmm)
- The curtain panels were wide and hung nicely in gentle folds. (Failed that one.)
So, I set about putting my new revelations into practice, still with the goal of 'as cheaply as possible'. Now, lest you call me discontented and quick to jump from one idea to another, this all took place over the whole two and a half years we've been married. We used those sad, narrow little curtains for close to two years. They were quite functional.
First project on the FANTASTIC NEW BEDROOM CURTAINS list:
I think I must have read every blog post out there about DIY curtain rods. There's PVC pipe curtain rods, dowel rod curtain rods, and what seems to be the winner; electrical conduit curtain rods. I used electrical conduit. It's a sturdy, hollow, metal pipe that's seriously inexpensive. Think $2 or $3 for a 10 ft. length, depending on the thickness.
In all my research of conduit curtain rods, the conduit was only available in 10 ft. lengths. People had to either cut it down themselves or lucked out and found a helpful person at the hardware store to do it for them. When my husband went to Home Depot to pick up what I needed he informed me that they had 5 ft. lengths of 3/4" conduit, which just so happened to be the exact length I needed! Winner. I have no idea if this is a new normal or if it was just a fluke. And, we can't remember exactly how much they were so I'll just use the 10 ft. price in my estimations below.
(Also, here's an interesting fact for any of you who've never had reason to work with the stuff...3/4" conduit means the hollow center measures 3/4", the outer diameter of the pipe is more like 1". That was a nice surprise when he brought it home!)
For the brackets to hang the rods on the wall I bought corner braces (2.5" x 5/8"), six 3/4" EMT straps, six nuts and six bolts. I put them together like this:
Trivia Question of the Day:
How many curtain rods is Juliana making?
If you guessed three, you're a winner!!!
If you're a winner you'll need to settle for a satisfied feeling because this baby blog doesn't know how to do prizes or giveaways yet. 🙂
Anyways, back to business. I laid everything out and spray primed, then spray painted in satin black. Ignore all the binder rings for now, they'll be featured in all their glory in my next post.
I found these beautiful drawer knobs to use as finials:
As for inserting the finials into the curtain rod, I liked the method Sawdust to Stitches used so I used it too. Click on the link for her easy to follow instructions.
So let's price these things out! Three windows means three rods.
- Three 5 ft. lengths of 3/4 in. electrical conduit from Home Depot: approximately $4.56
- Six finials (drawer knobs from Hobby Lobby, bought at 50% off): $23.97
- Two packs of corner braces: $6.98
- Six 3/4" EMT straps: $1.40
- Six nuts: $0.54
- Six bolts: $0.42
- Spray Primer: $4.27
- Spray Paint: $5.76
Add it all up and divide it by three: $15.97 per curtain rod.
I'm fine with that. And, if you don't count the finials/drawer knobs the total goes down to $7.98 per curtain rod. If you're on a really tight budget use ping pong balls for finials, like this:
via: Shine Your Light
The second item on my FANTASTIC NEW BEDROOM CURTAINS list was to use curtain rings to hang the curtains.
This is where I really didn't feel like spending money...but I'll save the DIY hack for that for my next post.