How To Make A Curtain Rod and Finials

Window treatment time for my guest room.  So far I have been keeping within my budget and this project will keep me in check as it is very budget friendly.  I had two ideas on how to make a curtain rod and finials. I will show you both.

I like lots of light and have a big window in my guest room.  I wanted drapery panels, but I don’t want them to cover the window at all so I needed a very long rod. This way the panels frame the window, but don’t cover it at all.  To buy a decorative rod in the length I needed I would have had to spend  $30.00 and up.  That would wipe out my budget so I opted to use a PVC pipe.

You can find PVC pipes at any home improvement store in the plumbing dept. They come in many different diameters and lengths.  There are two types – lightweight and heavyweight. If you have a very long span  – get the heavier pipe, as it will stay straight and won’t bow down and you won’t need to add a center support, otherwise the lightweight pipe will be fine. The pipe I bought cost me under $4.00.  It is a 1 1/4” diameter pipe.  Cutting the pipe is easy with a saw. If you know the exact length you need, have them cut it at the home improvement store – one less step for you to do.

After-no-sew-drapery-panels

I used wood rod brackets from Lowes to hang my PVC pipe curtain rod. PVC pipe has writing on it.  You can spray some white primer over the pipe and then paint it any color you wish. I chose to keep mine white and just turned the writing to the back.   I did have to clean it up a bit with dish detergent to get the warehouse grime off of it.

How-to-make-a-PVC-pipe-curt

PVC-pipe-and-Curtain-Rod-Ho

The finials are where you can add your style. I had leftover gilded ones in my basement from a past treatment. I wasn’t planning on using them until I got really great looking mottled gold and black metal rings from one of my greatest resources – my friend Karen . She has a professional sewing workroom in her home and lots of cool stuff.  Recently she stumbled upon a manufacturer who was going out of business and got lots of good deals and free goodies.  I was the lucky recipient of these rings. Thanks Karen.

After-no-sew-drapery-panels

My finials have screws that are meant to screw into the end of wood rods. Since a PVC pipe is basically a hollow tube there was nothing to screw the finials into – time to come up with a way to make the finials work – corks and hot glue to the rescue.

1.  Screw the cork on the finial.

2. The opening on my PVC pipe is 1 1/4” so I needed to cut another cork in half.  Depending on the size of the pipe you use  – you may not have to add more corks.  I used a very sharp bread knife and laid the cork in a channel on my kitchen cutting board to cut the cork in half.

pvc-pipe-finial-1

3. I then hollowed each half out with a nut pick. ( I was in my kitchen and it was handy – it worked well.)  You could use a craft knife – a Dremel drill with a bit that hollows out would work well also.

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4.  Hot glue the cut sides of the cork to the center cork on the finial.

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5.  Push it into the end of the PVC pipe.

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6. No one will ever know how you faked it out – except you.

pvc-rod-finial-5

After-no-sew-drapery-panels

now-sew-curtain-panels

How-to-make-a-curtain-rod-fHow-to-make-a-curtain-rod-f

When I was thinking about what type of finials I wanted to use – I played around with a few options. The traditional gilded ones I used above and a more modern look – using tennis balls and fabric – yep tennis balls – it is an old trick that I have used many times.

1.  You will need 2 tennis balls – old ones that have lost their pep are much easier to cut than the brand new ones I used.

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2.  Carefully jab the tennis ball with the closed tip of sharp scissors.  Make another jab about 1-inch away from the first.  Cut in between the two holes.  Once you have that cut line you kind of keep digging your scissors in and cutting off more of the ball.

How-to-cut-a-tennis-ball

3. You want to make the hole a tiny bit larger than the diameter of the pipe.

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4.  Choose a fabric that will coordinate with your drapes. I chose the Houndstooth.

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5.  Cut a 12-inch square of fabric and wrap it around the ball. Use your fingers to make sure the fabric pleats around the ball evenly. Push the excess fabric into the ball.

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and then push it onto the end of the PVC pipe rod.  It will look like this.

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Presto-Change –o a fun and very inexpensive finial for a curtain rod.

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What do you have laying around your house that you could use as a finial?

Lots of options – old door knobs for bigger rods – cabinet knobs for thin rods.

How-to-use-doorknobs-as-cur

I am linking this post to:  Pink Postcard  The DIY Showoff  The Stories of A 2 Z  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Between Naps on the Porch  The Girl Creative  Skip To My Lou  Mad In Crafts  Savvy Southern Style

Comments

  1. says

    Wow Diane, that is just pure genius how you came up with the rod and finials. No one can ever say they can’t afford to dress up their windows now that you have shown these great inexpensive ideas. I love the tennis ball one, you are very creative.

  2. says

    what a great idea – all of it! The pvc, the wine corks, the tennis balls – pure genious! Looks really great in your room. I’m far more impressed than I can even say. Thanks so much for sharing. Totally brilliant :)

  3. says

    Oh darlin’, you just made me soooooo happy! I totally forgot about this old trick!!I have double rod brackets I just installed and I’ve been putting off buying the back curtail rod for the same reason: cost!!! I know what I’ll be doing this week!! Thanks for the reminder!!! :o)

  4. says

    Yikes! PVC ~ never even thought of it and I absolutely love what you’ve done. It’s going to be the perfect solution for eliminating a center bracket over our picture window. Thanks for sharing your cool projects and the finials r.o.c.k……! – vicki xo

  5. gina says

    Love this post! Never thought of using old tennis balls as a finial. I’ve have a gazillion old tennis balls! May just have to try this idea soon!

  6. Missy says

    This post is just one example of why I L.O.V.E. your blog. You are so doggone resourceful!!!

  7. says

    Great idea with the corks! I have done the tennis ball ones myself…I don’t know HOW you cut the new ones cuz even the old ones were hard to manage! Great ideas!!! Hugs-Diana

  8. says

    What great ideas, Diane. I’ve used pvc before, but it’s been awhile. I appreciate the reminder. I’ve never tried the tennis ball idea, so cute and I like that it’s easy to customize.

    • says

      Hi Kim-
      I have only made the finials with tennis balls – but have a thin rod and was thinking it needs smaller balls – I am going to try a racquet ball. It will be easier to cut too.

  9. KSacavage says

    You are so welcome Diane. Come “shopping” anytime. The cork idea is sooooo clever. I now have so many more ways to use all of the miscellaneous finials I have collected over the years.

  10. says

    Oh, Diane, you are amazing! I was intrigued by the title but you wowed me even more! You’ve just saved me potentially hundreds of dollars in rods & finials! If I have to re-stage our old house to sell (soon!) I was dreading spending more on rods. And I love that if you change your mind after a year or two you can just paint it!

  11. says

    Me again, I must pass this on to my readers for kids bedrooms. Would you like to be a featured designer and I’ll re-write with links back? Email me what you’d prefer. I’ll also twitter this out!

  12. says

    So glad I clicked on your pick on Miss Mustard Seed. You have some seriously great tips on your blog! The toothpick wedged in the drawers pulls took me over the edge!! How many times have I struggled with this one! Phew! Great idea.

    I am going to follow your blog. The tips alone are awesome. Love the letter paper on the dresser and the mancala bead idea has got me thinking about something….. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Lesley
    http://thehomelessfinch.blogspot.com/

    • says

      Hi Carol-Anne-

      XO You are so sweet. It is always uplifting to hear that what I post about is inspiring readers. Thanks

  13. Shelley Martin says

    This entire room transformation has me shaking my head in delighted disbelief. Simply amazing, Diane. A friend who used to work in a high end furniture store recently said to me, “Anyone can redo a room with $5000. It takes creativity to do it on a small budget.” You are living proof!

  14. says

    Oh my…I love your ideas…I have done a few of them and have been really happy with the results. Hop over and share with all of us at NIFTY THRIFTY TUESDAYS…hope to see ya there:)

    Blessings,
    Linda

  15. says

    I started to crack up when I saw the corks being glued together. Genius! I love the Tennis Ball idea too. You’re a clever gal. Thanks for Sharing. Katharine

  16. Terri says

    I’m feeling crafty today and looking to make DIY no-sew curtains, but wasn’t sure how to make rods (since I’m replacing hideous vertical blinds and have to rods). Thanks for a fun-looking, inexpensive solution! I can’t WAIT to make fabric-covered tennis ball finnials. How fun!

  17. says

    these are all FANTASTIC ideas!!! you are so creative! I need to use the cork idea for some finials on a bed I’m redoing….they were missing, and just gluing the ball finials on isn’t working- so I like the idea of having something like this to secure it! fabulous! Thanks for linking this to Transformations and Treasures!

  18. Connie says

    Love what you did with the fabric ones. I recently did a guest room with a rustic mountain theme. I hotglued pinecones in each end. Adorable. I’ve gotten lots of nice comments. The only preparation was to wash in hot water and dry thoroughly in the sun. ( I didn’t want to take any little pests in my guest room.)

    • says

      Hi Connie-

      What a great idea. I love decorating with natural elements and bet your window looks perfect in your rustic themed room. Do you have large pinecones in your area? When I lived in CA I used to collect huge ones. I wish I still had a few still. Here in Pa they are kinda wimpy. Glad no unwanted guests are going to show up. :)

  19. betsy says

    I have a whole bag of antique glass doorknobs I bought to use as finials and I see that you have suggested this as another idea. Have you actually done this? I’m not sure how I should go about attaching them to the rods. I thought about appoxying a screw into the hole on the bottom, but I’m not sure how well that would work and I also hate to do something so permanent to them in case it doesn’t work out or something…

    Thanks and all of your ideas are really cute!
    –Betsy

    • says

      Hi Betsy-

      Thanks and what a great find. It is getting very hard to find glass knobs anymore. Yes, I have made doorknobs into rod finials. I have even made them into curtain tiebacks – they were a project in my book. I will have to redo them. For the rod finials – I just filled the hole in the knob with hot glue and then while the glue was still hot, I put a very large nail 5 – inches long into the hole. When the glue was cool I used a mallet to tap it into the wood pole. If you have a PVC pipe pole, then you can stuff the end with Styrofoam about as long as the nail. Hot glue it in- right in the end of the pipe so when it dries it won’t move. Then push the nail into the rod and Styrofoam until the nail is hidden.

      If you want to use the doorknob again, then you can cut cork or Styrofoam into long slivers to create a plug for the hole in the doorknob. You can then push in a large nail. I have worked with a few doorknobs where the square shaft that goes into the door was still attached. I just pushed that into Styrofoam plug.

      I hope this helps.

  20. Deborah says

    re: You can spray some white primer over the pipe and then paint it any color you wish. I chose to keep mine white and just turned the writing to the back.

    You can buy a small metal container of “pvc cleaner” and it takes all the lettering off, I promise

    • says

      Hi Deborah-

      Thank you so much for great tip about the PVC pipe cleaner. I am going to have to go and check it out.

  21. Margie Sharp says

    I am wondering if you could screw/hot glue store bought finials (I got mine super cheap) into home-made Styrofoam ‘plugs’ (cut to size) hot-glued into the ends of the PVC pipe? Or would this method be too weak to keep the finials in place? Great ideas by the way!!

  22. Julie says

    How does the PVC “rod” attach to the brackets? Do they just sit in there? Does the PVC rod stay in place when you open and close the curtains? I have a large window to do and this is a great idea. I am just afraid that when I go to pull the curtains opened or closed that the rod will come off the bracket.

    • says

      Hi Julie-
      The PVC pipe sits in the brackets.They curve up – the pipe won’t come out unless you pull it up and over the bracket. They are the perfect size for the pipe. I used wood ones that I bought at Lowes. The finials on each end will stop the rod from moving too much side to side. If your window is large you can add another wood bracket to the center for stability. If you are still afraid the rod will move – you can place a strip of Velco in the bracket and the other side of the Velcro around the rod where it will sit in the bracket. This will add some extra rod security if needed.

  23. susie freeman says

    Hi Diane! Love these ideas, I have a question? Where can I get the finials with the screws inside?

    I have some large round dowels from Lowes and I just painted them black, need the screw end finial. I just adore the door knob finial.

    Thanks for the info
    Regards, Susie

  24. Hannah says

    Great ideas!!!
    Any clever suggestion on what I can use for brackets? I spray painted a 10′ long heavyweight pvc pipe, possibly 2″ wide, and it doesn’t fit into any of the brackets at Lowe’s.

  25. Jaycee says

    I have been sewing for over 60 years, but still enjoy good ideas and you have a lot of them. I used to have good ideas like these, but at my age they sort of disappeared so it’s nice to find a website like yours to bring them back to me. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • says

      Hi Jaycee-
      Thank you so much. Many of my ideas have come from the past – I like them the best as they are tried and true, plus easy and very affordable. That is what I strive for- to find simple stylish ways to get a designer look on a dime.

  26. says

    Well Done! You can also wrap and glue gun fabic over the pvc…same with oversized styrofoam balls. A solid looks good and is not too distracting in a close match or contrasting color. Good job.

  27. Kevin says

    I had been thinking along the PVC line since rods are expensive and I have no money. How about connecting each end of the PVC to the wall with this idea. First, buy 2 PVC end-caps with the same diameter of your “rod”, and glue or screw them to the wall. Next, use 2, 90 degree PVC elbow connectors to attach the PVC rod to the PVC end-cap which is already fastened to the wall. I’m going to try that today. My Big question is about fabric. I don’t sew and hear that it’s expensive. I’ve got some large plastic/vinyl table clothes from the 99 cent store (where’s the cent symbol?), but they’re pretty shear and kind of cheesy looking. In other words, can I get drapes for 99 cents?
    Your web site is cool. I did not know that imagination and IT talent were compatible in one person. You prove they are. Thanks for the proof of concept and pictures. I’m sure to be back!

    Kevin in Dallas

  28. Faye says

    Awesome!, I never would of come up with a clever idea like that. THNX, Diane for the tidbit. I’ll remember next time when i get creative.

    • says

      Hi Angie -One of the many things I learned when I worked as a display designer. We had to be resourceful since we had a teeny tiny budget to work with.

  29. Pat says

    A quick wipe with some mineral spirits will clean the printing off the PVC pipe. You can also use steel electrical conduit that you can also find in home improvement stores’ electrical section. It sells for about $2 for a 10′ section of 1/2″ pipe. They’ll often cut if for you for free, or a cheap pipe cutter tool will cut it easily and not leave a sharp edge. Then you can prime and paint it any color you want and add finials in a similar manner.

  30. Mary Beth says

    Thank you for solving my decorating dilemma!! I did not want a bracket in the middle of my large window. I am motivated to make the draperies now! Thanks!

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