Monday, August 4, 2014

The dirty truth about Pinterest projects

Ever bitten off more than you could chew? Well, I frequently do so. My most recent Pinterest project attempt was no different. I thought I'd share the dirty truth of that project with y'all for your entertainment.

Over the past year, I'd pinned several diy curtain projects and was itching to change the curtains in my living room as I was redoing some of the furnishings. (Remember that my granddogs chewed up one of my couches?) Anywho, I thought a curtain project was in order. Here are a few of the pins that inspired me:

I skimmed each of the projects and settled on the painted canvas curtains that appear here first. On the plus side, they looked pretty easy and seemed like a cheaper way to go than some of the other options. I also wouldn't have to figure out how to thread my sewing machine to make this project work. Hahaha!

I should prob point out here that skimming the project was likely not a good idea, but y'all know that's just how I tend to roll.

Step 1 - go buy all of the supplies. Boy, that was way more expensive than I expected it to be. The pinner suggested that each curtain panel was just about $10 in supplies. Um, no. The canvas dropcloth was about $10 for each panel, but that didn't take into account the paint, tape, roller, curtain clips, and sweat equity. Bottom line? This still turned out to be about a $100 project overall - fwiw, I made curtains for two large picture windows along the front of my house. The curtains I wanted at Pier 1 would have cost me about $200 probably, but the only work would've been for me to open the packages.

Canvas - 2 X 13.98
Small black paint - 4.47
Roller and tray combo - 2.97
Refill roller - 2.48
Black latex gloves - already owned these for coloring my hair :)
Blue painter's tape - 5.93
Gallon of black paint - 18.97
Curtain rings/clips combo - 4 X 6.97
Time and effort - a friggin' lot
Scotch tape - already owned this
Total cost - 90.66 + tax =5.43= $96.09

Step 2 - cut large canvas panel in half vertically to create a panel for each side of the large windows. The canvas panel I bought was 6' X 9'. If I had it to do over again, I would purchase the 12' X 9' panel and cut it into fourths; that would've saved me a few bucks overall. Ultimately, this created two 3' wide panels that I then needed to tape off for the stripes I wanted to create in my pattern.

Step 3 - I thought it'd be a good plan to work outside. That way I didn't have to worry about being messy with the paint. I went into the front yard to work because the dogs don't pee out there. Lol! First, I taped off the stripes. I used a ruler to make my sections 12 inches each. (Aren't y'all proud of me for using a ruler?) I laid the panels side by side to make sure the stripes matched up on both panels. As a side note, my neighbors found this vastly intriguing...

Step 3b - realize you're wearing good clothes and that you're a messy painter. Change into black tshirt, black leggings, and black flip flops. The unintended result is that I look vaguely like a middle-aged ninja.

I started rolling on the paint and wasn't getting good coverage because there was too much give in the grass. Plus, grass kept blowing onto the canvas and getting in the paint. To solve that problem, I moved over to my driveway to work. Black driveway + black paint = I still shouldn't have to be careful. At least that was my grand plan initially.

Step 4 - turn your back to get more paint in the roller tray and run screaming back to the canvas after it has blown halfway across your driveway and yard. Curse with vehemence once you realize one of your 'empty' stripes has been jacked up by the blowing canvas curling in on itself. Realize that the pebbling of the driveway is creating an unattractive pattern in the cloth. Muttering in a rage, make plans to bring in the painting project to work.

Step 5 - clear off quartz bar/countertop in kitchen to paint. Briefly consider using the garage floor but realize there'd be too much cleaning involved to make that a realistic project. (By the time I'd cleaned the garage floor, I'd be too tired to paint my curtains.) Go to kitchen and tape down clean trash bags to try to control the amount of paint I'd get on my countertops.

Step 6 - finish painting second stripe and realize I'm already almost out of blasted paint. Make quick run to Lowe's for a gallon of paint, looking like a paint splattered middle-aged ninja the entire journey. Try to explain my project to an incredulous paint department employee who can't understand why I have no preference between interior/exterior or finishes of paint. When I explain I'm painting curtains, his head almost spun around on his shoulders.

Step 7 - return home and continue painting. Realize I need to alter my stripe plans to accommodate the jacked up section as a result of the canvas flying across the driveway.

Step 8 - continue painting. Wrestle canvas panel to avoid getting paint on my tile floor, to avoid having the dogs pee on the edges, and to avoid getting more paint on the planned empty/plain sections.

Step 9 - continue painting. Bitch. Moan. Cuss. Shake my head. Paint. Tweet. Call my friends. Take a few pics. Paint. Repeat. I worked on these for a total of 9 hours the first day. Nine hours!!!

Step 9b - realize there's no way that I can cook dinner for the fella, Kelsey, and Jake, so text and let them know that won't be happening. Briefly consider if I should just throw all this crap away and go buy curtains I liked at Pier 1 with my credit card.

Step 10 - realize I need more space to paint but original panels aren't dry. Hang up temporarily and drape over dining room chairs to keep edges off the floor.

Step 11 - mutter randomly to Lowder-dog and Charlie-dog as they 'assist' my project. Wish wholeheartedly that I lived a dog's life and didn't start Pinterest projects that would never end.

Step 12 - repeat steps 2, 7-11 with the other canvas curtain. Decide not to cut it into panels first; spend rest of evening wondering where the hell I got that stupid idea. Work 3 more hours on that. Finally go to bed in exhaustion.

Step 13 - wake up and realize I'm not finished with this damn project. Trudge into kitchen to survey the damage. Look at 'finished' curtains drying on rod and recognize they need another f*&#$!D@ coat of paint. Consider throwing away all of the work I've done thus far.

Step 14 - suck it up and put another coat of paint on cut panels and on huge canvas piece. Moan briefly about back hurting and my idiotic grand plans.

Step 15 - cut large canvas into two equal size panels and hang up on other window. Peel tape and hold my breath to see if the lines are crisp. Some are. Some wiggle. Oh well.

Step 16 - realize all 4 panels need some touch up paint and work on that process as they continue to hang and dry.

Step 17 - leave ridiculously nasty, paint splattered house and go to the pool for a couple of hours just to get away from the project.

Step 18 - return home and decide curtains are looking okayyyyy. Realize curtains are too long and have brief existential crisis as to whether I should cut off the top and/or bottom to fit correct length (which would jack up the stripe pattern I'd created) or to fold from the top and create a kind of valance.

Step 19 - wrestle with 4 stiff painted canvas panels to create a faux valance. Try ironing one of them and quickly decide that's an hour of my life I'll never get back. Wrinkles will just have to be part of the charm.

Step 20 - after an hour of pleating and clipping and smoothing and folding, decide I can live with the faux valance treatment I've created. Snap pictures, text friends a pic, and collapse in exhaustion.

They aren't perfect. There are paint splotches and faded spots and rough edges in spots. But they look decent and are original to me and my house. They cost more than I expected, intended, wanted. They were damn hard work. I was so sore I could barely move for 3 days after this. But they're my Pinterest project. I'll never paint curtains again. Now you know the ugly truth.


  1. This is BY FAR the funniest blog post you've ever done but I feel so sorry you endured all that. I'm sorry I didn't brag on them more! I like them! I do! I can't believe it was that much trouble! I have news for ya....puddling the curtains on the floor is what most folks would do! I like my curtains a little long sometimes. Jenni Bowlin puddles hers. It's okay to have between 1-4" inches or so on the floor! Like a long ballgown. I bet you won't be anxious to do a Pinterest idea again soon. Poor boo-boo.

  2. too funny - they look great though!

  3. Why is it others can make things look so easy, when they aren't. I looked at the I Heart Organizing blog (coincidentally, she lives 20 miles from me, wonder if I could convince her to come help me) as she painted some too.. made it look easy. You are braver than I, because I didn't try it. Kudos to you for giving it a try, they look great.

  4. I was cracking up b/c it sounded just like something I would do only I wouldn't finish! I'd have pitched it all in the trash when I ran out of paint! or maybe even when I had to come inside... Kudos for sticking it out! Love them!!

  5. Thanks for the great laugh & I SO understand the feeling!!!! Most of my DIY projects end up being way more complicated than they are portrayed to be!!! But you stuck with it & can be proud of the result!!!

  6. Now there's the perfect justification for pinning all those fabulous things but never bothering to do anything with them, LOL! Your curtains look great, BTW.

  7. I, myself, have determined that all of MY 'grand ideas' take 5x more money, time, and effort than I ever think they will. It is always hard to remember this though. I applaud your perseverance - they look great. Genius to think of the valance adjustment!

  8. go tiffany for keeping it real! yes it's a funny story, but it sounded miserable. we need to hear that. sometimes DIY isn't worth the effort or cost. sometimes it's hard & it doesn't look, nor seem the way we planned. sometimes it's a load of bull... instead of the sunshine, roses & lollipops we seem to be fed all the time. your curtains honestly look good to me. maybe someday, you'll agree. the striped pattern & color scheme fits in with the rest of your room. i was also admiring the green matching table cloth with your green walls.i like the pretty yellow flowers with the seashells too.