notes on design....

DIY Burlap Window Coverings

 

It's taken months but I've finally finished the window coverings I started way back in March. (Well, my MIL did the bulk of the work, but I designed them and finished them so that counts for something).

They really aren't that complicated, and they were super affordable. The only materials were Burlap, some wood buttons I found on ebay, some leather I had left over from a job a million years ago, wood dowels, embroidery floss and bamboo stakes from the garden center. Seriously, i think they cost about 5 bucks a piece ( plus labor).

Here's the story. Maybe 4 years ago I saw some pictures of some couple's renovated loft (I wish I had saved the spread) and for their window coverings they had just used plumbing pipes to make a rod and draped raw burlap over it (double sided, like you would drape a towel over a towel bar). It looked beautiful. They had giant floor to ceiling windows and it was a very industrial space. The burlap actually made the light warm and inviting with their concrete floor and high ceilings.

So when we moved into this house with a bunch of windows - I said to the Mister: "burlap. that's what I want to do with the windows."

and my loving and supportive, understanding husband said: "burlap? like potato sacks? no way. you are crazy."

to which I replied "do you have any idea what custom window coverings cost?"

and there we were.

Since I hadn't saved the images from before I couldn't convince him that burlap was the answer (don't get me started on having a husband who asks that I put together a presentation board "like you would for a client"  for him so he will agree to my design ideas.)

until....

this spread in house beautiful: the home of Roman Alonso, the creative director of design firm Commune.

This was a great example of how the burlap handles the light... but I was not so into swagging the blinds off to the sides on little hooks - a little too messy and I felt like when I wanted open windows to look out on the tree tops it would totally block my view. So I needed to come up with a better way to put them "up"

That's when I found wood & faulk through some blog or another... and he had just posted about a project he did and wrote about for ReadyMade ( a mag I LOOOVE). Making a curtain out of a wool blanket

and I had solved my problem. We would do burlap window panels, mounted on bamboo with leather straps - a sort of campaign style blind.

All that was left to do was... make them!

First we measured.

Then we got a bunch of samples and then decided on the the 2nd cheapest burlap - we actually coffee dyed a sample and loved it but realized that it would be a huge pain to do the whole bolt so we went with it as is (the sun has really made the color super rich - more on that later)

20110404-021822.jpg

Then we had to figure out how to mount them.  The wood & faulk method (on wood was mounted to the window frame) had been out plan,  but we fell back to my favorite cheap window hardware - Bamboo stakes. They work for so many things!

Then, cutting, pressing and sewing the  panels. ( This is where my Mother in Law  is KEY - without her here to guide us and help, and, well, do all the work; it never would have occurred to me to press the panels first - but it makes all the difference.  live and learn.) It took about 2 days to get them all done.

20110404-021857.jpg

Oh, and it took lots and lots of coffee.

20110404-075848.jpg

THEN, once we got all the panels up we had to re evaluate how the straps were going to work.

I'm not going to lie, this was a several week process (partly because my mother-in-law had to go home, and partly because my husband was driving me nuts with all of his "what if-ing?") But, we knew we were going to do leather straps, we just had to figure out how to attach them. That was the real issue. 20110404-075903.jpg

We went with buttons  - but only after we had lived with tying them up with scraps of burlap for a month or so.  And even then we had to order the buttons. And then I had to get my act together to sew them all together.  We ended up sewing the buttons on with embroidery floss for a little shot of color.

The big question was how they would look with the straps hanging down the back and how that would show through the burap.

It definitely shows - so I came up with a way to make them optional.

I put buttons on both sides/ that way we can (though we never do) detach the straps completely. So once I sewed the buttons on, and the cut the straps, we were ready to go.

This is what they look like up:

and closed:

Not too shabby for $5 a blind right?

Share this:

Post a Comment!