How To Stencil A Drop Cloth Shower Curtain

Want an easy way to refresh your bathroom? Change the shower curtain. It’s by far the biggest thing in the room, so it usually sets the tone for the rest of the room.

Unless the rest of the room is a loud, colored tile– that would pretty much grab all the attention.

Unfortunately, shower curtains are not cheap. But painter’s drop cloth is- and it seems to be the go-to decorating item these days. I’ve used drop cloth for years to make slipcovers and roman shades, but this is my first time making and painting a panel to use for a shower curtain.There was nothing wrong with my old shower curtain, but I was tired of it and ready for a change. I got this inspiration from Refresh Restyle on Pinterest, and decided this would be my first project of the new year!

Simple curtain clips make it easy to create your own shower curtains- any size you’d like – without worrying about button holes or grommets.

I added a sewn-on fringe across the top of the panel (which could also be glued), which I’d love to say was a particular design element that I planned, but the truth is the curtain was too short after I finished it, so I had to take the top hem out, making it smaller (but the curtain longer). Then I was left with a large gap between the top row of stencils and the top of the curtain. Luckily I had this trim in my stash and it perfectly finished the top, I think.

Just like it was meant to be…uh-um.

I really love long shower curtains- I think they help add a decorator touch to the bathroom, but yours can be any size you’d like.

Here are the steps I took to bring a new look to our bathroom:

I already had a large drop cloth that had been given to me. You’ll want to measure your space and buy a cloth closest to the size you need. The edges will be sewn already, but most likely will be crooked. If you’re OK with that, move along to the stenciling. Other wise, the easiest way to make sure your edges are straight is to rip the cloth– it will naturally tear with the grain.

Turn under the raw edge, iron, and sew a simple straight stitch.

Turn under a larger hem for the top- it’s a more finished look. Iron and sew close to the edge.

Once all the edges are finished, mark the rows for the stencil with masking tape. Blue tape sure would’ve shown up nicer for you, huh? I couldn’t find it- sorry. If you squint and look real close, you’ll see the marks I made for the first stencils. I wanted an alternating pattern of five-four, so I measured my stencil and my width and divided the width by five, placing the first row of markers in the middle of the stencil width.

After the first rows I just eye-balled the placement.

I used cheap acrylic paint and a Fabric Painting Medium I found in the same area of the store. I wasn’t going to use a fabric medium because I didn’t really care if the curtain was soft or not, but it was .89, so why not?

After mixing the paint 2:1 with the medium, I set up the paint, stencil brush and paper towels on an old plate that I could easily move with me as I worked.

It might’ve been easier to use a stenciling foam roller rather than the brush, but I didn’t want to pay $7.00 at the craft store when I already had a brush at home. Either will work though.

I did spray the edges of the stencil with adhesive that I also already had – letting it dry for a few minutes so that the bond would be temporary – instead of using tape, as I felt it would help me to move faster once I started.

I placed the stencil in the middle of my marked rows. For the first row I centered the stencil on my mark and then raised the edge to remove the tape marking before stenciling.

I always blotted the brush on the paper towel, though it wasn’t a dry brush by any means. The fabric soaks up paint, so I needed more paint on the brush than I initially thought I would (though 2 bottles of the acrylic craft paint mixed with one of the medium ended up being more than I needed to complete the curtain).

A tip on buying the stencil: Make sure to get the type pictured above- where you paint inside the cut-out sections. I first bought one that I would call the “negative” -it’s the part that is cut-out and you’re supposed to paint over the top and lift it up to reveal the color underneath. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for my purposes. The stencil I ended up with was $10.99 and I used a 50%-off coupon from Michaels.

As I was stenciling, I always thought it was seeping under the edges and that it was going to look awful. Always.

And then I’d pull it off and it looked fine- really. It’s not perfect, but stenciling isn’t usually – and it’s certainly not noticeable on a large curtain with repeating motifs.

You can see how I placed the stencil in alternating rows of five and four (actually, you only see three and two, but you’ll have to trust me on this). I thought this would look less linear when it was hung and show the pattern no matter where the folds of the curtain were.

Here’s a close-up of one of the stencils that may encourage you- it’s truly not hard and even the mistakes that occur (see the blurred line on the right?) are not a big deal.

Especially in light of the whole pattern. Believe me, no one will notice the little quirks and mistakes. The only thing they do is attest to the fact that you’ve created a one-of-a-kind item that sets your space apart from everyone else’s.

That’s right…one more instance where we embrace imperfection around here!

And in case you’re thinking about making some changes in your own bathroom this year, I’ve got lots of inspiration for you! I’ve teamed up with four other bloggers today, and we’re all talking about bathrooms! Go check them out for some great ideas!

Christine from I Dream of Clean is revealing her method for speed cleaning a bathroom.

Lauren from Mama’s Laundry Talk is sharing advice on how often to wash your bathmats and towels.

Andrea from Simple Organized Living is giving instructions on how to clean your shower (and keep it clean) in only 10 minutes a month!

Nony from A Slob Comes Clean is organizing her bathroom cabinets according to how her family really lives!

If you’re motivated to declutter, clean or decorate your own bathroom this week, be sure to come back Friday and join in our group linky! If you have a blog, you can share your bathroom project and your link will show up on four of these five blogs!


This also qualifies for my 1st project of the year!





  1. says

    This is the second fabric stamping tutorial I’ve read this week! I think it’s fate! The design universe wants me to do this on some surface in my house! And I find it really hard to find a good (not expensive) shower curtain, so thanks! :)

  2. Amy @MaisonDecor says

    Found you on the Blogher feature page~I really like this! I wonder if the fabric medium helps the paint not be totally sucked into the drop cloths too? I saw some other bloggers tried to paint drop cloths and it just kept absorbing all the paint~great project! Did you have to spray adhesive each time you placed the stencil down on the fabric or only once?

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Thanks, Amy! Good thought about the fabric medium. I just sprayed the stencil at the beginning and it helped adhere to the fabric through the whole process.

  3. says

    I saw your feature on Whisperwood Cottage and had to come by and friend you. I am a fellow Oregon Cottage Lover! Your shower curtain is great! I’ve done some ivory burlap curtains and I’m hmmmming and haaaaing about whether I should stencil them..
    I think it’s more about the fear of choosing the wrong color than anything. I love what you’ve done.

    • Jami @ An Oregon Cottage says

      Well, hi fellow OC lover, thanks for stopping by. :-) Ivory burlap is so pretty! What about just painting the stencil the regular tan burlap color, then it would be about the opposite of my shower curtain? Still subtle…

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