How to easily stencil a drop cloth shower curtain to give your home a perfectly sized, custom designer look for pennies.
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. Um, 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, especially if you’d like a larger curtain to cover more of the bath like I did. But painter’s drop cloth is, and it’s a favorite of mine for making slipcovers and roman shades in the past, but this is my first time using it 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 found inspiration on Pinterest and decided this would be my first project of the new year! (affiliate links included below for your convenience)
Before we get to the tutorial, I want to let you in on my biggest tip to be able to use whatever you want as a shower curtain (perfectly sized fabric like this or even pre-made regular curtain panels:
- Simple curtain rings with clips make it easy to create your own shower curtains- any size you’d like – without worrying about button holes or grommets. 2-inch rings with clips are sufficient to slide over a standard shower curtain rod, though sometimes I’ve needed to remove the end pieces first and push them back on after sliding the rings on.
For the liner, you can purchase an extra long fabric shower liner (and hem if you need) that you clip to the same curtain clips or you can add another spring-loaded bar below the full curtain that holds a regular fabric shower liner. 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.
How to Stencil a Drop Cloth Shower Curtain
- 9×12 painter’s drop cloth (this will work for most bath sizes, you’ll need at least 72″ wide for bathtub openings and up to 84″ long for that decorator look)
- sewing machine, thread, etc. (unless the cloth is the perfect size out of the package)
- painter’s tape or masking tape
- self-locking tape measure
- 4 oz. acrylic craft paint in your color of choice (I used a creamy white)
- 2 oz. fabric painting medium
- home decor stencil (here are some choices similar to mine, be sure to get the kind where you paint inside the openings)
- stencil brush or roller
- spray adhesive
1. Prep the drop cloth. Measure your space and buy a cloth closest to the size you need (the 9×12 will work for most standard tub openings). The edges will be sewn already, but most likely will be crooked. If you’re OK with that, move along to the stenciling. Otherwise, the easiest way to make sure your edges are straight is to rip the cloth– it will naturally tear with the grain.
1a. Sew hems as needed. 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 all edges.
2. Mark the cloth for the stencil. Divide the curtain into even rows with painter’s/masking tape. Then decide the pattern you would like: the stencils all even on top of each other or alternating like I chose (I thought alternating would look less linear when it was hung and show the pattern no matter where the folds of the curtain were). The pattern I used is an alternating pattern of five-four, so I measured my stencil and the cloth width, divided the width by five and placed the first row of tape markers in the middle of the stencil width. After the first rows I just eye-balled the placement.
3. Spray the edges of the stencil with adhesive. Let it dry for a few minutes so that the bond will be temporary. Using adhesive instead of tape really helps speed the process along.
4. Mix the acrylic paint and fabric painting medium. Follow package directions, which is typically a 2:1 ratio of paint-to-medium (I used 4 oz. of craft paint to 2 oz. of medium, which was more than enough for this project).
5. Set up paint and stencil brush station. I simply used a paper plate with paper towels – whatever you use, it needs to be easily moved with you as you work along the cloth. A stenciling roller may work better, but I was using what I already had. Do what works for you!
6. Place the stencil and paint. Start in the middle of the marked rows, center the stencil on your mark and then raise the edge to remove the tape marking before stenciling. Stencil by blotting the flat end of the brush on the paper towel, though not until totally dry, and then pouncing/pushing onto the stencil. The fabric soaks up paint, so you’ll need more paint on the brush than you might think.
Tip: 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 in the lower-left photo how I placed the stencil in the alternating rows of five and four (actually, you only see three and two, but you’ll have to trust me on this).
In the lower-right photo above is a close-up of one of the stencils that may encourage you- stenciling is 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 the mistakes do show is the fact that you’ve created a one-of-a-kind item that sets your space apart from everyone else’s. That’s right, it’s one more instance where we embrace imperfection around here!
I love, love how this turned out! The neutral colors are just enough to subtly show a pattern, but is never busy and it goes with everything.
I hope you will try your hand at stenciling your own drop cloth shower curtain!
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you – thanks so much! Plus you can trust I’ll only share what I love. (You can always read our entire disclosure page here.)
Note: this post was originally published in January of 2012 and has been updated with new photos and clearer formatting.