Thursday, February 27, 2014

Painter's Dropcloth Becomes DIY Grain Sack Shower Curtain

Hi everyone!  Long time no see!!  

Can you believe it's been a month since I last posted anything?!?  Craziness!  But life around the "farmhouse" has been pretty busy with homeschooling, projects, cooking, housework, and yada yada yada.  
I'm just trying to hang on for dear life.  :)

One of the projects I've been working on is the 2nd bathroom.  This is the kids' bathroom and when we have company it's also the guest bath.

The above is a picture I snapped of it before we bought the house.  The electric wasn't turned on, but even still you can see that it's pretty dark in there with absolutely no natural light (therefore, very hard to get decent pictures in here).  The dingy orangey-yellow walls and dark trim just sucked the light right out of the room.

When we moved in I put up a shower curtain we had from our last house, but the yellow ribbons on the curtain only added to the "depths of despair" theme this bathroom had going on.  It was purely functional.

One day inspiration finally hit and I knew what I wanted for this room.  Little by little during the kids' nap/quiet time I tackled the trim and got the walls painted.  I put together an inspiration board on Pinterest where I pinned rooms with gray walls, white trim, and black accents.  It would be very easy to end up with a more modern and chic looking room using these colors, so I wanted to be sure to include some items that would keep it more on the rustic farmhouse side.  One of those things was a shower curtain I had pinned that had stripes that were sort of grain sack looking.  Nothing says 'farmhouse' more than a grain sack, right?  But the problem was that this particular curtain was $40...more than I wanted to spend could afford for a shower curtain.  So I went searching to see if I could find a basic white curtain for much cheaper and just paint the stripes on my own.  Well, during all of this research another idea hit me and my mind started racing 100mph.

A couple of weeks later, with only $14 invested in the project, I ended up with this.

A giant shower sized "grain sack!"  :D  

I love it so much!  
And it will most definitely keep this bathroom from looking too modern.

I even put in my own grommets, a first for me!

Here's a little comparison of the before and after.  Quite the change, huh?  It took me 5 tries before I got the paint color on the walls right, but finally settled on Benjamin Moore's Rockport Gray at 50% (although it's actually a different brand of paint, just their color.)  You can see we put up beadboard on the left wall, we still need to get the baseboard up as well as the chair rail on the top.  Eventually I want to replace the vanity and flooring as well.  But all in good time.  One project at a time.  :)

So, if you're here just to see the pictures, then feel free to move on to the next blog at this point if you want.  But if you're curious as to how I accomplished this DIY farmhouse shower curtain, then stick around.  I'm about to explain the details.

I started with this 6' x 9' canvas dropcloth that you can pick up from Walmart for about $9.97.  

I followed Miss Mustard Seed's directions for bleaching it since I wanted it to be a lighter cream color versus the tan color it was originally (if you follow the link to her blog, the directions on bleaching are in step #2 I believe).  
On the left you can see how it looked straight out of the package, and on the right is after being washed and bleached.

I kept the width of it the same, but cut quite a bit off the length and sewed a wide double layer tab/seam along the top where the grommets would be placed.

Next I had to come up with the image I wanted to put in the center.  I Googled "grain sack images" and "feed sack images" and came across {this one} that I loved.  Of course, theirs is for sale and I didn't want to steal their image, so I redesigned it and made it more personalized for us.  (The Suwannee River is nearby, and we actually lived less than a mile from it for about 6 months before we bought this house.)

Once I had the image designed, I had to figure out how to get it onto the fabric.  Image transfer methods with freezer paper and such weren't going to work because I needed it to be on such a large scale.  I knew I was going to need an overhead projector.  I remembered that a long time ago I came across something about a DIY homemade projector so I went searching, and sure enough, you can make your own!

I used a cardboard box and cut an opening on both ends.  I didn't have any transparency sheets, but I do have a small laminator that I use for homeschooling so I ran a laminating sheet through the laminator to make it clear.  Then I put that in my printer and printed the image directly on it and taped it to one end of the box. (The curtain was nailed to the wall.)  I used the flashlight app on my iphone as the light source.  We tried a few other things for the light, but nothing worked as well as the app did.  So we propped up the phone to be sure it wouldn't budge even a centimeter, and made sure it was plugged in to a charger.  The setup wasn't as strong as a real projector, and it had to be very dark in the room for it to work, but work it did!

If you look close you can see my pencil tracings on the fabric.

Once I had the entire image traced onto the fabric, my next step was to put in the grommets.  Walmart had these, and the setting tool as well, in the sewing section.  The grommets were about $4.47 for 10 (I needed 12 so I had to buy 2 boxes), and the setting tool was $3.47 I think.  I didn't include these in the price of this project because I had Walmart gift cards from a rebate a couple of months ago, so I essentially got them for free.

I measured out and marked their placement and pounded them in.  (I made sure to put a sturdy wooden cutting board in between the fabric and the floor to protect my purdy floors.)   : )

Once the grommets were in it was time to start painting.  I was SO nervous about this part!  I was so afraid I was going to drip paint or smudge it or somehow mess it up and have to start all over.  But, I just took my time and worked very carefully and it was all just fine.  The painting part of it took me about a week, working on it little by little.  That canvas is actually a little difficult to paint on.

Once I had the image completed it was time to add the grain sack stripes.  This was the most aggravating part of the whole project.  This fabric has so much "give" to it that it was incredibly hard to get them lined up nice and straight.  And even though they looked really straight on the floor, once I washed it and hung it up they looked absolutely drunk.  They were so crooked I was ready to cry.  But then I remembered the "give" factor and started tugging the fabric this way and that and got it all straightened out.  I hung it up damp so the tugging was easy and it allowed it to dry how I wanted it.  

 I actually used different shades of gray and black, but once it was washed they all kind of look the same. I just used regular craft paint for most of this.  I tried adding a textile medium to the paint, but it didn't seem to make any difference when I did a test swatch and ran it through the washer.  So I just stuck with straight craft paint on everything except the words at the bottom.  On those I used an oil based Sharpie paint pen that I already had from my Sharpie mug project.  The final washing served to set the paint as well as give the whole thing the faded aged look I was going for. 

Here's a breakdown of my costs:
Dropcloth canvas - $10
4 bottles of craft paint - $4 
Grommets and setter - $12.50 
(I got these for free with gift cards).

My cost was only $14, much more affordable than $40, and now I have an absolutely unique and original shower curtain that I love.

So what do you think? 
 Is it a little over the top, or is it fun and quirky and perfect for a farmhouse bathroom?  
I'd love to hear from you!

* Update - these customizable shower curtains are now for sale in my Etsy shop and can be found {here}. I'm currently taking names on a waiting list so if you'd like to purchase one let me know and I'll add your name to the list. *


Here's a set of 10 grommets with the setting tool included, as well as a 6 x 9 drop cloth

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