Magazine article Sunset

Decorating in Sheer Style: Use Acrylic Paints to Add Individuality to Ready-Made Curtains

Magazine article Sunset

Decorating in Sheer Style: Use Acrylic Paints to Add Individuality to Ready-Made Curtains

Article excerpt

It's easy to give a custom look to sheer curtains - the gossamer-thin variety used to soften sunlight without blocking views. The sheers shown here, created by Seattle design consultant Lisa B. Hammond, demonstrate a simple technique that allows you to add a pattern to any sheer - either cafe or floor-length. All you need is acrylic paint, a foam paintbrush and roller, and acrylic flow release (a liquid that softens and liquefies the paint, making it easier to use).

For your own design, you may want to stick to something like these stripes, or simple dots and squiggles. More complex motifs might be patterns picked up from carpets or upholstery in the room. Dots and swirls can be applied randomly to the fabric, but if your design calls for a repetition of shapes in a specific pattern, it's best to create a template.

Hammond mixes her own paints, adding acrylic flow release. The trick is to make sure the paint has just the right consistency, so it will adhere to the fabric without running. "The flow release will make the paint more translucent; it should have the consistency of thick cream and not be watery," says Hammond. "The end result should be a subtle wash of color through which the light can still penetrate."

Hammond suggests using no more than three paint colors. "The goal is a simple pattern with minimal colors that can be easily repeated for multiple panels." The color mix for the panels shown is 2 parts titanium white, 2 parts baltic green, and 1 part olive, plus diluted flow release.

For best results, fasten floor-length panels to a large vertical work surface such as a wall or a garage door, with paper underneath to protect the wall and to serve as a template. "This allows you to step away from your 'canvas' and view a complete image while working," says Hammond.

TIME: About 45 minutes for the template, 2 hours for each panel, plus drying

COST: $11 tO $30 per panel for fabric, about $30 for paint and supplies for two panels


* Stepladder (optional)

* Paper tape and tacks

* Butcher paper

* A smooth wall for floor-length sheers, or a worktable for cafe sheers

* Pencil and ruler

* Black permanent marker

* Polyester or polyester/nylon sheer curtains

* Acrylic flow release (available from art supply stores)

* Acrylic artist paint

* 3-inch-wide foam paint roller

* Foam paintbrush

* 2 spring-loaded clamps or sturdy clothespins

* Spray bottle and rags (for drips)


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