How to Paint Stripes on Curtains

Today’s post is all about painting stripes on curtains, certainly no new idea that I came up with. It’s been all over blogland for a few years now and horizontal stripes on curtains are a fun and fresh way to brighten up a space.  I have always loved stripes and usually you will see fabric in stripes running vertically, but the horizontal design is a little more modern and fresh.

My roommate, Rhonda, had wanted to put some drapes up in her room and she had picked up a set of Ikea Ritva drapes a few months ago.  When I mentioned painting stripes on them, she was all for it and so we did the project last week.  It helps to have 2 people doing this project, as you need to pull the fabric while painting to keep it straight and flat.  Also, you need to mark off the stripes and tape them first too, so definitely get someone to help you with this part.

ikea ritva drapes

These Ikea Ritva panels are in a package, so they will need ironing when you take them out.  Do that first and get them ready to tape off.

stripes taped off

These panels are 97” long, so we did some math and figured 9 stripes (3 white, 4 green) would work the best and the top stripe we measured 10” from the top, then 11” for the rest of them, leaving about a 10” white stripe at the bottom.  Using a pencil and tape measure, I marked off tick marks down the drapes and with one of us on each side, we stretched the FrogTape® across and on our tick marks.  It’s a must to have someone helping on this part because you want the tape to go on straight and flat as you set it in place on the pencil marks.

You have to think as you go too and tape outside the lines you will be painting with the foam roller.  So, 4 of the stripes will be bigger because the tape is outside the lines.  Make sense?  It will when you do it.

painting stripes

Once it was all taped off, I spread out leftover cardboard on my laundry room floor. This is where I seem to do all my projects these days.  The cardboard was fairly flat and I lined up each stripe on the flat part so that it could catch any paint coming through.  Using a foam roller, I rolled on paint on each of the stripes, covering the fabric well.

I did use a fabric medium and bought a couple of small bottles of fabric medium at a craft store to mix with the paint.  Honestly, I can’t tell any difference.  Paint makes fabric stiff anyway, but the fabric medium is supposed to soften it up.  I can’t tell any difference using it or not, so I’d say don’t even bother.  The fabric will be a bit stiff, but that’s OK. It’s not like you are touching it or sitting on it while it’s hanging on the windows anyway.  I don’t wash my drapes either.  If ever they need dusting, you could take them off the rod and put them in the dryer on low to freshen them up.

stripes and foam roller

Here’s the foam roller I was using. Just a basic foam roller that you can get at any of the home stores.  Make sure the tape is pressed down really well before you start painting.  FrogTape® is treated with PaintBlock® technology that keeps the tape from allowing the paint to seep under and it really works well as long as the edges of the tape are down securely.   I immediately ripped off the tape before it was dry leaving a nice crisp line.

one panel finished with stripes

One panel all finished and ready to hang.  The paint dries really fast and should be dry in just an hour or so.  I left these overnight before we hung them up.

striped drapes on windows

And here they are in Rhonda’s room, really looking pretty on those windows.  I just love stripes!

right striped curtain

You’ll notice a few little streaky marks where the sun shines through the back.  You can always go back and add a little more paint if this bothers you, but it didn’t bother us.  You can’t tell until sun shines in that there are a few streaks.

left striped curtain

All in all, this is a very easy project and especially using Ikea drapes, you can’t beat the price of $25 per pair.

cody in chair

Cody approves too and was helping us get them hung.


He’s a cutie and loves to be in the middle of it all.

I’d definitely recommend this project and love how it turned out for Rhonda’s room.  Really adds a nice fresh look on ready made drapes for just a little bit of cost.  I used 2 sample paint containers from Valspar in New Avocado, a fresh lime green shade.  One for each panel worked out well.
That’s my Frogtape project this month, hope this got you inspired once again with the POWER of paint and how you can virtually change anything with paint. My fave home improvement weapon, paint does wonders for everything.

Disclosure: I am a Brand Ambassador for FrogTape® and receive compensation for completing projects for FrogTape®. All opinions, projects, and ideas are based on my own experience.

- Rhoda


  1. I just finished a major “striped curtain”project for our beach house. We have 9 foot ceilings and I wanted ceiling to floor curtains so rather than drive myself crazy looking for the perfect color/length etc (and totally blow the budget) I opted for several 9 x 6 painters drop cloths. The possibilities are endless when you go this route!!! It took several hours to complete the project but I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. I did use several bottles of fabric medium and one and half gallons on paint but I still saved several hundred dollars and got exactly what I wanted. And absolutely FROG TAPE is the way to go!!! Thanks so much for all your advice.

    • Thanks for stating what type of tape ( Frog 🙂 Can you say where you go the drop cloths, and do they come in different sizes? Thank you & Happy New Year ♥

    • HI, Elle, Peggy won’t see this, but you can get drop cloths at Lowes or Home Depot and they do come in different sizes.

  2. The curtains turned out really nice, and look great with Rhonda’s bedding. I like the streaky areas- just looks like texture of the fabric. 🙂

  3. That looks great! I did a similar project using drop cloths, they were only $10 each and I painted teal blue chevron stripes on them and they look like I spent $100’s on them. One thing to be careful of, when I painted mine some paint soaked through to the cardboard underneath and then when I moved my fabric that paint got on the back of sections I wanted to keep unpainted. I didn’t notice until I hung them up and paint splotches showed through on the backside of my white spaces. Make sure you have a large enough work surface to avoid moving your wet painted fabric around.

  4. I swear you were reading my mind when you wrote this post, Rhoda! I’ve been looking for striped curtains for my dining room, but all those I like, are priced WAY out of my budget! Thank you so much for the great tutorial and inspiration! I love the curtains!!!!

  5. Nicely done! Can’t beat those Ikea drapes!
    Xo Heidi

  6. Im sure you told us, but which blind did you put up throughout your house? I need an economical option and I know they are from Payless.

    • HI, Sarah, those are Tibet from Payless and I really do love them throughout my house.

  7. I love the drapes and especially the color. They add so much personality to the room. And I must say I am loving little Cody too!

  8. I’ve always wanted to try this! The stripes look great!

  9. Looks great! What kind of pain did you use and where did you get it?

  10. I love Google…type and ye shall find thy answer!

    I am planning “tea towel” full length curtains (3 narrow panels to slide easily across my patio doors) and was not sure if I “could” paint a series of red stripes across the top and bottom of the fabric I buy….now I see that I can, and with great results!! (p.s. love the idea of using drop cloths, as that should be just the right color and thickness)

    Question: I was thinking of a more “heathered” or “herringboned-ish” effect on the stripes, rather than completely solid…any ideas on the how to make that happen??

    Thanks for a great tutorial..and the curtains (now two years old!) are lovely.

    • Marie, thanks and glad you found me on the web! I’m not sure about the heathered thing, but with painting on fabric, you can definitely add more or less in areas to give it sort of a water colored hand painted effect. I’ve done 2 sets of curtains with paint and they both turned out nice. I’m sure you will figure out the best method for what you want.

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