Simple Home Improvement Project: No-Sew Window Swag

This weekend I embarked on a simple home improvement project that was as cheap as it was easy. I made swags to go over my kitchen windows. It didn’t require any sewing, and depending on the price of the fabric, costs as little as $30 per window. You don’t have to sew, but you will need some power tools.

No-Sew Window Swag Materials (in order)

Measuring tape
Fabric: 54-inch-wide decorator fabric (it should drape well). You’ll need a length that is 2.5 times the width of the window
1 x 2 pine board
Table, jig, or circular saw
3/4-inch stitch witchery (iron-on hemming adhesive)
Damp cloth
Ironing board
Heavy-duty staple gun
A helper
Drywall screws
Cordless screwdriver
Pushpins (optional)

No-Sew Window Swag Instructions

If you can cut, iron, and drill you can make these. If you don’t have a saw, have the mounting board cut to the right length at the hardware store. Most will make 1 or 2 cuts for free.

Step 1:

Measure your windows. Buy your fabric. My fabric was $3 a yard, but I have access to the Los Angeles fabric district. You should expect to spend $5-10 a yard for a medium-weight cotton. I brought a swatch of my paint with me to match the fabric to my kitchen.

Step 2: 

If you have a window frame, cut the mounting board 6 inches shorter than the width of the frame. If you don’t have a frame, cut the mounting board the exact width of the window.

Step 3:

Iron the fabric to remove major folds and wrinkles. Lay it flat on your cutting surface. Normally, you’d use a sewing mat on your dining room table. I don’t have one yet, so I used my empty dining room floor and my sewing mat.

Step 4: 

Cut the fabric in half lengthwise. This is enough for two windows. Cut each length to 2 ½ times the width of the window. A46-inch wide window would require 115 inches (3.25 yards).

Step 5:

Lay the fabric wrong side up on your ironing board. Lay Stitch Witchery or another iron-on hemming adhesive about ¾ of an inch in from the edge of the fabric. Fold the fabric over so the adhesive is completely covered and flush against the edge of the fold. Heat the iron as instructed on the Stitch Witchery package. Lay a damp towel over the hem. Lay the iron on top of that and let sit for ten seconds. Lift up the iron. Do not slide it. Set it down on the next section. I found it easiest to lay a whole section of towel flat over a long section of hem so I could work through several sections at once. You need to hem all four edges. After the hem is complete, iron out any large wrinkles in the curtains.

Step 6:

Lay the fabric on your cutting mat right side up. Fold it to find the exact center and mark it on the hem. Find the exact center of the narrow side of your mounting board and mark it. Unfold the fabric and lay the marked center over the center of the narrow side of your mounting board. Staple the edge of the fabric to the edge of the board so it covers one side. Pull taut and staple each end. Staple several places in between.

Step 7:

Drill two small holes about three inches from the end of each board. Poke the nail through the holes to make holes in the fabric that will be against the wall.

Step 8:

Place the mounting board on the wall about 1 ½ inches above a frameless window, or at the top of the frame. Mark the spots where the holes go. Have someone hold the board in place with the stapled side at the bottom and a wide side against the wall. Drape the fabric over the top and front of the board. Use a cordless screwdriver to screw the drywall screw through the board and wall. You may need someone to hold the drape out of the way. Don’t tighten the screw completely yet.

Step 9:

Place a level on top of the board. Adjust it until it’s completely straight. Drive the other screw tightly into the wall, then tighten the first one.

Step 10:

Tie loose knots at either end of the window. If the knot droops more than you’d like, poke pushpins through the insides to hold them in place.

Ta da! No sew curtains that you can make in an afternoon.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *