Domino Mag recently named Maison de Pax as one of the 15 best design blogs to follow for budget-friendly design inspiration… Pick my jaw up off the floor because it totally knocked my socks off, first of all. I couldn’t be more honored. Secondly, it got me thinking that it’s been a while since I’ve give you a good ol’ straight, budget-friendly, DIY tutorial. So today I’m going to share how you can make gorgeous, real wood, DIY curtain rods that look like something from Restoration Hardware. And the best part? A 6′ curtain rod will cost you less than $15 and an 8′ one less than $20. And we aren’t talking flimsy little things… These curtain rods are serious. Plus, with my secret for incredibly affordable luxurious curtains, you’re all set.
Now to be fair, like many DIY projects, they would cost a lot more if you didn’t have many of these supplies already on hand. And I spent more because I essentially made three and a half of them. But still, $50 for 24′ of gorgeous, real wood curtain rods seems pretty wonderful to me.
I always say that mixing some splurge items with some more affordable pieces (whatever “splurge” and “affordable” means to you) is the best way to create a beautiful space with long-lasting style. In that vein, we bought these chairs from Restoration Hardware several years ago (and, by the way, if you make the right finish choices and catch a sale, you can save quite a bit off the list price). I just love the aged look of the “burnt oak” wood, and I wanted to recreate that for my curtain rods.
The key is in the grain of the wood. And, let’s be honest, cheap wood doesn’t have beautiful natural grain… So I made some.
Materials needed to make DIY wood curtain rods:
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- 2 (or more) of these wood brackets
- 1 1/4″ wood dowel cut to your desired width (1-2′ wider than your window)
- 1 1/2 to 2″ hole saw
- cordless drill
- medium grit sandpaper
- stainless steel wire brush
- Minwax Special Walnut stain
- light warm gray chalk paint (I used Annie Sloan Cream and Paris Gray)
- dark wax (I used Annie Sloan)
- (optional) dowel screws
How to make Restoration Hardware inspired wooden curtain rods:
step 1: measure to drill your hole
step 2: using your hole saw, cut out a semicircle from each bracket
A hole saw works by first drilling the center drill bit to hold it in place, and then the surrounding blade connects to cut. Therefore, you will drill into the wood just below the edge and actually be cutting slightly more than half a circle, if that makes sense.
step 3: sand any rough edges from the cut
You can use an electric sander or sand by hand. Just get rid of the major rough edges.
step 4: beat up your brackets
Use a hammer, screwdriver, or any other heavy object to distress your brackets (superficially only! don’t compromise their strength).
step 5: stain your brackets
Paint or wipe on the Special Walnut stain and wipe off the excess.
step 6: create grain in your brackets using the stainless steel brush
Run the wire brush vigorously up and down on both sides of your bracket. You are essential trying to create wood grain, so some waves are a good idea. However, strong pressure (enough to dig into the wood) is most important. I found it was easiest to make an impression in the wood if it was a little softer, so I did this before the stain was fully dry.
step 7: dry brush using your light warm gray paint
Once the stain is fully dry, take your light gray warm paint (I made mine by mixing two colors together)…
And dry brush a layer on the brackets. To dry brush, just touch a tiny bit of paint to the tips of the ends of your brush and lightly brush the wood. I like to use small, natural bristle brushes for this. See how the paint begins to reveal the distressing and “grain” even more?
step 8: wax liberally with dark wax
This is where your “grain” really appears. When your paint is dry, apply the wax liberally and rub with a cloth until it has the desired look.
Here you can see the progress of the finish: stained, dry brushed, waxed.
step 9: prepare your poles
Follow the same steps (minus the distressing – I didn’t want to damage my poles): stain, wire brush, dry brush, and wax.
step 10: hang your brackets
step 11 (if your windows are too wide for your dowels): connect dowels using dowel screws
As always, predrill your holes. For the record, you can buy dowels by the foot, but it’s usually more expensive than the precut ones. And if you do need to connect some, be sure you put the seam where a bracket will be. This will both hide any imperfections and support your joint.
Hang your curtains and you’re all set!
I love that they’re real wood and how the rich tones stand out against the light walls. Even if you didn’t want the Restoration Hardware look, I love how a hole saw can transform affordable wood brackets into curtain holders. And you could stain or paint with your color of choice. So happy DIYing, friends.
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