Thursday, April 30, 2009

Handpainted curtains

Hello, another long break. I have a good excuse! I have been very busy over these school holidays finishing a project that I volunteered for at my childrens school. When the kindy class needed a set of curtains for an opening in the wall between two rooms I immiediately put my hand up with a brilliant idea....... a set of handpainted curtains..... double sided. Having finally finished them I realise now I had NO idea how long something like this took. Now I know. These took me between 30-35 hours in total. But I do love the result. They look exactly how I wanted them to look.

SO.... if you are thinking of doing a set of handpainted curtains for your living room here is what I learned that I can shere with you:
Do measure correctly even if you have to do it three times to be sure. All four panels of these curtains were 30cm too short so I had to sew seperate hems to the bottoms. I chose to paint them solid so as not to hide the fact that they were a later addition.

Find a large enough floor space where you can lay each panel out flat. A garage is great just lay down some clean paper or a drop sheet so your fabric stays clean. I, for some reason thoguht I could do them at home on the dining table. that would mean painting in sections, constantly moving the fabric around, putting everything away at the end of each day and making sure the chlidren dont use it as a canvass. Floor is best.

Use correct fabric. These were double sided so each panel had two lengths of fabric and I couldnt use a heavy weight. I used calico which was ideal for this. If yours will be single sided a heavier fabric will be good.

You can find good fabric paints in any decent art supply shop. I watered my paints down to the consistency of a smoothie, bit runny but still sticking to the brush. If you use the paint straight you'll be painting one sqaure inch at a time and continuously dipping back and forth because the fabric just sucks it all up.

I had a vague idea of the design I wanted and drew it up in my sketch book. I used a symmetrical folk art style design so it was easy to draw it onto the fabric.

I first drew the design on with a lead pencil. This allows for making mistakes and going over them without having to remove the lines off the fabric. You can still see some faint pencil lines on these but they dont bother anyone. I used a fabric marker for the outlines and when I ran out of that I used a permanent marker for the rest. Then the painting. That was the easiest but took for ever. It was at this point I thought "why do I always come up with these great ideas and then volounteer to do them!"

The curtains were sewn like any standard curtain: a giant pillowcase turned inside out and ironed for a long time to get it all perfect.

This project is not hard just amazingly time consuming. If you feel inspired and you fancy trying something similar you could start off with something smaller like some cushion covers. Even ready made ones, just paint straight onto them. It's advisable to slip a piece of cardboard inside so the design doesnt go through onto the back of the cover.

After all my tiredness over this project I have been eyeing my living room curtains which are just plain off white......... watch this space!
I will try to get some better photos of the curtains and if I manage I wil post some more. These are not very good, taken at the end of a school day when lots of kids were running about.

Thank you for visiting!


:: imprintables:: said...

breathtakingly beautiful!

mum space said...

Hi Kasia, just popped over to check out your blog and what a feast for my eyes! Those curtains are just so lovely. Your children's school must be over the moon to have you as a volunteering parent. You are so talented.

Jennifer Barker said...

Kasia - they are amazing!! What a lovely gift to your children's school environment. Clever girl x

lisa tilse said...

You did such an amazing job Kasia. The classroom has been transformed!

Lark said...

Wow, these are beautiful. I love love love your work!

Kasia Jacquot said...

thank you so much everyone for all your beautiful comments! I amsmiling from ear to ear!

Catherine Hansen Peart said...

What a lucky, lucky school!! Absolutely gorgeous...