DIY Industrial Curtain Rod (under $30!)


Next up, some "industrial" magic!

In November, we got new windows. (*ensue uproarious applause*) Many thanks to our complex and Windows World for their decision to replace the heavy, gunky, leaky (nasty) windows from 1988. 

However, one slight hiccup in the whole replacement process... We have gotten by with a tension rod hanging our bedroom curtains for 4 years. The trim they placed around the windows to seal them up stole that space and made the tension rod unusable. 

Well, darn, I guess I'll have to come up with a DIY solution ... insert DIY Industrial Curtain Rod!

This project definitely was not a lowest-cost-ever DIY. You can definitely find a curtain rod for less than $30. But, if you are going for a certain look (i.e. industrial), it's just gonna cost a little more.

I followed this tutorial but decided to do my own DIY to improve on some of the questions I had along the way.

**from the plumbing section of the hardware store: 2 floor flanges, 2 (90 deg) elbows, 2 nipples (all the same size - I wanted to do 1/2" and it may've proved slightly cheaper, but I wanted it then, so I got what they had - 3/4")
**from the electrical section of the hardware store: one (1) 10 ft length of 3/4" electrical conduit pipe
**from IKEA (or other store with a curtain section): a set of clippy curtain rings

Screw driver, drill & bits, hack saw (or pipe cutters), #10 phillips screws (mine were 1-1/2" long) and drywall anchors. 

First, I measured and marked where I wanted the flanges to go. (The galvanized metal made quite a mess of my wall where I scooted it around. Beware!) You'll notice that I didn't 1) put them all the way up to the ceiling (naughty) and 2) placed them just outside the perimeter of my window (also design naughty) so my curtains would close. Because seriously people, my curtains were $40 a panel (wedding gift) and I saw no need to replace them, so I'm working with what I have. Thus, my rod placement.

The huge benefit to this was that I didn't actually need the drywall anchors at all! Every time I pulled the drill away from the hole, I realized that I was pulling away bits of wood. The window frame must've been in just the right spot. Woo hoo!

I installed the first flange with 4 screws. Then, I screwed in nipple 1. I thought this might be difficult, but they have some kind of grease on them, so it was very easy to turn. I just turned until it caught - I didn't try to force it.

Then I washed my hands.

Don't forget to put your first curtain clippy loop on before your elbow! This pulls the curtain around to the side so you don't have that annoying light coming in the side of your window on Saturday morning.

Well, I have a 3-year old, the sun never wakes me up. What am I saying? 

Then, screw the elbow on just like you did the nipple, except you will have to work with the placement as it needs to be turned toward the opposite side to hold the actual rod.

Assemble other side like the first but do not attach it to the wall.

Then, measure the distance between the installed corner and where you want the other plus about 1/2" - for the rod to slide into the elbow.  Not gonna lie, this part was difficult to get just right (you'll find out why in a moment).

Mark the pipe and start sawing!

Take a break if you think your arm is going to fall off, and when you've finally cut through, congratulate yourself. (OR, if you have more patience, take the measurement to the hardware store and have them cut it with a pipe cutter in two seconds flat.)

Then, see how it fits. Unfortunately, my measurements were slightly off and ... I had to cut another inch off! Gag.

Lesson learned.

I'd suggest doing the next part with another person, because it was tricky to hold everything in place at once. (Plus, if you are just one person, you can't take pictures of the process!)

Grab a ladder or a chair and insert one side of the rod into the already installed elbow. Then don't forget to put the other curtain rings on (!) and slide the other fully assembled (but not installed) elbow on the other side.

While holding it all in place, screw the other floor flange into the wall. The placement of the drill was kind of awkward at this point, so some of the screws were less than straight, but it wasn't terrible and it is still exremely sturdy. Plus, it looks amazing.

There you have it! A DIY industrial curtain rod all your own for less than $30.

Let me know if I missed anything!

Cost breakdown:

10ft (3/4") metal conduit pipe - $3.12
2 (@$2.37) 90 degree galvanized elbows (3/4") - $4.74
2 (@$1.54) galvanized nipples (3/4" x 2") - $3.08
2 (@ $7.69) 3/4" galvanized floor flanges - $15.38
pack of 8 (10x1-1/2") sheet metal screws - $1.18

TOTAL (including tax) = $29.84

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