Industrial Curtain Rod DIY

We have really large windows on both sides of our home which are great for light, but a big job to cover! I wanted the look of long, flowy curtains that covered the entire span of the windows, but I had a hard time finding curtain rods that would fit the large measurements. Window treatments can be so expensive, especially the larger you need them, and I couldn’t find anything I really liked that wouldn’t exceed my budget. Thanks to faithful Pinterest, I got the idea to make our own industrial hardware-meets-farmhouse curtain rods! (My husband deserves even more thanks for being the one who just runs with my vague ideas and treks off to Lowes or Home Depot -where you can buy everything you’ll need for this project- with me when I get an idea!)

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Here’s what you’ll need to make your own curtain rods:
[We purchased items for this project at Lowes because it’s where we found the most inexpensive materials. Some photos are taken from their website or snapped in their store.]

First you’ll need to chose what kind of pipe you’d like to use.

We chose to use 1/2 inch metallic conduit pipe. We went with this option because it still has the look of galvanized metal pipe, but it’s lighter and less expensive. (For comparison, 10 feet of the 1/2 inch conduit cost us $3.52 while the same amount of galvanized metal pipe costs $17.80.)

[Here’s a side by side comparison. In person the two kinds of pipe look extremely similar!]

If you want your rod to be more heavy duty, the galvanized metal is a great option, but will require more to cut the pipe to the length needed. When using conduit pipe, you can cut it yourself using a simple tool called a copper tube cutter which can also be found at Lowes. This tool is a little bit of an investment at $19.98, but if you’re planning to make more than one curtain rod or other DIY projects using conduit, it will definitely come in handy.

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There are smaller and larger sizes of pipe than the 1/2 inch that we used. They’ll likely hold weight differently and will require different sizes of accessories, but the size of pipe you select is completely personal preference. I’d suggest considering the size of the room when selecting the size of pipe for your curtain rod as a larger space might require a larger rod to have the same impact and choosing too large of an option might overwhelm a smaller window.

The accessories needed are the same regardless of pipe choice:

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Two Flanges to secure rod to the wall.
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Two 90 degree elbows. (Be sure to buy the kind that is threaded on one end so that it can screw right into the flange!)
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Two Compression Connectors. (These come in packs of 5, but you’ll only need two for this project – unless you’re adding a middle anchor *details mentioned below!)

We found that the conduit pipe would bend under the weight of curtains if it was much longer than 8 feet long. For this reason, for some of our curtain rods we chose to add an extra step and connect two pieces in the middle with an anchor to the wall in order to hold the amount of curtain needed. This required an an extra flange, two more compression connectors, a Tee, and a Galvanized Nipple Fitting (that will cost you about $2.50). We also had to buy a second conduit pipe to add the extra length needed.

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How To:

Measure out the length which you’d like your window treatment to cover. Then measure out the respective length of pipe you’ll need and use your copper tube cutter to trim it down. Remember to include the lengths of the accessories in your overall measurement as they’ll add several inches to the length of your curtain rod.

We assemble the entire curtain rod and then mount it to the wall. On each end of the pipe you will first place a compression connector. The elbow will attach to the compression connector and the flange will screw onto the elbow. If you’re adding a tee in the middle, you will also need compression connectors on the middle ends of the pipe. Your Tee will fit in between. A galvanized nipple fitting will attach the tee to your third flange which will anchor to the wall.

We usually team up to mount the curtain rod to the wall; one person holding the weight and the other screwing in the flanges to the wall using a drill.

Altogether, including our trip to the hardware store, this project usually gets done in about two hours. We seriously have these curtain rods in almost every room of our house and have even helped some friends make curtain rods of their own!

When comparing curtain rods with a similar look at my favorite home decor stores, our DIY rod was more cost effective and I think it looks way cooler.

For our shorter curtain rods, this project cost us only $26.48 (not counting the investment in the pipe cutter.)

For a longer curtain rod, requiring a support in the middle, you’ll spend about $42.50. This includes the tee and nipple fitting, additional flange, and a second conduit pipe you may need to purchase as each pipe is only 10 feet long. STILL, in my experience that is considerably cheaper and more durable quality than what you’ll find with a similar piece in stores. If you’re making multiple curtain rods, the cost will be cheaper as you can overlap with materials.

All of our curtain rods are made with the same materials for consistency and because it matched our decor better, but I did have my eye on the copper conduit pipe which I think could be a really fun and different look for this project!

We’ve only had ours up about a year and a half, but they’ve held up great and I highly recommend trying out this simple DIY to bring an industrial touch to your windows!

[See how to use the left over scraps from this DIY project to create a completely new one, here!]

3 thoughts on “Industrial Curtain Rod DIY

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