Less than $10 custom curtain rod…Corrected

Electrical Metallic Tube Conduit Curtain Rods

Shopping List:

  • (1)-1/2′ Electrical Metallic Tube EMT Conduit cut to size.  Item #: 72711 |  Model #: 101543 in Lowes ($2.00 for a 10 foot piece).

  • (2-3) 1/2″ EMT conduit clamps.  A bag of 4 costs 81 cents (Item #: 54982 |  Model #: 49920) and you need 2-3 per rod, depending on how long your rod  As a general rule, use one clamp at least every 6 ‘


  • (2-3) 2 1/2″ corner braces.  You need one for every clamp.


  • (4-6) 3/4″ screws and anchors.    You need 2 per brace
  • (2-3) 1/4″ x 1/2″ Zinc Plated Round-Head Machine Bolt for $1.19 (5 nuts and bolts).
  • Can of MATTE paint or hammered finish paint suitable for metals

  •  Finial: …that is the end piece of the pipe.  You can find traditional ones in  your local Big box stores, Walmart, Target,  NOTE:  You  have to pay attention to what size rod the finial will fit on.  If you get one made for a 1 1/2″ pole and yours is only 1/2″ it’s not going to fit.  If you find one for a 3/4″ pole that might fit.  Put black electrical tape around the end of your pole and build it up a little.

Curtain rods should be as much as 5 inches wider on each side of your window. So if your window is 30″ wide then your rod should be 40″.  As for the height, measure the length of your curtain and add a few extra inches to hang the curtain rod higher than the window.  This gives the room an illusion of height.  My ceiling heights are 7′ or 84′ so you know I should be putting my curtains almost up to the ceiling.  See near the end of this posting for more information on measuring and sizing.

The steps:

  1. If your Big box workers are as lazy as the ones at my store are you are going to need to measure and cut your own conduit.  Remember to use safety glasses please.  Mark your pipe with a sharpie.  If you don’t have a sharpie grab a crayon, if you don’t have a crayon then I guess you have to use the old stand-by…eyeliner.  LOL whatever works!!  I used a jigsaw and it cut very easily with no problem.  The metal is VERY soft.
  2. Once you get your pipe cut its time to paint it.  You can spray the paint straight on the metal or you can prime it with automotive primer first.  I didn’t use primer.
  3. After you paint it put all the pieces together.  The illustration below, which I cannot remember where I got it from, illustrates how the pieces  go together. I used this photo so you can learn from it.

I think the screws left silver look awful…paint the nuts and bolts and screws please

I stuck them in my Styrofoam block to hold everything in place while I painted it.

Now the tricky part is what are you going to do with the end of this rod…you can’t leave it as is, but I wouldn’t.  The place where I learned how to do this covered hers up with electrical tape.  I do not have a photo but I would not do that either.  You think who is going to be checking out your curtain rod that closely, right?  You know good and darn well you will be showing people  that you made this and people will always check it out closely looking for flaws.  They may say they don’t notice the flaws but they do.  I looked at a curtain rod that I had in the house (that I paid $30+ for BTW), and the end was like this…


The finial screws right into that end.  I searched the Internet and  I psychically searched from the dollar store all the way to Macy’s and I could not find these plastic things for Jack so  I used the little chair leg thingys they sell in Lowe’s.

They are supposed to be a 5/8ths of an inch BUT they do not fit inside the pole nor does the pole fit in it.  I slit a hole in it and squeezed it in there.  That will have to do until I find the right thing to use.  The good thing about them is that the finials screw right into them with no drill or anything.  UPDATE: the 5/8ths of an inch is the outside dimension.  There is a size slightly larger that should work perfectly.

You can buy unfinished finials from Lowes cheaply, and they have the screw in them


You can paint them.  I have seen them painted a solid color like the rod, a metallic color (gold, which I did not like) and with or without decoration.   I did mine like this (note that the finial is screwed into the chair tip which will be slit and inserted in the rod) I haven’t put the jewels on it as of yet or the gloss top coat:

I like whimsy… what can i say?  I got my inspiration from these $80 a piece finials on who has exquisite painted furniture and accessories, if you are at all into that kind of thing, which I am…these are for inspiration,  not to copy exactly…

I know mine don’t look nearly as good as theirs but I am just getting back into painting so in due time you will see me get better and once I get the hang of it again, perhaps I will do them over…

The very last step in this whole process is hanging your rods but before you can hang your rods you will need to measure and mark.  Please don’t just hang them any ole where on your window.  If you don’t know any better they might look good but to those who know better ….

Measuring the Height:
Curtains are normally hung just past the window or all the way to the floor. Halfway between the floor and the window sill is tacky.  Hanging your draperies ceiling to  floor adds elegance to your room and it makes the room appear larger.  The longer your drapes the more dignified, dressy, and formal the look. Shorter lengths are reserved for a more casual, relaxed informal mood such as is in the kitchen and bathroom.  If you go for the ceiling height curtains the rod should be installed 2-3 inches below the ceiling line.  If you don’t want the floor to ceiling look, then hanging your rod 3-4 inches above the window frame is appropriate.

Measuring the Width:
Before you go to the store you want to determine how wide you want your rod.  Remember to measure twice cut once.  I always write my measurements down in my little household book.  I draw a box for the window and then I decide  how many inches I want the rod to extend on each side of the window and then I add  the numbers.  Your first number is width of the window frame –then add  3-5 inches on the right and 3-5 inches on the left.  I used to hang my curtains right to the edge of the window frame and when I wanted privacy I could never get the side right without taping it or propping it with something to the wall.  LOL and all the time all I had to do was add a few inches. .So this brings me to a point off topic…how wide should your curtains be?  2 to 2-1/2 times the window width.  So if your window is 30” your total panels should add up to be 60-75 inches wide.  If you never plan to close your curtains then 1-1/2 times is okay.

One last thing.  If you want to make your own curtains and you are an armchair shopper like me then I highly recommend they have VERY reasonable…no…I change that…. they have cheap prices on fabrics and trims.  You can get nice fabrics for drapes for $7 a yard and remnants up to 10 yards for $5 a yard!!!  I CAN HARDLY FIND THOSE PRICES IN A STORE! Also if you remember me discussing sticker shock on trims…they have them for less than $3 a yard.  Now they also got some free advertisements from me LOL.  I gotta stop doing that!!

I don’t have my curtains hung yet because I haven’t made them yet :-p

I hung  the rod and took this photo so I can get this article out of my drafts folder.  The drafts are piling up, which is just a reminder of all my unfinished projects 😦

Does this look like an easy affordable project?  Do you think you will try it?

13 thoughts on “Less than $10 custom curtain rod…Corrected

  1. Yes it is easy and so much less expensive. I do like your hangers. I broke down and bought them but your’s are so much better and I will remember your process for that.My windows were 8 foot wide so like you I was looking for the less expensive way to do the rods.

    Another hint for curtains on the cheep. We live in cold country. I do not want any light blocked in my windows in the winter. I bought the opaque shower curtain liners. Cut the top band off and sewed, with the longest stitch my machine does, a rod pocket. Then put them up in my windows with tension rods. The added layer really helps to hold the heat in. you can not see through them. I even used just shower curtain liners when I was young and broke for curtains. About $2.50 a piece. Back them they were probably 49 cents a piece. No need to hem bottoms if you have to cut them.

    Later on when they get funky you can gently wash in the machine or just buy new ones and you will have wonderful painting drop cloths to use.


    • That is an excellent idea! I buy my shower curtain liners in the dollar store and they come in white, tan, blue, pink and clear. they cost ONE DOLLAR my kindda price. LOL… I change curtain liners every season.

      I have one pesky drafty window and what I am thinking instead of hanging the curtain on a rod separately what about sewing it right on the back of a curtain and then when the winter is over you can take it back off. It is not really cold here yet but when it looks like the cold weather is here to stay I shall try that myself.

      Thanks. I will post then when I do it.


  2. I never thought to look at the dollar store for them. I just use tension rods to put the shower curtains up and they have lasted for many years. We have 10 large windows to do the shower curtains in so the dollar store ones would cost much less. And heck when one gets ripped tape fixes them. LOL


  3. I savor, cause I discovered just what I used to be looking for (cheap curtain rods). You have ended my 4 day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye


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