Army Surplus Curtain DIY Revisit

You’ll need some tools:
  • Tape measure
  • Large sewing needle
  • Shears
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Leather hole-punch
  • Elmer's glue or hot-glue gun
You’ll need a few materials:
  • Army surplus blanket
  • Pine 1x3 board, cut to the desired length
  • Leather or canvas straps, each 7/8 inch wide, 15 inches long
  • Snaps fastener kit, with setting tool and at least two complete snaps
  • Embroidery thread
  • Screws 1/2" long to mount snaps
  • Longer screws to mount board to wall

This was actually one of the first posts on W&F some time ago, but I never published the full instructions because they appeared in ReadyMade Magazine. Since then, RM has gone out of business and I’ve got folks finding pictures here and there and wanting the DIY. So here goes… Re-releasing the full DIY so you can get your windows ready for winter.

++ First Published ReadyMade Dec 2010 ++

1. Measure your window to be covered, after deciding where you’d like to mount the board… inside or outside the frame. Cut your board to length, or have it cut when buying at your local hardware store. Measure the length of your window to be covered too, and use these measurements to cut your blanket dimensions. If your board is to be mounted above the window, be sure to add enough length for the blanket to reach the window sill. (It doesn’t hurt to add a 1/2″ extra all-around to your curtain as well.)

2. Cut two identical panels of your blanket (double panels really block the light). Stack your blanket pieces and blanket-stitch around the sides and top. I like leaving the bottom open for effect, but you can sew that shut too. Sew a couple small cross stitches in the body of the blanket so it doesn’t bunch when you fold it up.

3. Assemble your straps by punching small holes in each end, one for the snap, one to mount to the board. On your snap side, cut a rounded edge on your strap. If you use canvas straps, make sure to glue the end to prevent fraying. Use your hammer and the setting tool to attach the female snap assembly to the strap, with the open end on the rough side of the leather.

4. Measure and mark where you’d like your straps to be on the blanket, generally 1/4 of the way in from your board width.

5. Lay your blanket over the board, aligning it centered width and a 1/4 inch over the top. Using the screws with the male snap piece, screw it through the blanket and barely into the wood. Lift up and put the strap (rough suede side up) into place and then completely screw assembly into the board.

6. If you’re happy where everything is lining up, you can glue the top edge of the blanket to the board to prevent sagging. Elmer’s or hot-glue works fine.

7. Then level the board over your window and screw it to the wall or window frame.

8. Fold, roll, or accordion your blanket and pull the straps to snap in place.

Tips / variations:
• Use contrasting embroidery thread to stand out or compliment the blanket color.
• Find a blanket with tags, markings, or embroidered initials for an interesting element.
• Add snaps to the middle of the blanket so you can snap it open half-way.


6 Responses to “Army Surplus Curtain DIY Revisit”

  1. Wow! A blanket from an army surplus store turned into a curtain. Great idea. I have never thought about this but now that i have seen this, i will give a shot in making this diy curtain. I know we can find a lot of great stuff in an army surplus store and i’m hoping i could find a blanket as well for my diy curtain project. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Matthew Pike says:

    That’s such a clever idea, never came across something like this you know. Hope all is well mate.

  3. Carl says:

    I wanted to thank you so much for republishing this – I ran across a reference to it on LifeHacker and was very dissapointed to discover that the original document on ReadyMade was gone (along with the whole website!) It’s a brilliant project.

  4. Joy says:

    Thank you so much for the reprint (and the visual, how to instructional portion). Your idea is featured on quite a few blogs out there, but all point to Ready Made for instructions. It was only after I googled your name and sifted through about 70 image results that I came upon the instructions. Thank you again!

  5. Jenny says:

    Hello and thanks for posting this tutorial! In the off chance you have a moment, can you let me know whether this is at all effective as a noise canceling method? I love the look and am hoping to put in some thick “curtain” type thing in my apartment. We do have some street noise–mostly just traffic sounds, though, and I ideally want to put something up that looks cool and doubles as a reduction of the noise.

    Thanks in advance!

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