Easy Custom-sized Curtain Rods

5 Materials
1 Hour

Our house has a ton of windows, which is great for natural light, not so great on a wallet when it comes to dressing them. To top it off, we have several bay windows and other weirdly-sized windows that can’t use a standard curtain rod from the store.

This process below has become my go-to for curtain rods (and can even be used for shower curtains and outdoor curtains!), and is perfect when you have a ton of windows to cover on a less-than-ideal budget.

Here is what one particular area looked like when we moved in. Yes, very boring and blah, but at least there were blinds on these windows, so they sadly stayed like this for well over a year while I worked on the more pressing issues of a new home.

Fast forward to when I actually got around to these windows... Here is what I used to completely transform the space:

-metal conduit pipe, cut to length (1/2”, comes in 10 ft lengths, around $6 each) *For a bay window, or similar, you will cut the pipe to be slightly smaller than the width of your area. (Our back wall is 6’5”, so I cut the pipe to 6’3”. Diagonal walls were different lengths, so they are cut accordingly.) If you do not have other walls in tryout way, cut the pipe to have several inches overhang on both sides of the window.

-galvanized pipe fittings (for 1/2” pipes, we used two end caps [$2 each] and two 45° elbows [$3 each])

-hook and eye screws (2 of each, we used unpainted hook screws, but I forgot to take a picture before installing them, so the black ones are a stand-in for the photo) The eyes should be big enough for the pipe to fit into, and the hook should fit the angled connectors.

***If you are doing a straight wall without any angles, you WILL NOT need the pipe elbows and can use EITHER the hook screws OR the eye screws. Hooks are easier to take the rod down, eye screws are more secure.***

I wanted to keep the bare metal look, but you could easily paint all of your hardware if you wish.

Install the hooks in the ceiling 2-3 inches from the wall at your diagonal. (Our windows go all the way up to the ceiling here, which is why our hooks had to go in the ceiling. If you have adequate wall space above your windows, you can put the hooks in the wall instead.)

If this section is particularly long, it may need a support hook in the middle as well.

*Hooks instead of eyes must be used in these corners because you do not have room to feed the pipe into eyes with the diagonal walls in the way.

Add your curtain panels for the back wall onto the long pipe. Twist your elbows onto both ends of the pipe. *We did not thread the ends of our pipe, but by carefully twisting the pipe fittings on, the threading on the fittings “bit” into the pipe some.

Place the pipe and elbows up on the hooks.

Install your eye screws (or whichever you would prefer at the ends. I used the eye screws for stability so my kids don’t pull the curtains down, but the hooks would work just as well if you don’t have to worry about destructive monkeys. 😆)

Add your curtain side panels onto the pipes for the sides. Slide one end of the pipe into the eye and then twist the other end into the elbow.

Twist the end cap on and you are done! Enjoy your new, inexpensive, industrial-look, perfect fit curtain rods!

Please excuse the vegetable beds outside. It hasn’t been warm enough yet to clean and prep them. Haha!

Some extra notes:

-I have tried PVC pipe over shorter window spans and it works well enough on a short area, but does have some sag and also is a larger diameter so not all curtain panels will fit on it.

-Metal conduit pipes are galvanized, so you can use them outside without having them rust on you.

-To cut the pipe, you can use a pipe cutter if you have one, or a saw with a blade to cut metal. Depending on your method, you may need to sand the ends a little so they aren’t sharp

-We have used this for several flat areas also, and the process is much simpler. The hooks or eyes can be placed in the ceiling or the wall and the pipe slides into place. Easy peasy!

-Most curtain grommets and rings fit on the 1/2” pipe, but there are a few smaller ones that do not, so be mindful of this when you are curtain shopping.

-Also, I have found a few finials that fit on the 1/2” pipe, but most do not without some extra hacks. You can make your own finials by adding a screw though the end of the pipe cap and attaching decorative knobs or other embellishments. Perhaps I will write another tutorial on that some day. 🙂

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Bren
    on Mar 17, 2019

    I didn’t see any mention of cleaning the pipes before you hung them. Did you wipe them with alcohol or another substance to remove the film that comes on the pipes before hanging?

    • Sheryll S
      on Aug 9, 2019

      I sanded mine and used degreaser from Dollar Tree, then put electric cord through them (any cord) and hung them on a clothes line to spray paint them oil rubbed bronze (should have used cheap black spray paint from Wal-Mart)! I hung mine the same way from the wall. Much cheaper and they look expensive.

  • Anthony
    on Mar 17, 2019

    What type of ceiling is that...drywall, plaster. where you screwed in your eye bolts? if its drywall, the weight might wear it down.

  • Vicky
    on Mar 24, 2019

    I did something similar using PVC pipe.

    • Garfie
      on Mar 26, 2019

      I had run across a presentation of this type of curtain rod a few weeks ago. It was done with PVC. Thanks to my incredible point and click abilities, The article was gone, never to be seen again. Then, magically, I found this article. I love the galvanized pipe as my kitchen cabinets, there were and are none of the typical ones in the house, are being replaced with rough edged wooden shelving suspended on galvanized pipe. Now, I can tie the rod in.

      I want the rod in the kitchen to run the circumference of the room attached under a plate shelf. I have but one tiny window so curtain needs at few. However my interior walls are all cement block with blown insultation. The exterior of the house is cement block a stucco. Hanging pictures and other décor is difficult in the blocks. The total room rod will allow for the hanging of things from the rods. I can place a balance below the plate shelves as well.

      My house is small and in the woods. I am going rustic/farmhouse in style. The house was gutted when I purchased it. Nothing but a toilet & tubs and kitchen sink. This was why I purchased it. I am retired now, widowed, and the last of my family to live. I wanted something to do. So, I am flipping this house myself. I haven't a background in this but, I can read. I figure if I could suture people back together, a sink can't be much harder. I am with no extra cash, so I am bartering for goods. I have gotten several businesses to "donate" their destruction pieces and particles to my cause. I get tons of palettes from the HVAC businesses. They were happy to have a free disposal.

      This article thrilled me. Now, I can move forward. I'll see the rods work out.

Join the conversation

2 of 65 comments
  • Joanie
    on Jun 2, 2020

    Material makes a lot of things.......in this case, you were very wise with good taste and wisdom on a small budget.....;)))

  • Donna
    on Jun 14, 2020

    Awesome idea & I'm going to steal this idea for all my windows😄👍

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