Best (cheap) way to do draping ceiling curtains?

Erin DeGroot
by Erin DeGroot
Does anyone have suggestions for doing draped ceiling curtains sort of like the photo? We have a narrow sunporch with a divided glass ceiling in our rental, and while we don't necessarily want the fabric up forever, with hot Kansas summer coming on, we figure it might help reduce the heat. Any thoughts or suggestions on choosing the right amount/type of fabric, somehow attaching it...potential ideas for making it movable and staying in a tiny budget...just about anything, really is welcome!
In this style
Terrible picture of a portion of my sunporch ceiling.
  14 answers
  • Emily Emily on May 10, 2018

    Erin, Are the beams metal? Have you considered using material such as window shades are made of? What are the dimensions of your ceiling? How much of it do you want covered? Muslin is inexpensive, The drapery in the picture you posted is quite extensive and would probably cost a lot. Sometimes reed shades are inexpensive and would serve your purpose. We need to know how you can or want to fasten them and how much you want to cover.

    • Erin DeGroot Erin DeGroot on May 10, 2018

      Ok, it looks like the room is about 23ft long and each panel is 3’x3’. The bracing doesn’t appear to be magnetic, so my hope is to find a way to not drill holes since it is a rental. I love 3M command hooks and I know I can get sheer curtain panels for $2 on eBay. I probably have answered half of my question myself, but I’m just curious if anyone had any experience since there didn’t seem to be many diverse projects on here detailing what folks have done.

  • Gk Gk on May 10, 2018

    You could use tension rods in the sections of the window frames to drape the material over. OR--you could install eye hooks and use rope or twine stretched across to drape the material on. Muslin IS inexpensive especially if you have any coupons for a store like JoAnn Fabrics. I do think you will still get the heat from the windows--even if you drape everything. The sun will still come beating through those windows and the material isn't going to stop the heat--it will just give you some filtered shade from the sun.

    • Erin DeGroot Erin DeGroot on May 10, 2018

      Yeah. I think the heat is a lost cause unless we do what my parents suggested and put up foil car windshield screens. So tasteful. 🙄

      So maybe it’s not super worth the hassle? Hm.

  • Liv Liv on May 10, 2018

    You could use eye hooks.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on May 10, 2018

    Sheets, especially on clearance or on sale provide lots of fabric to work with (plus they are hemmed). Drop cloth, too. My first thought was tension rods between the beams. Tension rods intended for bathrooms give you more width and are made for around moisture.

  • Gk Gk on May 10, 2018

    Well Erin--I still think it would look "cool"! Cooler than the car window foil--but hey--not a bad suggestion! Anything to deflect the heat. Is there a way to put a small air conditioner in those windows? I can't see if they are double hung windows or not but you can pick up a small air conditioner for about 100.00. At least you could tolerate the room and use it. I would LOVE to have a sun porch!

    • Erin DeGroot Erin DeGroot on May 11, 2018

      We do have an AC out there---the heat pump sort they have in hotel rooms, so it seems pretty nice. This is our first summer in the house, so we'll have to see. The main thing is that we do store all of our expensive board games out there, so it'd be nice if all the plastic bits didn't melt. :)

  • Jcraw Jcraw on May 10, 2018

    Ok. This is a bit Out of the box, but...

    Emergency foil “blankets”, which are 55” wide by 84” long, for about $1.50 each at Walmart and lots of places on the web. Light as a feather. Keep out the sun.

    Even duck-taped together on the top side.

    So, get some self-stick magnets for your framing (Joanne or Michaels)

    and then stick some as well on the edges of your magic silver panels. Make the “panels” extra long, so you can use your command hooks and maybe some black cording, or even hem tape to do your draping.

    I do think I might add some double stick tape to an edge of the cording so the panels don’t shift too much.

  • Gk Gk on May 11, 2018

    Aaahh! Good air conditioning to have. Very efficient! Good grief--I hope it doesn't get so hot in that room that the plastic game pieces would melt!!! I think you will be fine as long as the air is on. You can set it at a higher temp just to kept it comfortable when you are using the room--like 78/80. I have a heat pump air conditioner--they are so efficient and don't add that much to your electric bill. I turn mine on and off depending on the temps--sometimes it will run for days. I only see about a 20 dollar increase in my fairly consistent summer electric bill. (winter--a whole different story!!)

  • Gk Gk on May 11, 2018

    I meant set the temp higher when you are NOT using the room.

  • Jcraw Jcraw on May 11, 2018

    great. Have fun with it

  • Baja Baja on May 13, 2018

    That picture you show as an example -they used tulle, doesn't get any cheaper than that. I had a large long skylight with direct sun. I picked up thermal curtains (in summer, on sale), cut them to fit and hemmed them with pell and an iron. Then stuck them up, 'draping' them over light inexpensive dowel rods.

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on May 13, 2018

    I would do the rope/stringing holes method previously described BUT I would buy clearance-priced BLOCK OUT CURTAIN PANELS to block out the hot and harmful rays. If you can't get cheap (sale) block out shades in one color or panel, MIX EM UP! For the patio that would look SO festive!

  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on May 17, 2018

    I hope you let us see your finished project!

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Dec 31, 2022

    Susspend ropes acros or wires for curtains. Hang curtains over. If you make pocket seams where the wires or ropes are you can thread them through the curtain and that will secure them until you want to remove them.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 01, 2023

    I would think that ceiling fans would provide more cooling then curtains. If needed there are home made misting systems that could also work.