Curtain Backing DIY and How To (2023)

Have curtains in your home that need curtain backing, but it sounded too complicated? Here’s the cheapest and easiest way to line curtains in your home.

Here’s how to make your own curtain linings and save money. This is a far less expensive way than purchasing fabric and lining at the store.

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See the curtains in this room?

Remember when I wanted new curtains and we all voted on our favorite fabric and you all helped me pick this smaller geometric that balances out the larger-scale pattern of the rug and the stripes on the chairs?

And then remember when the fabric showed up at the house and I told all of you I was making curtains for the living room?

And it all seemed so simple.

Like I made them in a day?

Guess what?


I made these four panels for the living room in one day and they are LINED. Yep. Curtains in one day with curtain lining.

Want to know how I did it?

It is the cheapest, simplest, easiest way to line a curtain.


In the history of ever.

Here’s how to line curtains 101.

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Curtain Backing DIY and How To

Do you actually need to line your curtains?

Before we get started, can we talk about if you actually need curtain backing?

No one says that all curtains have to use curtain backing. I have some curtains in my house (specifically these roman shades) that are not lined. I love that they aren’t lined. I love that the shades let in light and if they were lined they would look almost too heavy for the window.

It all depends on the look you want to create and your fabric.

When this fabric showed up, I held it up a sample piece in front of the window to test and see if they needed to be lined. This fabric is a decorator weight cotton. That means it’s heavier than a lightweight cotton that you might buy at the store in the craft section of the fabric bolts. This fabric is heavier and more substantial than a lighter cotton, but when you hold it up in front of the window, the weave on the fabric lets light through and the entire pattern disappears.

If you were only looking at these curtains at night? You wouldn’t need to line them.

But during the day, with all the natural light that comes in through the windows, this fabric for this room calls for curtain lining.

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What are the different types of liners?

Liners for curtains come in so many different weights and fabric choices.

There are lightweight cotton liner materials. There are heavier curtain lining (that almost resemble cotton duck) materials. There is curtain lining made of insulating materials. There are also blackout liner materials.

For this room, I wanted a lightweight cotton material. If you go to the fabric store, liner material like that will cost you between $7.00 to $8.00 a yard. For a standard curtain, you can spend up to $30 on liner material and more if it’s blackout or insulated material.


Or you can do what I do.

If you want the easiest way to line curtains?

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The easiest (and cheapest) option to line curtains is a sheet

I know, right?


I buy all my sheet like this from WalMart. A single flat white top sheet from the Mainstays Line will cost you $6.07. Not $25. Not $35. Right around $6.00 to line each curtain.

I wish I could tell you I discovered this, but my mother is the one who told me the easiest way to line curtains.

Back when I rented my first apartment and wanted curtains for my house and I was trying to figure out how to line curtains, I actually used sheets for the actual curtains. I would take white sheets (or printed sheets) and cut a hole in the border at the top and thread the curtain rod through it. Then one day I found the most amazing decorator fabric at a yard sale that worked perfectly for the window in my living room, but it needed a liner. We were living on love and couldn’t afford to worry about lining curtains, so my mother suggested using the sheets at the window as curtain lining.

And I’ve never looked back.

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How to cut the fabric for the curtain backing

  1. Start with the sheet. Most twin flat sheets are 66″ x 96.” If you get an XL flat twin sheet it’s a little more expensive, but works perfectly for longer windows. An XL flat twin sheet measures 66″ x 102″.
  2. Most decorator fabrics are 54″ wide, cut to fit the length of the windows. See the math? See how perfectly the sheet works without much adjustment?
  3. Start by laying the fabric flat on a large workspace (like your dining room table). Cut the fabric to fit your windows with a hem allowance. For example, if you have 8-foot ceilings, depending on where you place your curtain rods, your curtains are probably going to be about 84″ to 88″. If you add a 6″ hem allowance, you’ll need to cut a piece of fabric 90″ to 92″.
  4. Sew a 2″ hem on each side.

(total aside: I’m not fancy with my hems. I don’t double fold them. I just fold the piece over and sew a straight line.)

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How to add curtain backing

  1. To start lining curtains, place your flat, hemmed decorator fabric wrong side up on the table.
  2. Place the flat sheet on top. Your fabric after it’s hemmed will be about 50″ wide. Your sheet is 66″ wide. If you leave room for a 2″ hem on one side (the other side already has a hem), you’ll need to cut about 14″ off of the width of your flat sheet.
  3. I only cut the width off on one side so I only have to hem one side.
  4. Next place the back sides of the sheet and the fabric together and hem at the top.
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Iron and hang curtains

Now, all that’s left is to fold over the hem at the top and iron the two sides together.

And then?

Here’s my secret.

I don’t sew the curtain lining on the sides.

I just let it hang free.

Somewhere, someplace there is a highschool home economics teacher shaking her head at me. I know. I get it. I understand. But here’s the thing. In all my experience with lining curtains, every time I try and sew up the sides?

It just looks bunched and crooked.

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Clip-on rings

I usually try and fold it with about an inch of the decorator fabric folded over the back. You can see that in this picture.

Then I clip-on rings to the top of the fabric and hang.

One quick tip. If you are using clip-on rings? The more the better.

I usually clip on my rings about three inches apart. This helps the curtain to hang better.

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Fluff the curtains

Here are the curtains hanging in my living room.

And when you lift back the edge of them?

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You see this.

There’s a sheet that’s a liner that’s connected at the top that hangs independently from the curtain.

You would never know that this is a sheet or that the sides aren’t hemmed together.

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Hem the curtains

I always hang up the curtains before I hem them. I live in a hundred-year-old home. Not all floors are created equal. When I’ve hemmed them before I’ve hung them up, they never look right, so I always hem them after.

I hem each curtain and liner separately.

And I have a faster and easier way for that, too, but that will have to wait until another post.

Until then?

My curtains and I are having sweet tea to celebrate the day and the easiest way to line curtains.

Stop by and say hello. 🙂

PS Have you ever used sheets when lining curtains before? If you have any other curtain tips, I’d love to hear.

And I’ve pinned tons of other fabric projects here.

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Posted On: March 18, 2019

Written By: KariAnne Wood

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