steal this idea: extra-long conduit curtain rod

rod
curtains
We love our big living room windows, but we wanted to be able to block the sometimes-blinding setting sun. However, we also wanted to hang the curtains wide enough to maximize our view. Just one problem: our windows are 118″wide, and the longest readily available curtain rods we could find only went to 120″. Lucky for me, I have an observant (and handy) husband. He’d seen metal conduit used as curtain rods, so we decided to investigate that section of the hardware store. Turned out that 10′lengths of 3/4″metal conduit could be had for just $3.99 each. With the help of a hacksaw, a few conduit hangers, and less than an hour of work, we now have a 152.5″curtain rod. It’s a bit industrial, but that’s perfect for us. –Mary T. Read on for photos and instructions!

You will need:
Enough conduit to combine for your desired curtain rod length
A hacksaw to cut excess length from metal conduit (much easier than it may sound)
Conduit connector(s) to join conduit into one rod
Drill to pre-drill holes for screws
Conduit clamps and screws to attach conduit to wall or ceiling (use a stud finder or use anchor screws)

before
1. Measure your window and decide how long you want your curtain rod to be — Long enough to completely expose the window? Or shorter, so that curtains overlap the window frame?

2. Visit the electrical section of your local hardware store and choose your conduit. We used 3/4″metal as it was substantial enough without being so thick the curtain wouldn’t fit on it. (If you’re using curtain loops or hangers, be sure to know their diameter so you don’t get conduit that’s too thick.) We chose two 10′ lengths of conduit to give us enough length to pull the curtains completely off the windows. We used a hacksaw to cut down each piece to identical lengths.

connector
3. Use a conduit connector to join the two pieces. We chose a very simple version; you’ll find several varieties at the hardware store and you can get a more heavy-industrial look if you’re into that. This particular connector was attached with just a screwdriver.

drill
4. Mark where you want your conduit to connect to your wall or ceiling — we opted to connect to the ceiling for maximum curtain height — and drill holes for your screws. We used anchor screws to add stability.

screw
5. Screw conduit clamps into the pre-drilled holes.

clamp
6. Slide in conduit. Slide your curtains onto the conduit. Tighten screws on the conduit clamps. (The above clamp is fitted over the conduit connector in the middle of the rod.)

finalcurtain
7. Step back and admire!

finalcurtain
Told you we got a lot of late-afternoon sun. (The edges of the windows are exposed on purpose; the curtains are actually plenty wide enough to cover the windows. We just wanted to block the most blinding rays and still let in a little light.)

From our partners
Curtain Rod « While I work

[...] 25, 2008 I saw this idea to make your own curtain rod from metal conduit over at shelterrific. I only wish I’d seen it before I went and bought the run of the mill curtain rod I have from [...]

Pencils

neat idea! Love your curtains, where are they from?

Tiffany S.

Excellent job! Glad you ran the note about the side areas that weren’t covered. I was a little worried about those areas but I see your point. You handy husband makes quite the hand model!

Mary T

Ha, ha — Tiffany, Dave thanks you.

Pencils, the curtains are from Ikea! I love them, too, and am so happy I had an excuse to buy them. The name is Hedda and here they are:

http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10117486

sarah

*sigh*…wish I had seen this before I spent a boatload of $$$ on my boring curtain rods for my living room.

Instead of using regular fabric for curtain, try using Indian saris – they are lovely, long enough for floor to ceiling and cheap!

i LOVE it. i wish i would have seen this back when i lived in my “city apartment” with wall to wall (to the ceiling) windows. THIS would have given me a real reason to break out the hammer drill for those pesky concrete ceilings :-)
fabulous work!

lynda

why is it that when I read your blog in googlereader, I get this terrible long list of with links to prescription drugs on some feeds? it’s just so sad, can you please help!?!? seems like someone is hijacking your feed or something.

Mary T

Lynda, I’ll let Angela know. We did have our site hacked a couple weeks ago, and this could be left over from that. Thanks for the heads up.

Thank you for this idea! If you see my blog, I’m currently in the middle of a redesign of my condo. I need extra extra long curtain rods. – But your idea might just solve the problem.

Thank you again!

liz

I need a curtain rod for about 25 ft, i don’t want a raw conduit pipe look, I want to pull the curtains, which will screen the sun during the summer, off to either side of the windows. So i’m thinking one center support? Any ideas?

cori

Thank you so much for posting your “how to” guide!!! I was thinking something like this might work for the loft space my husband and I are buying but hadn’t figure out how to do it.
You just saved us so much money on custom made curatin rods!!!!

shelterrific » Blog Archive » help! how do i make my living space brighter?

[...] against painting our living room and dining room shades of blue and gray. Despite our efforts with colorful curtains and art, our walls are simply too gray for Seattle. When it’s overcast outside, which is [...]

Allison

This is amazing, I have been looking ALL over for a curtain rod that is affordable and big enough. Thanks for sharing … now I just have to find curtains that are long enough.

Babs

Absolutely love this idea! We live in a converted loft that once was a marble factory. We are in the unit that has what used to be the loading dock door, which is now a huge comercial window in our living room – 150 x 160. This is the perfect solution for us. Thanks for all the details and instructions. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

shelterrific » Blog Archive » five things we learned last week

[...] huge commercial window in our living room – 150 x 160. This is the perfect solution for us.” Click here to see step-by-step instructions for a clever window treatment [...]

I saw your idea on HGTV and was considering it for my husband’s new football room but I need to get around a little curve for a corner window in addition to 128″ of a long span. I’m gonna give it a try. I know it will be gorgous. Thanks a bunch.

Merry K.

Thanks for posting this idea! I just hung some new curtains, the rods are adjustable and unfortunately too narrow for the set screws in the brackets to hold them so they slide when we move the curtains. I think we can use the conduit connectors to hold the rods at the length we want AND to screw the set screws into!

I like your curtains too, they are FUN :)

donna

I have been seplaceing for curtain rods for our living room windows that measure 180″ I hated everything i found. but, this i like. Thank you , Thank you, Thank you!!!

Jenn

Thank you for this! Such a winning idea! ♛

Great photos and instructions! I’ve always wanted to try this but I wasn’t sure how to get the curtains on and off without having to unscrew everything every time I needed to wash them. I guess I could put drapery clips onto the conduit before installing them. Then I would just unclip the fabric. How did you deal with this dilemma? Kudos to you!!!

I just installed a conduit rod over the weekend. This is such a brilliant idea and so budget friendly too! I haven’t hung the curtains yet (I’m sewing them myself), but the rod seems to work like a charm…

Thanks!

Nell

Love this! Curios as to the drilling into the ceiling? I’ve never done it -drill into the ceiling – and am curious as to what drill bit you needed to use for it? Was it tough to drill into it? Mine feel pretty solid (like cement/concrete or something).

Dave

Nell, most importantly you should wear eye protection since there will obviously be dust / debris that will occur. As far as the size of drill bit, start with a small one to make a pilot hole…maybe a 1/8 inch bit. This way, if you don’t have a stud finder or you want to place the brackets as evenly as possible to the ends of the rods, you’ll still have the option of just the screw or a toggle bolt.

If while drilling with the small bit, it feels as if you don’t drill through the ceiling, you’ve probably hit a stud and for that particular hole you can go with just a screw. In this scenario, use a drill bit that is smaller than the threaded portion of the screw. If while drilling the hole it feels like you do go through, then you’ll need a toggle bolt. We used a 1/8″ X 2″ toggle bolt for heavy duty hollow wall. If you need to use these, the size of the drill bit should be slightly larger than the hinged portion of the toggle bolt. You’ll be able to find these at any hardware store. You could probably ask someone at the store what size bit to use. I hope this helps.

Shannon

I LOVE YOU! I found this idea and LOVE it http://www.bhg.com/decorating/window-treatments/basics/window-treatments-for-sliding–french-doors/;jsessionid=IWCKZWUEI4KPBQFIBQ4SCZQ?page=2

BUT… could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to get a curtain rod that long. You have answered my prayers. It will be covered up by a piece of crown moulding so it doesnt matter what it looks like- though yours is very cute. Also- if anyone else wants to do this… Put the conduit brackets on the wall with the head of the screw facing down- so that if and when you decide to change the curtains you can just unscrew it, take the rod down and are then able to put it back up. The crown moulding will have to be mounted away from the wall for you to be able to get the curtain rod up and down- or put the crown moulding on a bracket system.

AGAIN! THANK YOU!

Real Life Makeover: DIY Hidden Tab Top Curtains « Mochi Home - Paint Ideas, Home Decor, Virtual Makeovers

[...] Again, affordable options were limited and I seplaceed for an alternative. I ran across this great DIY project from Shelterrific, where they used an electrical conduit as a curtain rod. As they suggested, I [...]

Lisa F

Thank you for this awesome idea! I’ve been looking for extra long curtain rods everywhere and to no avail. This will be perfect for the two 10 foot windows in my classroom to hang the curtains on! The price is perfect for teachers who want to do a lot on a small budget.

angela p

I missed the note on what to do about the exposed ends. Any advice? Really need for a 15′ wall of windows.

This idea was great! I recently used it for a client and painted the conduit a golden bronze color. I also used a wooden dowel about 3 inches long that fit just inside the conduit to join the rods together above the center of the window with a more streamline look. I glued the wood piece inside one of the rods so they can easily be disconnected if you want to wash the curtains, etc. I used some beautiful finials from west elm for the ends of the rods. I connected them by drilling a small hole into the same size wooden dowels as the one used for the center. They fit nice and snug and look very professional!

Kathy H

Fantastic idea! I was looking for a rod to section off part of the basement for the kids’ playroom (11 feet) and this will work. You probably could also use those plastic wrap around covers for the shower curtain rods to cover up the metal pole.

Arlene

I’ve covered 1 1/2″and 2″ PVC pipe with fabric & hot glue gun, then used co-ordinating fabric to swag over them for extra long windows and in island countries that don’t have window hardware..use wooden rod holders on each end…..also used PVC pipe to hang gathered sheers over, then drape to each side…very effective…hang the PVC pipe with long screws on each end, drilling a notch to fit the screw head..

Could this be my favorite project ever? | oh the love

[...] googled ‘extra long curtain rod’ and surprise, surprise! I immediately found a link to this. As I read it, I realized it was exactly what I needed. YES! (Of course, I promptly added [...]

lisa

I just woke up and wanted to do this , getting my husband to read. I saw something like this in a magazine Love it! thanks for sharing.

Andrea

I have a French patio door in my dining room that looks out on the front yard/street. I’ve wanted to hang curtains over them, not on them. Friends have told me “use conduit” but never explained further. This is PERFECT!!! I’ve got my list for the next trip to the hardware store. Finally, I will have curtains, and can do them myself without waiting for a rainy day to get the hubby to do it! We’ll both be happy. Thanks!! BTW – LOVE the curtains! So sad IKEA no longer has them *sniff*

Bob

I just completed a similar project but I included 2 pieces of conduit for a 2-level rod. I had a unique situation in that due to a AC duct directly above my door and no place to attach a support on the door itself, I needed to bridge the entire 9.5′ door gap with no support. This worked out pretty well!

Pieces on each side were:

- 1/2″ plumbing flange to attach flush to wall
- 1/2″ electrical connector
- 1/2″ electrical T joint (turned sideways – this is for the “bottom” rod)
- 1/2″ electrical 90 degree elbow joint (this turns up to provide some height for the 2nd rod)
- 1/2″ electrical connector (just provides more height)
- 1/2″ electrical 90 degree elbow joint (this turns sideways to hold the “top” rod
- 1/2″ electrical screw connector (this connects the elbow to the electrical conduit pipe that is the rod)

I’ve been trying to find info on how to do this – we live in a 120 year old house with HUGE front windows and getting curtain hardware to fit is more than we can afford – been eyeing the conduit over at the local Lowes and now I know how to make it work – thanks!

Lynn

If you are spanning the conduit wall to wall to create a rod over which fabric will hang (to create a room divider), how do you hang the rod? Ceiling is popcorn, and I’m afraid it will splinter if I put the hangers up there. I can’t think of how to hang other than drilling holes on each end of the conduit and running wire through to create a hanger, then, I guess pounding a long nail into the wall to have it hang from. This is for a lake cabin, so not necessary to be a fancy look. I’d go to the fabric store and look for lightest weight fabric, widest width, opaque, to put around the conduit and pin through. Any other ideas?

Laurie Thomas

There is no need for the curtain rod to look like plumbing. Purchase the rod at the actual length you need (i used a 124″ rod), support it at both ends and in the middle, with attractive hardware. Add some finials which might need a transitional piece and you’ve got a beautiful addition.

The rod handing from the ceiling looks awkward in this situation, not really necessary and it hides a bit of molding. Also, you need an additional panel to cover the window completely when closed. This looks like sheets. Either purchase 2 additional panels or one and add it as “trim” to each side.

kate

Extra long curtains? Try Ikea – new ones are very long and come with hemming tape (iron-on).

Jill

Wow this is exact ally what I need for our 120″ front windows! My curtains are quite heavy duty, though… Is he conduit sturdy enough? Thanks so much!!!

Chris

I have a wallof 5 windows 200″–too close together to get separate rods. I’m so happy I found your site. I just want decorative valances that won’t be moved, and I’ll hid the rod completely with shirring–I’m making these myself. I’m off to the hardware store!!! Thanks!!!