Introduction: Lower Your Energy Bill With Chic Insulated Curtains

About: I've always had a tendency to make things rather than buy. When your design aesthetic never seems to work with your budget you end up developing pretty good maker skills. I hope my little projects can inspire …

It is officially that time of year when those drafty windows and doors suddenly become a glaring reminder of your steep energy bill. Almost everyone I know has a cold window or door problem. Single-panes in the butt if you ask me. If replacing all the windows and doors aren't an option then maybe this instructable can help ease your troubles.

I recently turned a spare living area into my workspace. This is my first winter working in this room and after a couple of 19 degree days it became apparent that the large sliding door needed to be winterized. Since this is a creative space for me I didn't want to turn it into a plastic covered dungeon. Maybe for some that is a great solution for heat loss but not for me. I like to feel inspired and plastic doesn't do it for me! So from the start design and function were my priorities.

This tutorial is for insulated and sealed curtains. You can take this and apply it too any type of window or door and the costs are nothing compared to the money you will save. You can do this with any curtain of your liking. Not having to compromise your interior design is what sets this apart from your average winterizing.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

These are the materials that I used for at 72"x84" sliding door-

  • Curtain rod and mounts
  • 4 Yards of velcro
  • 2.5 Yards of fabric (valence)
  • 2, 1" wide x 73" long wood stakes
  • 4" wide x 79" long wood (yard sticks/ scrap wood)
  • 48"x10 yard batting

  • Staples and screws
  • Thread

Total Cost $60-$80

Tools needed to complete this project-

  • Sewing machine
  • Hammer
  • Staple Gun
  • Power Drill -OR- A screw driver if your battery decides to die forever like mine ;)

Total Time 2-4 hours

When I started this project I already had the curtain rod up and used materials I had around the house. The total cost is an estimate of what you'd have to pay to buy everything. Using coupons to buy the fabric and batting at Joann's can make a big difference in reducing the overall costs. Also the curtains were a great deal at Burlington coat factory for $14.99 for 2 54"x84" panels.

*If you are starting with a door or window that doesn't have curtains click here for video instructions on installing the curtain rod.

Step 2: Educate

The first thing I did was Google "how does insulation work." Understanding how heat loss works is nothing but valuable when trying to find ways to prevent it! If interested here is a quick overview. Or you can skip this step and trust that my super awesome insulated curtains are a great solution. :)

Step 3: Adding Velcro to the Curtains

Adding Velcro to the curtains is the very first step. This Velcro is what will seal the edges to the wall.

First lay out your curtains exactly how they will look when hanging.

Then separate the velcro pieces. You will be using the rough side of the Velcro. Place the soft Velcro pieces on the side for later.

Now center and pin the two yards of the rough Velcro pieces to the left panel outer edge and one on the right panel outer edge of the curtains. You are attaching the Velcro to the sides of the curtains that will touch the wall. I applied them 3/8" away from the edge.

*Make sure that you are pinning the Velcro to the right side/front side of the curtain.

Once it is in place sew along all four edges of the Velcro strips.

Step 4: Insulating Your Curtain Panels

After the velcro is attached to the otter edges of the curtain panels you are ready to add the batting. The batting will act as a sort of honeycomb effect to trap air and slow down the heat transfer.

Turn one of the curtain panels that have the velcro on it face down and lay it out flat. Roll the batting onto the fabric and center it within the Curtain. Pin it down on all four edges. Make sure the batting only goes about 1/2 past the loophole area(where the curtain rod goes). I also chose to end the batting 3 inches from the bottom of the curtain.

Sew the batting down on all four edges.

After the batting is attached you will grab your other curtain panel that mirrors this one and does NOT have velcro on it. Place the curtain panel on top of the batting with the wrong side touching the batting. Line up the seams and edges and pin the left side, top, and right side.

Sew the very top edge 1/4" away from the edge. Then sew below on the bottom of the loophole seam line which should be about 2 inches parallel to the top edge. You will be creating the hole for the curtain rod to go in. If you have curtains that have grommet holes don't fret, simply sew the curtains together right below the grommet line. Cut any excess batting that is above the line. The grommets should line up and work on the curtain rod as it normally would.

Now sew the left edge and the right edge. Be careful on the the velcro side. You should be sewing on the 3/8" seam allowance on the side of the velcro.

Repeat with the two panels for the other side. When you are finished you should have 2 thicker, two-sided curtain panels. The velcro side of the panels will face the wall and cannot be seen.

*The curtains I had were larger then the width of the batting, if you make sure they are the same size it would make things a lot easier! If you have the same size then simply sandwich the batting between curtain panels front and back. One of them will have the velcro, one will not. Make sure the curtain panel wrong sides are touching the batting.

Step 5: Sealing Your Curtains to the Wall

The next step is attaching the curtains to the wall. This will seal the curtains lowering your heat loss significantly.

First you will attach your soft velcro to the 1" wide wood stake. To do this I chose to staple the velcro onto the wood. Each staple should be about 4 inches away from the wood. Make sure that the velcro is flat and taut as you go.

After the velcro stakes are done you will attach it to the velcro on the curtain. This will help you get perfect placement. Place it onto the wall exactly where you want the velcro to go. (I have mine about 1 inch away from the edge of the door.) Mark it with a pencil. Remove the wood velcro piece from the curtain and nail it to the wall where you marked the placement.

Now stick the curtain panels to the velcro on the wall and make sure they are exactly where you want them. You should not be able to see the wood velcro pieces when the panels aren't attached. They should be perfectly hidden all the time.

*I chose to do it this way for several reasons. Easy removal without a ton of holes in the wall was one of them. I'm sure you can find other solutions that do the same trick. This is just one option that is cheap and effective.

Step 6: Making a Curtain Valence

Your curtains are finished and sealed nicely to the wall but we still have a gap at the top that drafts will come through. To solve this I made a curtain valence that covers the holes at the top and snugly fits over the curtain.

First you will use brackets and attach them to the wall about 1/2" above the curtain rod. Cut your wood the same length as the curtain rod but 1" wider. My wood measured 4" wide x 79" long. Screw your wood down on the brackets.

*You can use very thin wood because it will only have light fabric attached to it. Molding, or even thick foam would work just fine also. I've even seen people use cardboard. In this case I wouldn't suggest it because of condensation but if that's all you got then do what yah gotta do.

Now you will cut out your fabric for the valence. For your length you measure the side edges and front edge of the wood and add them all together(4" + 4" + 79" = 87"). Then decide how long you want the valence to drape, add the width of the wood and times that by 2. I wanted the valance to drape 12" so I added the 4" width of the wood and multiplied that by 2 because I wanted to fold the fabric in half((12" + 4") x 2 = 32"). Folding makes the fabric thicker and also makes it so you don't have to hem the edge. My measurements were 32" wide x 87" long.

For the batting measurement you will use the same 87" length. The width of the batting will be your desired length plus the width of the wood minus 1 inch(12" + 4" -1" = 15). My batting measured 15" wide x 87" long.

Once you have everything cut out you are ready to attach the batting to the wood. Lay the batting onto the wood with the edge hitting the wall. You are going to wrap the corners exactly like a present. Staple the batting corner edge and the top back edge next to the wall.

For the fabric you need to fold it in half and iron it very well. Then attach it the same way you did the batting just make sure the raw edges are touching the wall and the fold is hanging.

After that you are done! :)

*If you want crisp corners you can add a pin tuck or pleat.

*There are countless different ways to make a valence. This is a great place to play with the design and adjust it to your taste.

Step 7: Results

By now if you followed the tutorial you should have two sided insulated curtains that not only function well but look great too! Somehow these turned out even better than I expected. My heater rarely kicks on as opposed to running all day like it did before. You can feel a significant temperature difference by touching the inside of the curtain and comparing it to the outside. Did I mention that these are great for the summer as well? They will keep your room cool on those hot summer days.

So to recap...

  • They provide a year-round function
  • They lower your energy bill
  • They don't interfere with your interior design
  • They are fully customizable
  • They are machine washable
  • They are cheap to make!

Those reasons right there should be more than enough motivation to do this project, you will not regret it! Good luck :)

Winterize Challenge

First Prize in the
Winterize Challenge