Introduction: Tree Branch Curtain Rods/ Fairy-tale Sun Blockers
So I need to put up some curtains in my daughter's room since the summer is coming and her room becomes an oven in the late afternoon as the sun streams in at just the right angle to raise the temperature to very uncomfortable. I had an idea festering in the back of my mind for a while and it seemed to be a good time to make it a reality. I wanted to make the curtain rods and brackets out of tree branches. In my mind it would be somewhat like a fairy-tale house.
Step 1: Finding Materials
My neighborhood is full of mature sycamore trees, they like growing into the power/cables or breaking with a storm. I found a pile of branches that had been cut to give the cables space but had not been picked up by the city yet. I found a few forked branches to make the brackets out of and a couple long straightish ones for the rods.
Step 2: Making the Brackets
I have some curtains that are ready to use so I measured how far off the wall they need to be when folded back, and the answer of 3¨ or 8cm was the answer. I made a quick jig to size the brackets. The line is how far off the wall the rod needs to be and I screwed a bit of branch the approximate size of the rod to the jig to orient the bracket. I pushed the tree fork onto the ¨rod¨ and aligned the bottom of the bracket with the corner of the board. I then used a handsaw to cut in line with the side of the jig. Simple but this way I have a point of reference for measuring ( the bottom of the bracket) and the rod will be in roughly the same geometric plane.
While I was making all the brackets I was reminded of one of the problems of working with green wood. A little beast bit my finger. So to dry out the brackets and kill off any other critters, I nuked the brackets after they were sized to kill any others insects and dry a wood a bit.
Finishing is easier with dry wood so I had to continue with the microwave until it was dry. a point of caution, you can heat up wood enough to start burning if you let the microwave go on too long. A few minutes until it is hot enough to steam is good and let it rest to dry out
The brackets need a screw to hold them to the wall, but I don't want a screw to be visible from the front. I screwed a 4¨ drywall screw into the back of the bracket as perpendicular to the back as possible. I cut off the screw head and smooth shaft and formed a second point with a grinder to be put into the concrete anchors.
Step 3: Rods
I found two pieces about 150 cm that would be long enough together after final sizing, I need about 250 cm for the entire window but finding a single branch that is straight enough, relatively uniform width and fits the holes in the curtain proved to be too much. So I have a central bracket where the two pieces meet. Rods need to have the stubs of the branches sanded down so the curtain doesn't catch on it when opening and closing. This wood is also green but I can't fit the rods in the microwave to dry them out and I can't wait a year for them to get ready. Letting it dry in place is the method I chose. The rods will bend a little with gravity before they are fully dry but with the heat coming off the window it should be fully done by the end of summer. I placed a 4¨ drywall screw in the end of one rod, cut off the head and filed a small point. with a pilot hole this is a good way of joining the branches in an invisible way
Step 4: Mounting Brackets
since the bottom of the bracket is the reference point to get the three brackets in line. I need to mark three points on the wall above the window that are level and measure each bracket to find the distance from the bottom to the screw. All of these are different measurements. Drill three holes in the concrete, put some anchors in and screw them into place.
Step 5: Mounting Rods
Rods need to be placed in the brackets to have the final size for each determined. I chose to join the skinnier ends together in the middle. I thought it would look better that way and not be as obvious that there were two rods, not just one long one. After marking the midpoint I took off the branch stubs and smoothed the branch. I had to place a small nail in the right hand side bracket since the angle wasn't enough to keep the rod in place.
Step 6: Hanging the Curtains and Further Thoughts
The curtains do what they are designed for, blocking light and view and the branches hold them up without a problem.
The curtains I had fit perfectly, but they show the downside of working with materials that you already have. I think that the style of curtains doesn't match the look I was going for so I will try to pick up some different ones that have loops on the top rather than holes so you can see the branches and supports better to give it a better fairy-tale vibe.
Leaving more excess wood would give it a more distinct appearance, what I made is almost not fairy-tale. Longer brackets with more ¨tree¨ extending from it would be good visually, I was afraid of too much leverage on the brackets since they are only held in the wall with a single screw. Additionally where the two branches meet in the middle, they could overlap with extra branch extending into the room. The rods could benefit visually from more branches coming off them but then they could not be opened or closed easily.
I guess I will wait until the next storm and see what kind of material is available.