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How to Hang Outdoor Drapes & DIY Outdoor Curtain Rods

Learn how to hang outdoor curtains under a deck by hacking aluminum fencing into DIY Outdoor Curtain Rods.  It’s easier than you think to build your own outdoor curtain rods and will save you so much money. We have had ours up for years now and still love how well they work!

diy outdoor curtain rods construction
Outdoor patio with curtains and furniture

Last week I shared some photos of an outdoor room that I’ve been working on since March. You can see photos of the space under our deck.

Today I wanted to share a few more details about the outdoor living space. I’ll also show you how we hung outdoor curtains under our deck to give us a bit of privacy and block out some of the afternoon sun.

I’ve still got several projects “to do” out there, but it’s a good start, and now that the weather has turned to summer, I should be able to get them done!

diy outdoor curtain rods construction

I knew I wanted outdoor drapes under the deck.  I debated buying the curtains or making them. After much research at my local fabric store and online, I elected to buy curtain panels. I got them at a reasonable price.

Since I could not find outdoor fabric locally at a reasonable price, it ended up being close to a “wash” financially. For this reason, I elected to save time purchase mildew-resistant outdoor curtains instead.

How to Make Outdoor Curtain Rods

I found pre-made outdoor drapes at a reasonable price. However, I could not say the same thing about outdoor drapery rods especially because our deck is 20′ x 16′. That’s a whole lot of drapery rod!

wood deck with attached white outdoor curtains and pool in background

One night, I wandered the aisles at Lowe’s and walked past the chain link fencing aisle; I realized the poles for chain link fencing would make great drapery rods!

  • They are made to be outside
  • They are inexpensive
  • Easy to cut to the right size

I was even more excited when I realized that I could use some of the chain-link fencing materials and hang the curtain rods!

chainlink fencing supplies on wood table

Supplies

  • Chain Link Fencing Poles – Measure your space so you know how many to buy
  • Hand saw than can cut the rods
  • U-shaped brackets (buy in the chain-link aisle) You need one for each end of the rod and one to two for the center of the rods.
  • Bolts & nuts that fit in the U shaped bracket
  • End Caps for Chain Link Fencing
  • Drill
  • Mildew resistant or UV protected drapes are made for an outdoor spaces. I used curtains that had grommets.

DIY Outdoor Curtain Rod Instructions

Step One:

gray metal rods on concrete

I purchased fence poles that I knew would fit my curtains’ rings. Then I had my husband cut them to size.

The poles are meant to lock together with a large side and a tapered side, so make sure that you cut the correct end of the pole, so they will still fit together.

diy outdoor curtain rods construction - hand cutting metal pole

Step Two:

When you have the rod the correct size, feed the drapes onto the rod. Then at the rod center (where you joined the 2 pieces if you needed to do that) and the 2 ends of the rod, attach the U-shaped bracket (it’s sold right next to the fencing, make sure you get the right size).

close up of chain link fencing curtain rod attached to wood deck

TIP: something to keep in mind.  The curtain rod cannot be flush up against the underside of the deck; otherwise, the drapes will not slide back and forth on the rod easily.

My husband and I sat and argued in Lowe’s for about an hour on how to fix this problem… to save you a potential argument; I’ll tell you what we figured out.

Buy a LONG bolt to go through the U-shaped bracket.  Feed the bolt through the bracket, then behind the bracket, attach 3 nuts.  This will give you a good buffer between the bracket and the wood.

close up of chain link curtain rod attached to underside of deck.

Step Three:

To finish up. You can add the end caps to the ends of the poles to make them look nicer.

If you live in a windy area like me, you’ll want to attach the drapes to the deck to keep them from blowing away.

close up of outdoor curtain tie backs

I installed a hook to the beams on the deck and then used some hemp grosgrain ribbon to make a tie back. The hemp ribbon is a bit stiffer than normal grosgrain… I also got it in bulk, so if the tie-backs start to look bad, I’ll replace them.

How to Keep Outdoor Curtains From Blowing in the Wind

After a few summers with our drapes blowing away every time we needed to use them, we finally figured out a solution to keep them from blowing. We realized that the drapes needed to be attached to keep them from blowing.

Purchase small clips from IKEA meant to be used for sliding drapery. When the drapes are down, use the small clips to clip the drapes to each other along the sides.

Then clip the curtain closest to the beam to the actual beam. This makes one large curtain that is attached to the side post of the deck.

So when the wind blows, the curtains stayed mostly in place.

We tried using curtain weights, but they did not work. Clipping the curtains to each other worked much better. We keep a small bowl of the clips outside on our coffee table, so they are close by when we need them.

You can also use oversized paper clips. Just make sure you take them inside when you’re done with them.

White drapes hanging from wood deck with pool in background

Final Thoughts & Tips

In the evening, the sun comes in so bright through this side of the patio (it gets right in your eyes!) So far, it’s been great to be able to close the drape and get some shade, so we can still enjoy the patio in the evenings!

I’ve received many questions about the outdoor room. I’m planning an FAQ post on it soon, so if you have questions about the drapes, leave a comment, and I’ll answer them in that post!

More Outdoor DIY Projects:

DIY Outdoor Pillows

How to Build an Outdoor Fire Pit

Seating Ideas for an Outdoor Fire Pit

Collage image of deck with curtains and text

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74 Comments

  1. The little hooks with clips that you use to hang curtains could be used upside down. Just clip them to the bottom of the curtain and then anything with a loop could be hung off the hoop. Think fabric beanbags with ribbon loops or even rocks with little hoops epoxied on.

  2. I’ve been thinking of adding curtains to our breezeway. You’re so right about the cost! I was thinking of just using muslin and replacing them every year, or as they wore out. Would you mind sharing where you found your’s? I’d love to purchase them if I can!

    Blessings–
    Dana

  3. I’m not sure if this would work, but for my curtains inside, I use small fishing weights hidden in the hem to weigh them down. Maybe you could get heavier ones and slip them in? It may require the self proclaimed seamstress to make little pockets in the hem so they don’t all slide to one side though ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Chanel puts chain in their skirt hems to make them drape nicely, so how about sewing in some heavy chain inside the hem?

  4. If you had the draperies professionally made, they should already have some sort of drapery weight in the corners. However, those weights won’t really cut it for outdoor breezes. I like one of the previous suggestions; cafe curtain rings clipped to the bottom (possibly just to the corners?) with a weight rod slipped through and attached to the rings. Good luck!

  5. i would do fishing weights. they are meant to be submerged in water!

    love the drapes and the fencing materials were a fantastic idea!!

  6. Here’s my question-can I move in too! ๐Ÿ™‚ That looks awesome! Wish I lived somewhere I could even have an outdoor pool! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. This was a great idea! I needed this before I spent way too much money on outdoor curtain rods. I had a problem with my curtains flying around to. I ended up sewing a length of lightweight chain into the bottom of each one. It is heavy enough to weigh them down, but still flexible so you can gather them and tie them back.

    1. We bought the chain to do it this year and just haven’t gotten around to it! I think it’s a great idea! Thanks for the suggestion!

      1. You can also buy steel “rope” run it through the bottom hem and attach to an eye bolt screwed into your post. I used vinyl coated 1/8th” 50′, about $18 at lowes.

    2. I am not sure what type of lightweight chain you are talking about… we love our outdoor drapes but it is always breezy.. I can’t keep the panels together… or keep them down.. so the chain sounds like a good idea.. is it a home depot thingy??

  8. We used electrical conduit for our poles and large eyelets screwed into the posts. We also used wood door knobs ssanded to fit each open end of pipe snuggly to keep the pole in place while still being able to take end off to wash. We did the same thing with smaller eyelets at mid height to tie back the curtains but had to upgrade to a heavier ribbon after a major windstorm. We’re going to go with the chain – like the flexibility. We used off sale curtains and threaded the curtain sleeve right over the conduit instead of grommets – just to save money and time. Looks fab!

    1. My best friend uses electrical conduit too for curtain rods. She uses it inside her house and they look great. I love the idea of the door knobs too! We bought chain to add to the hems of the drapes but haven’t done it yet. We figured out that if we clip the drapes together when they are opened (using metal clothespins ) that they don’t blow around as much.

    2. The doorknobs would not only look good in my area, but would keep wasp from nesting inside the poles! Good thinking!

  9. I used large canvas drop clothes for my curtains and just added the grommets for hanging them. It worked out great and way cheaper than buying curtains.

    1. Someone else told me they did that too! I might try that this year if the ones I have look worn out- so far they have held up pretty good though. Thanks for the tip!

    2. We also used drop cloths with grommets but no longer useable. Mold/Mildew and storm damage. Looking at buying clearance outdoor curtains but am still struggling with the bottoms due to wind the curtains blow like crazy!

      1. This year we bought drapes at IKEA they were not outdoor drapes but the price was SO good that even if they only last 2 or 3 seasons it didn’t hurt to throw them away. I think to get drapes that will last for years you have to spend a lot of $, which I did not want to do. The best way to keep them from blowing is to clip them TO EACH OTHER. I used alligator clips (from the office store) then clipped them to each other (on the sides) then clipped the 1st one to the pole, worked like a charm.

      2. We purchased the Dr queen size flat sheets at Wal-Mart and just cut a slit on each end f the wide seam…$20 for 2 sheets and voila instant outdoor curtains in any color your looking for!

    3. I found extra long (96″) fabric shower curtain liners – so mold/mildew resistant and still machine washable – to use as outdoor curtains

    4. I used drop cloths too. I wash them when needed and rehang them. Just make sure to get the ones that are hemmed on all four sides and washable.

  10. Thank you all for the tips on adding weight to your curtains. I have a large Gazebo and I use it year around. It came with mosquito netting, so to keep the rain out I attached extra long shower curtains(found at Walmart)to the inside. I used shower curtain rings and clipped them on the same sliding clips that my netting is clipped to. so when I open the netting they open along with it. The next problem was how to keep the shower curtains from blowing in, you could use snaps, but I used 1/2 brass fasteners(office section at Walmart) and took a steel skewer to make a hole through the trim of the netting and the shower curtain, pushed fastener through and bent back the fasteners. Works great. Hope this helps with anyone who wants to keep the rain out.

  11. Some excellent items here and really didn’t have a idea in relation to almost any of this before so with thanks for your perception

  12. I got great netting ccurtains at Ikea–REAL cheap and100% polyester to resist mildew. $9.99 for two very wide panels (110×98) They also have cabana stripes and plain white curtain panels that are 70% poly 30% cotton– $14.99 for two panels.
    My problem is weighting them in the wind.havent found a solution other than large fishing weights. Heavy chain is very expensive.
    I will use polyester cording for tie-backs.

    1. Someone’s suggestion was use eye Bolts or hooks to hook chain to at posts. Then you could use lighter weight chain. It should stay taught. Hope that helps.

      1. My friend used the curtains with the grommets and turned them upside down. Now you have the holes on the bottom and you could just drape decorative chain through the bottom and stitch them to the corner bottoms of the curtain so they don’t slide out. Or use the curtain clips at the bottom and hang something heavy from those.

        Thanks for all the tips

  13. This is such a great idea. We just finished hanging our outdoor drapes this way. We found a slight improvement on the “stack of nuts” idea. We found a single 1 1/2 inch metal tube that is actually a galvanized electrical conduit connector. It comes with two small screws on the side, which we removed. This fit perfectly as a spacer over the lag bolt to give us room to open and close the draperies.
    I also picked up 1 inch PVC end caps at Lowes and spray painted them to match with Rustoleum hammered paint. (They were either in plumbing or electric.)
    Wish I could post a photo. We love it.

  14. I just read you can add a chain and hide it at the bottom. I am having the same issue. Beautiful!

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  16. I have used conventional lead weight cording for the hems of outdoor drapes. We live in a very windy area with tropical storms. My question is: do I have to remove the weights to put the drapes in the washing machine every time I wash them? This would be the same issue for all the above solutions – fishing weights, nuts, etc. Has anyone tried to put them in the washing machine?

  17. Pingback: Hanging Outdoor Curtains. Great DIY tutorial using aluminum fence poles in place of expensive outdoor drapery rods. | protractedgarden
  18. Hey Melissa,
    I love what you did with your space, where did you purchase your outdoor seating and what material is it made from, does it support heavy weight when sitting?

    1. Hi,
      I got it at Pottery Barn. It does support heavy weight as it’s the frame is solid wood. I have to admit though that the cushions have not held up well. They are mildewing excessively and are expensive to replace. Not sure what we’ll do next summer.

  19. This is so beautiful. I am looking for long outdoor drapes- where did you get yours and how have they held up in the elements? I love the fence pole idea. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I got them at West Elm a few years ago. They had the best price for the longest drapes. They have held up ok. They are dingy now and won’t bleach but not torn or frayed- I think that’s just what comes with buying white drapes.

    2. I got them at West Elm a few years ago. They had the best price for the longest drapes. They have held up ok. They are dingy now and won’t bleach but not torn or frayed- I think that’s just what comes with buying white drapes

  20. I loved seeing this option, but we are at the beach and have no shelter for the rod. We ended up buying marine grade stainless steel pipes with stainless steel mounting brackets to hang our curtains. It was reasonable relative to covering 42 feet of rod. The best thing is that this solution will never corrode. Tbe only tough thing is getting a pipe cutter to make them fit exactly. Total cost for 42 feet, not including the curtains was less than $400.

  21. I use heavy magnets at the bottom of mine – just sandwich the fabric between the magnets. Come off easy for washing – voila!

    1. For weight at the bottom,I bought a grommet maker.
      I put a grommet in each corner of the bottom of the panel. Then using a tie back of some sort,tie the bottom of panels to corner posts at bottom base of post.Works great.

    2. Where did you find heavy enough magnets. That was the idea I had, but haven’t been able to find heavy enough magnets.

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  24. I buy the all cotton Lendl drapes @ IKEA. They are great outdoor fabric and I just throw them in the washing machine with a bit of OxyClean and they come clean as a whistle. Even takes out the bird poop. The first pair I got was $14.99, but they are more now. Love the idea of using fencing. I happen to have a really long piece behind my garage that I been wondering what to do with. Now I know.

    1. I was wondering if those drapes would work- Ours are a few years old now and in need of a change soon- I was eyeing those at IKEA a while ago, thanks for the suggestion.

  25. I bought snap fixtures at Jo-Ann’s, you can get heavy duty ones, and you use a hammer to get them onto the fabric. I put them on my outdoor curtains and just snap them together, and they unsnap really quickly and easily. I still have a problem with the breezes, though, clipping them together doesn’t stand up to the wind.

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  28. Would the drapery weights work? You could put several in the bottom. Perhaps attach them to a ribbon or similar item and put thru the hem. You could putas many as necessary and remove them for easier washing and reinstall. Just a thought. Your curtains are fabulous and the rod us a great idea.

  29. I am having the problem with the wind blowing my curtains. I have attached them together w clothes pins and even tied the bottom of the them w rope which does seem to help. My problem is that I do not have a hem at the bottom to run anything through it. My seems are vertical at the end of the panels. Any suggestions for weight?

    1. I’m thinking heavy magnets will work. Like three sets across the bottom. You put a magnet on each side of the curtain and connect the magnets with the curtain in between. I’m just having trouble finding heavy enough magnets.

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  31. Great ideas! Thank you
    Does anyone have a good resource for outdoor grommets? I can just imagine them rusting after a while.
    I’m looking forward to tackling this project after seeing how well yours turned out.

  32. Hi. Love your idea about fencing poles. I bought inexpensive hardware at lowes and made my drapes. I had the same problem with the wind, so I added heavy chain link(lowes) into the hem. They attach at the center and the ends with a spring hook. On the poles and house I added large eye hooks so the spring hooks attach. That way the ends stay stationary and if the wind is high I can attach the centers to stay closed. Wish I could post pics.

  33. I too, wanted to do this, but don’t really need the shade. I used fabric shower curtain which is weighted on the bottom. I cut out circular holes at the top so they would fit around the rod. I then glued a small hem around the holes

    The shower curtains are around $20 each. You can find them online or in stores such as Walmart/Target. They are water/mild resistant and washable.

  34. I used gazebo screens for my curtains from Lowe’s. You can see through them and people can’t see in. They also have a beautiful picture on them so it adds to the ambiance of your surroundings.

  35. If you have a decorative curtain for the out side patio, which side shows inside to the house; the decorative or the plain side

  36. I spent the money and purchased outdoor curtains by Sunbrella, made from the same material as used for patio umbrellas. So hopefully it will last awhile in this Florida sun. And to solve the problem with the curtains blowing, we filled some little bags of sand and fed them through the hem. Works like a charm!

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