Holiday decor, wedding and party backdrops, teen bedroom shades and quirky window coverings happen when you get clever with paper and turn it into curtains. Paper curtains are green when they make use of recyclables, inexpensive when you need impressive but temporary atmosphere, artistic when they reveal something unexpected. Boring strips of crepe paper are so yesterday -- make it original with paper and imagination.
Paper Chain Curtain
The simple paper chains that delighted you in childhood are just as charming when they dress up a window. A paper chain curtain is colorful on a sidelight and a pretty camouflage over privacy shades.
- Cut strips of scrap paper or use fancy origami paper in a rainbow of colors or patterns -- two or three colors to match your decor.
- Glue the ends together to make circles and interlock them.
- Loop the long strands over a spring rod.
- Pull the curtains back with a paper curtain tie or pretty ribbon, being careful not to crush any loops. The chains are open enough to hang permanently in front of the window undisturbed because they let in plenty of light.
Cutouts on sturdy threads or string hang like beaded curtains and are easily changed each season or holiday.
- In winter, make scores of paper snowflakes to string up on monofilament or white string for a blizzard over a window.
- Red or pink paper hearts are lovely on pink, gold or silver thread for Valentine's Day.
- Big pastel daisies, varicolored butterflies, or small flitting birds in profile are a spring window treat.
- Red, white and blue sailboats cheer up the beach house for Fourth of July. Orange, brown, yellow and red autumn leaves rustle softly in a window each autumn.
Waxed Paper Window Coverings
Take some time and make a mess for two versions of coated paper curtains that are slick and slightly more sturdy than plain paper.
Things You'll Need:
- Paraffin wax
- Tissue paper, various colors
- Hole punch or cookie cutter
- Needle and thread
- Craft glue
- Dowel rod
Spread melted paraffin wax on three sheets of stacked tissue paper on a dropcloth or large piece of cardboard, painting one sheet at a time and covering it with another sheet before ironing the two together.
Let the waxed sheets harden; then punch large identical circles from the stiff paper with a giant hole punch or trace around a small round cookie cutter and cut out circles by hand.
Sew through the center of each circle and touch the spot with a dab of clear glue to fix each circle in place.
Glue or tie the long strings to a dowel and slip it into curtain rod holders over the window.
A Drift of Cones
Create a frothy white cone curtain and hang it with ribbon over a window or doorway.
Things You'll Need:
- Waxed deli paper
- Crochet thread
- Craft glue
Fold sheets of waxed deli paper in half and cut out big circles to roll into cones and glue the cones closed on the open sides.
Poke a needle threaded with white crochet thread through the center point of each cone and create long strings of white cones, touching each cone tip with glue to hold it in place on the crochet thread. Tie a loop at the top of each strand of cones, using a slip knot.
Thread a 1- to 2-inch-wide white ribbon through the loops; tighten the slip knots to space the strings of white cones and hang the paper curtain as a space divider or on a window.
Copy shops will print mural-sized images to cover a window, a doorless closet or an alcove in personalized glory. Measure your space for the opening and add about 6 inches for a "sleeve" at the top to go over a curtain rod or dowel. Select an image to copy larger-than-life: a triumphant hockey game finale; an annual school musical performance; a forest, beach or mountain scene snapped on your last vacation; your favorite cityscape.
- Measure the wide of the paper mural and divide it into even sections.
- Cut the paper in vertical strips along your marks.
- Glue it to a backing strip of thin canvas or cotton fabric at the top. Fold the reinforced top of each paper strip to make a top loop and glue it in place. When the glue dries, slide the strips on the rod for a moving, wavering, paper picture curtain.
Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .