How to Make DIY Curtain Rods for Less than $10

DIY curtain rods that looks good and barely cost any money to make.

Image of a simple wood curtain rod with white curtains in a light and airy bedroom.

After sharing this guest bedroom / home office makeover, I got a question about the DIY curtain rod. And actually, many people commented about it who came through on the show house tour as well. I hadn’t thought much of sharing how I made it before because I just threw it together last-minute.

But when I was asked about it again, I decided to share a quick tutorial because it is probably the most affordable curtain rod you could possibly have – at under $10 it’s even cheaper than the crappiest version you could buy at a discount store. AND looks 100 times better.

Image of modern, boho bedroom with wood and leather curtain rod over window.

Make a DIY Curtain Rod for Less than $10

To make your own, you’ll only need a handful of items…

  • wooden dowel rod
  • leather scraps OR a piece of leather strap (preferably one inch wide – length will vary)
  • super fine sandpaper
  • level
  • hammer and 2 nails
  • scissors or sharp blade
  • clear coat (optional)

The process is nearly identical to the hanging DIY wall organizer I made a while back. But the measurements are a little different. So I’ll share everything below just in case.

Step 1: Choosing a dowel rod.

Choose a dowel rod that is slightly longer than your window. For example, the window in the photo example is 40 inches and I used a 48 inch dowel rod.

You can get round dowels like this in lengths up to 96 inches – like this one I found at Home Depot. It’s a tiny bit more expensive – about $10 for a 96 inch piece as opposed to $4, but still very affordable.

48 inches long is the most common length you’ll find in stores though, so  keep that in mind.

Step 2: Sanding the dowel.

Sand the dowel rod using a super fine sandpaper to make sure the dowel is as smooth as possible, so the curtain can glide over the rod as easily as possible. Add a clear coat with a paint brush or rag (if desired). Personally, I skipped the clear coat.

Step 3: Cut the leather.

Cut the leather strips into two equal pieces – you want each piece to wrap fully around the dowel PLUS at least two extra inches on each end.

So, for example, if your leather wraps around the dowel rod in 3 inches, then you’d add 2 inches additional inches on each end, for a total of 7 inches for each strap.

Step 4: Measure and mark off.

Measure where you want the leather straps to be nailed into the wall. Keep in mind that the straps will be nailed in higher than where the curtain itself will rest.

I found it most helpful to thread the curtain onto the rod and then make a mark on the wall from where the rod in on the wall when the curtain is just barely touching the ground below. Then measure up from there for the nail hole / leather straps.

Step 5: Hammer nail through leather and hang curtain.

Next, you can opt to punch a hole in each piece of leather where your nail will go. OR skip this step and hammer straight through the leather into the wall.

Hammer the leather into the wall, while the leather straps are attached to the dowel rod. Then thread the curtain onto the dowel rod and thread the curtain rod through the leather straps.


Image of organic modern bedroom with a wood desk installed on one wall.

White and neutral bedroom with modern wood curtain rod hanging from window.

For additional customization, you could paint the dowel rod a color…or even stain it (the leather can be stained as well, actually). You could even wrap the dowel rod in gold leaf or metallic vinyl. Lots of options on this one.

So, what do you think of this budget-friendly curtain rod? And more importantly, would you give it a try if it meant it would only cost you ten bucks, like this one?

10 comments | Click here to reply

this is beautiful! So simple and clean.


Aw thanks Norine!


One of my other favorite part of your room. Definitely adding this to one of my DIY projects. 😊


Thanks Chesca. 🙂 Glad to hear it will make it onto your list of DIYs to try.


Genius! Can you come DIY my whole house?😂


Haha. Thanks Angela. 🙂


This is so simple and Lovely! What is the diameter of the dowel? Could you put metal evelets in the leather? I am ready for something different for rods.
Thanks for sharing this.


Hi Pat. I believe the diameter of this one is 1 inch. And yes, you could add metal eyelets in the leather before adding the nails if desired. I didn’t do that with mine, but it’s definitely an option.


OMGosh, Brittni… this is genius! So easy, so stylish! Going to be putting this idea to use pronto.


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