Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Easy Felt Curtains for Classroom Storage Crates and Cubes.

So, this year, I'm trying really hard not to spend a ton of money on my classroom.  I think last year, I spent well over a thousand dollars, which is kind of silly.  This year, I want to totally change my color scheme (from every color known to man in a dizzying melange guaranteed to induce hyperactivity) to teal/lime/black.  I'm hoping to accomplish this with spray paint made for plastic (Rustoleum in light blue and lime green) and black background paper.  I reallllly want to buy black fabric, but I don't want to spend even more than I'm already spending.

This is part one of how I am uniting my color scheme for (somewhat) cheap this year.  I will do more posts when I can actually get into my classroom, which is currently being used for a summer academy,

I've been asking around for those cruddy wire shelving storage cubes that get put together with the corner connectors.  Everybody seems to have some to give away because they fall apart.  The trick is to use zip ties to connect them together.

The other issue is they're ugly and you can't hide anything in them.  So, I wanted to make curtains for them, but I didn't want to sew.  I came up with these easy, fuss-free felt curtains you can use to cover junk in any shelves, crates, or storage cubes.

You will need:

  • template paper
  • felt by the yard in at least two colors
  • fabric scissors
  • Tacky Glue (I got some in a jar with a little paintbrush - so much easier than squeezing)
  • stencil or template for appliques if desired
  • ribbon, trim, or bias tape for edges
  • twine, ribbon, or zip ties to fasten the curtains

First, measure the opening or side you'd like to cover.  Most wire storage cube like this are 14.5" x 14.5".  Make a paper template this size. Cut it out.


Next, place it on the main color of felt you are using, and cut around it.  You should now have, surprisingly, as piece of fabric that is the same size as your template.


On the contrasting fabric, use the sharpie to stencil the designs you want to put on your felt curtain.  I would suggest putting the template on the side of the felt you don't want to see, so that any leftover marker lines are on the back.  In other words, put the stencil backward from the way you want it to show up.


Alternatively, you  can freehand some letters or a picture.  I really didn't feel like trying to make the letters backward, so I just made sure to really get rid of the marker lines when I cut them out.


Lay the cutouts onto the felt and try out different layouts until you find one you like.  I suggest leaving the outside 1" of each side empty in case you need to trim off some edges.


Once your layout is how you like it, take the Tacky Glue, paint it on the back of each piece, and stick the pieces where you would like them.


Using the Tacky Glue, apply the border to the edges you would like to cover.  I used double fold bias tape.  If you decide to use this, and you put the edge inside the tape like I did, I highly suggest gluing the back side first, as it is harder to do the first side and it will get messy.  After that, the tape will be stuck in place and it will be easy to do the front.  Using ribbon or that trim with the little balls hanging off of it would be easier.


Make three slits in the top edge of your curtain.  Be smarter than I was... mark the proper placement for the slits first.  I randomly did it, and they were too far down, and not the right distance apart.  Hence, the wonky look.  You do not want this wonky look... :)   Using ribbons or zip ties or fancy cord, connect the top edge of the curtain to the top opening of the storage cube or milk crate.  If you have a solid shelf with nothing to attach it to, make a small loop of ribbon for each slit and pass a strip of matching colored duct tape through the loop to tape it to the shelf.

As you can see, I used cheap twine I found in my bedroom closet.  Why?  Because this wire shelf is actually in my bedroom closet and I am not keeping these curtains in here, and I don't mind throwing away the twine later after I cut it.  Those curtains in my closet would be weird, let's face it.  I tried to crop my drawers of unmentionables to the right in the photo. I think it worked well!


Continue covering the openings of the shelves and crate with more curtains.  Again, measure carefully when making the slits at the top.  Look at how silly the top looks!  So silly that I tried to mask it out with the lovely, artsy film layout!!



If you're low on cash, you can also make these out of posterboard or those large rolls of butcher paper, and put it through the laminator if you have one to use for free at school.  I have a large utility shelf from Wal-mart that is freakishly ugly but holds a ton.  I will be using butcher paper with paper cutouts, laminated, as my covers for that, just because it would cost a fortune in felt to cover it. 

Hope this works for you!  Feel free to link up your curtains so I can see how they turn out! 

(Hopefully the tops looks better than mine...)

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