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How to Make Outdoor Curtain Rods for under $20

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Sharing how to make outdoor curtain rods for under $20 from a pipe! If you have a patio or deck, you are going to love this DIY curtain rod project. Today I am sharing how we used a metal pipe to make an outdoor rod for our patio.  Heavy duty outdoor curtain rods are very expensive (they start at $200!) so we decided to make a curtain rod out of galvanized pipe as it will not rust. You can use a plumbing pipe or electrical pipe for this project. 

Outdoor curtain rods need to be weather resistant and rust proof. A galvanized pipe was the perfect choice.

Who would have thought that a galvanized pipe would do the trick?

How to make outdoor curtain rods 

how to make a curtain rod

Many curtain rod tutorials use plumbers pipe with plumbing fasteners.

I chose galvanized electrical pipe and eye hooks, mainly because the electrical pipe was half the cost of the plumbing pipe and I could cut the electrical pipe myself. 

deck with outdoor curtain rod, outdoor curtains, brown wicker furniture and blue throw pillows

Outdoor Curtain Rods DIY

I purchased two 1″ galvanized electrical pipes.

They were each 10′ long.

I needed my rod to be 11′ and 2″ so in order to make the rod look proportioned, I decided to cut two feet off each end of one rod and use the second rod along with  1″ compression couplings (in the same aisle as the electrical pipe) to join the rods together.

I purchased my pipe at Home Depot and the longest pipe they had was 10′ so I had no choice but to add a second pipe in order to get my desired length.

how to make a curtain rod galvanized pipe and saw horses

I cut the electrical pipe with a hacksaw. Keep in mind, if can do this curtain rod project with plumbing pipe and PVC pipe as well. The PVC pipe many times will have writing (branding) on the pipe so you may want to paint the pipe with outdoor paint if you choose that route. 

cutting a galvanized pipe with a hand saw

The blade on my saw was a bit dull but it only took about 5 minutes to cut. 

galvanized pipe on outdoor brown tweed rug

The next step, I used compression couplings to fasten the pipes together. They actually are very industrial looking and visually appealing.

compression coupling for outdoor diy curtain rod

The compression coupling has a ring inside that compresses the pipes together once screwed tightly.

compression coupling over galvanized pipe diy outdoor curtain rod

Slide the end piece, ring and grooved end on the pipe.

compression coupling over galvanized pipe diy outdoor curtain rod

If you are adding pipe (I needed to make mine longer) you will now add your second compression coupling to the second pipe and screw the two together.

compression coupling over galvanized pipe diy outdoor curtain rod

compression coupling over galvanized pipe diy outdoor curtain rod

compression coupling over galvanized pipe diy outdoor curtain rod

compression coupling over galvanized pipe diy outdoor curtain rod

This project caused me a bit of a headache but once I figured out how to add the compression couplings, it was smooth sailing. Our outdoor curtain rod was a breeze from this point forward.

galvanized pipe and eye hook diy outdoor curtain rod

I used large eye hooks that I screwed into the side of the deck wall as rod hangers.

galvanized pipe as outdoor curtain rod, white outdoor curtains with grommet hanger

Heavy Duty Outdoor Curtain Rods 

The galvanized pipe curtain rod was the perfect inexpensive solution to adding outdoor curtains (like these) to our covered porch. I love mixing industrial styled decor with a modern cottage theme. 

The galvanized pipe and compression couplings added that industrial touch I was going after.

deck with outdoor curtain rod and outdoor white grommet style curtains, brown wicker outdoor furniture

The blue pillows are from HomeGoods and I love how the coordinate with the tan cushions.

The curtains are from Wayfair and so affordable!

They also come in a lot of different colors.

I prefered sheer curtains but they also have sun blocking curtains as well that are a little more pricey but if you need to block the sun in order to enjoy your outdoor space, they are worth it.

If you are looking to add a little color, these outdoor ombre curtains are affordable and pretty!

deck with outdoor curtain rod and outdoor white grommet style curtains, brown wicker outdoor furniture, blue throw pillows, watermelon

Related: Click Here to See our 2019 New Indoor Outdoor Patio Space  (below)

If you think about it, making outdoor curtain rods isn’t that difficult. Now that I know electrical or plumbing pipe will work as a perfect outdoor curtain rod solution, I am considering making another one for our new pool house makeover. Outdoor curtain rods are perfect attached to a wall or even floating / free standing. Outdoor curtains soften a wall or create a barrier just like inside your home. 

This curtain rod project cost under $20. A far cry from the $200 one that I wanted and I think it looks just as good! Has anyone made their own curtain rods before? Do tell in the comments, I would love to hear other economical ideas and solutions for hanging outdoor drapery.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

 

 

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64 Comments

  1. Love Love Love this idea!!!! Have seen it many times….thanks for the details on the attachment pieces! Patio area looks awesome!!! Am your newest follower…love your site.

    1. May I ask if your compression couplings rusted? The ones I find do not say galvanized but only steel.

  2. This is great, Jessica! I, too, used galvanized pipes as curtain rods on our outdoor patio and they’re perfect for outside!! Great job!!~~Angela

  3. Michellelhb says:

    I used copper pipe on my porch with drop cloth curtains as one set of windows get some intense evening sun.

  4. ValenzMom a/k/a Helen says:

    I’ve never used galvanized pipe before for curtain rods, but I have used both large wooden dowels and PVC pipe as curtain rods. Both are easy to paint, although I would recommend the PVC for outdoor use rather than the wood. But I really like the galvanized pipe for the industrial look and I’ll bet with “elbow joints” you could have made it go continuously all the way around your entire porch.

  5. Looks like this would be perfect for my dining room, in front of the sliding glass door. Doesn’t seem like it would droop in the middle without a bracket. I want a one piece curtain that just opens from one side, but hubby insisted we needed a bracket in the middle with our last curtain rod. I ended up taking the old drapes down because our 2 year old monkey hung on them and pulled one side out of the wall ๐Ÿ™

    1. The pipe is fairly substantial. My rod was 11′ so I needed a bracket (I used large eye hooks as brackets) in the middle but if your rod isn’t that long, you shouldn’t need one ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I think it’s about 6′ wide. Thanks!!

  6. i love this. totally awesome and simple and so cheap! your covered patio is so welcoming and zen, love it

  7. Great idea..In a previous post, I asked you if you had used tension rods to hold the sheers. Ignore that question. Don’t laugh but when we moved to this house 8 years ago, the master bedroom has a galvanized pipe clothes pole. Guess the previous owner had a lot of clothes. We have left it up but I laugh every time the closet door is open and I have to look at that. The orginal owner had to think of that, I don’t think his son who inherited the house would have come up with that idea.

  8. This is a great idea! If you are looking for a natural look, I used large (about 1 1/2 inch diameter) bamboo for tab top curtains in my bathroom. It is green when you cut it but dries to a more neutral golden tan color.

  9. This is such a great DIY project. Curtain rods that are long enough and strong enough are expensive, and this is such a great alternative. I featured your post on Friday Finds today. Thanks so much for sharing, and have a great weekend!

  10. I love your idea. You didn’t mention if they are heavy, I wil check it out..
    We’ve used bamboo, pvc piping, dowels, even rebar once. its very thin strong, and easy to cut, but it can droop if you dont place enuff supports. I love your cottage porch.

  11. Your porch looks lovely!

    I’m getting ready to do something similar in our covered porch and was considering using either conduit or dowels. I do have one question Jessica…you said you cut two feet off each end of one pipe to make things proportional. I’m a bit confused about that. Why would two feet off each end be any different than four feet off one end?

    1. Hi! Because when you use the couplings to attach, I wanted the compression couplings to be even on each side. If I cut four feet off one end (yes this would have been much easier) I would have only had to use one compression coupling (the piece I used to attach the pipes) and it would have looked funny with one coupling at the end. Does that make sense?

      1. Yes! That makes perfect sense! I suppose if the curtains had a rod pocket and covered the pipe it wouldn’t be an issue, but if they don’t, I can see why you did that. Thanks for the explanation!

  12. Thank you for sharing your idea and how to!
    Awesome!
    Did you also make your own cutains?

  13. I have another question,
    How did you close your end of galvanized pipes?

  14. Brilliantly simple WELLDONE

    1. If you purchase the conduit from a electrical wholesaler, or electrical trade supplier you can get it in three metre length ,

  15. Thanks for posting this! I hope to tackle this in the spring and your tips are going to help alot! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. What a great idea. what did you do with the ends of the rods

  17. Elisabeth says:

    Hi Jessica,
    thank you so much for sharing your brilliant idea.
    I can’t believe how simple things can be.
    I have been searching for long length galvanized outdoor poles which is something you can’t buy… they are all telescopical poles which won’t work because they need center supports which then get in the way of sliding the drapery panels over to the side.
    Love the idea and how you solve the problem..
    take care
    Elisabeth

  18. Vicki Elliott says:

    Great idea. Just couldn’t get over an outside curtain rod costing $176 without curtains. Seen this posting and followed pretty much the same idea except we used heavy duty curtain rod holders for your closet that were stainless steel. Ended up costing $28 from Home Depot.
    Bought outdoor curtains from Improvements Catalog. They were 108″long and used 3 panels to cover the lanai area. They were $69 each plus I got 15% for my first order.Looks great and now have some privacy from the neighbors. Thanks for sharing the idea. The whole project cost me less than the outdoor curtain rod was that I had seen. Had pictures to share but can’t post them here..

  19. Love the tutorial…thank you! Other websites show similar, but don’t explain in detail. Love that I have a guide on how to figure this out myself ๐Ÿ™‚
    What do you do if you have to remove the pipe? Other other style I saw had elbows and flanges going into the wall – which I wouldn’t mind except the curtains we want have grommets and make it impossible to get on/off without unscrewing. I think your way might be best…but I wanted to be sure.

    1. I just remove the ends on the pipe (they are just sitting there) and add the curtains that way. You can certainly do the other method but you would need to unscrew each time you put up or removed the curtains.

  20. I read everything below about your porch drapes. I am still confused a little. 2 questions. You indicated you needed 11′ 2″. You bought 2 poles 10′ each. If you cut off 4′ from one pole to attach to the other 10′ pole, you would now have a total of 16′, 10′ pole + 6′ left from the one you cut…how did you get 11.2 from that equation? And, I’m still not understanding why 2 feet off from each end as opposed to just 4 total. How did you attach the ends of each pole to the deck, so that it’s not permanent and you can take curtains on and off. Sorry, that was 3 questions. Thank you

  21. Thank you soooo much!!!! I am renting a west-facing house with a lovely, wide front porch. I have been looking for a good rod solution for the drop cloth curtains I made for my porch. Good to know what size they come in, as most likely I’ll be getting mine from HD as well.

  22. I actually use sheets for my curtains as they are so cheap and they give me no seams for a king size, wide length. They suit weights at the base and can be very attractive. Iron on any motif or stencil, likewise just sew a border all the way around or just on the base and top. Attach tabs via ribbon pieces if wanted.

  23. Because I needed the conduit to be 10’6″, I too had to buy two conduit and cut in order to have two 5’3″ pieces that I could join in the middle with the compression coupling. I am having a hard time getting the compression coupling to work. I have 3/4″ conduit and a 3/4″ coupling, but it just seems to slide up and down the conduit as if it is too large. What am I doing wrong??????

  24. I can’t quite figure out how you ran the rod and curtains through the eye hooks… I have all supplies ready to go except for figuring out that small detail! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Make sure your eye hooks are wider than the rod so the rods will fit. I also had to use multiple rods so I had to feed one rod through the hole and then feed the next using the couplings to secure them together. It was a two person job adding the rod through the rings ;).

      1. Where did you buy the eye hooks from? I cant find them at local home depot. I have a 20′ foot span. Thank you

  25. Diane Ditzler says:

    Love this idea, This is what I want to do to section off an area. I need to attach to the wall..so how do I do that, also! going from one wall to the other , it’s on an angle..can you help??

  26. hi
    great idea for outdoors! I have made indoor curtain rods with a long wooden dowel (commonly called the closet hanging pole LOL ) I then drilled into the ends of the wood dowel and screwed in a beautiful crystal looking drawer pull. it came out great. I painted the wood dowel, though you could stain it for a wood effect for room that needs that look. Ideas that we share always benefit someone! thank YOU for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. We have lived in our house for 6 years now and I have not decided on what kind of curtains that I want until now. Thank you for this great idea. What I’m going to do for the rods is get some twisted metal kinda like stake rods that you use in your garden and weld 2 old horse shoes on each end. Can’t wait to get started.

  28. thank you for Tia alternative t plumbing pipe. I was about to try wood doweling and large eye hooks until I saw your alternative. Given the large area on our deck this will be a more reasonable expense.
    Cheers

  29. monika johnson says:

    I have 18×16 foot deck which is connected to my house. I am doing the exact same thing as you did. Could not afford to have it screened in and hanging sheer curtains will give us a breeze and hopefully protection from bugs in the summer.

  30. Do the grommets catch where the coupling is making it difficult to move the curtains over that point?

    1. Yes, because I had to use the coupling in the middle, it would be tough to move the drape across it.

  31. I’m glad I just found your detailed description of your DIY curtain rods. We have been over analyzing how to hang our just purchased outdoor curtains for our screened porch at the beach. I have seen several other discussions where galvanized pipes were used but some said they would rust. How long have yours been up? I really like this look but don’t want to use something that will ultimately rust in a short period of time. We were considering either plastic PVC pipe or copper (which will get a weathered patina in time) as other options. I’d love for ours to run around the three exposed sides of the porch continuously, maybe with elbow joints. What did you use as end caps to have finished off ends?

    1. Hi, no rust on ours and they have been up for 4 years or so. They are protect though under the roof of the porch so that helps too. I just used a round coupling at the end and it gave the end a finished look ๐Ÿ™‚ They come in all sizes so I just picked a small one (about an inch or so). Good luck with your project ๐Ÿ˜‰

  32. Don Gaven says:

    Jessica, you may want to try using a plumbers pipe cutter next time. It will leave a smooth, straight burrless cut without the metal shavings. Use a little less pressure than you would with copper pipe. I’ve done it this way for the last 50 plus years. Hope you find this info. helpful.

  33. Do you have any trouble pulling the curtain across the compression fitting?

    1. Hi, We don’t usually close the drapes but the ring on the drape does fit across it.

  34. Hi –
    Love this idea! It doesn’t show how you mounted the ends to the walls though. I have an outdoor pavilion that gets a lot of wind so this will be key for me – I don’t want the pole to just “rest” in side a U shaped bracket for fear wind will pick it up out of that and someone could get injured. Any ideas? The curtains are grommet (not by choice, were the only ones I could find that were the right size and color) so I need to be able to take them on and off the pole – so pole cannot be permanently secured to the edges at either end. Make sense? Help!

    1. Hi, I used eye hooks and I used a plumbing connector at the end to kind of make it look finished. It doesn’t look like a finial like a normal rod would look but it was better than just the pipe hanging there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  35. Jody Smith says:

    I love the idea and will be using it for my new pergola and curtains. You said you used eye hooks to support the EMT. I assume since you said eye-hooks, they are closed? How did you get the pipe in? Did you put up the pipe and then connect them in place with the compression fitting? Or am I mistaken and you used an open screw hook and just dropped in the pipe?

    Did you cap the ends?

    Thank you!

    1. You can use either! I actually had enough room where I could slide the “rod/pipe” but if you do not have enough room (I joined the pipe together with the compressions) once through the eye-hook but using an open one would be easier !!

  36. Do you have any ideas for something to use on each end of the pipes?

  37. Love your outdoor look.
    I use heavy cotton drop cloths for interiors and it looks great. Also used galvanized pipe.
    I made the panels double thickness as the sun beats in hard in the summer time.
    They look tailored and very nice.