DIY

The Easiest DIY Curtain Rods (French Return Style!)

I’m Zoe.
My mission is to teach you to  confidently build magazine-worthy DIYs. I used to be terrified of power tools, which is why I'm a firm believer that ANYONE can DIY.
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This post was sponsored by Krylon. All opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I may earn a small commission, but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read our full disclosure.

If you’re looking to hang your curtains cheaply without sacrificing style, these DIY curtain rods are the perfect solution! In this tutorial, we’ll turn an inexpensive electrical conduit into a beautiful french return style curtain rod. 

DIY curtain rod text overlay on close up image of DIY French Return style curtain rod with light white curtains

The total cost of our supplies was approximately $25, which is almost 50% less than what similar pre-made curtain rods go for at the store. Not only will you save some money with this DIY, but it’s a quick project. Assembly takes less than 5 minutes. 

For our situation, we needed an 11’ curtain rod, which is exactly what ours ended up being. Yes, we only used a 10ft electrical conduit, but the French return style adds about 6” to either side. 

Alright, let’s start DIYing and make some fancy curtain rods for less!

Recommended Tools: 

  • Drill

What You’ll Need:

How to Make Your Own Curtain Rod

how to make a curtain rod text overlay on image of resort style curtains blowing in wind on screened porch

STEP 1: REMOVE STICKERS

This is the hardest step of the entire project. Seriously. These curtain rods are that easy to make. 

You’ll want to remove all of the stickers and the residue from each of your pieces. I didn’t have any on hand, but lemon essential oil helps get the stickers (and the sticky, sticky residue) off easier.

OPTIONAL STEP 2: CUT YOUR CONDUIT 

The 10’ conduit was the right size for our space, so we didn’t have to worry about this step. If the standard-sized conduits don’t fit your needs, there are several ways to cut down electrical conduits to be the size you need.

STEP 3: WIPE DOWN YOUR PIECES 

Some of the electrical conduits at the store are so dirty that it rubs off on your hands, some seem pretty clean. Whatever type you got, wipe it down so that it’s nice and clean. We want to make sure to remove anything that rubs off to ensure our spray paint can properly adhere. 

STEP 4: ASSEMBLE YOUR CURTAIN ROD 

Grab your electrical conduit, two set screw couplings, and your two right angle elbow conduit fittings. 

Slide a set screw coupling onto the electrical conduit. You’ll want the screw side of the coupling to be lined up with the side of the electrical conduit that has words engraved on it. This will be the backside of your curtain rod so that you won’t see the texture.

attaching coupling to pipe using a drill

Screw the set screw coupling until it is secured onto the conduit. 

Slide the elbow conduit fitting into the set screw coupling and tighten the screw until it’s secured in place. 

connecting 90-degree angle pipe with straight pipe using a coupling

Repeat with the other side. 

STEP 5: PREP FOR SPRAY PAINT 

Bring your curtain rod, one hole strap, two mending braces, and three corner braces to a well-ventilated area. I opted for my backyard. 

I poked the screws into a cardboard box so that I could easily spray paint them.

metal pieces to be spray painted on box with screws poked into cardboard to prevent them from moving

P.S. You should only need a total of 6 screws spray painted if you are going to have just one support like we did. Obviously, I went a little overboard and expected to lose a lot of screws when hanging up the curtains. 

For the curtain rod, we placed ours between two chairs that we protected with tarps. This holds the curtain rod up off the ground to make spray painting even easier.

Once you have everything situated, wipe everything down again using a damp paper towel followed by a dry paper towel. We just want to make sure the surfaces are still clean and didn’t pick up any dust in the commotion of assembling and bringing them outside. 

wiping electrical conduit with paper towel

STEP 6: SPRAY PAINT 

Spray paint your curtain rod and all the additional pieces using Krylon Fusion All-In-One. This line of spray paint is our go-to choice because it adheres to so many different surfaces, including metal, without needing to sand or prime. 

Another reason we love to use Krylon Fusion All-In-One is because it’s great for both indoor and outdoor projects. It offers rust protection, making it perfect for our curtain rods since they are going on the screened porch. 

Shake your can for 1-2 minutes and then spray your rod. You want to apply thin, even coats. We applied two coats on each side, waiting just a minute between coats. (yet another benefit of the Fusion All-In-One line–you usually only need to wait a minute between coats! Double-check the back of your can because the time between coats might vary by color.)

spray painting metal with Krylon Fusion All-In-One in Matte Black

Once the first side was finished, I waited 30 minutes to flip it over. When you flip your curtain rod over, make sure you’re flipping into onto a part of the tarp that doesn’t have fresh spray paint on it. 

For more spray painting tips, check out our ultimate guide to spray painting.

Between the rod and everything required to hang the curtain rod, we used one can of spray paint. 

Once we finished spray painting both sides, we waited one hour before hanging it up. 

STEP 7: HANG YOUR CURTAIN ROD

Since this is a French return-style curtain rod, I would recommend sliding your curtains on before hanging. 

We hung these super lightweight outdoor curtains. They do have velcro tabs so I can take them on and off as needed, but why deal with the velcro when I could just slide them on now. If you are hanging heavier curtains, you might want to consider bumping your electrical conduit to be ¾” or adding an additional support or two. 

Slide a corner brace into the end of your curtain rod and then mark where you want to hang it up. 

inserting corner bracket into electrical conduit

Pre-drill holes where you marked and then screw the brace into the wall. 

Yes, it really is that easy. The corner brace is tight enough in the conduit that you shouldn’t have to secure it any more. If you want a little more piece of mind, you can add some super glue to it.

STEP 8: ASSEMBLE AND HANG THE MIDDLE SUPPORT

Since the French return style pushes your curtain rod a little further from the wall than normal, we had to get creative with the middle support. It needed to be long enough to hook onto the rod.

Grab your super glue, two mending braces, a corner brace, and a hole strap.

close up on DIY middle support

You’ll want to double-check the spacing with your curtain rod that’s already hung up, but here’s how we placed ours:

First, we grabbed a corner brace and then superglued a mending brace right below the first hole of the corner brace. 

Then we glued the second mending brace right underneath the second hole of the other mending brace. 

Finally, we glued the hole strap so that the hole of the hole strap was centered on the last hole of the mending brace. 

We let the super glue dry for about 10 minutes and then hung it up in the middle of the curtain rod using two screws. 

If you have a long curtain rod like we did, the curtain rod might be sagging slightly before you hang the middle support. So when you’re hanging the middle support you’ll want to make sure it’s in line with the side brackets. This will lift up the rod in the middle so that it’s straight across and no longer sagging. 

There you have it! Now you know how to make your own DIY curtain rods using electrical conduits. The French return style and matte black finish gives it an extra touch of sophistication. 

black French-return style curtain rod hanging on screened porch with sheer white curtains
DIY Curtain Rod text overlay on image of black curtain rod with sheer curtains on screened porch

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