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Sheer Panels Make Inexpensive No-Sew Window Curtains or Mirror Dressings: It's Easy!

Updated on December 7, 2021
Laura Schneider profile image

Laura is a technical writer. She enjoys playing the piano, traveling, fine art, and making jewelry.

Do You Like these Window/Mirror Covering Ideas?

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Easy Window and Mirror Coverings

In This Article...

  1. How to make sheer curtains for a window.
  2. How to increase the light in your house and dress up a large mirror with sheer scarves.
  3. How to put translucent drapes in a room, such as for someone who likes to rise with the sun or someone with S.A.D. or Depression

This is an Easy, Fun DIY Project that ANYONE can Do

This project is fun AND easy! For a change of view that's classy, elegant, and very affordable, try this whispy style of drapery, made entirely of sheer panels in varying colors and/or patterns that match the décor of the room. In most cases, no sewing, assistance, or building knowledge is needed to complete this project, depending on what you choose and the type of blinds you currently have.

Tip: you can use this window treatment on TOP (on the inside) of most standard roller shades or Venetian-style blinds to brighten up the room while still having the convenience, privacy, energy savings, and other properties you had with your old blinds. This might just be the easiest way to totally redecorate a room without moving a piece of furniture!

Simply Elegant Window Treatment


How-To Instructions

  1. First, think about your current window covering and what you like/don't like about it. This will help you avoid making the same blunder with the new drapes you are making. Is the color wrong? Can't decide on the right color? It broke almost immediately? Venetian blinds just aren't "right" for this room. The blinds I have just aren't romantic or dramatic enough. It kept out the summer breeze rather than letting it in? They faded quickly. They were cold instead, of insulating, in the winter. Do you currently have a curtain rod, or will you need to install one These are some of the things you might want to consider.
  2. Next, measure the window and the height of the ceiling to the floor. You'll need these numbers to gauge how many sheers to buy and of what length. You'll want to start the sheers near the ceiling and have them puddle slightly at the floor to make your room seem taller.
  3. Now that you've analyzed the current situation, it's time for the fun part: deciding what colors and textures you DO like and want to represent in the drapes. First, take some pictures of the room: you may want to complement or contrast with those colors. For example, in the sample photograph there is a deep red wall with a dark beige on the remaining three walls. If you're really unsure about color matching, first stop at a paint store and look at some color chips. Pick out the ones you like that seem to go best with your décor.
  4. If you have no existing or comparable blinds, you will need to install a curtain rod at the ceiling and make it extend a good 4-6 inches on either side of the window so that the drapes can be pulled back fully (or nearly fully).
  5. Next, pick out the sheers that will form your drapes.

Method 1

The easiest but most expensive way to do this is to go to a store that sells drapes and buy something from them (JCPenney and IKEA come immediately to mind). There, you can get pre-sewn sheer drapes for anywhere from $10 to $40 each. Sometimes a sale will bring the prices down or bundle several sheers into one package, but in any case these are the easiest and more expensive way to do this window treatment.

Method 2

I recommend, instead, going to a fabric store and looking at their textiles for home decorating purposes (usually found on horizontally stored rolls). It's important to note several things:

  • The price. Some textiles are EXTREMELY expensive, and if they cut the fabric you bought it. So, "measure twice and cut once".
  • Washing instructions--are you more comfortable washing your drapes at home or having them dry-cleaned? Can the material be washed at all?
  • Double-sided fabric--Some textiles are printed on one side and untreated on the back. For this purpose, you'll want to make sure that the fabric is sheer and that the back side is identical to the front side.
  • When bringing your roll(s) of fabric to the cutting table, be sure to request about 12-24 inches more than double the height of your room (which you measured earlier). In other words, you want both sides of the fabric to puddle slightly on the ground, and both sides should be beautiful.

How many do I need?

How many sheers will I need? That depends totally on the width of the window, the transparency of the sheers, and your desired level of privacy. To complete the drapery shown in the figure, 10 pocketed sheers, in gradient shades of red to cream, were used on an existing rod near the ceiling. The center sheers were a calm leafy pattern that tied the look together, and then the colors faded out beautifully from there.

A Mirror Just Waiting for a Scarf to Decorate It

The mirror is on the right-hand wall in this photo. Note the two tie-backs at each top corner. All it needs now is a scarf!
The mirror is on the right-hand wall in this photo. Note the two tie-backs at each top corner. All it needs now is a scarf! | Source
The end-result will look very much like this window treatment, except instead of a window there will be a mirror brightening up the place.
The end-result will look very much like this window treatment, except instead of a window there will be a mirror brightening up the place. | Source

If you tried this method, or something similar, are you pleased with the results?

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Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

This method of using sheer drapes and scarves can also be used to dress up a large mirror, making it look like a window and helping it to diffuse light around the room. Remember, placing a mirror across from a window is a great way of "recycling" the natural light throughout your house.

What About You?

Have you tried this method on a hanging mirror?

See results

Note: This treatment is not very green (energy conserving), even if you get thick shower curtains. You may want to use that heat-shrinking plastic on the window itself each winter.

How to Create the Mirror Lighting Effect

  1. Buy and hang a large (4 ft. by 6 ft., for example--or larger) mirror on a wall in your house that is dark or on a wall that gets light that can be scattered throughout the rest of your house making it brighter without needing to turn on lights during the day.
  2. Buy two drapery tie-back hooks or the ornate pieces of wood through which there is a hole to string through a window scarf. Hang these tie-backs, one at each top corner of your mirror.
  3. Buy one sheer scarf (or more, for different seasons or a variety of looks). Ideally, you want the scarf to be long enough to go up the side of the mirror, drape slightly in the middle, then go down the opposite side and still have enough material for a few inches to "puddle" on the floor artistically.
  4. Install the scarf and enjoy!


  • String garlands of flowers, leaves, snowflakes, etc. (it usually takes two identical garlands) appropriate for each season on top of your mirror scarves for an especially classy look.
  • Combine two or more different colors of scarves. Weave them together, or let them hang loosely.
  • Pretend the mirror is a window: use a window curtain rod and use drapes, drapery pulls, tie-backs, etc. just like you would if this were a real window.
  • Add molding or stained-glass effects to the mirror.

Translucent but NOT Transparent Drapes

Shower-curtain liner drapes with a no-see-through pattern pulled open, just like regular drapes.
Shower-curtain liner drapes with a no-see-through pattern pulled open, just like regular drapes. | Source
Patterned shower-curtain liner drapes pulled closed, just like regular drapes. From the outside, they simply appear to be white sheer curtains.
Patterned shower-curtain liner drapes pulled closed, just like regular drapes. From the outside, they simply appear to be white sheer curtains. | Source

Would you try this window treatment?

See results

The ULTIMATE Sheer Window Treatment: Dare to Go Bare!

Are you someone who likes bright, natural light as much as possible?

This is the ULTIMATE sheer window treatment: replace your existing window coverings with two textured/non-see-through shower curtain liners! You'll have all the privacy, all the light, and from the outside of the house these look simply like white sheer curtains.

Refer to the picture to see the amazing effect. In this case, I replaced two heavy hotel-like curtains that opened and closed from the middle with two shower curtains on the same mechanism, so they also open and close from the middle just like regular fabric drapes.

This is a great solution for people who "get the winter blues" or have been diagnosed with seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) or clinical depression. In this case, the best window to use this treatment on is the bedroom window of that person(s).

This is also great for people who like to rise and sleep with the sun.

About the Author

Information about the author, a list of her complete works on HubPages, and a means of contacting her are available over on Laura Schneider's profile page.

© 2011 Laura Schneider


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