My husband and I like to have our dinner out on the front porch when the weather is nice, but at a certain time in the evening (dinner time) the sun sets just so in the sky, causing my dear husband to squint and turn in his seat at an odd angle. I offer to switch places with him, but he is a gentleman through and through and of course says, “I’m fine” and goes on eating his dinner while the sun blasts him in the side of the face.  My left brain contemplated a solution to this problem while my right brain demanded it be adorable and creative .

This is what I came up with:

It's a Mermaid

It’s a Mermaid

And this is how I made it:

 

 

drilling lots of sticks

drilling lots of sticks

First step, eat a lot of popsicles. Just kidding! You can buy already popsicle-free sticks at any craft store. First step is to drill a hole in each end. I have a Dremel drill press which makes this step pretty easy, but it is tedious and requires your undivided attention. Not my favorite part of this project but obviously crucial. I tried drilling more than one stick at a time but it took longer to get a nice straight stack of sticks than to just drill them one by one. If I make more of these curtains, I will probably make some sort of jig to simplify this step and speed the process. It is very important to drill them in the correct spot (close to the edge), and to make a nice splinter-free hole. This curtain took 329 sticks.

 

Lay them out super straight, making sure the columns line up properly or your image won’t look right when the curtain is hung. Tape them into position. You may be tempted to skip this step and just decorate as is, but I think that is a bad idea. You need the sticks to remain in position for your image to look right, and these little buggers do not want to stay in formation on their own. I will skip the plain masking tape next time and just use more blue tape to make it easier to peel the sticks off when it is time to string the curtain. Before you flip the curtain, number the top row of sticks with a pencil to avoid any mix ups.

I sponged on watered down red paint for a stained look, then ironed on a stencil cut from magical freezer paper and sprayed it with silver paint. The image looked sort of washed out so I traced the outlines with a red sharpie. Next time I will use a bolder design and more high contrast colors. This image is a little too subtle, but there was not a whole lot I could do at this point so I just went with it.

 

 

painted screen blank

painted screen

mermaid screen with stencil

mermaid screen with stencil

mermaid screen, stenciled screen

stenciled screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the paint is dry, it’s time to string the sticks together using jump rings. I made my own, but you can buy them already made. They are super easy to make and much much cheaper, but they kill your hands and wrists, so it depends on what is more important to you. I like to think that pain builds character. Yeah. Carefully peel the sticks off one column at a time and chain them together. Hopefully you took my advice and numbered them. It will be much easier to keep track if you did. You can either add a ring to the top hole now or wait until you attach the curtain to the rod, whatever you prefer. You will save a half step by adding the ring later when you attach it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This curtain is 47 columns wide, so I drilled 47 pilot holes one popsicle-stick-plus-a-smidge apart, then screwed 47 eye screws into the dowel. I also screwed 2 into the top of the dowel for hanging. They only had large eye screws at the 99¢ store and I really didn’t feel like going to Home Depot at this stage of the game, so that’s what I used. I would make a special trip to the HD for small eye screws next time because these were too big and industrial looking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s it. It looks very pretty an it makes a lovely sound when the breeze blows, like a muted wind chime. Most importantly, it keeps the sun of my sweet husband’s face. Sounds like a winner.