When trying to make your apartment balcony more private, you’ve probably come across most of the standard ideas.
One idea you won’t find much information on is plant / botanical curtains. These are possible with both real and fake plants and are surprisingly easy to make.
In this article, we’ll cover all the steps for both faux plant curtains and living plant curtains. You’ll find a list of materials and detailed steps, which will give you a great set of plant curtains.
How to Make Faux Plant Curtains
Let’s start with faux ivy plant curtains because they’re the easiest to make. Of course, since they are faux plants, they also require less upkeep, as, once they’re made, you won’t have to do anything else with them!
Bear in mind, these ivy curtains won’t really block out light. They’ll offer you a degree of privacy, regardless of whether you use them indoors or outdoors.
Here’s the list of materials and detailed instructions.
- Fake ivy (like this one)
- A curtain rod
- Curtain rings
- Wall brackets for mounting
- An electric drill
1. Measure your balcony
Begin by measuring your balcony space. Generally, curtains are the width of a window plus an extra 50%. For ivy curtains, you don’t really need to apply this rule, but you can if you want.
Whatever you decide to do, the curtains should at least cover the width of your balcony.
Be sure to choose a pack of faux ivy that’s big enough. For example, if your open space is 10’ x 10’, you need 100’ of faux ivy. The pack linked above has 158’, which is more than enough.
2. Thread the ivy
Cut the ivy into pieces of the correct length and thread into the curtain rings. It’s best to use rings with loops rather than clips because it’ll produce a more secure curtain.
Depending on how thick you want the curtain, you can tie multiple strands of ivy onto each ring. Of course, this means you’ll need more ivy.
3. Mount the curtain pole
Most curtain poles will come with mounting equipment. This usually consists of some wall brackets and wall plugs.
It’s best to install these before going any further. To do so, you’ll need a power drill with a hammer setting.
Decide the best spot for these and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It might be safest to fit them inside your balcony rather than outside.
Don’t put the curtain rod up yet, though.
4. Hang the ivy curtains
Begin threading the curtain rings onto the rod. It’s best to keep the strands of ivy separate rather than tying or sewing them together into a large sheet. Simply put, it’s easier to work with.
Once you’ve put all the rings onto the pole, you can then hang the pole.
That’s it; you have your very own vine curtains!
Other Types of Faux Plant Curtains
Fake ivy is probably the most widely available type of fake vine. But if it’s not to your liking, there are other options. These include:
Following the steps above, you could easily turn any of these into a set of faux plant curtains. Providing it comes as a garland, it can become a curtain!
How to Make Living Curtains
Living curtains are a bit more complicated to make than faux plant curtains. They require more upkeep so the plants stay in good shape.
What’s more, they’re not instant like faux plant curtains. You’ll have to wait a few years before even fast-growing plants reach full size.
Even so, living botanical curtains can be much more attractive, simply because they’re real plants.
There are a couple of methods depending on your space and requirements. We’ll cover both in detail below.
First, we’ll start with a hanging living curtain. When choosing plants for a living curtain, make sure you’re aware of your current climate. Many of the most suitable plants are houseplants, and they might not survive outside.
- PVC tubing, roughly 4” in diameter
- Caps for the tubing
- A drill
- Wall mounting brackets
- Climbing plant cuttings (such as Pothos or ivy)
1. Take your measurements
As before, you want to start by measuring how long the piece of tubing needs to be. It’ll function as your curtain rod so make sure it’s the same length as your balcony’s width.
Cut the tubing to the right length.
2. Drill holes
Next, mark a line down the pipe’s length using a pencil. Every 4” or so, drill a small pilot hole. Then, expand the holes using a slightly larger drill bit.
These holes are for your plants so make sure they’re wider than the plant stem’s diameter.
If you have lots of plants, just drill more holes.
3. Drill more holes
On the opposite side, draw another line down the pipe’s length. This should be directly opposite the line of holes you just drew.
You need to drill another line of holes for watering. After all, these are living curtains and so will need to be watered.
Ideally, the holes should fall in between the other line. To do this, begin 2” in from one end and then drill every 4” again. This should put each watering hole between 2 plant holes.
These holes should also be bigger than your plant holes. Again, start with a pilot hole and work up to a large drill bit.
4. Fill the tubing
Living curtains need dirt, so that’s the next step. Begin by putting a cap on one end. You’ll find these in hardware stores, where you should also buy your PVC tubing.
Getting both from the same place makes it easier to find matching caps and tubing.
If you want to be extra secure, screw or glue the cap in place.
You can line the tubing with newspaper to stop dirt from falling out, but this isn’t entirely necessary. It’ll help with water retention, though.
5. Plant the vines
You’ll need to be very gentle with this step. The plant cuttings should all be rooted and ideally should be single stems.
Pothos are really easy to propagate into individual cuttings. Other than Pothos, you could choose:
- English ivy
- Begonia vine
With a small implement (such as a chopstick), gently push the plant’s roots into the hole. Repeat this for every plant cutting.
6. Finish off
Once all the plants are in place, try to compress the soil slightly. You can do this by pressing on it from the open end. This will help to keep the plants in place.
Don’t do it too much, though, as you could accidentally damage the plants.
Finally, put the cap on and mount the tubing using wall brackets. This process is the same as the method given above.
It’s fairly easy to make living plant curtains, but here are some tips for improving your final result.
- Consider painting the tubing so it looks nicer. Acrylic paint will stick to the tubing and isn’t toxic enough to kill the plants.
- Once the plants reach a good length, trim the ends. This will make them bushier.
- It’s always best to under water plants. You can tell when Pothos is thirsty because its leaves curl.
- If this isn’t for a balcony, you’ll find it easier to install inside. Something like Pothos doesn’t do well in a lot of outdoor climates and is primarily grown as a houseplant.
How to Make Rising Living Curtains
So, the previous method was for hanging plant curtains. Rising plant curtains are much easier. Technically, they might not even be curtains but they do the same job.
This method is so simple it hardly needs writing out in full. All you need is:
- Gardening wire
- Plant pot
- Climbing plants
Some of the best climbing plants for rising living curtains include:
- Morning glory
All you need to do is set up a trellis system using the wire. Arrange it across the space you want to cover in a grid pattern.
To fix it to walls, drill holes and insert screws. You can then twist the wire around them. While you have other options, such as clips, these won’t take the weight of a fully-grown plant.
Then, simply put the plant in the pot and train it up the trellis. That’s all there is to it!
As you can see, this is a bit of a cheat if we’re talking about vine curtains. But, it’ll provide the best coverage.
Another option is hanging plants from a curtain rod. You just install a curtain rod and hang plant pots from it. While this might not give you the same coverage as the living plant curtains above, it’s a much easier option to install.
Plant curtains are an interesting alternative to normal curtains. While faux plant curtains require less upkeep, there are few things better than growing an amazing living curtain from something like Pothos or honeysuckle.
Of course, whatever option you choose, make sure it goes with your other design choices and is in line with any possible building regulations.