Problem: Toddlers Who Love My Cookbooks
With three toddler triplets, my house quickly turns into a disaster area. I am a firm believer in letting the toddlers explore their home and not put everything out of reach. Instead, I train them on what they can play with and what they should not touch. This has worked fairly well and they generally follow my instructions…except for one thing: my cookbook bookshelf. I have this small bookshelf near my kitchen so that the cookbooks are easy to access. My oldest and I love to cook together and the bookshelf is in the perfect spot. It also serves as a place where I keep our pens and note paper.
The babies love to pull out every single cookbook from this small bookcase. My mama suggested that I move the bookshelf somewhere else where the babies can’t get to it. Out of stubbornness, I refuse. I am going to die on this hill of teaching the babies not to pull out every single cookbook that they see. One of us is going to win this battle and it is going to be me! Another problem with the bookshelf is I feel it makes the room look cluttered. Even though the books are neatly put away, it still feels too busy for me. Out of desperation, I had this idea. If I could keep the visual temptation away from the babies and add a pop of color to my kitchen by adding a curtain on my bookshelf, this might be a winning solution.
Solution: A Beautiful Curtain for My Bookshelf
I created this super easy curtain for the bookshelf in my kitchen. I love this project because the curtain can be used in so many different places: in a window, in a doorway that does not have a door, in a closet, and of course, on a bookshelf. It is a project that can be done in 10 minutes and is very inexpensive. I also like that it is not permanent so I can easily remove it if necessary. The curtain really turned out well and it added that extra visual element to my kitchen that was missing. Check it out!
I Have Won This Battle
Look, I have already fooled my toddler. She is intrigued by the new decor, but she is not pulling any cookbooks off of the bookshelf. I would say I won this battle. (Wink, wink)
How to Make Your Own No-Sew Curtain
In this section you will learn how to make this simple curtain for your bookshelves at home. Note: If you want to use this project for purposes other than a bookshelf, just make sure you adjust your measurements accordingly.
- Tension Rod (18″-28″ or 28″-48″), Fabric (use a curtain panel or purchase some fabric from your favorite craft store), Permanent Fabric Adhesive Tape, Sewing Scissors, Sewing Tape Measure, Construction Tape Measure, Iron
- Measure and Purchase: Measure the opening of your bookshelf (or window, doorway, etc.). You will need to know the length and the width of the inside of your bookshelf before purchasing any supplies. (I learned this the hard way!) Note: When purchasing the tension rod, be certain to purchase the correct size. Tension rods are not a one size fits all (as I found out). The rod will expand several inches, so be sure your bookshelf’s width measurement is within that range. Purchase the correct size tension rod and fabric amount for your bookshelf (along with the other supplies you do not have on hand). When purchasing fabric, be sure to add an extra inch to the width and two inches to the height to make room for the hem.
- Prepare the Fabric: Iron the fabric. Using a pencil, mark lightly on the backside of the fabric where the length and width dimensions are remembering to add one inch to the width and two inches to the height measurements. Make your cuts slowly and accurately. For accurate straight line fabric cutting, I recommend viewing this brief tutorial: How to Cut Fabric Perfectly Straight
- Hem the Sides of Your Cover: Beginning with the left side, place fabric adhesive tape in a straight line running down the entire length of the fabric along the edge. Peel the backing off the adhesive tape. Gently fold over the taped side to create a clean and straight hem. Press firmly on the folded fabric to adhere the fabric to the adhesive tape. Repeat the same hem process for the right side.
- Create a Pocket for the Tension Rod: At the very top of the fabric, place the adhesive tape along the width. Peel off the backing of the tape. Do not fold the fabric over yet. You are going to make a simple pocket for the tension rod. Place the tension rod 1/2″ underneath the adhesive tape. Fold the top of the fabric over the tension rod so the adhesive tape adheres to the fabric underneath the tension rod. You are creating a little pocket for the tension rod to fit in. Be certain that you have a straight line going across the fabric. Press firmly on the adhesive tape.
- Finish the Bottom Hem: Finally, finish off the curtain by making a hem on the bottom of the fabric just as you did with the right and left side hems.
- Hang the Curtain: With the tension rod in the pocket of the curtain, hang the tension rod in your bookshelf. Spread out the curtain on the rod and be proud of the work you just did!
Conclusion: I Surrender!
Well, it turns out this bookshelf cover is not as toddler-proof as I would like. I was really hoping that the fabric would be a strong distraction that the babies would not even be enticed to come over and play with the cookbooks. My plan worked to some degree… They now like pulling the Bookshelf Cover off of the bookshelf and walking around with the fabric around their shoulders. So basically, I just created a new fun toy for them to play with in addition to my cookbooks! The lesson here is don’t ever try to outsmart a toddler. They are totally 3 steps ahead of me.
Wrapping It Up
In all seriousness, this bookshelf curtain is an easy and affordable way to cover bookshelf contents. Sometimes, it is not feasible to move a bookshelf out of a room due to the necessity of the contents. Having this beautiful cover will add a simple touch to the room while still having easy access to the fabulous books inside. It may not be toddler-proof (as my babies proved to me), but it really works well in a pinch.
Questions for You
I want to hear from you! Please leave your answers to the questions in the comments below. Also, I want to see pictures of you making this! Send me an email at: email@example.com.
- How many bookshelves do you have in your home?
- What is your favorite genre of books?
- What else could you create a tension rod curtain like this for? Under the bathroom sink? A closet without a door? An open doorway that you want closed off? The options are endless.