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How to Embellish Curtains

You can punch up the style of your curtains by adding even more shine, texture, and dimension to your treatment with paillettes, sequins, rhinestones, studs, and other little extras. Considering how much style these little extras bring and how little time (and money) it takes to add them, you may even want to attach more than one.

Adding fabric embellishments

You can make a wide variety of beautiful extras with fabric and add them to your window treatment.

  • Rosettes: Consider adding rosettes to a balloon valance, or to the area where the swag and cascade meet. You can also use a rosette to help disguise, if necessary, the area where nondecorative brackets or other purely functional hardware pieces are attached to the wall. You can add smaller rosettes to your tiebacks for added charm.

    Keep the size of the rosette consistent with the treatment’s proportion. If you’re adding to a drapery, your rosettes can be larger, but keep them smaller for a shorter curtain.

  • Bows: Simple bows comprise two loops and two tails that hang downward. You can create them from ribbon or use matching or contrasting fabrics. You can add them to the corners of a swag treatment or use them to make pretty tiebacks for any treatment. Bows impart a sweet and homey feeling to curtains, perfect for a kitchen or family room/den treatment.

  • Maltese crosses: A Maltese cross is also made either from ribbon or fabric, but consists of four loops and no tails, with either a small button or small circle of fabric in the center. It gives a more formal feel to draperies and looks quite elegant in a living room or dining room.

Using paillettes, sequins, and other sparkly things

Paillettes or sequins can jazz up a window treatment, and rhinestones or studs adhered with a hand-held mechanical applicator (like a Be-Dazzler) are always a universal hit with little (and not so little) girls, so apply them with gusto!

  • Paillettes and sequins: Paillettes are round, flat, and usually metallic-finished discs with tiny holes at the top, which enable you to attach them to fabric. Paillettes come in two basic sizes — 20 millimeter and 30 millimeter — and have matte or shiny finishes. Some have a mirror-like finish, which especially adds dazzle and shine. Consider adding them to an ultramodern panel treatment as a simple yet dazzling embellishment reminiscent of the 1960s.

    Sequins are similar to paillettes, but they’re smaller, their holes are in the middle, and they can come in many different shapes, such as squares, triangles, or circles. You can buy sequins loose or prestrung. The prestrung sequins are lined up and great for applying evenly along seams or hems.

    Sequins look great when distributed randomly across a solid fabric, or to mimic a constellation. You can also add them to prints to highlight areas of a motif, such as scattered inside the petals of a flower, or along the “collar” of an animal.

  • Studs and Stones: Applying stones and studs with a handheld mechanical applicator — the best known is the Be-Dazzler — is a whimsical and inexpensive way to add a bit of glitz. One by one, you attach tiny rhinestones, studs, or other jewel-like embellishments (with the help of little metal findings that hold them in place) to fabric with the Be-Dazzler, which costs about $20 and is available at many crafts stores. You have plenty to choose from in terms of styles of stones and studs, including

    • Artificial pearls

    • Clear and colored rhinestones

    • Metal mirrors

    • Silver- and gold-tone metal studs in star, heart, flower, square, and round shapes

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