Add paint and finials to metal pipes to create a custom rod.

How to Make a Curtain Rod Out of a Metal Pipe

by Gina Samarotto

When it comes to decorating, your creativity and interests serve as your best guide. Whether you need a low-cost solution to your window challenges or want the look and feel of industrial design, metal pipe offers a distinctive alternative to store-bought rods. With tons of choices, metal piping gives you an affordable, creative way to dress up any window. A few design ideas and a trip to a plumbing or home improvement store puts you well on your way to building a stunning drapery rod despite its humble beginnings.

Measure the distance the rod needs to cover. If you plan to use finials, measure those pieces, then subtract that number from the total length of pipe needed.

Look for a pipe that has the finish needed for your project. Copper, aluminum or galvanized steel come readily available in multiple lengths. If you plan to paint your curtain rods, aluminum offers a lightweight and inexpensive choice that takes paint well.

Match the brackets to the rod installation. If you mount the rod flush between two walls, you will also need pipe cuffs or flanges. If you plan to hang the rod from the ceiling, include hanging brackets with a closed loop on your shopping list. Traditional wall mounting requires nothing more than basic open-arm brackets.

Add finials, if desired. If you would like to use finials with an unfinished rod, pick a pair with a base color that matches the pipe material. If you plant to paint your rod, simple metal or wood finials work the best.

Obtain the appropriate screws and anchors for your installation. Unless you attach the rod bracket directly to a wood stud, you will need wall anchors to keep the rod's supporting brackets from pulling out of the wall with the weight of the curtains. Self-tapping, plastic anchors sized for the weight of the rod and curtain are easy and quick to install.

Cut the pipe to the desired finished length. Use a hacksaw with a metal-cutting blade or a specialty pipe-cutting tool. You can also have the pipes cut to fit your measurements at most any hardware or home improvement store when you buy the pipes.

Paint the rod, finial and brackets with spray paint, if desired. Apply several light coats of paint and allow the paint to dry thoroughly between coats for a clean finish. Make certain that you get a spray paint specifically designed for metal for the best results.

Install the brackets. If you install the rod flush between two walls, thread your curtain onto the rod prior to completing the installation. Regardless of the bracket types you install, measure the placement carefully to keep them level and even.

Attach the curtain rod to the brackets. If you use ceiling-hung brackets, thread the rod through the right bracket until you can fit the left end of the rod into the left bracket. Add the curtain with a rod pocket to the bracket first before inserting the rod into the brackets.

Items you will need

  • Tape measure
  • Hacksaw or pipe-cutting tool
  • Spray paint
  • Wall anchors
  • Screws
  • Rod brackets
  • Finials
  • Stepladder
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Safety glasses


  • Metal conduit offers a lightweight, budget-friendly alternative to traditional metal pipe.
  • Enlist someone to help you insert the rod onto the brackets. Unwieldy when working alone, longer rod lengths usually take more than one person to install.


  • Wear safety glasses to protect eyes from debris when using a hacksaw, drill or any power tool.
  • Avoid spray painting in an enclosed area. Do your spraying outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep tools, blades, paints and ladders well out of the reach of children.

About the Author

Gina Samarotto is an award-winning designer specializing in both interior design and landscape architecture. She is the principal designer of the New York-based Samarotto Design Group.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images