DIY Door Panel

One of my favorite DIY decor things in our house right now is our front door panel. I made it last summer, but I never posted a tutorial. Mainly because I was winging it when I made it and I didn’t know if it would work. Then, when it did work, I thought, I can’t blog a tutorial on this, I don’t have the step-by-step pictures. But then I was looking through one of my sewing project books (it was One-Yard Wonders) and I realized, Hey, sewing books only ever have pictures of the finished product! The tutorial is all words!


So here’s how to make your own Door Panel, book tutorial style. You’ll also learn how to take measurements to make your own curtains, so this will be worth reading even if you don’t have a door with glass.

DIY Door Panel

Door panels are meant to give you a bit of privacy when you have a door with glass. Having a curtain rod at the top and the bottom keeps the panel put when you’re swingin’ the door around.

Most commercial door panels out in the world are sheer, so that more light is let in. We weren’t loving those. And everything seemed to come with boring colors or big price tags. We also didn’t find one that was the right size for the window in our 100+ year-old-door. DIY to the rescue.

We also like that we can tie it up to let lots of light in or loosten it for privacy. Confession: we pretty much never loosten it. There’s only so much privacy one needs in one’s entryway (especially when you have another staircase the leads into the kitchen when you’re getting a midnight snack in your underwear).

If you want to tie yours in the middle, make sure to think of that when you choose a fabric print. Some large patters won’t look great bunched up.

DIY Door Panel

I bought fancy fabric from Urban Arts and Crafts for the front and cheap gray broadcloth for the back.

You can kind of see what the other side looks like behind Jake and Jonas there.

DIY Door Panel

You’ll need:

-Two curtain rods
-Fabric sized to meet the size of your door window (we’ll talk abou this first)
-Coordinating fabric for the back, also sized to fit the door window
-1 spool of coordinating thread
-Standard sewing notions (sewing machine, cutting mat, rotary cutter, quilter’s rulers, etc.)

*Seam allowance is 1/2”

DIY Door Panel

To Measure:

-To figure out the measure of fabric you’ll need, first you’ll need to install your curtain rods.

-To find the length of fabric that you’ll need, measure the length from the top curtain rod to the bottom curtain rod. Take the length between the rods, add four inches for curtain rod casing (two inches for each rod, including seam allowance; adjust as necessary if your rods are big in diameter), and add another 3 inches so that the fabric will have enough give to tie in the middle. To make it simpler: Fabric length = length between curtain rods + 7 inches

(Here’s the formula for a regular curtain: Fabric length = desired length of curtain + 2 inches for curtain rod (or more, if you have a big curtain rod) + 1/2 inch for seam allowance)

-To find the width of fabric you’ll need, measure the distance you’d like the curtain to cover (the width of the window, or slightly over). Double that number and add 1 inch for the half inch seam allowance on each side. This will give you enough fabric to bunch. (*The doubling doesn’t have to be exact. My window width was 22 inches and the fabric was 44 inches wide and that worked just fine, even without the extra inch for seam allowance.)

(This is also a good rule with regular curtain panels: doubling the desired width will give you enough room to bunch.)

*You will need this length and width of fabric for both the front and the back of the curtain panel.

Now that you’ve got your measurements, buy/pick out the fabric, pre-wash and press it, and cut it down. Repeat for both the front and the back fabric.

DIY Door Panel

To Sew:

-Pin the front and back sides of the fabric together, right sides facing in.

-Sew the sides of the fabric together. Do not sew the top and bottom.

-Turn the fabric inside out and press the sides.

-Make the rod casing by pressing under the top of curtain panel 1/2 inch. Then press under another 2 inches (or adjust to fit your curtain rod). Topstitch the hem to form the casing for your curtain rod. Repeat for the bottom.

DIY Door Panel

Voila! I did this whole thing in under three hours (or two Hellraiser movies), and that was when I was trying to figure out what to do and how to measure. I’d like to note that this was my first sewing project that I completed without instructions, so I’m pretty proud.

Have you ever made your own home decor?

See more tutorials from the Nerd Nest here.