Bead Curtain

A window treatment that will add intrigue to your home is bead curtains. You can mix and match them with other window coverings to create a unique look. Whether you choose to use usual materials for your bead curtains or do something a bit different -- like stringing shells -- you can create any look you want.

Bead curtains are an exotic and sometimes musical entryway treatment. Bead curtains are often used in doorways, but they can also cover windows. Sometimes, bead curtains are used to partition a room.

A bead curtain consists of many long strings of beads hung from a horizontal curtain rod, spaced closely but not touching each other. The bead strings are tied to hook screws screwed into the bottom edge of the curtain rod. The length of the bead strings is such that their ends just clear the floor.

The curtain rod may be metal, but wood or bamboo makes it easier to screw in eye hooks. The curtain rod is generally supported by brackets. Alternatively, it could be fastened to the doorway with nails or screws, or even embedded in notches cut into the door frame.

The string used in a bead curtain is important. It must support the often significant weight of all the beads it holds, and it must not stretch over time. The string must also resist fraying as beads slide and twist on it. Braided nylon fishing line is a good choice for a bead curtain. Monofilament fishing line is often used, too. Cotton, hemp, wool, and other coarsely textured yarns can be used if beads are tied firmly in place, or in bead curtains used to cover windows and other openings where the bead curtain will not be moved. Thicker yarns add their own textures to the overall look of a bead curtain, while thin strings do not compete with the beads for attention.

The beads used in a bead curtain can be of virtually any shape, size, and color. Beads used in doorway bead curtains should be relatively light in weight so they will swing out of the way easily as people pass through the doorway. Plastic, papier mache, and hollow metal or clay work well in doorway bead curtains. Heavier beads of glass, crystal, or solid metal and clay are suitable for stationary bead curtains.

Making a bead curtain is easy once all the materials have been gathered. Cut appropriate lengths of string, adding five inches for knots at each end. Tie a bulky knot about two inches from one end of a string to keep beads from sliding off as they are added. String your beads in whatever pattern of disorder pleases you. Loop the string through the last bead twice and tie it off. When you finish a strand, hang it from a hook screw and get back to stringing another string.

Lengths of soda straws, porcupine quills, or bone hairpipe can be used as spacers between beads. This adds extra texture and variety to a bead curtain, as well as making it more open so that one can see through the bead curtain more easily. You can even tie little bells into a bead curtain to create a wind chime effect when the bead curtain moves.

A bead curtain is an eclectic, "hippie" bit of decor that adds fun and charm to any household. Bead curtains are not just for fortune tellers!