Try These Brilliant Hacks Before Throwing Away Your Old Shower Curtains

Are you in the middle of renovating your bathroom or just looking to shake up the style of the space? One of the best ways to refresh this room is to hang a new stylish shower curtain – but then comes the question of what to do with the old one. Rather than just throwing the curtain and liner in the trash, be more sustainable by upcycling them. There are lots of easy and affordable transformations that can save these linens from the landfill, and we've found some of the best and most unexpected options. These will turn your old items into useful or decorative products that can be used in the home and backyard.

Keep in mind that not all shower curtains can or should be used for DIYs, especially if you're getting rid of your current set due to mold and mildew infestations; mild cases can be treated by thorough cleaning and sanitizing, but not always. Remember to clean the shower curtain and liner thoroughly before upcycling for any purpose, and be mindful of the materials it's made of. Some shower curtains may be made of materials that are not suitable for certain projects, so consider the characteristics of your curtain before deciding on the upcycling project.

1. Turn it into a paint canvas

Stretch your old fabric shower curtain across a wooden board frame and staple it down to create the perfect canvas to paint on. Of course, if your curtain is plain white to begin with, you can start fresh, but patterned options can also work. You could either paint the whole thing white or try to build off the pattern and make a one-of-a-kind art piece to hang in your home. 

2. Create a foundational layer in the garden

Nobody likes to waste money at the home improvement store. When you need a cloth barrier to prevent any unwanted sprawling sprouts or to create a foundation for gravel, opt for an old shower curtain instead of purchasing a new item. For this application, you want one that is water-resistant because it will be in contact with water so often. Some curtains are prone to mold if they're not able to dry out fully between waterings, so try to use a very water-resistant fabric curtain or plastic shower curtain liner. 

3. Sew a water-resistant outdoor tablecloth

When outdoor dining season starts in the summer, you may realize that none of your regular tablecloths are up to the task, whether they'd get too dirty or snag on splinters. One brilliant way to repurpose your shower curtain is to turn it into an outdoor dinner table cover. Just cut off the rings and hem the edges for perfect dining. Best of all, if your shower curtain has some moisture-resistance, it will be super easy to wipe down when the meal is done. 

4. Make craft time cleanup easier

No matter how often you remind your little ones to be careful with paint and markers, they still seem to color well outside of the lines. That's why an upcycled shower cloth craft mat is a great idea. After thoroughly cleaning the shower curtain, just designate it as the little ones craft mat. Throw it over your coffee table, dining table, or floor and let them go wild (as far as the mat goes, of course). When they're done crafting, just clean it, fold it up, and stow it away until the next crafting day. 

5. Tote it around

You can never have too many tote bags, so why not make one out of your old shower curtain? Use your favorite tote bag as a template for the bag pattern by tracing its outline on an inside-out, folded-over shower curtain. Cut the pattern out, then pin it into place before sewing the edges. You can easily fashion some straps from the shower curtain or any other scrap fabric you have around, then sew them to the top open edge. Now you have a perfect, sustainably-made tote bag for the farmers market or grocery store. 

6. Make customizable drawer liners

Drawers are one of those places many people forget about during the cleaning process, but if you take a look inside yours, you may be surprised to see how dusty and dirty they really are. That's one of the reasons drawer and shelf liners are a must-have in kitchen cabinets, as they can be wiped down, cleaned, and removed easily. You can craft your own from an old shower curtain or liner. Just cut the shower curtain to size and attach it with some double-sided tape or wall putty. 

7. Protect and decorate books

All of your prized novels, cookbooks, or textbooks can easily be protected from spills and other messes with the help of book covers. Old shower curtains are perfect for this task and can give this functional item some much-needed color and pattern. Just lay the book out on the clean shower curtain and trace it, leaving about 2 inches of excess fabric on each side. Fold the excess fabric over and secure it into place with hem tape or super glue, then slide it over the edges of your book's cover. 

8. Craft a cute playmat for kids

Remember spending hours sprawled out on the ground with your toy cars and a simple playmat? You can easily make your own mat with an old white shower curtain and some fabric paints. Free draw a few city buildings, houses, or streets, use a projector to sketch out a map, or cut designs out from other scraps of fabric — make it as simple or as detailed as you'd like! This turns an old shower curtain into a low-cost, treasured toy for your little ones that will last for years in your home. 

9. Avoid having to buy a new slip-and-slide

The joys of childhood summers in the backyard don't need to cost a fortune. To create your own slip-and-slide, just take an old plastic or vinyl shower curtain liner and wet it down with the hose for the easiest summer activity ever. If you have multiple liners, you can sew them together to extend the slide run (and the fun). Just be sure to let the slide fully dry before folding it up and storing it away to avoid mold and mildew growth. 

10. Shower curtains are basically drop cloths already

When you're budgeting for a DIY project, nobody likes to add on the cost of drop cloths. These are disposable, single-use plastic sheets that you have to buy over and over again but are ultimately necessary to protect your home's floors and furniture when painting. Instead of springing for a new roll every time you're renovating, use an old shower curtain or liner as your drop cloth. Secure them around the room's perimeter with tape or use them as a portable mat for smaller projects. 

11. Add a cupboard privacy curtain

Open shelving and storage sounds like an amazing idea — until you realize you're actually not as organized as you thought. Because of this, you may want to be able to draw a sash over your messier cupboards. Take the fabric from your old shower curtain and fashion it into a cupboard privacy curtain that will instantly add cozy charm. Just measure the length of the cupboard and add 1 or 2 inches, cut the curtain to size, and hem the edge with a wide-enough opening that will fit over a tension rod. Install in any doorless cupboard for easy, upcycled privacy. 

12. Transform it into a picnic blanket

Even after rain has passed and the sun has come up, wet grass can put a damper on picnic plans. That's why transforming your shower curtain into a picnic blanket is a great choice. Rather than just throwing the curtain on the ground, consider sewing a few layers of insulating fabric to it so you can stay warm and dry on your next picnic adventure. If you're getting rid of a shower curtain liner as well, sew it onto the blanket for additional no-cost waterproofing. Fold and store in your linen closet so you never have to cancel your outdoor dining plans again. 

13. DIY dinner placemats

Looking to add an elegant, functional, and decorative accessory to the dinner table? All you need is a freshly-washed and sanitized shower curtain and scissors. If you want to make this project extra-simple, just cut the fabric into rectangles and call it a day. On the other hand, for a polished look, you could hem the edges. Then, simply lay out the mats around your table and allow them to catch any spills or stains that could occur.

14. Reupholster a dining chair cushion

Getting chair cushions professionally reupholstered can be very expensive, and fabric costs can be huge even if you choose to DIY. But if you're replacing your shower curtains, take a look at the fabric and see if it could be added onto your favorite dining chairs with removable cushions for a low-cost transformation. Remove the cushions and the old fabric, then measure the length, width, and depth of the seat. Add a few inches onto your measurements so the shower curtain can wrap around easily. Cut it to size, then staple it into place. Simple as can be and an affordable furniture upgrade.

15. Make it an even better shower curtain

Fallen in love with a shower curtain that's bedazzled with sequin trim or a glamorous golden fringe? These simple additions can come with a ridiculous markup. Instead of buying a new curtain, try to upgrade your current one for a more affordable and sustainable change. You can always sew trim on if you've got the machine or skillset, but you can also find plenty of iron-on trims at the craft store. You could also attach the fabric, pompom, or tassle of your choice with iron-on hem tape. 

16. Create a pet bed liner

When furry friends love their pet beds, it shows. These plush materials can quickly gather a ton of fur, grime, and debris. Because of this, consider using an old shower curtain as a liner. Cut the shower curtain to size (you may be able to get multiple liners out of the curtain, depending on the size of the bed), and tuck it into the folds. When you notice the liner is getting a bit dirty, just throw it into the laundry machine, let it fully dry, and replace it.