Friday, December 30, 2011

DIY EASY Roman Shades

My ten year old son decided that he no longer wanted a two toned room with glow in the dark dinosaurs on the wall.  I'm a lot sad about it but it did present a great project for the two of us to work on this past week.

More later about the room. . . we're not quite done with it but should be by the New Year.  Instead I am going to show you a project we did for the room.  Roman Shades!  These are very easy and we had all the stuff here at home to make them with.

You need the following:

A set of regular mini blinds that fit the window across
Fabric for your blinds
Good glue that will adhere to the fabric
A way to hem your fabric (sewing machine or the stitch witchery hem tape)

We used an old mini blind that had been in the room previously that I had saved.  (Can we say hoarder?)  My reluctance to toss anything even somewhat useful came in handy this time!

Start by cutting out the ladder that holds the blinds in place.  You DO NOT want to cut the middle string which pulls them up and down.

When you are done you will be left with a bunch of slats that move up and down freely.  The middle cord is still in place.  Leave it there!

Now pull out the plug on the end, pull out the knot and untie it (or cut it).  My blinds were the perfect length already so I untied it.

Now is the time for math.  Figure out how long your window is and how many folds you want in your shade.  My window is 58 inches long and I wanted eight folds.  Pull out all the slats except one less than the number of folds.  I left seven slats because seven slats plus the big thick bottom equals eight.

You need to decide the size and fabric you want for your shade.  I knew that I wanted it to cover the inside of the window exactly.  My little guy gets migraines so we also needed black out curtains.  We had a pair of dark blue ones hanging there originally so I used one panel from that to make the shade.

Hem your fabric to the size you want.  Since I wanted it to fit exactly inside my window, I hemmed the width to that exact measurement.  I added six inches to the length of the shade for roll over.  You will see that in a minute.

 Spread out your fabric, wrong side out, and spread your blinds over the top.  Evenly space your slats.  This takes a bit of math if you want it perfect or a good eye if you don't particularly care.  I used math.  I divided my 58 inches by eight (7 1/4).  To get the placement of the first slat from the bottom I subtracted an inch because my slats were two inches thick.  This way the center of the slat is on the 7 1/4 inch mark.

I measured 7 1/4 inches up from that first mark and placed marks all the way up.  I knew that the bottom of my slat had to be at that mark so that the center is at the proper 7 1/4 inch mark.  I know that sounds confusing but do it. . . it makes more sense as you are working on it.

 Now glue them.  You need to make sure that your glue completely avoids the pull strings because they need to move freely.  Don't glue the top bar or the bottom bar as you do something different with those.

Press firmly.   On the top bar, I glued my fabric to the front but not all the way to the edge.  This way it can slip easily into the brackets in the window.  On the bottom, wrap the fabric around and glue.  You want this bar covered, except for the back.

Let dry.  I had to wait 6 hours but check your glue.  Some are overnight ones.

Hang it!

 Pull the cord and *ta-da!*

Okay, it's a bad picture but you get the idea! 

And here is the section that I think all DIY tutorials should have at the end.

If I did it again:

1.  I would pull the pull cord out to the front of the shades.  I left them behind the slats because I think they are ugly and I thought that hiding them was a good idea.  It makes the blinds tough for a little one to open.  It is fine for me but I didn't really want to have to open his shades for him every morning.

2.  I would NOT glue on my dining room table without some sort of protection on it.  Some of the glue seeped through and I spent more time cleaning it off the table than I would care to do.

3.  If it wasn't necessary, I wouldn't use black out curtains.  The fabric is too heavy to make really nice folds.  It is what we need for this room, though, so it works.  I think a very nice heavier cotton (duck fabric) would work marvelously and they make really cute patterns!

4.  Cover three sides, not four of the bottom slat.  (I put this in my tutorial).  If you look closely you might be able to tell that I covered the fourth side of the bottom slat which was not smart.  This is where the pull cord comes up.  It doesn't affect aesthetics much or the function any but I know I messed up and it bugs me.

Have fun making your own shade and making improvements on my directions!  I'd love to see what you've done. . . leave me a comment with a link to yours so I can take a peek!

Check out my favorite blog for more great projects, recipes, tips and for a great read!



  1. What brand fabric glue did you use?

  2. I was curious how you could alter some rkman blinds that I purchased that were specual ordered. And they n I w dont fit any windows I now have in a different home. The blinds are 31 inches wide and my windows are 35 inches wide. How coukd I add fabric and wood to fit the two windoes I have the roman blinds were exspense.

  3. I'm going to try this in our master bedroom. Thank you for posting this! It was especially helpful b/c every other tutorial I've seen uses the skinny little flexible mini blinds, and I wasn't sure if it would still work with the thicker, wooden-type blinds. Thanks!