Sunday, February 24, 2013

DIY Roll Up Shades

We have fake french doors in the kitchen.  They lead to a very small patio.  When we moved in we were overwhelmed with all of the little things you have to purchase for a new home and I tossed up some very cheap, too short, semi transparent fibrous roman shades.

Fast forward five years and, look!  I haven't changed them!  I got motivated to change them out a few weeks ago and I spent a bit of time looking for the right shade in the right size in the right material.  No go.

I found a shower curtain with fabric that I loved so I decided to make myself some shades out of it.  This is what it turned out to be:

Would you believe there is no sewing involved?

I decided to make roll up shades.  I started by buying two adjustable width pre-fab blinds online at WalMart.  They were $13 apiece. (Bali Size at Home Roller Shades)

It said that they would adjust to below 23 inches. . . not so.  They only adjusted to 25 inches and I needed them to be 22 1/2 inches so I got out the hack saw and chopped off the end.  Easy peasy.

Once I did that, I took the cheap vinyl blind off and kept the hardware and the spring tension rod.  I then made my shade.

I will tell you that I did it three different ways and the third time worked like a charm.  It took me six hours to get the first one right.  The second one took less than 20 minutes.  I'll tell you what I did right and what I did wrong.  You can decide how to make yours!

I spread out the curtain rod and cut a strip.  I took the measurement I needed and added two inches to the width and eight inches to the length.

I then ironed out my fabric and "hemmed" it an inch on each side with the iron.

Add a strip of the stitch witchery. . . .

. . . and iron again.  At this point I added a strip of stabilizer to the raw edge to keep it from raveling and because I had it.

I also added a strip of solid fabric to the bottom to lengthen it a bit.  The bottom should be hemmed.  The top should not.

You will need hot glue to glue the fabric to the rolling mechanism.

Before you took the vinyl off the roller, you should have looked to see if the roller was a "front roll" or a "back roll" roller.  This is important to keep your roller functioning correctly.

Mine was a back roll.  This means that the shade goes behind the roller and the roller sits in front of the shade.  If it was a front roll, you wouldn't be able to see the actual roller.

I lined up my fabric and added a bead of hot glue to the edge.

 I pressed it on to the roller, rolled the fabric one whole turn around, then added another bead of hot glue.  This way, when the fabric if fully extended, the roller is still covered with the fabric.

Roll up your fabric entirely on to the roller.

Mount your hardware and hang your roller!

The only issue I have with the roller is that it is hard to get the shades to stop at the same length.  Since I don't normally care, this isn't too much of a problem.

As promised, here are some things I did that I should NOT have:

1.  I lined the shades with interfacing the first time.  I shouldn't have.  It made them too thick to go on my roller.  If I didn't need the length (72 inches) or if my fabric wasn't as thick (duck fabric) the lining would have worked well, I think.  As it was, the roll was wider than the hardware and it was getting stuck.

2.  I wanted my shades to be a front roll vs. a back roll so I tried to make it that way.  Didn't work.

3.  I didn't think I would need THAT MUCH extra fabric for the length but I did.  Hence the black lining at the bottom.  It works, though.  It also adds enough weight that I don't need the dowel at the bottom to give it the weight to hang right.  

I did make a shorter one for the kitchen window (45 inches).  It rolls a lot smoother than the longer ones.  The longer ones just have SO MUCH fabric (80 inches).

If I do it again:

I will NOT over think it!  I kept trying to make it fancy by lining it, by changing the roll, etc.  It didn't work out.  Keep it simple!

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  1. Nice project! I can use this...thanks!

  2. LOVE THIS! You did a great job.

    I found you on Homemade Monday via Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity.

    1. Thanks for the compliment! I am in love with these, too. I wish I had done this sooner but I am such a procrastinator sometimes!

  3. I found your blog to be very informative. I am greatly inspired by your posts and thinking of writing mine now that We have taken french doors in the kitchen. so nice look doors

    Blinds south Auckland