DIY Roman Shades

One of the most forbidding tasks I’ve come across after renovating our home has been finding proper window coverings. From the tedious task of picking out fabric from a collection of subpar choices to the daunting cost of a custom order, it’s no wonder countless windows have remained bare and uncovered for nearly a year since we moved in. Privacy is a non issue since we live in such a quiet neighborhood but the addition of texture, pattern and color has been needed for far too long. When textile maven Rebecca Atwood launched her line of digital and screen printed fabrics by the yard (I mean, that stunning indigo marble dyed Belgian linen!!), I knew I had to try my hand at DIYing my own Roman shades. And before I scare you away completely, I encourage you to read through the step by step tutorial. It’s really not as difficult as it seems – it’s just a heedful process. But no pain, no I-have-fabulous-shades gain!

blinds23

You’ll need:

rebeccaatwood2

The first step is understanding how the mini blinds work. The super inexpensive mini blind system is made up of a million vinyl blinds that are held together with a set of vertical pull cords and ladder cords. The pull cord is what you operate to retract the blinds. The ladder cord helps keeps all the blinds evenly spaced and close together. You’ll want to find a set of mini blinds that fit the width of your window. The length won’t matter since you’ll be removing everything but about 12-18 blinds. Lay out the blinds, fully extended and open, on the floor or a long table. Take a pair of scissors and snip away the ladder cord – NOT the pull cord, which runs down the center.

blinds1

Carefully snip away the ladder cords. The pull cords will stay in tact.

blinds2

The ladder cord is held together at the top of the binds. Just snip away the fastener to remove the cords. Now the blinds will move freely up and down the pull cords!

blinds3

Now you’ll undo the pull cord to remove the blinds. There are 2 plastic caps underneath the bottom bar of the blinds. Pop those open and use a needle or pin to fish out the knotted pull cords. Snip off the knots and remove the bottom bar.

blinds5

Because my window measured 52 inches long and I wanted the blinds to be about 4 inches apart (for those nice large folds), I needed 13 blinds total. Since that would include the bottom bar, I only needed to keep 12 blinds on pull cord. Remove everything else but the blinds you want to keep. Thread the pull cords through the bottom bar and tie the ends into tight, double knots. Now your mini blind system has 12 blinds, a bottom bar and a set of long pull cords.

blinds6

Now it’s time to prep the fabric. You’ll want it to be the width of the blinds plus an extra inch on each side. And the length should be the length of the window plus an extra two inches on each end. Once you have your rectangular piece trimmed and cut, iron it flat. Since the fabric I used was a bit translucent, I chose to line it with another piece of medium weight, upholstery grade linen. If you choose to line with a liner, cut it to the exact measurement of the window, without all the extra inseams.

blinds7

Use a ruler to mark your inch inseam along the vertical edges of the fabric.

blinds8

Lay the liner fabric on top of the backside of the fabric and fold the vertical edges in. Iron flat. (I’ve laid a piece of heavy fabric underneath here to protect my table)

blinds9

Now that both sides folded and ironed, you can do two things. You can pin it and run it through the sewing machine. Or you can slide a long strip of fusible hem tape underneath the fold and iron it closed.

blinds11

I have a sewing machine and just chose to sew it with a simple straight stitch. Don’t worry about the top and bottom of the fabric – leave it unfinished. Lay the fabric face side down on your flat surface. Lay the blinds on top of the fabric. Separate the blinds so they are all evenly spaced along the length of the fabric. Mark their placement with a fabric marker or pencil if you wish.

blinds12

The top should sit two inches below the top edge of the fabric. Take your fabric glue and squeeze a good amount of glue along the width of the operating bar of the blinds. Use your foam brush to help spread the thick and sticky glue.

blinds13

Carefully lay the bar and wrap the fabric around the top bar.

blinds14

Now you’ll glue all the blinds to the backside of the fabric. Just squeeze a line of glue on the blind, spread it with a foam brush. Just avoid the pull cord section – you definitely don’t want to glue that portion down!

blinds15

Turn it over and press down firmly. Keep going until you’ve reached the bottom.

blinds16

Spread glue along the bottom of the bottom bar and wrap the fabric over it. You’ll want to put another layer of glue along the short side of the bar and fold the wrap the fabric over that. You can carefully trim away any excess fabric after the glue has completely dried.

blinds17

Allow the entire thing to dry overnight before installing. I recommend using the manufacturers instructions to install.

blinds20

Windows, I’ve got you covered.

blinds22

(images by HonestlyWTF & Rebecca Atwood; pillows via One Kings Lane, Amber Lewis and Rebecca Atwood)

Leave a Comment

75 Comments

  1. Rebecca wrote:

    Wow it turned out amazing! Thank you Erica!

    3.17.15
    Reply
  2. Stephanie wrote:

    How beautiful! Loving this blue color scheme 🙂

    I’m an NYC style blogger chronicling my stylish adventures in the city. Check out sustenanceandstyle.com to see a glimpse of the fun 🙂

    With love from NYC,
    Stephanie

    3.17.15
    Reply
  3. Heather R. wrote:

    This is genius! You have created the single-most commonsense Roman blind tutorial ever- thank you! I’ve been wanting to make a set of these for years, but most of the tutorials I’ve seen were too fussy, complicated, or just plain strange. This makes perfect sense, and could so easily utilize 2nd-hand miniblinds. Thanks for a great, easy tutorial! 🙂

    3.17.15
    Reply
  4. Francisca wrote:

    Sweet! But i think doing each section longer than the other would made for a even better layering effect when closed… No?

    3.17.15
    Reply
  5. Namrata wrote:

    Looks gorgeous but compacted!

    Namrata
    http://seasoncheck.blogspot.com

    3.17.15
    Reply
  6. Prudence Yeo wrote:

    Such a creative project and the marbled dye on the roman shades turn out so beautifully! Thanks for sharing!

    Prudence
    http://www.prudencepetitestyle.com

    3.17.15
    Reply
  7. Bucky wrote:

    What a great shortcut to making Roman blinds. Thanks so much!

    3.18.15
    Reply
  8. having made my own roman blinds from scratch several times i can attest how giant a PITA they are and what a brilliant shortcut this is you have developed. BRILL-YANT. i never want to make them the old fashioned way again. i love this.

    3.24.15
    Reply
  9. oluenka wrote:

    Goodness, you are so talented! 🙂 Great work! I love the colour combination as well <3

    4.6.15
    Reply
  10. Oh wow, that awesome, beautiful work

    5.6.15
    Reply
  11. that is really awesome piece of work you have done! really appreciate you efforts bud!

    5.6.15
    Reply
  12. I was recommended this web site by means of my cousin. I’m not positive whether or not this post is written by way of him as nobody
    else understand such exact approximately my trouble.
    You’re wonderful! Thanks!

    5.24.15
    Reply
  13. Sheila Gail wrote:

    Well, ladies I have the first blind glued down and I must say: it was very hard on the back.
    1 down and 4 to go!! The next 4 should be much easier. Great instructions I was afraid that I would mess it up.
    I didn’t line my shades though. I got some nice Muslim for $8 a yard @108″ wide so I – 50% off made this very economical for a low budget. I’m going to valances also for the windows also, it will add a pop of color.

    7.5.15
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Sheila so great to hear. Yes, it can be very tedious but it’ll all be worth it in the end. Would love it if you could share a photo once you’re done!

      7.6.15
  14. Sheila Gail wrote:

    Can’t upload my pics. Finished the blinds.
    Mine aren’t as pretty as yours.
    I still have to make the valances and hang the curtain rods.
    I lowered them since its dark and for privacy.

    7.6.15
    Reply
  15. Zen wrote:

    This is an amazing DIY. haven’t done any interior DIY projects for hapinesswherever.wordpress.com sad to say 🙁

    8.6.15
    Reply
  16. Valerie swett wrote:

    I have always wanted to make my own drapes from my home and this is the year I’m doing it. Love Roman shades and thank you for sharing this. It will be easy for a beginner like me. Love your pillows too.

    8.18.15
    Reply
  17. Betty wrote:

    Is it important to glue the entire width of the slats or just down the middle? i found it a little tricky to make good contact between the fabric and the slat over the curve of the slat.

    10.8.15
    Reply
  18. Liz Garcia wrote:

    Just wondering whether velcro between blinds and fabric would work, that way the fabric could be taken off to wash.

    10.19.15
    Reply
  19. Janet wrote:

    After looking at other sites for some easy instructions, I found yours.

    Thank you! These instructions are wonderful and yours turned out beautifully!

    11.14.15
    Reply
  20. Sharon wrote:

    I was going to line this with an insulated drape that i took down from the window to cut the draft from the old window. will the glue still work to hold everything in place???

    11.17.15
    Reply
  21. Nancy wrote:

    Pinning until I can find some yard sale material and blinds to practice! Love it and going to do it!

    12.29.15
    Reply
  22. michelle wrote:

    Has anyone used this process with a larger window like a 60″ picture window? Would wood blinds work for more strength?

    1.6.16
    Reply
  23. Katy wrote:

    I was wondering … do you think very sheer sheer fabric would work for this project or would it look off?
    Thanks for your input.

    1.27.16
    Reply
  24. Janice wrote:

    What can be done. To make this washable.

    1.31.16
    Reply
  25. Janice wrote:

    I have looked at other sites and found that yours is the best one. And thank you for that. I plan to do a patio door. But can you do this and make it come down and be washed. Please and thank you.

    1.31.16
    Reply
  26. Priscilla wrote:

    Cada año tenemos un par de rock stars míticas que nos
    dejan y si hay que seleccionar a uno, Richards tiene todas y
    cada una de las papeletas.

    2.3.16
    Reply
  27. Vickey Ohm wrote:

    I’m wondering if its possible to sew the blind to the fabric, or at least tack it here and there, in case the glue comes undone.

    4.7.16
    Reply
  28. Lindsey Pinto wrote:

    I’m curious how these look from the outside…can you see the hem seams and the glued down blinds on the back from outside the window? Is there some sort of work-around for this, like upholstering both sides of the blind instead of just one?

    5.11.16
    Reply
  29. I must confess that prior to coming across this post, I didn’t know that it was such fun to make window coverings. I have learnt quite a lot by simply reading this post. You can get assistance with correcting errors in an article review by clicking on this link: https://www.literaturereviewhelp.com

    5.28.16
    Reply
  30. Peggy wrote:

    I tried these with a heavy liner and the blind was not strong enough.

    7.7.16
    Reply
  31. Alisha Vallance wrote:

    What do you do with the pull cord. I made Roman blinds lastnight and got stuck at that part. How do you access them?

    7.10.16
    Reply
  32. Abby wrote:

    I spent a great deal of time and bought some nice fabric to make a Roman shade following your instructions. Once completed it turned into a disaster. The mini blind structure and cord are not designed to support fabric, even light, especially after removing the “ladder” cords. The pull cord pulled right through several of the blinds and never did lift both sides simultaneously either. I bought the required one-inch mini blinds at Lowes so they were not real cheap. In order fo this project to work one would need to at least use real wooden blinds with a stronger cord. And then it’s a maybe. Wish I hadn’t wasted my resources.

    7.13.16
    Reply
    • Joyce wrote:

      I was worried about the strength of the blind slats, so I used 2 for each section, glued first one to the fabric, then glued a second one on top of the first one …..as it turned out mine were thin aluminum so that was plenty strong…if yours are vinyl you could use 3 to make them sturdy enough

      7.26.18
  33. Odette wrote:

    I am doing these blinds for my rv. The fabric I picked is black. Can I paint the under side of my blinds black so they look nice from the outside.

    8.11.16
    Reply
  34. tric wrote:

    Hey, can you show us how they are holding up? also, a good clear shot of the finished back?

    Thanks!

    8.17.16
    Reply
  35. Shari wrote:

    If you line the fabric and glue the lining to the slats, does the shade fabric fold up or does it come loose?

    9.3.16
    Reply
  36. Mimi Fredricks wrote:

    My friend made a Roman shade according to these
    directions and a few months later the fabric glue
    let loose. Any suggestions on a better glue choice!

    9.28.16
    Reply
  37. Shay wrote:

    That is just absolutely clever!!!

    11.10.16
    Reply
  38. I don’t even know how I finished up here, however I thought
    this post used to be good. I do not realize who you are however
    definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger should you aren’t already.
    Cheers!

    12.25.16
    Reply
  39. Cheryl wrote:

    I wonder if we could use thin wooden dowels in place of the flimsy slats to add support to this blind? The weight of the fabric is not supported well by the plastic slats. I’m going to drill small holes for the cord to pass through and perhaps a few more to tack the fabric to it with small hand stitches.

    12.30.16
    Reply
  40. Kimberly wrote:

    I wonder if his could be done with faux-wood blinds? What do you think?

    1.26.17
    Reply
  41. Stac wrote:

    Once you glue the fabric on the top bar how do you hang it up? My mini blinds have the cube enclosure for the blind to slip into, but with the fabric glued you can’t slide the plastic piece in to keep it in place. Help?

    2.4.17
    Reply
  42. sabir wrote:

    We are just here for the grand theft auto games and we all are celebrating this for some reason. http://gta5moneycheats.com

    2.8.17
    Reply
  43. Stacey wrote:

    Love this! I’m wondering about making RELAXED roman shades. Could I do that using this tutorial? Would I just have to take the bottom bar off and attached the pull cord to a flexible string instead of the bottom bar?
    Thank you for sharing your tutorial!!

    2.22.17
    Reply
  44. Linda Dowdy wrote:

    I used canvas fabric and the thin blinds couldn’t support it so I glued the unused slats on top of the ones already glued to the fabric for the extra support needed and now they work great.

    2.25.17
    Reply
    • Erica wrote:

      @Linda, Great tip!

      2.26.17
  45. Graweer wrote:

    I loved the way you discuss the topic great work thanks for the share Chaussures Nike Air Presto this page

    5.24.17
    Reply
  46. I liked your designs and it really look nice. Window cover always give a elegant look to rooms.
    I hope that this post will really make others happy.

    5.25.17
    Reply
  47. Jimmeny wrote:

    This is my first time visit here. From the Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 Herre Joggesko view my url of comments on your articles,I guess I am not only one having all the enjoyment right here!

    6.16.17
    Reply
  48. Great Article on Diy Roman Shades.

    6.17.17
    Reply
  49. Great Content on Diy Roman Shades.

    6.17.17
    Reply
  50. Harreiory wrote:

    Information you share really right, thank you, I’ll follow you regularly to learn more Buty Nike Air Max 2017 , wish you many more interesting articles!

    7.14.17
    Reply
  51. Karen Leanne wrote:

    Thank You for this tutorial! I am working on a house we just bought, and have decide I need to make Roman Blinds
    for three small side windows in the family room. The large double window will have store bought drapes and sheers, with
    grommet rings. I was reading this tutorial, and am thinking of an option to eliminate the plastic slats, and only use the header, bottom rail and strings. I want to line my shades. Since I am a stitcher, the traditional dowel rod pocket assembly is my preference.
    However, I really appreciate this idea, as it has given me the confidence to take those shades apart!
    Again, Thank You for taking the time to write this tutorial!

    7.28.17
    Reply
  52. Cori Miller wrote:

    Hi! How tall is your window? I’m wondering about a “window height – fabric need” ratio.Thanks!

    11.5.17
    Reply
  53. ningwear wrote:

    Thank you, so much admin is already providing the cheap Adidas Y-3 Pure Boost Men’s Running Shoes http://www.fanaticrunningwear.com/y3-pure-boost-c-2_51.html to us

    11.11.17
    Reply
  54. Sopfanati wrote:

    I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand.This post give me lots of advise Air Jordan 7 Retro Hyper Rosa Donne Scarpe Nero 442960-018 http://www.lescarpecorsa.com/air-jordan-vii-c-64_81.html is very useful for me.

    11.21.17
    Reply
  55. Anna Kojac wrote:

    Such an amazing idea! I’ve been stuck with my window coverings for years!! This is fantastic. Can’t wait to redo all my windows!

    4.9.18
    Reply
  56. CJ Cheapskate wrote:

    I love that fabric, and your shades look great. But… I checked out the website to order some fabric myself, and $158 PER YARD??? Whoever priced this should be shot. Honestly, WTF, indeed.

    6.11.18
    Reply