Isn’t it crazy how expensive window coverings can be?! When you’re looking to dress up an entire house worth of windows it’s easy to break the bank. And, I don’t know about you, but I have a heck of a time finding exactly what I’m looking for. So, last week I created these inexpensive DIY roman shades for my kitchen, with a little help from my mom.
When we bought our house, every room had these light colored wood mini-blinds. They almost have an orange tint to them and are really 90s. Fortunately, we have enough privacy in the back of our house that we never have to actually close the shades–I could cook naked if I wanted to–so I didn’t put the kitchen blinds back up after we painted.
However, even if my butt looks good bare, the windows didn’t! They seemed unfinished and I wanted to dress them up, so I hit up the fabric store and pulled the blinds out of the garage to make some DIY roman shades on the cheap.
Jo-Ann Fabrics was having a 50% off sale, so I ended up getting this awesome black and white geometric print for sixteen bucks. You’d normally want to use those cheap, thin mini blinds but for the sake of saving money I used what I already had. The only other supplies needed are fabric glue and iron on hem tape, so I spent a total of $25 for both windows.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to make these:
Step 1: Measure
Measure the length of the window to determine how much fabric you need. If you want to be able to close them, you’ll want to measure the full length of the window. In my case, I don’t intend on opening/closing the shades so I decided to use less fabric by making them stationary. I actually skipped this step because I decided to just go by the width of the fabric (total cheater, I know.) Add an extra inch so that you can create a clean edge.
The width will need to be the same width as the blinds, plus 2 inches (1 inch on each side)
Step 2: Iron
Run the iron over the fabric real quick to get any wrinkles out.
Step 3: Hem
While you’ve got the iron in hand, go ahead and make your edges. Fold the top of the panel over 1/2 inch and iron a nice crease in it, and then do the same for the bottom.
On each of the sides, you’re going to “hem” them with the hem tape. The 1″ tape makes it super easy to be precise, as you can just align it with the edge of the fabric and fold it over as you iron. I like to run the iron over the hem a couple of times just to make sure it’s secure.
Step 4: Cut
Once both sides are hemmed, set your fabric aside and lay the blinds out in front of you. On the bottom, you’ll see a little button-looking-thingy–pop it out. There should be four of them, and you’ll do the same thing to each.
There are two sets of cords in each section–one that’s a little thicker, and one that looks like a ladder. Carefully cut the ones that look like a ladder and pull them out completely.
Once those are gone, go back the the holes on the bottom where you popped that button-looking-thingy out and untie (or cut) the knots of each cord.
Step 5: Remove
Now that you’ve cut the slats free, you’re going to remove most of them. Set the bottom piece aside, as you’ll reattach it later.
Figure out how many folds you want the shades to have (it varies based in the length of the window.) When you reattach the bottom piece, it will also create a fold so if you want four folds, keep three slats attached and remove the rest. I wanted three, but I forgot about that extra one at the bottom (whoops!) so I ended up with four.
Step 6: Measure Again
Lay the blinds out on top of the fabric, aligning the top edge of the top bracket flush with the hemmed edge of the fabric. Each fold will need to be even, so figure out how much distance you need to have in between each, including the top bracket and bottom slat.
Mine worked out great since the fabric was 40″ in total length. We placed a slat 10 inches from the top bracket, and then another one 10 inches below that slat, and another one 10 inches below that. The bottom piece is 10 inches below the last slat.
Once all of the pieces are in place, line them all up perfectly with the edges of the fabric.
Step 7: Glue
Start at the top and squeeze some glue out onto the front of the bracket. Don’t be stingy–get a good amount on there! Press the fabric onto it, ensuring that the top edge is lined up perfectly. This is important, as it’s the one spot that a boo-boo would be visible.
Next, gently flip the first slat over and spread some glue on it and then flip it back over and press against the fabric. Be careful not to move it out of position, and keep it as straight as possible.
Do this with the rest of the slats, but pause when you get to the bottom piece.
Step 8: Reattach
Before you glue the bottom piece to the fabric, you need to reattach those button-looking-thingies. Pull the cords taunt (but not hard) through the bottom hole and tie a knot in the end. Stuff the knot back up in the hole and snap the button thing over it.
Step 9: More Glue
Okay, now you can glue the fabric around the bottom piece to finish it up. Let it sit for about an hour to dry.
Step 10: Hang ’em up!
This is the fun part! Once the glue has dried, you can go hang them up. Snap the shades into the bracket and attach them as you would mini blinds. Then, pull on the cord to adjust the length… and voila! You’ve just made inexpensive roman shades!
I love this little project and had so much fun making them with my mom. They turned out great, and no one can ever believe how inexpensive they were to make. Mom and I worked on a few other projects that day, and I’ll be posting about them soon so come back and find out what we were up to!