DIY Roman Shades Using Mini Blinds

Sunday, June 12, 2011



I have finally made some roman shades for our bedroom.  

It has taken me forever to start the project, but once I did it was so fast and easy! 

I found a few different tutorials online (here and here) on how to make roman shades out of mini blinds.  I adapted them and this is the method I came up with. 

Here's what you will need to make 2 shades:

2 cheapy mini blinds
2 yards of fabric (more or less depending on the size of your windows)
hot glue gun
fabric glue
scissors
sewing machine






All the tutorials I found were "no sew" which required gluing the fabric.  I prefer sewing to make things look a little more professional, so I cut my fabric to size and turned under the edges twice, then edge stitched all around.  I ended up with a large panel of fabric.




Now you need to take apart your mini blinds.   Open it up and fully extend it.  Clip all of the "ladder" like strings that hold the slats together.  Do NOT clip the larger inner string that goes through the center.





Now pop off the white circles at the bottom.







Now you can clip the larger attaching strings.  This will allow you to take off all the slats.






Your blind should now look something like this.









Next, you want to measure out where you want the slats to go on your roman shade...aka how many folds you want.  My fabric was 42 inches long, so I just made a slat every 7 inches.  Using a ruler, draw lines on the back of the fabric with a pencil.







Now you are going to glue the slats on the lines you made.  Using fabric glue on the convex side of the slat, smear it on.  I tried to smear the glue a little so that when it dried, it wouldn't look like a distinct hardened line of glue from the outside if that makes sense.






Glue them all on as straight as possible.  Make sure your fabric is really smoothed out so that there won't be any wrinkles on the outside.






Now place your mini blind skeleton on the fabric, and weave those strings back through the holes in the slats.  You may have to pull the fabric away from the glue a bit to get it through, but it shouldn't make anything fall apart.






This is the part I couldn't figure out.  You need to attach the top bar of the mini blind.  All of the tutorials I saw attached it like this...but as you will see, the pulley strings (which you need to raise and lower your shades) would be  covered up if you did it this way.  I don't know if my blinds are just different or if I was doing something wrong, but I knew this would not work for me.





So, instead I flipped the top bar on its side and glued the fabric on the underneath side. (it will make more sense in the next few pictures) For this part, I used hot glue.  The other tutorials say to use fabric glue because hot glue might disintegrate over time.  I felt like fabric glue wasn't strong enough to hold this heavier piece. So, I guess we will see if my shades hold up.  I figure the worst that could happen is it starts to fall off and I just re-glue it. 







Now you need to glue back on the bottom bar. First, pull the strings through the holes and make knots.







Pop those little white circles back on and hot glue the bar flat against the bottom of the fabric.






You are not quite done!  See how I glued the top of the fabric to the top bar? It's hanging from the under side.  The only problem is now that tacky white bar is exposed.








Notice my solution? Much better.  I just took an extra strip of fabric, turned under and sewed up the ends and hot glued it onto the white bar.  It's not even noticeable now.





And you are done!! It's so easy!! Now, I was prepared to add another layer of room darkening fabric, but I actually think mine are fine the way they are.  If you like your room super dark, you could add this step.  








They look nice up or down.  (Pardon the paint on the windows, they still need to be scraped!) 







The fabric folds pretty nicely when pulled up.  Sometimes you may need to help the folds a bit with your fingers to make it look nicer. 








And in case anyone is worried, right after I took these photos, I attached some little thingies to the window panes up at the very top to wrap the strings around to keep them out of reach of the kiddos.  I don't know what the technical terms are, but you know what I'm talking about. I was stressed out about doing this as soon as they were installed for safety reasons!






I really am pleased with how they turned out! And it was so much cheaper than buying them!  Here's the cost break down for me:

2 yards of Joel Dewberry fabric in Napsack @ $9/yard = $22 (tax + shipping)

2 sets of mini blinds off of Amazon @ 5 each = FREE (because I had giftcards earned with swagbucks!!)

TOTAL:  $22


Store bought roman shades start around $35 each...so making them yourself will save you a ton...plus you can totally customize them to be exactly what you want!!

I'm planning on making another one for the living room. Now to figure out what fabric to use...
 

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44 comments :

  1. That is such a neat idea Megan! I love it!

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  2. They look great! Your tutorial makes this project look so easy. Great job!

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  3. I love the fabric you chose! I've made a few of these for my house a while ago, can't wait to make some new ones for my bedroom. I like the idea of sewing instead of gluing which is what I did.

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  4. What a neat idea! I can't remember, are you going to have drapes on the sides too? You make the best stuff, Meg!

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  5. These are SO CUTE! And I LOVE Joel Dewberry fabric - gorgeous. I'm bookmarking this for future reference! You're awesome!

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  6. Its a new and amazing idea!! i am impressed with your stuff. Its just perfect!

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  7. LOVE this idea. Going to tuck it away for future windows!!!

    Dana
    CraftedNiche.wordpress.com

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  8. Thanks for Posting!!
    Nice Blog.
    Window Blinds UK has become one of the leading manufacturers of blinds in the UK.
    Blinds

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  9. I love how you covered the top bar!

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  10. Thank you for sharing this tutorial! This is so great. I have been staring at two bare windows in my sunroom for years now. I am going to try my hardest to make these, what kind of white glue did you use for gluing the slats to the fabric?

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  11. Is there anyway to keep the slats from showing on the outside when the shade is in the down
    position?

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  12. I am so glad I found this but wished it had been a little sooner. I just threw away my awful, dusty old blinds. I so want roman shades so it looks like I need to go buy some cheapos if I cannot get any off freecycle. Thanks for the tut!

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  13. great job- ingenious top slat fix to make pull cords accesible. Quick question since you did the sewing version of this - my cord ripped through the slats when I tried to pull up my shades. I probably a) should not have used drapery fabric but I thought it would keep out the light (and shadow of slats) better b) ironed creases under the slats so it was less of a strain on the cord to raise the slats and fabric's weight. Anywho my question is: I need to fix the blinds without starting from ground zero. I'm playing around with 3 solutions. Since you are a sewer and have done this project which do you think will work best. Just a guess I won't hold you too it. 1) punch new holes in the slats and set eyelets in them for reinforcement and restring/ thread thru 2) same as #1 but using grommets 3) matress stitch the slats in place to the back liner (but this might tear the liner off the drapery fabric and it'll look weird and it would probably take a couple hours to do the 3 slats by hand. Help/ suggestions is appreciated :-) Amy in UT

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    Replies
    1. I used five blind slots and glued them together, this prevented it from ripping. And i used no sew heat tape. Maybe for the next one you make it will help.

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  14. What an awesome tutorial and a great idea. We live in our motorhome full time and want to redo the windows to give it a more homey look and I think this idea will work great and I think I will add a valance across the top...

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  15. wow, i look at this and say YOU Go Girl! I would like to think that I could do this one day however Im sure if i did it would not come out looking so amazing, ;) very good to keep in the back of mind though. :)

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  16. I've attempted this project too. Thank you for the alternations you made to the original instructions! Now I can go fix mine!

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  17. I found this tutorial on Pinterest, and I've seen the other tutes. Yours is the best. I'm repinning, and I'll try my hand at making a pair. Thanks so much.

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  18. Pam in Siler City, NCMarch 12, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    This is great! I'm goint to use my existing bare mini blinds and make a plywood "valance." Think it will really modernize and professionalize our windows!! Thanks so much :)

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  19. Love this, I have wanted these for a long time, now I know how to make them!! Great idea!!

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  20. Great idea! Love the yellow fabric too. Found you on pinterest.

    Jen
    athomeinthenorthwestblog.com

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  21. Thanks for explaining the solution to the string in the back! I was stuck on it and your solution was so simple and great! really appreciate it.

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  22. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  23. You would laugh if you heard how many times I said. "OMG I Love it" while reading your tutuorial. Now I wish I hadn't thrown out the blinds for my room, but I still have the blinds for the office and those windows need serious help. I think even my husband can see the beauty of this project. I know I won't be able to do this alone but I'll get help. Thanks for sharing!!!

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  24. Very interested in this project but definitely want to line the back to create a cleaner look from the exterior of the window as I plan to put these shades in a window that is on the front of our home. Any suggestions on attaching a liner to hide the unsightly blinds? I would greatly appreciate a tutorial on that additional project aspect if possible. From my internet research, I believe lots of others would benefit from such instruction as well. Thank you.

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  25. My problem is I have extra long windows and can't find blinds that are 84" :/

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    Replies
    1. Heather, I am just reading these comments now, so I don't know if you've found a solution...or if you'll even see this message... but you can buy regular-length blinds for $5 and then go buy the white cording at a fabric/craft store and re-string them yourself using the longer cording! It's really easy to string it through!

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  26. You can leave the blind unlined which is an ideal solution if you have chosen a sheer or a voile fabric allowing a greater amount of light into the room compared to the other options. Next are white and cream standard linings that will limit some of the light and provide a level of thermal insulation.

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  27. The black out windows blinds are excellent. Have a look at them here

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  28. I'm late to this DIY roman shade party! But, I'm hooked and have read many, many tutorials. I just wanted to tell you that your idea for keeping the cord accessible is the best I've seen. I made 2 already before I found your instructions. My blinds are kind of different in the way they are mounted but if I can figure out how to change it around, I'm going to follow your lead. Thank you very much!

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  29. I'm late to this DIY roman shade party! But, I'm hooked and have read many, many tutorials. I just wanted to tell you that your idea for keeping the cord accessible is the best I've seen. I made 2 already before I found your instructions. My blinds are kind of different in the way they are mounted but if I can figure out how to change it around, I'm going to follow your lead. Thank you very much!

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  30. I love Roman Shades, such a fun style and it's so cool to see some great DIY options. I'm always worried in getting the sizing right but you're step by step photos have inspired me.

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  31. Just found your great tut! I'm going to do this!
    Wondering if you have every tried sandwiching the slats inbetween the lining and outside fabric? Not sure how the cords would work...? Could you poke holes in the lining fabric and thread them through? Ideas? :D

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  32. I've been wanting blackout curtains in my house for a long time. Unfortunately, they are prohibitively expensive. I've seen ideas about sewing panels onto the back of existing curtains but didn't want to do that because you can't wash blackout fabric. I've also seen making flat curtains and hanging behind actual curtains and the amount of fabric that took would be expensive, plus my registers are directly under the windows and, blackout fabric or not, if it is blowing around, its not going to work. I saw this on pinterest and decided to give it a try.

    I found blackout fabric at Hobby Lobby and was able to get 5y on sale for $20! I started with the guest bedroom because although no one sleeps there but once every few months, the morning sun hits it dead on and it gets really hot in there. I had no problems deconstructing the blinds- your directions were really great! However, I guess because I was using black out fabric and its heavy I could not get hot glue to keep it together. I used gorilla glue instead. It wouldn't work on regular fabric because it stains, but these blinds are going behind curtains anyway, so I didn't really care.

    I had trouble securing the fabric to the underside of the top part of the blind though, so I just glued it to the front and used an exact-o knife to cut open a hole for the strings. Sounded like a good idea but now I can't put the little plastic squares back in to hold the rod in place. Could you please clarify how and where you attached the fabric to the top of the bar?

    Thanks for the tutorial!

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  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  34. You did such a great job.....hats off
    Solar Blinds

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  35. Such an impressive work you have done here, totally changed the concept of blinds.

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  36. You've made these look so easy - was it your first attempt at doing them?

    Laura - Blackout Roller Blinds

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  38. They look great! Your tutorial makes this project look so easy. Great job!


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