Some of us have dreams that are a little smaller than others. My dreams are pretty tiny but with four kids sometimes they seem unreachable. I covet tile floors, cars without electrical gremlins and kid “stuff” on the upholstery, and oh, how I wanted Roman shades. They’re elegant, they don’t tangle like vinyl mini-blinds and they don’t have issues with winding springs and they look like they might even survive if the cat climbed them once or twice.
Well, one little dream at a time, they’re coming true. When I found this DIY project for making roman shades from a set of faux wood blinds and an upholstery remnant, I did one of those little happy dances that only mommies of many recognize as a real expression of joy. Without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to make your own Roman shade:
• A pencil to make marks with. Measuring and marking are much neater than eyeballing everything.
• A tape measure, the measuring part of the team. You also need this to choose your blind size and it will help do a little bit of math required for the project. (I know, I know. I’m sorry, but I promise its not common core math.)
• A standard sized faux wood blind, not a vinyl mini-blind.
• A remnant of upholstery fabric big enough to cover your window plus about four inches in both width and length. If you want your project to have nice finished edges (trust me, you want nice finished edges, unless you’re doing a frayed denim thing, in which case ignore me) you need a little extra all the way around to make neat folded hems.
• A jar of decoupage, that’s a clear drying glue meant to laminate fabric to objects.
• As many clothespins as you can hunt up, steal them off the chip bags if need be. You can put them back after the glue dries on your project.
• A clothes iron, if you’re not going to sew you have to keep things neat somehow. Ironed folds look neat.
• Scissors, well, there is cutting involved, but, I promise, no sewing.
• A little bowl, I used a throwaway paper one, so I didn’t have to scrape dried glue out of it.
• A small foam brush, this will make applying your glue easy.
I’ve seen posts online that say people are disappointed because the shade is unfinished on the window side. First of all, this project is for you, not the neighbors, but if you must have two finished sides, use another panel of fabric on the “unfinished” side, and carefully attach it with your decoupage. If you’re careful and respect the process, your “fully finished” shade should work as well as the one-sided one. I live in the sticks and have no neighbors that don’t jump my fences to eat my trees, so they can look at “unfinished” blinds.
Getting started is fairly simple, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you have a brand new shade that doesn’t yet have kid “stuff” on it. Begin by measuring the window you want to put a shade on. Choose a blind the correct size, and prepare to destroy it. Cut it to length first, then lay the blind out flat and cut away the strings that hold the slats in place. Leave the heavy cord that actually runs the blind in place. It is needed it to make your shade work. Next, take the length measurement you recorded when you fit your blind and divide it by seven. This is how many slats you need on your blind to make your roman shade. Break away all of the unneeded slats, and take them directly to the garbage or your kids WILL sword fight with them.
Mark your fabric at seven-inch intervals and lay out your blind on top. Place slats on the marks and glue in place, using your chip clips to hold things in place until they dry. Glue your bottom and top edges to the shade as shown in the video, notching the fabric for a nice finish. Once everything is dry, you can hand your new shade with the hardware that came with the blinds.
Watch the video to help you get started. Soon you’ll have your own Roman shade completed. Enjoy your new window treatment and dream about something bigger.