DIY Roman Shades from Old Blinds

Looking to update a window treatment? Create a set of fun DIY Roman shades using old blinds by following this tutorial.

My kitchen is pretty boring, it’s nice, but kind of blah. Since my vision is to eventually paint the cabinets white and add some blue and green colored glass tile, which will make things brighter, but still not visually interesting.

I thought the windows would be the perfect spot for some pops of color, as well as a fun pattern. Enter the Roman Shade. I’ve been stalking Roman on Pinterest for quite awhile and when I stumbled onto this tutorial from 365 Days to Simplicity and some amazing fabric I decided it was time to make my own DIY Roman Shades. There was only one problem, my fabric was in the clearance bin and I needed 40 more inches to cover all three windows. But with such a geometric pattern I figured some solid color trim and a solid panel in the middle would be perfect to break up the fun, so I came home with my fun pattern and some solid green fabric.

The tutorial from 365 Days is for no-sew shades, but since I made a border for each shade I had to do some sewing to give myself nice clean lines. If you dont want a border, then you dont need to sew 🙂 

How to Make DIY Roman Shades

Now for the real tutorial. Start with a pair of blinds (whatever size fits your window) and lay them on the ground stretched all the way out. There are two cords on each side, one is thicker and straight, the other is thinner and looks similar to a ladder. Cut each “rung” of the ladder, but DO NOT cut the thick cord! You’ll need it to make the shades go up and down. Once the “ladder” cord is gone, remove the end caps on the bottom of the last slat and snip the knots. You can then remove the blinds themselves by sliding them off the end. Set the blinds aside for a bit while you work on the fabric. I had to sew hems for the front sides of my border fabric and then I attached them to the front with hem tape. Then I flipped the fabric over and folded it along the sides and attached it to the back with hem tape as well. If you aren’t making a border, then just fold a straight edge of fabric over and attach it with hem tape. Your fabric should be two inches wider than your blinds, hemmed, and about 5 inches longer, hemmed, than the height of the window (measured from the top of the blinds to the window sill). In the above picture, you can see that those extra 5 inches are at the top of the fabric. This it to make it easier to attach the fabric to the top of the blinds.

Stretch your blinds out on the floor and attach the fabric to the top piece of the blinds using hot glue. My blinds have sliders that keep them in place inside of plastic brackets on the wall, so I had to wrap my fabric around the top and glue it to the backside. Be careful and don’t glue the cords down or else your shades won’t move up and down!!

Using some heavyish (like a full beer bottle) to keep the top piece in place stretch out your fabric and your blinds. Decide how large you want your pleats (mine were too large at 6 inches, so I recommend 3 inches) and mark it on your fabric. This was easier with the geometric fabric because I had lines to follow!

Use fabric glue to attach the blinds to your fabric. I used Mod Podge fabric glue because I could paint it on with a foam brush. For extra hold I also hot glued the ends of each blind to the fabric. Pull everything relatively tight and attach the bottom piece using both fabric glue and hot glue. I also found it easier to wait and trim my cords after everything was in place. It kept everything much straighter and more even. Just make sure you thread the bottom piece with the cord BEFORE you glue the piece down! Let everything dry for several hours, then hang ’em up and admire your handy work! 🙂 I love the fun pop of color they give the kitchen and it makes my other uses of blue and green (the soap pump, sponge basket, and a few vases and bowls) more noticeable too. Yay for a color scheme working out!

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