DIY roman shade from a mini blind

This was our forlorn kitchen window.

We’ve had that too long sheer drape hanging there for I don’t know how long.  I’ve always liked the idea of a roman shade for the kitchen window as opposed to the classic valance/curtain combination.  Since our kitchen is mostly white with pops of bright green, it hasn’t been easy to find a ready made one in a fabric that would work.

Enter Pinterest.  Two weeks ago, I pinned a no sew roman shade made from a mini blind.  This was the perfect solution as I could choose my own fabric, not to mention it would end up being much cheaper than getting a ready made one.  I adapted the directions slightly to work better for me, and we’re really happy with the result.

I ordered some samples of green and white patterned fabric from Tonic Living and ultimately decided on Good Life Gridwork in Celadon.  It looks like they no longer have it available in that color, but they do have the same pattern in other colors.

Then I measured my kitchen window and set off to Lowe’s where I purchased this cheapo mini blind for less than $5.  Can’t beat that!  Luckily our 35″ wide window is a standard width for mini blinds, but if yours isn’t, Lowe’s and Home Depot can custom cut them to your desired width.

The first thing I did was lay out the blind on the floor and pull it down as far as it would go.

Next, I cut all three ladder cords off.  These are the thinner cords that look like…well, a ladder.

Make sure you do NOT cut the thicker pull cord (one on each side) as you will need this to raise your shade up and down.  I just started at the bottom and cut thru the centers of the ladder cord making my way up and pulled the two halves off.

Then I took the plastic caps off of the thick bottom slat of the blind.

These were a little difficult to pull off so I ended up wedging a flat head screw driver underneath to pop them off.  Inside you’ll see the knotted end of the pull cord.

You can either unknot this or simply cut the knot off.  I cut it off because if there’s a short cut, I will always take it :).

Pull the thick bottom slat off and set it aside.  You’ll need this later.

Now you need to determine how many slats you need.  Since my window is 40″ long, I decided to go a little longer with the shade at 42″.  I think the average spacing for slats, depending on how wide you want your folds, is 7-9″.  I opted for a 7″ space between each slat since it evenly divides into 42.  (Shortcuts people!) So 7 inch “spaces” meant I needed 7 slats for my shade.  Now, remember that the top part that holds the pull cord mechanism and the thick bottom slat you removed will count, so I needed to leave 5 slats in the middle.  Remove all of the slats you don’t need.

Since I started with a 64″ shade (the shortest I could find at Lowe’s), I had a lot to remove.  Anyone need some slats?

Now you need to put that thick bottom slat back on.  Measure the two pull cords the length that your shade needs to be, which for me was 42″.  Then put the bottom slat back on, knot the cords off at your desired length, cut the excess cord and pop the plastic tabs back in.

You’ll see in this pic that I had tentatively measured out how far apart each slat needed to be, but this can wait until later since you’ll need to pick the whole shade up to put your fabric underneath.

Speaking of fabric…

I then ironed fabric, then cut it out to the shade measurements plus 2″.  So for my 35″ x 42″ shade, I cut my fabric to 37″ x 44″.  Then I folded over all of the edges a 1/2″ and pressed.

If you want to keep this a no sew project, at this point, you’d use fabric glue or instant bond double-sided fabric tape to keep the edges down.

For me however, it was just as easy to use the sewing machine to stitch down each side.  Did I just use the words “sewing machine” and “easy” in the same sentence?  Wonders will never cease.

Plus, I liked the idea of having the contrasting line from the thread showing around the edges.

Now it’s time to put it all together!

I spread my fabric out and laid the shade on top of it, stretched out to its full length.

Then I used a pen to make small marks on both sides at each 7″ interval so I’d know where to glue my slats down.

I found this fabric glue at Jo-Ann Fabrics and liked that it was clear and fast drying.

First I glued down the top piece that houses the pull cord mechanism.  Make sure that when you do this, the pull cord is flush with the fabric.  Also, don’t glue down the outer 1/2″ on each end to allow room to get the blind into the mounting brackets.

I used my hurricane candle holders to keep this in place and standing upright while I started gluing the other slats.  Make sure you glue on the convex (rounded up) side of the slat for maximum contact with the fabric.  Also, do NOT glue over or on the pull cords.  You need to keep these free to pull your shade up!

I used a small foam brush to spread the glue out a little more, but in hindsight it probably wasn’t necessary.  Once you’ve applied your glue, turn the slat over, line up to your markings and press gently down onto the fabric.  Repeat this all the way down to the bottom.

Ideally you’d leave it this way to dry for 24 hours.

Then you hang the plastic brackets that come with the shade up in your window, or do like I did and get your significant other to do it :).  Hang up your new roman shade and admire from near and far.

I love the pop of color it adds to that side of the kitchen.

Green is my favorite color.

Don’t you love the folds?

It turned out great, and the fabric still lets in enough sunlight to keep the kitchen nice and bright.

 

 

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62 thoughts on “DIY roman shade from a mini blind

    • Hello from British Columbia! I just found this idea on Pinterest, and am so determined to remove all these boring blinds! The slats, by the way, make wonderful garden/greenhouse markers. I just write on them with a sharpie, with seeds, date, etc. and sink them in pots and ground. Thanks for the time consuming tutorial, Well Done!

  1. This is really impressive, great job – you should start adding levels of difficulty on your tutorials… this is way too advanced for me! :)

  2. This is unbelievable! I never knew you could something like this with blinds. I absolutely love your roman shade! Roman shades are my fave. You did an amazing job!

    Angie :)

  3. That looks great! While reading through this post I was already picturing this being done for my kitchen window that is very similar to yours. Thank you for sharing your great idea!

    • Thanks Tiffany…it makes me happy to see it every time I walk in my kitchen now…the fabric really adds some nice color to that side of the room!

  4. Just found your blog through Remodelholic. Loved the file cabinet, what a great find. I just took down mini blinds from my sidelight next to my front door and installed frosted film. I like it and you can’t see through it but seems a little plain. Good think I didn’t throw out the mini blinds and they are still in the garage. I think I’ll try this but maybe use the stick on velcro on the top since my blinds were really a tight fit and hard to get into the brackets, I think if I can flop down the fabric it will be easier. Now I wish I hadn’t spackled my holes for the brackets! I’m going to start following your blog because I’ve liked a lot of the projects I just saw and it’s nice to find a Nor Cal blogger as all the blogs I read are no where near here so it’s a nice change and also any store that you mention I will be able to go to!

    • Thanks for stopping by Lyn! The stick on velcro sounds like a good idea, and it’ll make it easy to take them down and switch them out whenever you want. I too like finding other Nor Cal bloggers for the same reason!

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  6. Do you think this would still work, if I lined the blinds? I just didn’t know if the fabric would then be too heavy for the glue to hold it to the mini blind. I hope not, b/c I’m totally planning on doing this in EVERY room of my house!

    • Hi Stacy! Depending on how heavy your liner fabric is, I think it would still work fine. Some fabric glues are stronger than others. The Fabri-Tac I used had a pretty strong bond, so I’d imagine it would still hold your fabric to the blinds just fine, especially if you spread it out on the blind for more surface adhesion.

    • Thanks, Natalie! Really happy with how it looks in the kitchen…when it’s sunny out, the light filters through enough to cast a muted green glow over the room..love it.

  7. I just finished a 27 x 54 roman shade for my daughter’s room. It turned out great! Your directions were wonderful! Off to buy more mini-blinds:)

  8. This is great! I love that you include sewing and not just gluing fabric together like some other tutorials! I was hoping to find one like this! I think I am going to sew some blackout on the back of the fabric to prevent the light coming through and highlighting the boning of the blind slats. Over all this is fantastic I have been looking to do this in my kitchen! Thanks!

  9. It’s a great idea, but i was thinking about is glueing velcro on the pastc side and the cloth side so they are removable for cleaning. Dont put in dryer or they will never be the same.

      • has anyone tried to put fabric on the back side of the blinds as well? i am working on these for a french door, so i don’t want the blinds to show through to the other side. please help!

    • I read an article by a pro that said to scotch guard the fabric before you sew, then vacuuming is sufficient for cleaning. Liquids should just wipe off. Way cheaper than all that velcro!!

  10. We are trying this project and ran into a bit of a mathematical issue. If you measured the material to be 2″ longer and wider, why would you only hem 1/2″ on each end (an inch total per width and height)? Wouldn’t that leave an extra inch? Just trying to be sure we do it correctly. We are mounting this inside our window and don’t want issues with it fitting.

  11. Have you seen the geico commercial with the slinky on the escalator? I’m basically imitating it right now, “THIS IS AWESOME!!” Wonderful tutorial! I’m going to save this to use for my kitchen! And probably every other window in our house :-)!

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  13. I followed your directions last night to the T and cannot figure out where I went wrong…I’ve put up my shade and when I use the string to pull it up, only the top portion folds and the rest is left hanging? Can you tell me where I might have gone wrong?

      • Hi Victoria,

        Yes sounds like that’s it. You need to put the slats together just as they were before you took them apart. In order for the string to pull them up they only need to be knotted off at the top and bottom. Hope this helps!

  14. Can you please let me know how it looks from the outside of the window? I’m hoping to try this in a long thin front entry door window, but I’m concerned how it will look from the view outside when people come to the door. Thanks for your imput.

    • Hi Tish,

      My window faces a side walkway so I wasn’t concerned with how the back looked. I’ve heard of other commenters putting a liner or other piece of fabric on the back side once it’s finished using fabric glue or stitch witchery. Just make sure you don’t glue over where the slats are and the shade should still pull up fine.

  15. Can you do this and do an outside mount? I am also going to be using a blackout/thermal suede fabric on the back in order to block out light and help control temperature, which is my entire purpose for doing shades. I feel like to be really effective I need to do an outside mount, and am just wondering if I would be able to mount the blind after the hack?

    • Yes I don’t see why it couldn’t be done as an outside mount, as long as you follow the instructions that come with the blinds for mounting on the outside and make sure that you don’t glue/sew down the pull strings so that the blinds still open and close correctly it should work either way.

  16. Wow! You did such a precise job with your tutorial. Thank you so much for your help. I have been looking into making the roman shade for a few weeks now but did not want to spend money on the roman shade kit (like 20 bucks or so). I got the mini blinds at home depot for under 5 bucks for the small ones and I thik 8 bucks for the bigger one. Can’t wait to make these.

  17. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upoո your blog and wanted to saʏ that Ι’ve trսlу enjoyed
    browsing your bloog posts. After all I will be subsceibing to your rss feed and I hope you wrute again very soon!

  18. Just ran across your diy for Roman Shades. In a word, BRILLIANT! I love them but pricey to buy, time consuming to make and all of the other excuses I could find. Not any more! Thank you–took a minute to figure out where the extra inch would be taken up but once I read through a bit further it was clear it went to the header and final large slat of the blind. Can’t wait to go through all of your ideas.

reading all of your comments makes me happy. thanks so much for taking the time to post your feedback!

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