Mini-Blind Roman Shades

It’s here! It’s here! In my mind, I am jumping around like Will Ferrell in Elf when he hears that Santa is coming and starts yelling, “Santa! Santa! I know him!” Yup, this project was on the level of excitement for me as Santa Claus is to elves.  The day has arrived where I can (finally) share with you a project that has been a long time coming. When I say a long time coming, I am saying that the thought came to mind, oh probably two years ago, and the actual process started this summer. So this is the epic reveal of my new roman shades in the Mego Cave.

Let’s take a look at the room so I can explain my logic of why I wanted Roman Shades.

chevron tablecloth

Mego Cave

First of all, look at those wide trimmings around the windows. I love how they frame the windows out. They are just good looking to me. So I didn’t want to cover them up.

Also, this room has weird paneling, which can cause some issues when hanging things. As you can see, the previous owners actually chunked out a section of the panel to assist in their window hanging needs. It drives me crazy, and I don’t like taking chunks out of my wall, so I thought the perfect solution would be Roman Shades. They go in the window, showing off my pretty trim and no chunks are taken out of the wall.

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Decision made, Roman Shades. Yet, when I started looking around at buying Roman Shades, I was very disappointed. They were expensive. Like really expensive. They were boring. I couldn’t bright colors, neat patterns, and anything modern looking except monochromatic stripes. Also, the windows in this room (count them – four!) were all custom window sizes. Up goes the price. So after lots of searching (over a year ago), this project just kind of went on the back burner….until this past summer when my mother-in-law moved back to town. Soon, she got me all excited with the idea that I could make them! As a master seamstress herself, she gave me confidence. So one day, in a fervor of excitement and “can-do” attitude, in conjunction with a super sale at a fabric store, I bought everything I needed to make the shades. Then, the materials sat there for months. It was a daunting project thinking about all the steps and sewing on all those little rings. After a few months of sitting on the materials, and then a painted Mego Cave later, I didn’t even want to use that fabric anyone (there was a case of the green clash and I thought the material was a little old looking for the room). Sigh.

Until one day everything turned around. My mother-in-law came to the rescue again when she found awesome $5 a yard fabric (the same place where I got my five second tablecloth fabric). I knew it was perfect (and the perfect price). I had also honed in on a method thanks to two site tutorials that inspired me  to make Roman Shades using mini-blinds. Both Little Green Notebook and 365 Days to Simplicity had a tutorial on how to do this. It’s like the heavens opened up, light shone down, and music played. I had found my method. I had my fabric. It was time to do this (picture a very determined Megan face). So I did it (honestly, over the course of a few weeks since I did one test shade and when it worked I did the other three). This process takes time, but it is actually easy. Be warned though as it is very time consuming and detail oriented. But the result is worth it.

So here is Megan’s step-by-step guide to Mini-Blind Roman Shades:

Supplies:

  • One mini-blind per window
  • Fabric to cover the square footage of the windows plus a little extra for hems
  • Fabric glue (I used Fabri-tac and it worked like a charm)
  • Sewing machine or hemming tape
  • Yard stick
  • Scissors
  • Optional:
    • Chalk
    • Dimensions board

Step 1: Secure mini-blinds in your windows  (hopefully these are already in your house and you can use what you have). Measure your windows and buy enough fabric to cover the square footage plus a little more for hemming.

Step 2: Using the measurements of your windows, cut out the fabric. You need to add two to three inches to every side for hemming and attachment purposes.

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Step 3: I decided to hem the sides of my fabric with a real sewing machine (gasp!) but you can easily use no sew hemming tape here as well. I have even seen people just fold them over and glue the edges. I chose the sewing machine in my goal to be more sew-savvy. You only have to hem the sides of the fabric, not the top and bottom. The fabric should be the desired width of the shade. I used a nice big dimension board to measure out the fabric, chalk and a yardstick to measure out my lines, cut it up, ironed the hem (doing the double tuck to secure loose ends), and then hemmed a straight line down each side.

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Step 4: Grab those mini-blinds now. It’s their turn. Take them down from the window and lay them out on a flat surface. I used my big dimensions board throughout this whole process. It was a lifesaver! Carefully cut out the ladder. This is the smaller cord running through the blinds. Do NOT cut the thicker cord that raises and lowers the blind. Be very careful about this.

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Step 5: Detach the bottom plastic piece by popping out the plastic tabs and untying the knot.

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Step 6: Calculate how far you want every fold to be in your Roman Shades. The most common number is 9 inches between each fold, which is the measurement I used. You may want to change that a little based on your window length. You want them to be evenly spaced from top to bottom.

Step 7: Slide all the mini-blinds off except for the number you calculated in Step 6. You need one blind per fold, with your last one being the bottom plastic piece. Once you have the correct number of blinds, measure the cord to the length of your window, thread it through the plastic end, and retie it into a knot to reattach it to the bottom plastic part. I measured my cord and used a Sharpie to mark on the cord where the end length needed to be. This gave me a visual to use when tying the knot to secure it on the plastic bottom.

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Step 8: Be very careful in this step. Lay your fabric face down on the dimension board. Then, lay your blind face down on top of it. Align the sides of the blinds with the width of the fabric. Make sure to leave 2-3 inches on the top and bottom to attach the fabric to the plastic top and bottom. Then, carefully lay out at the width you chose in Step 6 for each fold. Start at the top and work down from there. I laid a blind every 9 inches.

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Step 9: Start gluing from the top down. First, wrap the fabric around the top plastic piece. Then, double check your measurements and glue down the first blind. Then glue the second blind until you glue down all the blinds. Finish by wrapping and gluing the extra fabric on the end around the bottom plastic.

Roman Shades

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Step 10: Now as much as you want to pick that baby up and slap it on the window, restrain yourself. Don’t waste all your hard work.  Let it dry at least 24 hours to really make sure that glue is secure. Then, attach it to the window just like you did when it was a mini-blind. Now do your happy dance and pat yourself on the back.

Roman Shades

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Tip: A seamstress once told me she likes to “train” her Roman shades when she first puts them up. All you have to do to have obedient Roman Shades is to pull them all the way up so they are completely folded. Work out any little buckles in the fabric so they are perfect and straight. Then just leave them like that a few days. This will help them know to go back to their fold every time!

Make Roman Shades from Mini-Blinds | www.rappsodyinrooms.com

Phew, this may qualify as my longest post. And perhaps my longest running project. Each shade took about two hours to complete from beginning to end. I like to triple check all my measurements…and that is basically all this project is: measurements.

Now for an amazing budget breakdown for my four custom Roman shades:

  • Fabric: $30 (I bought 6 yards and still have about a yard left for other projects)
  • Fabric Glue: $5
  • Mini-blinds: Already owned (thanks to the previous owner!)
  • Yardstick, chalk, dimensions board, sewing machine: All owned or borrowed
  • Total: $35

You want to scream a little with me!? THIRTY-FIVE DOLLARS for CUSTOM shades?! Yeah, it took buckets of time but for the cost savings it is unbelievable. You can’t even find one Roman Shade for $35 (or maybe just a simple one). So after the years (literally – geesh!) of thinking, pondering, shaking in my boots, it’s over. And I love it. And, the possibilities are endless. If I don’t love it in a few years, this project is easy to redo. Sure, I may have to spend $15-$20 bucks on mini blinds (I don’t suspect these would be reusable) but hey, that is still $50ish custom shades. This project feels so good to complete. I hear applause in my head. Or maybe it is just all the ringing from those darn measurements. Okay good people, if you are still with me in this super long post, it is time for me to say adieu and go stare at my Roman Shades. Maybe even raise and lower them a few times for a thrill.

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  • ilovebeingonline

    Those Roman Shades are beautiful! I love them! Looks like all your hard work paid off :)

    Now I could go for that same look in my apartment! ;)

    -Carrie
    http://ilovebeingonline.comReplyCancel

    • Thanks Carrie! I am definitely digging the look. You should definitely go for it. Once you work up the energy to do it, it’s not hard. Share pics if you end up doing it!ReplyCancel

  • […] think they had a lot of rugs to ship), my rug appeared on my front stoop. Then I had to finish the mini-blind Roman Shade project before I could unveil the rug (since the test window shade that was up was right behind the […]ReplyCancel

  • […] about time!) and it was already looking quite spiffy with its new light fixture, new rug, and beautiful Roman Shades, but it still needed some more Christmas-ing […]ReplyCancel

  • i loooove that light fixture! and what great fabric on those shades, too. this just looks too confusing for me to actually do, but good for you!ReplyCancel

    • Thank you! The light fixture is from West Elm. I’m so in love too! You can definitely do this project. It sounds like a lot but once you break it down into steps it really is quite simple! Also, thanks for the fabric love! :)ReplyCancel

  • O.M.G.!! That is AWESOME! I’m pinning this for possible later use. I’m going to be buying a new home soon so if I end up with mini-blinds (which I hate), I’ll definitely put your awesome tutorial to work for me!! Thanks!

    TaniaReplyCancel

    • Thanks Tania! You should definitely use this in your new home! Best of luck!ReplyCancel

  • they look sooo amazing! i need to make some for my bathroom.ReplyCancel

  • […] nice does the blue in the painting tie into the mini-blind roman shades?! I’m so happy with the result, and at $10 it was a total DIY score instead of custom […]ReplyCancel

  • […] grey would be a good neutral in a room with so many patterns starting to emerge (hello new rug and Roman shades made from mini-blinds, along with the crazy fabric artwork). I had a few samples of grey paint, so I thought that was a […]ReplyCancel

  • […] grey would be a good neutral in a room with so many patterns starting to emerge (hello new rug and Roman shades made from mini-blinds, along with the crazy fabric artwork). I had a few samples of grey paint, so I thought that was a […]ReplyCancel

  • Lauren

    I LOVE, LOVE this… THANK YOU!!! How are they keeping up?ReplyCancel

    • Thank you! They are actually holding up really well! As long as your mini blinds were sturdy to begin with, your roman shades will be too!ReplyCancel

  • Jahid Alam

    So beautiful and brilliant idea.It is a very innovative concept in which a window can work as a door also with the help of shades.
    It prevents the extra sunlight causing glaring problem.There is a variety of shades available in the market so a buyer is free to pick and choose the color and design of their own.ReplyCancel

    • Thank you! Yes, I think these would work great on doors as well!ReplyCancel

  • […] Made Roman shades from mini-blinds […]ReplyCancel

  • Turned out great!! Love the fabric too ;)ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much! I can’t believe I scored it for $5 a yard! That bargain plus your tutorial was a heck of a window covering deal!ReplyCancel

  • This is a project that I’ve always wanted to try. I appreciate your clear step-by-step directions. $35 for two window treatments is such a bargain. I know your friends compliment you each time they see your blinds.

    Thanks so much for sharing your project at Throwback Thursday!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much Paula! It’s definitely one of my favorites…and one I contemplate doing it every room! I’m actually saving every mini-blind we replace for that reason! ReplyCancel

  • I love this and you gave an awesome tutorial. I have plantation blinds but I will have to pin this for future reference. Thanks for sharing this at Throwback Thursday.

    xoxo
    DenyseReplyCancel

    • Thanks Denyse! Oooh plantation blinds are definitely too nice to get rid of! I love them! It is a good project to tuck away for later.ReplyCancel

  • […] Tired of your mini-blinds? Why not make a Roman shade out of them from Rappsody in Rooms. […]ReplyCancel

  • Sandra

    Great job! I want to do this. What size is your big dimensions board and
    where can I purchase one?ReplyCancel

    • Thank you Sandra! You can find numerous sizes of these boards at a craft store like JoAnns or Michaels. My board’s size is 68″ x 36″. Hope that helps!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly

    I followed this tutorial for Roman shades to a T. The only thing I did differently was line mine lightly so that it would provide more of a room darkening factor. I am so unhappy with how they turned out. Every time I raise and lower them they do not fold and lie correctly. I did not spend much money on them but I did take all day one day to work on them. After hanging and realizing that they were not rolling up correctly I took them back down and work on them some more, but I cannot even figure out what the problem is…feeling discouraged.ReplyCancel

    • Hi Kelly. I am so sorry to hear this. I know they are very time consuming to make, and I would feel disappointed too. Without seeing your shades I’m not exactly sure how to help but I have a few thoughts.

      I had to train mine to lay correctly. That means I pulled them up and played with the folds until I got them how I wanted them to lay. Then I left them like that for days. Now when I bring them up and down they go right back to those positions. Every now and then I have to fluff a corner or something but they are pretty well trained.

      Another thought is the spacing between the blinds that you attached them to. Maybe you need more or less space.

      Or the fabric that you used: maybe its too heavy or too flimsy? I used upholstery weight fabric and I think that helps them take shape better. Or perhaps the lining is making them front layer of fabric pull away in the front and fall funny.

      I hope some of these ideas can help! If not, keep me posted and I will try to help troubleshoot more. Feel free to email me at rappsodyinrooms@gmail.com with pictures if that could help up troubleshoot together more.ReplyCancel

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