Upon stumbling across a “Mini Blinds into Roman Shades” tutorial one evening, my wheels started turning. Though Brian and I had been given two estimates on our quirky living room windows; we were discouraged that any treatments would cost more than we were interested in spending. (One grand would have been the minimum.)
Maybe there’s something that I can do.
Our house was a model home in the 70’s. Not only do we have a “conversation pit” complete with two built-in couches, but we also have both small and large diagonal-topped, floor-to-ceiling windows. (I’m pretty sure our original shades are 40 years old. Filthy.)
Once the thought came to mind of completing a DIY project, I kept upping my standards and turned this vision into a beast.
I don’t just want fabric Roman shades, I want bamboo…
The bamboo tone is too light; it needs to be stained…
The bamboo shades let in too much light; they need to be lined…
The shades will look so much more polished if I sew dowel rod slots in the back instead of gluing the blind slats…
Home Depot doesn’t sell 36″ dowel rods; we’ll need to cut them ourselves…
The bamboo needs a splash of color; I need wide fabric ribbon to run up the sides…
Nobody sells perfect, wide fabric ribbon; I need to make that myself…
I can’t very well sew this ribbon within the bamboo; I’ll have to superglue it down…
And so a two hour project turned into a three week project, consuming all of my free time away from work.
Had I simply chosen a beautiful fabric, this would have been a cinch. As it is, I’m a square piece and regularly thwart ease and comfort in my life.
The steps to creating my perfect fabric:
- Buy four roll-up bamboo shades at Big Lots. Intentions: disassemble each one to use for its parts.
- Stain the bamboo.
- Tie the shades together to make two long shades.
- Measure and pin burlap fabric to snugly line bamboo shades.
- Iron and sew slots for dowel rods every so many inches. (Finished, mine are about 13″ apart.)
- Measure, cut, iron and sew old curtains to create wide ribbon.
- Measure and place the ribbon so that it runs evenly on either side before gluing down with GEL superglue. (I nearly had a stroke when our backup, “regular” superglue bled through the fabric.) You might need some sweets to fuel this tedious task. (Our tall window is over 10 feet high.)
- Pin burlap to bamboo.
- Sew burlap to bamboo with the toughest needles you can find. Keep your sewing machine on a medium speed. Anything too fast and you’ll bust a needle (or three).
- To work with our diagonal top, I used more old curtains to create little valances. First I measured how much fabric I’d need by using newspaper.
Once I cut a suitable piece of fabric, I pinned it to fit around the frame (kinda like fitting wrapping paper around a present).
I sewed the two corners and used velcro to attach the valance to the frame.
How to make your own DIY Top-Down/Bottom-Up Roman Shades!
Holy-Moley, Missie! That looks like one of those projects that takes tenacity and when it’s done, you’ll sit and stare at it with extreme contentment and a sense of satisfaction. Pat yourselves on the back! Can’t wait to see the finished product.
Wow, and I cannot wait till next weekend!
Wow, that’s quite a project! You always did like to tackle things head on. 🙂
That is awesome, Suzy!
So how did you stain the blinds?
Spray stain from Michael’s.
YOU JUST SAVED MY MARRIAGE!!!! I do home staging for a living. I am a DIY freak as well. When clients need custom…I am always shocked at how much money they spend without blinking an eye!!! I have wanted to do this sooooo long…but my husband has been, rightfully so, freaked out that I will buy the roll up shades and give up or blow up my Husqvarna…another had to have…and story! Bless you to infinity and beyond!!!! I can do this…well…you have given me hope that I can!!!!