DIY Fabric Roman Shades

Last week I announced the start of my new project, operation budget boy’s room makeover. Since cash is tight ($250 for the whole room) it must be spent wisely and sometimes that means getting creative.

Transform your old blinds into fabric roman shades, no sewing involved!

These old aluminum blinds were one of my must-go’s, but costing at least $70 for two roman or bamboo shades, replacing them definitely wasn’t in the budget.


I knew there had to be a way to disguise them and I wondered if I could simply attach fabric to the front to give them a roman shade look.

After some Pinterest searching, I found a few tutorials and was pleased to find out it could be accomplished!

First I had to select a fabric. Since the room is very small and doesn’t have a lot of light, I wanted something light and also neutral so it wouldn’t compete with the bedding and other fun things I have planned for the space. I narrowed it down to these guys at JoAnn:


After mulling over it for a while, I decided that the colored options may clash with the paint color so I opted for white in a thicker woven fabric. Two panels at a little over 2 yards each in length came to $28—that’s more like it!

The first step is to remove the old blinds (they should just unclip), release the cord and spread it out:


Most of the slats have to be removed, so in order to do that you’ve got to cut all of the small strings that hold them in place:


The main thicker cord that runs through the holes in the slots must stay, so make sure not to snip that by mistake!

Once they’re all cut, unplug the cap at the very bottom and cut the knot at the end of the cord to release the bottom piece.


Then you can slide them all off, making sure to leave a few on so the fabric can be pulled up in sections. I went with four slats.IMG_6649

When you’re done, it will look something like this (make sure to also cut off the thinner strings shown here, leaving just the main cords):


Then comes the real work.

I measured the blinds and then cut my fabric to size, adding about an inch on each side so there was enough room the fold the edges over for a cleaner look.


Then I ironed it and used something called Unique Stitch to hem the seams (it seemed easier than Stitch Witchery hem tape)


Once that was all hemmed up it looked like this (also, it’s really hard to get this straight—that’s the trickiest part):IMG_6675

Then I lined up the old blinds in place and glued down the top rail, leaving just a bit of overlap (also using unique stitch):IMG_6656

Then I evenly spaced the slats out and using a brush, I painted the convex (back) side of each slat with the same glue, making sure to not get any on the cord…


At the bottom, I retied the cords and glued the end piece to the fabric as well.IMG_3314


All done!IMG_6658

Finally, the moment of truth…IMG_3324

….Not exactly what I had planned! The cord mechanism worked but I didn’t even consider the fact that being backlit would show every detail. Fail.

But, inexpensive blackout fabric to the rescue. I found it at JoAnn for just $3.50/yard:IMG_6671

Instead of redoing everything I wondered if I could just glue the fabric to the edges… so I tried it.IMG_6674


But, nope. This is what happened when I pulled the cord:IMG_6679

Sigh. So, I had to rip it all off. If you’re wondering how well this Unique Stitch holds up… here’s your answer:IMG_6680

It’s good stuff but it’s depleted really fast… especially when you’re redoing a project twice.

I was able to salvage the blackout fabric and after removing the slats, glued it directly onto the fabric. Take my advice—this is how you must do it from the beginning!


And here’s how it should look from the back when you’re done:IMG_6677

Much better! To reattach, simply slide it back onto the rail (you may have to lift the fabric up on the ends and reglue it) and put replace the caps to keep your new roman shades in place.

IMG_7266 IMG_7263

Another learning experience, in the books! At least it was only a $37 project for both windows. $213 left to spend….!

Next week I tackle a DIY rustic wood headboard and bring in some much needed lighting. Make sure to check back then to see how everything unfolds!



9 thoughts on “DIY Fabric Roman Shades

  1. Thanks for showing your fail and how you fixed it. Super helpful, especially with the blackout shades. I’ve been wanting to do this DIY for a while! Maybe I’ll finally tackle it for the nursery!

  2. Thank you for this easy tutorial! I have also browsed Pinterest to do this, but every blog I’ve seen it on makes it seems so complicated. This looks totally easy. 🙂 Do you think this would work with the cheap-o plastic blinds in the same style instead of aluminum?!

  3. Jenna,
    You continue to amaze me. Wow, what a great tutorial and such a wonderful outcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to instruct those of us missing a DIY gene or so. 🙂

  4. Impressive! They turned out great Jenna. I can’t wait to see the room finished.
    At the moment I am trying to decide whether to put roman blinds or curtains in my 6 year olds room. I can’t make up my mind.

  5. Looks great. I have made these twice and both times the side with the pull cord has bowed up from reaching behind it to raise/lower the blinds. 🙁 it never laid straight again and had to replace once it started to bug us.

  6. Thanks so much for your awesome ideas and for being a “real” creative person. Just because you have great ideas doesn’t mean they always work out right the first time. You seem to blog about the exact ideas I am looking for and have an interest in doing. Thanks a bunch! Can’t wait to try these ideas!

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