Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How To Make: Custom Roller Shades

I meant to post this last night. Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Life has been keeping my busy :)

With my bedroom redo, I needed some roller shades. But, unfortunately, the size of my windows {24 x 24} was not standard. After hours of shopping online, I could not find what I was looking for. Back to the 'ole drawing board! So, when in doubt, check Walmart. I ran across a set of roller shades that you could resize {super cheap, $3.99}. You literally tear off the excess. Totally bizarre, but it completely worked!

The rod was super easy to adjust and I ended up needing more taken off than the shade was perforated for. So, I marked it and cut it. I just adjusted the rod and held it in the window, marked the edge and folded. A little snip snip and it fit! Make sure you double check tho! Measuring is not
a strong suit for me and I've been known to misread the measuring tape. Opps!

Now for the real customization! I went to Hobby Lobby and got 3 yards of a off-white fabric. Of course you could get whatever you wanted, I was just aiming for something neutral.

Grab your iron and get out all of the creases from where it was on the bolt. Lay it out on a flat surface, someplace you can really spread out. Lay down your shade and leave about two inches on all three sides of the shade. {Note: I needed the shade to be able to cover the whole window. So I needed a full 24 inches of finished shade. Make sure you measure how much shade you want to be visible when the shade is in the window; whether it be up or down}

Here comes the messy part! I bought some Elmer's Spray Adhesive and a bottle of fabric glue. Take the shade outside and give it a quick coat of spray adhesive on the side you want to face outward {toward the room.} Quick note about sprays. Never spray point blank or in one spot. Ever. Spray in short consistent passes. Think of spraying hairspray on your hair. You'd never spray really close and in one spot. You want to lightly coat it. Believe me, I know a thing or two about hairspray!

Take your shade inside and lay it adhesive side down onto the fabric. Give it a quick flip to smooth our any bubbles. Great thing about spray adhesive it's easy to adjust. If it looks crooked, you can easily reposition it.

Taking your brush and fabric glue and squeeze a bit on the edge of the shade. Fabric glue is flexible, so when you roll that shade up, it won't crack or break. Take the brush and smooth the glue out. Then, take the edge of the fabric and fold it over. Give it a good press so the fabric and glue smush together.

Yay! It's starting to come together! I started to think about what the covered portion of the shade would look like when it was up or down. I came to the conclusion that when the shade is rolled up, the backside {the part we just folded and glued on the back} will show on the actual rolled part. I hope this makes sense. So, I decided to make a mini valance {not quite sure that is the right term} to make it looked more finished.

Since I'm not doing a good job of describing it, here is what exactly I am talking about:

I went to Hobby Lobby {yes, for the third time in the same day} and grabbed a piece of foam core for about $5.00. Great thing about foam core- you get a ton and it'll last you forever.

I measured a 3 x 24 inch strip to cover up the roller part of the shade. 3 to be exact and I used an Exacto knife to cut the foam core.

Using the same technique we did earlier to cover the shade, we're going to cover the pieces of foam core with the fabric. Spray with adhesive and the use your fabric glue {or hot glue for this part} to cover. Make sure you pull the fabric taught for a smooth look. {Note: you don't want to use hot glue on the shade, it'll melt the shade and then you'll be sad}

One last part then we can put our shades up! I made these little legs to secure the "strip" into the window frame. I just measured the width of the strip by two inches and made these little pieces. I attached each piece onto the end of the strip with some hot glue. Note: I did not cover these with fabric because they aren't visible for the most part.

Now stick that puppy in the window along with your shade and there you have it! If the strips don't fit snug into the frame you can use these removable strips to make sure they are secure AND they won't ruin your walls!

And here you have it! Roller shade just for you!!

Now you could really get creative with this. Maybe use a coordinating piece of fabric with a pattern on the top part, or maybe some fringe on the edge or a ribbon stripe. Mine are pretty boring but I needed something simple for the room.
A few tips I learned along the way:
#1. Try not to unroll or bend/crease the shade before you start. You can see in a few pics where I had the shades on a uneven surface for about a day and it created a bend in the shade a bit.
#2. If you choose a lighter fabric, keep in mind you might be able to see where the fabric stops on the back when the sunlight shines on it. So you might consider wrapping the whole shade all the way around. Make sense?
Happy rolling!


Averill said...

Nice! I'm actually kind of in shock about how good those tear-off blinds look...never would've guessed. Way to go!

jen said...

so ... apparently i'll be making a trip to walmart this weekend. thanks for the tutorial and tips! i've been dying to get pink shades for my daughters room ... but apparently they are only available (in a multitude of colors) in the uk.
ha. i can do it!

jill said...

You can also just buy the shades at a place like Home Depot or Lowes, and if you need an odd size, they will cut the whole thing for you free of charge. It took about 30 seconds...

Jasmyn Hart said...

Thank you for the wonderful post!! I can't wait to make these. I was planning to use patterned fabric. I have one challenge my homeowners association requires that you only see white shades/blinds from the street of your house? Any ideas on how I can cover the back of the blind without making it too heavy?