Mini-Blinds to Roman Shades

A few months ago I stumbled across Little Green Notebook, which is now one of my favorite blogs. Jenny has amazing style and is so talented. She has a knack for DIY, and when I found her project for turning mini-blinds into roman shades I was blown away!

I have always loved the look of roman shades, but always assumed they would be more trouble to make than they were worth. I was wrong. Following her directions, I cranked out 3 of these for my kitchen windows in no time! They are so easy! I just recently made some for my bedroom too, and thought I would share my slightly modified instructions for making these.

You will need:
A mini-blind that fits your window
Fabric Glue
Tape Measure
Hot Glue Gun
Dowel Rods - # depends on how many folds you want on your shades.
Fabric to fit your window opening + a few inches on all sides
First you will need to measure your window and buy a shade that will fit. If you plan on using a bulkier fabric, you should buy blinds that are slightly smaller than the window opening.

Figure out how many folds you want in your shades. I like bigger folds, so I only used 3 dowel rods on mine.

Open the blind all the way, and then lay it out flat. Run your scissors along the blinds, clipping only the horizontal support strings. Be very careful not to cut into the thicker lift cords!!! Pull the cut strings completely off the blinds so only the lift cords are left. Remove the plugs on the bottom of the blind and take all the slats off. You should have something like this:
Now you'll want to drill holes in the dowel rods to match up with the holes from one of the blind slats. We used a drill press, but you could do this with just a drill (and a steady hand!).
Slide the rods onto the lift cords and replace the bottom bar. Measure how long you want your shade to be, cut the cords, and tie a knot to keep the bar on. It's probably a good idea to add a few inches to the length of your window just in case!
Lay the whole thing face down with your fabric centered underneath it. You may want to turn under and glue the edges of the fabric to "hem" it so that you will have a clean edge.

Use your hot glue gun to attach the top of the fabric to the top bar of the blind. DO NOT glue all the way across the top!!! Leave 2-3" on both ends of the top bar without the fabric attached. This is so you will be able to install the shade later.

Then make sure your rods are spaced evenly and begin folding the edges of the fabric over the ends of the rods. Use the fabric glue to glue the overlapping fabric together on either side of each rod to keep the dowels in place.
If you have more patience than me, you may want to iron your fabric first!

I used paperclips to hold the fabric together while it dried, but you could place something heavy on top of it to hold it in place.
Wrap the fabric over the bottom bar and use a hot glue gun to attach it.

Now just install the shade like a mini-blind. You're almost done, but you should have some loose fabric up at the top of the shade. Now that you've hung the blind, you can turn this under and hot glue it to the top bar to finish it off. If you leave off the decorative piece and glue the fabric to the top bar instead, the shade will be more easily removable. If you do what I did and glue it to the decorative piece, the blind will be more permanent.
If you don't use sheer fabric like I did, the dowel rods obviously won't show through. If you do use sheer fabric, I recommend spray painting the rods a coordinating color before assembling the shades.

I love this project because it's so easy and so cheap compared to the cost of store-bought roman shades. And it looks great! Thanks Jenny!

Edited - I forgot to give you a run-down on the costs: Mini-blind - $4
Sheer curtain panel from JC Penny outlet - $3 (I can get 2 shades out of 1 panel)
Dowel Rods - $2
Glue and other materials I already had.
So the grand total for 1 shade = $9


The DIY Show Off said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow. I love the step by step instructions. Are you sure you're not just making it look easy?! lol I want to try it...bookmarking for the future. Thanks so much!

Have a great week!

Anny said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for such clear directions, I'm going to have to do this soon. As a funny aside my kitchen is that same color with curtains in a similar pattern :D

Elizabeth said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow! This is so great! I also have always loved the look of a roman shade but thought they would be too much trouble. I'm so going to try this sometime!

I just found your blog after you commented on mine, and I LOVE IT! If you ever make a button I will definitely add it to my blog! :)

Saranne said... Best Blogger Tips

LOVE this idea! Need new curtains for my kitchen, and am going to try this....great instructions!

Annie said... Best Blogger Tips

I just inquired at my nearby Decor Center as to the cost of ordering a pulley-type roman blind mechanism... and it would be $75 for a 24". I would need 2 of them and also a larger size to fit into my bay window. Then I'd have to add the fabric, lining and thread, velcro etc. It was going to be very costly. And I would have to make them myself, so when I saw this... wow... what a great idea.

Wendy said... Best Blogger Tips

This is fantastic! They look beautiful! I was just wondering why you chose to change the mini blinds to dowel rods? Is is because you can see the mini blinds more? Thank you so much for sharing!

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

Wendy, I decided that with a heavier fabric that the dowel rods were a little sturdier than the plastic blinds. If you're using a lighter fabric, it probably doesn't make that much difference.

Vicky said... Best Blogger Tips

Love it! I am thinking about making some for my two kitchen door windows, so I would need to line them. How would you line the back? Any ideas? Thanks!! Vicky

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

Vicky, I've thought about this before. If I ever make shades for any windows that don't face the woods around our house I would want to line them, too. I'm sure there are many (and probably better) ways to do this, but I thought about just hemming all the way around a piece of white blackout fabric the same size as the shade and then gluing it onto the back of the fabric. Does that make sense? Hope that helps!
Thanks for stopping by!

Vicky said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for your reply! I am going to try that, I think. We are in the middle of updating our kitchen, and should be through this week. THEN, I get to re-decorate!! I will try this method. I'll report back!

Double Glazing Birmingham said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for the home improvement tips that you have shared to your readers. Window blinds and shades would greatly contribute beauty to your home.And with your procedure it is easy for us to create our own style.

Mara said... Best Blogger Tips

Will be starting this project in the next couple of days. Can't wait. Thank you for your wonderful explanation of how to make these. Do you think the wood blinds (using the wood slats not the dowel rods) would work?

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

Mara, I think wood blinds would work pretty much the same way. Good luck!

Yolanda @ Miss Refashionista said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks for sharing this tutorial. Definately on my to-do list!!!

swolf said... Best Blogger Tips

Love this idea! I think it will be the perfect solution for our kitchen dinette doors. I am considering keeping all of the mini blind slats in place, rather than removing them. Then I will follow the directions to glue periodically to create the folds. I plan to open these fully every morning and close them every night, so I feel leaving the blind slats in place will offer great privacy at night but still look like shades in the house. Any thoughts before I get started?

Britt said... Best Blogger Tips

swolf - I only had one thought: if you leave all of the slats on, when you raise the blinds, the slats will rest on top of each other horizontally, instead of staying vertical (parallel to the hanging fabric). Does that make sense? I don't know how much it will affect your ability to raise the blinds, and you could always remove the slats later if it doesn't work. Just a thought!

Amanda McEwen ~ $5 Hems and more ~ said... Best Blogger Tips

I am a seamstress, so I WILL be doing this for my windows. Soo classy looking. But What I will do is sew pockets into the folded over portion of the curtain, to slip the dowels into, and adding an extra dowel at the VERY top and the VERY bottom. That way I can take the fabric off to make seasonal changes, or to was it. Thanks for this great way to reuse a tacky old blind!!!

Serena said... Best Blogger Tips
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