Make Shades Out of Mini Blinds

Do you love the look of fabric shades but don't want to fork over the cash?

design by Coddington Design, via Desire to Inspire

Shades can often cost you an arm and a leg (especially custom fabric shades). When my cheap white IKEA shades were safety-recalled, I decided to figure out a way to repurpose the old {ugly} mini blinds that had previously hung in our bedroom windows. The result was better and easier than expected, not to mention even cheaper than the cost of new IKEA shades.

Here are the basic instructions. If you need more details, feel free to comment or email.

--Supplies--
Tape measure
Scissors
Fabritac (or comparable fabric glue - NOT HOT GLUE!)
Mini blinds (like the $3 Target mini blinds)
Fabric (yardage depends on the size of your window)
Trim (optional)

1. Measure you windows carefully. Then do some math and figure out how many folds you want in your shade. I like the look of a fold every 9 inches, which meant I only needed 6 slats for my small windows.

2. Let out the blinds all the way, making them the longest they can be. Carefully cut away all of the thin tilting/ladder-like strings, being very careful not to cut the thicker lift cord. I simply ran my scissors along the top of the slats, cutting away the tilt strings and avoiding the lift string altogether.

3. Take out the plastic plugs from the bottom of the miniblinds and remove and put aside the thick bottom slat piece (you'll need this later). Then simply pull off most of the slats, while leaving the few you'll need for the folds of the shade. Like I mentioned before, I only needed six slats for my shade.

4. Make sure the blinds are still let out all the way. Measure carefully and reinstall the thick bottom slat so that the length of your window and the full length of the shade are roughly the same. I decided to make my shade about 1" longer than my window measurement. Just to make sure it would be long enough.

Trim the extra cord away off the bottom.

Now cut out your fabric, using the shade skeleton as your pattern and leaving a 2.5 inch (or so) border on all sides.

5. Congrats! You're done with the hard part! You should have something that looks like this:

It's time to start gluing.

6. Start with the top of the shade. Fold over and glue the fabric together to make a clean edge and glue that to the front of the big top rail mount. **NOTE: Do not glue the folded hem to the very ends of the rail mount. You need to be able to slip the rail into the wall-mounted brackets, so the fabric needs to stay unglued on the very ends.

7. Measure 9" (or your preferred fold length) from the top of the rail. Adjust and glue a slat into place. Continue all the way down, gluing the slats to the fabric. I glued the rounded, convex side of the slat to the fabric so there was more slat-to-fabric contact. Make sure not to glue the lift cord to the slats or the fabric.

8. Glue, turn in and glue again the three other sides of the shade to finish off all the edges. Let it all dry.

9. (Optional) Glue on some trim to the bottom slat. I picked up some super, super tiny ball trim at JoAnn's for less than $1 a yard. (only needed one yard)


10. Hang up the shades just like hanging up mini blinds. The cord still functions the same way and, as long as you didn't glue the lift cord to your slats or fabric, the shade should lift and fold beautifully.

Here's my finished shade. The fabric is a blue-gray burlap that I bought a while back on eBay for about $6.50 a yard. I think I used about a yard and a half total for two shades, but I have small windows.


I'm happy with the look of the burlap. The dark color helps with light control (it filters), but I still feel like the room is bright and cheerful when the shades are down. It's a good balance for me. Some of you might want to add black-out fabric to the backs of your shade to completely block out the light. It'd be like living in a hotel.


Please let me know if you need clarification or elaboration. And don't forget to send me pictures if you make your own shades! I'd love to see them!

240 comments:

1 – 200 of 240   Newer›   Newest»
Willow Decor: said...

I love this project! And, Congrats to you, too on the Washington Post - We Boston girls had a good week!
xx-
Gina

twin2trip said...

Oh my you are a genius! I'll have to put this on the list.

Sarah said...

This is so perfect. We have five windows in our bedroom, all covered with awful mini blinds, that I have had no idea what to do with for the longest time. Genius. I will have to try this once I start working on our bedroom.

One question though. Is the burlap private enough at night? Can you see in from outside?

Jenny said...

Sarah -
We tested out the burlap to make sure it provided enough privacy at night. We didn't have any problems there. You could see light coming through and maybe a bit of a shadow if someone was standing right up against the window, but I felt like it was not really an issue.
There are so many different fabrics to choose from though, so go with a fabric that would look good in your room. The burlap was a little stiffer and maybe a bit trickier to work with than other fabrics would be. Not bad, but not the easiest either.
I'm doing a post on Monday all about different fabric shades. Hopefully you'll find some inspiration there.

Jenny

paula said...

i am beyond impressed. they look fabulous!

Sara said...

brilliant! thank you :)
have i commented before? I'm friends w/ terese and also your sister-in-law kristine :)

Rowena said...

Just genius. I had to feature and link this on my blog post.
http://littlegreennotebook.blogspot.com/
I'm saving it for when I am ready for this project, because I know I will needed.

I'm excited to make my own shades.

allegra said...

Jenny,

oh my word girl. you are a genius. what a fabulous idea! I LOVE this blog of yours. You have such amazing taste. i LOVE everything on here. When we get a house one day, I'm totally going to fly you out to decorate it:) i wish.

congrats on the Washington Post recognition. That is pretty darn cool if you ask me. You're amazing.

Petertammenson said...

Jennica, you are seriously brilliant! I really dig the burlap - using that in a home would never have crossed my mind in a million years, but it's complete unexpectedness is so rad!

Sarah said...

This is an amazing blog!

Thank you for this project idea. It is definitely on my list of things to try. It's great to find things you can accomplish on a budget!

katelines photography. said...

http://nicolehill.blogspot.com/2009/02/hurray-for-little-investigation.html

i didn't know if you knew or not, sussy gave you a little shout out.

liler said...

this is so brilliant! Thank you so much for the idea!

KatyO! said...

great idea!! I can't wait to try it!

The Graduate said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know if one could glue a fabric backing/lining on these?

The only little thing I don't like about them is the unfinshed appearance on the backside. I know that's a bit uptight, but I'd like the view of the windows from the outside to be as lovely as the view from the inside.

-Kim in SLC

Jenny said...

Kim-

It would be so, so easy and inexpensive to simply glue some white muslin fabric to to back of these shades to unify the look of your windows from the outside.

J

Miss Jess said...

Thanks so much for posting this ingenious tutorial. So simple yet amazing!

Ti said...

can't wait to try this. fabulous!

and PLEASE SOMEONE help me ID the scalloped patterned rug in the first photo.

must. have. must. have. must. have....

KatyO! said...

i had to do a post on this ... too fantastic!
http://katyoh.blogspot.com/

Haydee said...

This is so incredibly smart and simple. I'm so impressed and I will be doing this to all my windows. I've made roman shades before and it's a little too tedious and ends up being a little pricy so this is crazy genius. Well done. I HATE miniblinds.. Windows around should thank you.

Rachel said...

I'm so impressed. I'm definitely going to try this! We bought our house in September and I've been trying to figure out what to do with the windows w/o a lot of cash.

I'm so excited! I might actually run out and try it this weekend!!! Thanks :)

Kristina said...

I wonder if you could do this without totally dismantling the blinds. Perhaps you could leave all the slats in place, but only glue the fabric to every 10th one or so? My condo building requires that we all have the same metal miniblinds so that all the window coverings look the same from the outside of the building. If I could somehow create the shade without changing the exterior look, this would be a great way to cheat the rules!

Mom in France said...

I wonder - would this approach work with applying a liner fabric to the back (to help block light and provide a more finished look)?

Geek+Nerd said...

I love this project - a stroke of genius. Nice to come across a new-to-me Boston blog as well :)

GrannySmithGreen said...

I am completely impressed! Thank you so much!

Joan said...

We have ugly roll up shades on every window and we have a lot of windows. I just bought a pattern for roman shades, but I'm so excited to try your instructions instead.

ModernGear TV said...

Wonderful! I am linking to this post today on my e-roundup. Can't wait to try this for our new house...a great way to add colour or a fun pattern into decor.

Jess said...

I have been looking for something like this my entire adult decorating life! THANK YOU!

Beth Ann said...

LOVE IT! My son was born almost 15 months ago and he still has (be prepared to gasp) PAPER SHADES (you just gasped, didn't you) in his window because I haven't been able to decide what to do. We have odd shaped windows so anything custom (other than cut-to-size white blinds from a home store like Lowes or Home Depot) is upwards of $200 (yikes!). I am SO GOING TO GIVE THIS A TRY! Once I have completed it I'll share pictures. (crossing fingers it will be in the next few weeks....)

Alissa said...

i must have missed it... did you re-add the bottom piece before gluing?

Andrea said...

Someone high up led me to your creation. You have saved my living room from another set of ugly cut to fit mini blinds. The ones that came with the house were old and my kids have demolished them. There are 3 windows in a slight curve, one is down completely and the other too have broken strings and rods so you can't open them or turn the blinds... My husband is going to want to kiss you for keeping me from spending a ton on special order blinds!!!! My only question is do you glue the outside fabric facing the window on the same strips as the inside?

Emily said...

I made three of these today - 2 for my daughter's room and 1 for the kitchen...two more to go there. They are super easy and look so nice! Thanks for the detailed instructions and superb pictures!!!!! I will be visiting your blog often!

Anonymous said...

Thrilled to see this idea. Need to make thermal backed shades to replace these awful miniblinds. This idea is perfect.

Shirley said...

I love this project and would like to try it. Is there a way to print from tour site without coping and pasting. Thanks, Shirley of Va

Shirley said...

I love this and would like to try this project. Is there a way to print from your site without just coping and pasting. Thanks, Shirley of Va

Jenny said...

Hi Shirley - Sorry, the best way to print this post is to copy and paste into a word doc. (at least that's the best way I know how).

Thanks or stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I love this tutorial! I was wondering if there is a way to adapt it to take a Relaxed Roman shade?

Thanks!

Jennifer said...

this just changed my life. for real. we have mini blinds on every. single. window and I've been dying to upgrade, but the cash just isn't there. omg. I'm trying it this weekend!

colorisfun said...

Effin' brilliant, girlfriend! Really. You should go on Design Star and WIN! You have cheap, good ideas.

Anonymous said...

Kristina on February 23 asked if this could be done without totally dismantelling the blind. I was wondering the same thing. Do you have an opinion on that?

This is a supercalifragisticexpealidocously wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing!

Jenny said...

Hi anon and Kristina,

I'm not sure that it would work to not dismantle the blinds. It would be tricky to get the glue to stick right and I think the other blind slats will lay funny.

Kristina mentioned that she has to keep the metal miniblinds hanging in her apartment windows. You could just hang a shade (made from mini-blinds) on top of your metal mini blinds?

Good luck!

jana said...

This is an absolutely great DIY and your instructions are so easy; love the finished look. Thank you for sharing this. Found via tweet from Michelle of vertigodesign; thank you to both of you.

I need to read more of your blog but this is great. warm regards, ajan

Anonymous said...

I almost blew it! I was going to use mini blinds but remove all the slats & then make pockets for dowels. What a waste that would have been! I love love love your idea! Thank you so much.

printtroll said...

This is really a great idea. A lot of my blinds are nasty this could make them super hot. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I really like this project and I think it's wonderfully smart of you to come up with it! However, I need to know how in the world do the slats not bend unless you use really light fabric?

Anonymous said...

I love this! My Kitchen windows have been bare since I put new windows in my home because I just can't decide what to do with them knowing full well it's not worth spending too much on curtains for a window that sits right above the sink. But I know this is what I will do now! The possibilities are endless when you can choose your own fabric!

pattylg67@gmail.com said...

Ingenius!

My Notting Hill said...

This is a brilliant idea! I'm having a great time going through your blog.

Anonymous said...

Josie

Thanks so much for sharing, we are moving in August, and I'll definitely will try this, great project. Let you know...

Caren said...

Great idea! My husband and I can never agree on window treatments and this is an inexpensive way to create a new look. If you get tired of it...just redo! Thanks.

Kate said...

This is such a great idea!! Thank you so much for the tutorial....I will definately be giving these a try!

c said...

I saw a similar approach on another blog (via sewmamasew)

http://www.quackadoodle.com/2009/02/custom-shades-without-custom-price.html

Misha Willson said...

What a wonderful project! I live in an low-income apartment and anyting I can do to make it more livable is a god-send and nothing looks less cozy then white blinds. For larger framed windows do I have to use wider blinds or just let the excess fabric hang over?
Thanks again chica!

seasonsmom said...

Thank you for your time writing about your creativity. I love the idea and the ease. You described it wonderfully! I also like the idea of burlap! I like light, so privacy with light is totally COOL! Can't wait to get my hands on this baby!

Delighted Hands said...

Ingenious! I am putting it to use on all the new windows in my new addition! Thanks!

Shannon said...

I love this project and just finished one of two shades for the dining room, but I came across a problem with the first one. The shade no longer stays in the up position. When I pull the cord, it draws up beautifully, but it won't stay. I think the pulley system on this set of blinds needs the weight of all of the slats to function properly – any suggestions? Thanks.

Jenny said...

Hi Shannon,
I wish I had a good answer for you. I don't know that the weight of the new shades should affect the stopping mechanism. No one yet has had a problem with that. You might have to buy a new set of blinds. :( I think you could salvage the fabric though.
Good luck!
Jenny

kat said...

this is great! i just have a question though: how do i clean this?

The Finishing Touch said...

I like the idea. Simple and budget-friendly. Very nice!

Esther
Blinds.com

Nikki said...

i'm about to try this with 90" blinds....wish me luck!

Anonymous said...

I just finished one of these shades and it is beautiful. Very easy to make! It worked perfectly until I added a backing to the blind. Now when I raise the blind, it won't fold up properly. Don't know what I did wrong. If anyone put a backing on their blinds, can you tell me what kind of backing fabric you used and how you attached it. I'm thinking the blackout liner fabric I used may be the problem. Appreciate anyone's advise!

Jenny said...

Anon - Where did you glue/attach the liner? It could be that the lift cords are glued to the liner??

Anonymous said...

Jenny, i glued the liner to the top of the back of the head rail. Then I started at the 1st slat and glued it to the liner, leaving about one inch on each side of the cord unglued. I repeated all the way down to the last slat. Then I glued the liner to the bottom rail. After that, I glued the sides of the liner to the fabric. When I hang the blind and raise the blind, the folds kind of bunch up and the cord seems taut. Hope you can help 'cause I really love the looks of these blinds but I definitely need a backing as this is a south facing window. Appreciate any help you can give!

Jenny said...

The only thing I can think to do is to mess with the cords and fabric (you may have to take the blinds down) until they are in the "mostly up" position. Then let the shades sit for a while. The liner fabric might need some time to be trained, so it folds correctly.
If the blinds don't go up at all, then the black-out liner just might be too heavy for the cords...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jenny, I think you may be right. I hung the blind up in the meantime and the lining seemed to bunch up so your idea about "training" the lining may be the way to go. Thanks again for your great idea and your response to my problem.

Barb said...

Jenny, thank you so much for the amazing tutorial! I always thought that mini blinds must have some hidden potential and I'm glad you found it. Here's a link to the blinds that I made...
http://mothermayimusings.blogspot.com

Kelly Jackson said...

I love your idea. I just found it and I need to go to bed. I know tomorrow I'm going to start carrying my fabric stash around the house looking for windows to cover!!! I liked it so much I posted your blog in a post on my blog to encourage people to come and look.

Kelly
http://IHaveANotion.blogspot.com

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Raquel said...

G-E-N-I-U-S!!!!
loved.

amyn said...

I love this idea! Quick question: we have double-hung windows--how far into the window does the shade hang when it's pulled up all the way. I hate blocking any more light and airflow than necessary, but I love the look of Roman Shades...

Jenny said...

Hi Amyn,

Thanks for the comment. It depends on how big your windows are (how much fabric you are using). My shades take up probably less than 1/4 of my window when up all the way. You could always hang your shade up higher, too.

Hope that helps,
Jenny

cabinlr said...

Hi - I have all my materials ready to go for 2 windows in a natural twill fabric (for my dil's kitchen). But before I begin, just one quick ?
The blinds are vinyl - is there any problem with the Fabritac not wanting to stick (and stay stuck) to vinyl? My bottle only mentions sticking fabric to fabric...so I was a little worried. thanks for your great idea and your help. Mil Anne

JoJo said...

I could NOT wait to try these!!! I worked it over in my mind for 3 days and today I tackled this project! I've waited for over 4 years to do the curtains in my daughter's "nursery"...she's 4 1/2 years old now... This is EXACTLY what I wanted to do and I GOOFED!!! To anyone wanting to put a backer material on...don't do what I did! I sandwiched the strings between the 2 materials instead of attaching the backer to the front visible piece of fabric and leaving the strings behind the backer material. Rather than the Roman Shade look, I've got a "scrunched" look. Still cute for a little girls room in pink gingham, but, not what I was shooting for. My bad! This was my first attempt, but, certainly not my last! I'm going to make some for my dining room next! Wish me luck! Thanks for the AWESOME idea!!

Anonymous said...

Big question. I cannot figure out how to replace the little plastic things that keep the shade in place - when you put the finished miniblind/roman shades in the shade holder (attaching the blinds to the window) the plastic things can't be put back on - the fabric gets bunched - thanks for any help.

Jenny said...

Hey Anon -

You needed to leave a few inches of the fabric unglued to the top rail, so that you can easily slide the rail and plastic cover part in place after finishing the shade.

If you already glued the fabric in place, you might try to just pull it up a few inches. Last resort could be to use an X-acto knife to slide under the glue (gently, so as not to cut the fabric).

Hope that helps. If you need further clarification, feel free to email me.

Jenny

Anonymous said...

Joan

I have been racking my brains to figure how to do this with my existing roman shades that need a material change to go with my new paint color. I am stopping at the store to buy some items today. thnks for your idea....it is great

Anonymous said...

Wow! We bought our house five years ago. It came with I.Magnin miniblinds (if you're from the SF Bay area you'll understand how old they are). Our house is even older - 1920, and just about every window is a slightly different size. I was getting ready to take out a third mortgage to finance new window coverings when I found this blog. THANK YOU for such a wonderfully detailed and illustrated tutorial.

Anonymous said...

You could use velcro at the top to attach it and go around the brackets. I have recovered roman shades and done this on the top.

BAC Linwood NJ

melanie said...

I love the way this looks..one question though..we have a very dusty house(animals) and I am wondering how would I be able to wash these if possible at all.
Thank you, great project
Melanie

Rebecca said...

I'm confused. when you glue the fabric to the top rail, you cover up the lifting mechanism. Do you have to reach behind the blinds to access the lift cord when raising them?

Jenny said...

Hi Rebecca,
You do have to reach behind the blinds to access the lift cords. You could easily punch out a hole for the cords though.

Must say though, I haven't had much of an issue with reaching behind to get the cords.

Good luck!

Jenny
LGN

Anonymous said...

I love this idea and have shared it with my friend. We will post pics for you if it turns out! lol

I was wondering though about the bottom. How do you put it back on? I didn't see anything about it.

Angela

Kirsteen said...

Love this idea! I have been looking to make some roman shades for over a year now but just couldn't bring myself to spend so much on the hardware not knowing how they would look. Well after reading your blog I went to the local Big lots picked up the blinds for $3.50, used a swag at $10.00 for backing and purchased the material at JoAnn's for $3.50 a yard! They turned out pretty nice for a first try and at $11.00 each the price was right! Thanks again for the great idea and directions!

World of Warcraft Gold Guides said...

good post :)

PinkDemon said...

This is pure Brillance and Genius! and it came a the right time for me....In the box for the Salvation Army, I had put (2) 6 ft wide miniblinds...with some bent slats....So sorry Sal Army! I have some great fabric for curtains....will try that for the blinds! You just saved me a gazillion $$$! Thanks!

Alissa said...

just leaving my entry on how mine turned out... LOVE THEM!
http://24-7-365.blogspot.com/2009/05/project-completed.html

Elizabeth said...

I can't believe this. I just threw out an entire house of custon made mini-blinds. They've been up since we bought the house (7 years ago, and they were BLACK), but it was so expensive to switch them that I couldn't make a decision. I can kick myself now, but I guess buying cheap whites ones won't cost to much.
Thank you so much!!@!

Leah said...

I found this just in time! Just moved in 1 week ago...old blinds need to be rescued from the trash can. Going to try this later. Will let you know how it went.

Anonymous said...

I rent. I have twelve windows circling from living room to dining room to kitchen, including french style patio doors. Every room flows into the next. Horribly ugly, broken mini blinds on every window. Not anymore!!!! Found some beautiful white on white print fabric and making old ugly blinds into updated, beautiful window treatments. Thanks for the great idea.

Anonymous said...

I used spray glue in a can, worked wonders, it sticks almost immediately, so work fast. Hung them yesterday, seems to be holding well. My 15 year old son took over half way through and helped make them. (Well, let me help a little anyway).

melissa said...

i love this idea. i have 2 questions though:

1. i want to cover the mini blinds we just put up in our second daughter's nursery. i'm going to use white fabric i already have but i'm going to have to line it because it's not very thick and i need more light blocked out. instead of wrapping the fabric around the sides of the slats could i have 2 layers of fabric together hemmed together at the edges and glue that to the slats, top and bottom?

so i would be doing a combination of your instructions and these that i found on instructables:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Roman_Shades_from_cheap_blinds/

2. if i do the method where i hem how would you suggest i cover the bottom of the blinds? and do you think i should glue it or could i use velcro to attach the fabric to the top part of the blinds?

thanks a bunch!!

KMR said...

This is brilliant! We have really ugly mini blinds in the bedroom (well, all over the house, really) that I'm dying to get rid of, but I refuse to pay what stores are asking for anything nicer.

Even better - I don't have to know how to sew to make these! Thank you so much for sharing!

Raven said...

I was going to replace all the ugly miniblinds in my RV with new shades, but I think I'm instead going to steal your great idea. Bonus: I won't have to worry about fit on my awkwardly sized windows. Thanks for sharing!

Rae @ travelswithmiranda.uskeba.ca

Janice said...

This idea is a godsend - I have old mini-blinds that have broken slats from nosy cat action. This way, I can recycle the blinds instead of throwing them out entirely, and make nice window treatments that actually color coordinate with the walls, all without spending a load of money. Thanks for posting this!

Marie Anne said...

This is an absolutely ingenious idea!

I need window treatments in my bedroom and this idea is perfect and looks like something I might even be able to tackle myself - thanks!

notyouraveragehomeschoolmom said...

I have been wanting to make something like this for our new house, but the pattern I had made them seem so hard to make. I can't wait to get started now! I am also adding this post to my blog~ One question, how do they look from the outside? Is there fabric on the back as well? If my little ones are napping and the shades are down does it look funny?
Angela
www.notyouraveragehomeschoolmom.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

When looking from the outside in do you see the original white slats over the burlap?

sara's art house said...

I LOVE this technique SO much! Thanks for sharing the info on how to make. I have tried two so far and love the results :)!!!!

http://sara-mincy.blogspot.com/2009/07/trash-to-treasure-plastic-mini-blind.html

Carrie said...

Amazing. Can't wait to try it! Thanks for taking the time to write out the step-by-step instructions.

HIROTO said...

I came from here( http://www.lifehacker.jp/2009/07/post_992.html ).
It's awesome!! I'll make this as soon as possible!!!

subversivesewer said...

Found this on Lifehacker- you are a genius!!! I'm going to try this!

Jenny said...

Have you ever covered the front and back so you have a "pretty" side facing the outsife of the house? I want to do this in my kitchen window but it face the front porch.... THANKS!

Terri said...

ever watch ice age....I'm reminded of the part where Sid the sloth say..."I'm a genius" cute lisp and all!
...Your a genius!

e.c said...

this is awesome. Thank you!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
theafricanqueen said...

I love the idea of making my own shades as we rent.

What I don't understand is the shade pattern you refer to. Please, send help!

mama ring said...

i'm so happy to have lovely shades now instead of my ratty, dirty miniblinds! see mine here:
http://spontaneousgeneration.typepad.com/spontaneous-generation/2009/07/deminiblinding-my-windows.html

lnbcole said...

Thanks God for computers and someone that thinks like me. With the least expense possible in mind I thought making them with my existing mini blinds would be great. Now I have step by step instructions on how to do it! THANKS ever so much!!!

Elizabeth said...

Has anyone figured out if you can or how to attach muslin to the back of the shade so you can't see the working parts from the view from outside? I've seen Jennifer's how-to on the blackout fabric on her blog, so I'm worried I'll have results that are similar to her first attempt if I try to glue muslin to the back...

Lety said...

Just finished one of these, but I sewed 2 different pieces of fabric together, one a plaid pink and green and the other a green and white striped fabric. I turned the fabric inside out and glued the pieces of blind to the fabric (I did not have to make hems all around since it was sewn). Then I painted the slats pink, the color (or mostly the color) of the fabric with craft acrylic paint. I had read on other websites that people have used acrylic paint on vinyl mini blinds. I am so happy I found this blog. Thank you so much for your ingenuity.

Leah said...

Will this work for thicker blinds? I have odd sized windows that require custom blinds. In my baby girl's room our old dog destroyed several slats of blinds so Id love to repurpose them. They are about 4 inches wide compared to a miniblind which is like 1 inch. What do you think?

Amy {The Red Chair Blog} said...

Brilliant! Thank you for sharing this tutorial!

Woman Interrupted said...

Your blog is fabulous!

And, you're apparently becoming famous for this hack. I am intrigued...but I'm not so handy.

Could this project be done with vinyl 2 in blinds or do you think that would be too thick? I have my eye on a thicker fabric anyway and I was also worried about the flimsier blinds holding up.

Christin said...

Can you email me some pictures of the blinds up close. I am not sure that I understand what strings to cut and how you leave the slats you want to keep.

Thanks,
Christin

Christin said...

sorry, my email is christinc21@hotmail.com

Catherine said...

I was just complaining to my husband today that all of our hideous mini blinds had to hit the trash...only to find a link to your project on whipup.

I am SO excited! Thank you so much for sharing this GENIUS idea.

Kim said...

I LOVE this idea - now if I wouldn't have thrown out all those old shades!!

Aim said...

This is one of the best ideas ever!!! Thank you so much for posting this tutorial, I LOVE the end result! (and I hate plastic miniblinds!)

Time to get to work cutting and pasting....

Heather said...

This is GENIUS!!! Thank you so, so much for sharing.

Here is my "after" http://mckinneyliving.blogspot.com/2009/08/woodworking-and-shade-making.html

They are a bit saggy in the middle, but I think I will do better next time.

Thank you again!!

Lizzie said...

We just took down some old blinds because they were falling apart. This is wonderful! Thank you so much for this.

Heather said...

Actually I realized I made mine WAY too long but luckily these are EASY to fix and tweak until you get them just right!

http://mckinneyliving.blogspot.com/2009/08/shade-update.html

The Persimmon Perch said...

I love this project. What a great idea. I will be trying it this week to solve a two year issue with out back door. Thanks for sharing!

Holly said...

I loooove this project. Thank you for posting, as I have ELEVEN windows in my bedroom with those crazy mini-blinds, and I've lived in this house for 4 years now without an affordable solution. Just made my first one yesterday, and it turned out beautifully. Can't wait to finish this room. Thank you, thank you!!!

Nichole said...

I'm speechless! As is said many times here, "genius" is the only word I can mutter. I'm really hoping my husband trusts me to tear about his office mini blinds. I was researching creative, budget-friendly solutions to the most uncreative window treatment--mini blinds--and came across your blog. Recycling, repurposing, redecorating...awesome!

Shannon said...

this is brilliant!

Lori said...

I love my blinds! I do have one question. I finished them about 24hrs ago and the glue line is still showing on the outside. Does the fabric glue dry invisible - eventually? If not, is there a way to clean it up on the outside?

robinsnest357 said...

If you save the slats you can make ones for different seasons or holidays, instead of glue at the top I used, double sided tape, and goo gone when it was time change out. I store the unused ones with the decorations for each holiday. I have fall ones up now,
Thanks so much for the idea, I love having different shades for each time of the year.

China Wholesale Shoes said...
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Anonymous said...

Those who have to leave the blinds on the outside of the window due to the restrictions of their condo.... Try this. Take the fabric and safety pin it to the "ladder" cord that holds the slats in place. Do this at regular intervals. Then test it by opening and closing the blinds. If it works the way you want, you can stitch the fabric carefully to the ladder so that it isn't too obvious.

charlie said...

I just love the way you think, this is so creative. Now if only I can DO it, that's the question. Pray for me, I hope so. What a totally cool idea.
~ Charlie

sarah said...
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Alexandria said...

Oh how I heart these!!!!!! I love these type of shades in those beautiful Pottery Barn type fabrics,but I live in a rental and I'm not shelling out big bucks for window treatments that might not fit another house.

But these are so perfect and now I want to do them in every single room!!

Amanda said...

Thanks so much for this tutorial! I made a couple shades and they turned out wonderfully! Pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ahartman/3951367137/

Gloria L said...

Sweet god, this is an awesome project! I've been looking for something quick and cheap to do with my apartment's default blinds, and this was just the ticket. I love your aesthetic - I found you after months of reading design blogs that were very nice, but not quite me. Thanks!

disa said...
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Nichole said...
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Nichole said...

Thank you for this amazing tip!!!!!! Here are my results from replacing 3 disgusting mini-blinds for $7 each! Extreme Makeover: Mini-Blind Edition

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea! Are there any suggestions for apt renters that cannot remove their ugly mini blinds?
For example, is there any way to make a cover that just sticks over the existing blinds? I have very large drafty windows surrounded by interior brick. The existing blinds were mounted by the landlord inside the window frame. The blinds are too large to remove, and I don't want to mess with drilling holes into the brick as a renter. Any ideas are appreciated! Thanks.

Frugal said...

What a great idea! I've been looking for a pattern to make roman shades to replace the ugly mini blinds left behind when we bought our first house (on windows AND French doors)! This is exactly the type of project I needed (little cost) to transform our windows (and a few doors!) - I'll be putting a link to your project in my blog (http://firsttimefancy.blog.com/) - which is where I'll share my final product!

Thanks!

mrs.pabody said...

THANK YOU FOR THIS POST!!!! You are absolutely a genius.

Would you consider starting a flickr (or something similar) group where folks can post pics of their finished projects from this how-to? It would be so cool to see the ideas others have! :)

Hakimtea said...
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Gifted Designs said...

This is a great project....I'm assuming it should work just as well for a window that is 5.5" wide?

I'm going to have to reread a few times to make sure I"m understanding all the lingo and instructions...:)

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! just read about roman blinds today as was going to toss them.Like gifted designs said i will have to refer to instructions a few times.Let me know how it goes gifted.
Barb

Barb said...

Okay,all measured and organized and my fabric wont adhere to my blinds any ideas besides fabric glue??

Anonymous said...

I love this idea! I am curious, are the remaining miniblind strips hidden if I were to make this and just pull cord a few inches. I figure I will have blinds up most of the time so I don't care if they show at night since it's dark.

Thank you so much for this idea. I LOVE it!!!!!

L said...

This is a fantastic idea, and I hope to try it in my bedroom. Is it possible to put blackout liner behind the fabric?

Stef said...

I am SO glad you posted this! I just finished making my roman shades out of my blinds! Thanks for the great tutorial. You can check mine out at http://frugalhomeideas.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I construct Roman shades from scratch using boards and eyescrews. For the novice, this is an excellent suggestion. It takes away the hard part and leaves the fun part, no special tool needed; re-using an otherwise useless piece of trash. I have miniblinds I want to replace and I think I'll try your way on them! Thanks for the great pictures and instructions.

lej619 said...

What a wonderful idea!!I rent so I;ll have to figure out a little bit different way to connect the fabric to the blinds.
maybe a pretty stripe that i could sew around the slate.?
thanks!

supermedic said...

OMG YOU ARE A GENIUS. ITS LATE RIGHT NOW BUT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING I AM GOING TO GET STARTED ON THIS. I WILL PROBABLY DREAM ABOUT IT ALL NIGHT. THANKS SOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!

Erynn said...

You posted this almost a year ago (how the time flies!), but I just spent my evening making shades for our master bedroom. They're fabulous! Thanks so much for the idea and tutorial. You are too fab for words.

concretenprimroses said...

You are brilliant!
The shades in our bedroom just fell apart. I love this idea.
Kathy

Lauren said...

What a Godsend your idea is! I just came across this recently and am so excited to rescue my many ugly apartment miniblinds! Thanks so much for your ingenuity!! And it's got the nerve to be cheap, too!!

Catherine said...

I just did this for my windows 72" wide by 48" long. It looks fantastic! I do have a couple of suggestions. If you can sew at all, it is very easy to turn the raw edges under and stitch. This is much more precise and easier than gluing. Also, put protective plastic under the project when gluing - I used newspaper under my first attempt and the fumes from the glue went through and damaged my table. For wide windows like mine,it really helped to have 2 people to turn the slats once glued. The glue sets up very quickly and you really only have one chance to get it right! Great project. I am impressed.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME!!! Very detailed advice, and I am going to give this a try for a few of my smaller windows. Thanks again~

Little Willow said...

I used your tutorial and it worked great! Check out the results in my nursery pictures:
http://littlewillow.com/2010/01/14/the-nursery-finally/

disa said...
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disa said...
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Elisa @ whatthevita said...

THANK YOU!!! Made our first shade yesterday and will make many more. Our first version is not perfect, but its 1,000,000,000 times better than what we had before! See it at http://whatthevita.wordpress.com/2010/01/17/homemade-window-shades/

Again - thank you. Discovered your blog just recently and I've read all of your posts. Very inspirational..

Lindsey said...

You know you came up with a great tutorial when people are still commenting on it almost a year later!

The design world is so desperate for an inexpensive way to be rid of those hideous mini blinds, so thank you, thank you, thank you for this. I'm in love.

Linked to this post here:
http://mrspottsthoughts.blogspot.com/2010/01/improving-window-treatments.html

Murray said...

Hi, my mom sent me this link and we're both going to try it! Can't wait. If I want the fabric to cover the entire width of the window and go a little (say, 1/2 inch) over the trim/sill, what do you suggest? Should I glue a thin, top dowel that is wider and follow the width down? Or just glue the wider width to the original top rail and all the way down. Do you think the top side parts with no rail to back them will look floppy or flimsy? thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I am so excited. I started at 10:30 tonight, had to cut the window blind to fit my strange size window 45.75 wide by 33 long..... It took me 1 hour to hang and cut the blind. It's not 12:45 and I'm finished. I can't believe how good it looks. I'll try to post a picture if I can figure out how. I have 11 for the blind, 6.25 for the fabric, 4.00 for the glue and I plan to buy an bottom edging of some kind. I know some are worried about the look from the outside -- I just went and looked and with a lot of light streaming, it looks nice with no backing. We'll see in the daytime. Thanks a ton!

PS -- I'm not good at this stuff and have NEVER used miniblinds before!

rachelshingleton said...

Jenny, thank you SO much for posting the tutorial on this. In a matter of 2 to 3 hours, I was able to do two of the windows in my son's room, and I am THRILLED with the results. I posted photos at my blog, Pencil Shavings, here at: http://wp.me/phRhk-i8

Thank you again!
xoxoxo,
Rachel Shingleton

StellasMama said...

What a GENIUS idea! A friend forwarded this to me and I tried it out today. I cannot sew...and yet thanks to you....made what I think are beautiful shades from the icky old plastic mini-blinds we had in the kitchen! Thank you! Thank you!

I'm not sure if this link will work...but here is a photo of the first shade I finished...

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=31041490&l=eaca372a47&id=1038436175

lucienalta said...

O! O! O! I LOVE this!!! We are very very retired and on a limited budget. Pretty much have the whole house renovated from top to bottom and needing shades for at least 22 windows. I will be back with photos. Thank you!

Countrymama said...

I made these shades for my son's room and for the office. They came out good considering how much trouble I had with the glue. I used a cream color cloth and made a backing for the shade so I didn't see the slate. A perfect reuse of a broken ugly shade!

Jenna said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you a million times over! I just completed my first mini-blind to roman shade for my son's room and I L.O.V.E. it! When we moved into this house the room had wooden blinds in a yucky yellowed cream color - these had the wider slats. I used a canvas drop cloth, lined the back with drapery lining, and trimmed the front with navy grosgrain ribbon. CUTE! And they work great! I love them so much and can't wait to make a set for my other son's room.

Cha Cha said...
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PEGGY said...

I've read your directions and viewed your how to pictures. I really don't want to glue on to the blind and want to be able to remove and wash from time to time. So..I thought..Velcro the ends to the blind and to the base blind, use key rings or plastic rings to attach to cord hole in the blind strip, then tie with string or safety pin to a plastic ring. Removable and easier than trying to rip off the glue. One could put up a fabric covered valance to hide the top. I think it will work and look a bit more finished. We will know later this week!

Lillie said...

I'm dying to try this--- and I'm wondering. Do you think it would work with my normal thick brown, wooden blinds? If I used a thick enough (or lined) fabric? Any chance you'll answer this? lillie_biesinger@yahoo.com. Just in case I get lucky. :)

style-for-style said...

I just made some, and used some white sheets, lets plenty of light in let provides privacy.
Best of all this was FREE!!!

Anonymous said...

I made roman blinds from scratch. I remember thinking that I should have saved the old crap mini blinds that I had up from before, because I could have used the string and pull caps. Then I though for the bedroom I'll use the mini blinds that I have. I like the way you did it, but I want to be able to take them off and wash them. Though your idea is fast and easy, I am going to do some sewing, but I will combine the two ideas. Thanks for the tutorial.

ness said...

Thought you might like to see another tremendously successful version of these. I used spray adhesive and really loved the results.

Thank you sooooo much!
http://happinessisabutterfly.blogspot.com/2010/04/beautiful-blinds-on-cheap.html

ejm said...

this idea is amazing! my blinds look great except for the fact that the glue i used is showing through even after drying making some spots really dark but not in a consistent way. is there a way to prevent this? thanks SOO much.

Danielle Renae said...

Loved this idea so much I just had to try it! You can see mine at:

http://sunshineandspilledmilk.blogspot.com/2010/04/little-love-for-my-trusty-kitchen.html

Thanks so much for sharing!

sewinsane said...

Wow! I can't wait to do this in my kitchen! Thanks so much for sharing this.

Sallie Kate said...

I did it! Thanks for the great idea...loving my fabric shade instead of my old miniblinds by our dinner table.
Come and see! :)
salliekate.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I just want to say THANK YOU for this!
I just moved into an old Victorian with 38 (yes, 38. 20 of them being in bay windows) very tall windows covered in outdated pinch-pleated drapes.
I bought some $4.50 mini blinds and used the fabric from the existing drapes and saved myself hundreds or thousands of dollars in window treatments for all of those bay windows.
And it was SO easy. I did 8 blinds in one day.

Carol said...

I realize this was posted more than a year ago -- I've been wanting to do this with some of my blinds all this time. I've hesitated because I have 2-inch wide aluminum blinds. Do you think it would work with the wider blinds too? I am hesitant to cut them up if it's not going to work. What do you think?

Faith Like Potatoes said...

Just found your blog and love it!!! THis is such a fabulous Idea,I love romans shades just not the price!!!!

Casey said...

A blog I read frequently linked to another blog, that linked to your site. (does that make sense?) I read about doing this with mini blinds last night, and tonight...I made shades using a flat sheet that matched the colors in my daughter's room. Total cost....FREE. It was super easy and they look really cute. I think I might put a backing on it so that when the sun comes through you can't see the folded edges but other than that...they're perfect and I don't have to look at ugly mini blinds anymore. I'm going to do the two in our room tomorrow. :)

Diana said...

Thanks so much for posting these instructions. I just made some for our bathroom today. Took me about three hours of measuring, cutting and trying to figure out how to get the cords to come out the front and to get rid of the drive rod lever so it wouldn't make a bump. The finished product is <a href="http://dianasdoings.blogspot.com/2010/07/making-roman-shades-out-of-mini-blinds.html>here</a>.

Anonymous said...

After stumbling onto your blog a few weeks ago I have turned a coffee table into a tufted settee, a slip cover for a chair my daughter loves but needed an update (I had to buy a sewing machine and learn how to work it...but whatever) and now I just finished making some roman shades for a huge bay window. So...basically I love you. Heehee...your blog is really great!!!

Holly said...

I LOVE your blog and link to it often. This is the first of your projects I've completed. I was amazed at how easy this was! Here's the link to my post (with pictures).

http://kentuckyyears.blogspot.com/2010/08/my-bathroom-window-shade.html

Thanks for the fabulous ideas!

Career Outlook said...

This is a nice project and after reading it I am feeling to try it in my bedroom.

hangeng said...
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Organizing Mommy said...

Great idea!! Wow!

Lisa Glowacka said...

I have bamboo shades in my house-they have the same hardwares as mini blinds. any idea if I can do the same thing? We have exposed cords on the back of them and I have 3 kids under age 5! I'm sure they were in a recall but since they were custom made I can't find any information.

Thanks!

swell.life said...

Just finished my first set of shades for our dining room. I used fabric glue straight on vinyl blinds, no problem. I would definitely recommend laying a garbage bag down beneath the project while gluing. I accidentally got some on my hardwood floors. :(

Thanks so much for this wonderful tutorial!

Just blogged a shot of my finished product:

http://livingtheswelllife.blogspot.com/2010/08/made-my-shade.html

Sherry from Alabama said...

Thank you for the easy-to-follow instructions! I made a shade for my boys' bathroom out of dark brown faux leather and I love the results!

Here's the direct link:

http://ahappyvalentine.blogspot.com/2010/09/roman-shade-project-finished.html

Vkamobi said...
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sad said...
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Rachel said...

OH. MY. GOSH. I just found this via The Idea Attic, and it solves all my problems!! I love it and can't wait to make itm (and I can't wait to return the not-quite-right Roman shade I bought and was going to make do with)!!! Thank you so much!!

Aanee @ Flower Delivery Dublin said...

Brillant idea - I have to try this out on my windows now :)

Aanee xxx
Aanee @ Flower Delivery

Jacqueline said...

I just want to thank you for posting this project idea! I did it in my bedroom windows and just finished the ones in my bathroom today and they came out awesome. I already had the blinds and bought fabric for cheap so it didn't cost me more then 20.00 I'm going to post pictures of them to my blog today.

pandoraing said...
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Anonymous said...

Hi; Just stumbled upon your diy roman shades and think it is great. My question: Can I use heavier material to create more of an insulated roman shade?
Thanks.
Tim

flybimmer said...

Love this project. Just bought a single microfiber panel from Walmart for less than $7, a miniblind from Goodwill - helped my daughter make a great looking shade this evening. Brilliant!

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