Thursday, July 9, 2009


I have been wanting to make these forever, but feared the daunting task of actually doing it. The book I had to make curtains featured these shades that you could raise and they had pretty folds...I totally fell in love with them. But, I never wanted to attempt to try make them myself. I just found the best and easiest directions to make them using MINIBLINDS! I am so excited to do this for the new house!
I am posting the post here-hopefully I do this right. Aren't they gorgeous? I can't wait to measure my windows and go fabric shopping! Oh, and this is from the Little Green Notebook Blog. After I posted I realized that the whole name of the blog didn't show up. Here is the link as well:


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.

Tape measure
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!

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