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How to Make DIY Roman Shades for Wide Windows Using Mini Blinds

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds

Kate’s “big girl” room is a big thorn in my side.

Here’s how it looked the last time you saw it:

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

And here’s a look back at my proud little before and after of her window treatments, which helped make her room look a little less like a crack house and a little more like a little girl’s room:

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

Vinyl blinds turned into a DIY blackout (polka pot) roman shade.

I was so proud of all the money I saved from repurposing the existing mini-blinds that originally hung in this window, turning them into a cute and functional DIY roman shade, complete with polka dot fabric and black-out liner – until they broke.

One of the cords in back snapped, leading them to look like this whenever you tried to open them and let a little sunshine in:

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

I could’ve restrung the cord for a quick fix, but a bad idea is a bad idea no matter how many times you try to put a band-aide over it.  The problem wasn’t the cord – the problem was all those tutorials I’ve seen online and splashed all over Pinterest for “how to make DIY roman shades using mini blinds” were for small windows (here’s a great one from Jena at Involving Color if you’re interested in checking out my original technique).  I was dealing with a very wide window (57″), and trying to get away with using only 8 flimsy slats in the back for support wasn’t working.

I needed to try something new.

I scrapped my original mini-blinds turned “crack house roman shade” and grabbed the last remaining set of untouched mini blinds in our house from our guest room.  During my last trip to IKEA I found some gorgeous black and white polka dot fabric that I knew would look even better in Kate’s room than the existing small print polka dots I had used.  An added bonus?  This fabric was a little thicker so it would block more light, which meant I could get away with not adding a black-out liner this time, saving my blinds from that extra weight.

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

Love this black & white polka dot fabric from IKEA!

This project was a lot of trial and error (and as fate would have it, I took more pictures of the errors), but eventually I figured out the best way to do it – which, not surprisingly, was also the simplest way to do it!

DIY Roman Shades (for WIDE Windows) Using Mini Blinds

Supplies
Mini-blinds
Fabric
Scissors
Iron
Steam-a-Seam fusible tape
Mod Podge
Small Foam Brush

1.  Start by measuring the width and length of your blinds.  For this step, measure your mini-blinds from the top of the very first slat – not the top of the entire unit.  We will not be covering up the top piece of the blinds that mount to the window in this step – we’ll do that at the end with a separate piece of fabric used as a valence.  This will allow you the ability to use the pull cord to lift and lower the blinds without having to move it to the back or cover it with fabric.

The blinds I borrowed from the guest room were actually shorter than the length I needed for the window in Kate’s room, but there’s an easy work-around for that (detailed in a later step).  If that’s the case with the blinds you’re using then be sure to measure the length of your window instead, so fabric completely covers your window opening when your blinds are closed.

2.  Iron your fabric and then trim it to fit your blinds/window, allowing extra fabric all around for a seam allowance.  For example, if your window is 55″ wide you’ll need to cut your fabric 56″ wide, allowing you to do a 1/2″ hem on each side (adjust measurements according to your hem preferences).

3.  Hem all sides of your fabric using an iron and steam-a-seam fusible tape.

Time Saving Tip:  Consider the selvage edges (the factory finished edges) of your fabric and see if they can save you the trouble of hemming a side or two!  If the width of your fabric matches the width of your window (luck you!) and the sides of your roman shade will be covered by curtains, use the fabric’s selvages edges as your sides and there’s no need to hem those sides.  Or, use the selvage edge of your fabric at the top of your blinds since that edge will be covered by your valence!

By now you should have one large rectangle of fabric, hemmed (or finished) on all sides, that fits perfectly over your mini-blinds, starting from the top slat.

4.  Decide how many folds you want for your roman shade and how far apart they need to be.  You’ll want them to be evenly spaced.  Kate’s window is 57″ high from the top slat to the bottom of her window.  I decided to have 5 folds in her roman shade, which meant six sections of fabric total.  57 divided by 6 = 9.5, so I spaced my folds 9.5″ inches from each other:

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

It’s tricky when you’re working with all of the mini-blind slats using this method (versus cutting the ladder cord, removing excess slats and placing your remaining slats exactly where your fold needs to be) to determine which slat to use for your fold – but eventually I figured out a pretty fool-proof way!

(Remember:  It’s necessary to keep all the slats in your mini-blinds when you’re working with wide windows because they need each other for support in order to handle the weight of your fabric.)

5.  Using a ruler and fabric pencil or pen that won’t mark through your fabric, measure and draw lines across the back of your fabric at each spot where you want your fold to be.  (In my example, I started at the top and marked my lines every 9.5″.)

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

Measure and mark fabric to determine where your folds are going to be.

6.  Lay your mini-blinds out on a flat surface, face up and pop off the plastic stick piece that turns your slats to let more or less light in; you no longer need this.  If you haven’t already done so, give them a good wipe down with a wet cloth to remove all the dust and grime.  You want to have nice clean slats for your fabric to stick to once you start gluing.

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

Going rogue with my mini-blind/roman shade tutorial using (gasp) all the slats!

7.  Lay your fabric, face up, over your mini-blinds and glue the top of your fabric to the top slat of the blinds, with the rounded up side of the slat facing up.  The picture below shows my first attempt using tacky glue, but that didn’t hold up very well.  The next day I re-did it using Mod Podge and a  foam brush and that worked great so that’s the technique I recommend).  Be sure not to get any glue on or near the pull cords as you’re doing this step! 

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

8.  With your fabric glued to the the top slat of your mini-blinds, re-hang your mini-blinds in the window and make sure they are fully extended, hanging all the way down as far as they can go, with the rounded up part of each slat facing out.  This will allow you to determine exactly where your fold spacing and slat spacing needs to meet.  Fold your fabric back slightly to match the line you drew across the back of your fabric to its corresponding slat – mark slat on each end of your mini-blinds:

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

Note:  I used a black marker to mark my blinds, which luckily turned out okay since I was using black fabric, but it definitely would have bled onto a lighter colored fabric once I applied the glue, so learn from my trial!  Your safest best is to use a piece of tape or something you can easily remove and that won’t potentially stain your fabric.

9.  Once all your slats are marked to correspond with your fold lines, remove your blinds from the window and return them to a flat surface.  Lay your blinds down fully extended, all rounded up sides of slats facing up.  Starting at the top of your blinds, create your first fold by applying Mod Podge glue (using a little foam brush) to the rounded up part of the first slat you marked, making sure not not to get glue on or near your pull cords.  Once the glue is applied, quickly smooth your fabric over the slats, adhering it to the newly glued slat.  You want to take care at this part to make sure your fabric is nice and smooth and even across your blinds.  Continue working your way down, gluing each marked slat and smoothing your fabric over it, until all marked slats are adhered with fabric.

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

Don’t worry about slats peeking out from the sides as you’re working like you see in the picture above.  As you’ll quickly discover once you start this project, mini-blind slats move around A LOT.  It’s hard to keep them lined up when you’re working on a flat surface, but as long as you’ve followed all of my steps, and the slats and fabric ends that you’re gluing match up, your blinds will hang perfectly and be covered completely by your fabric.

To finish this step, you can either glue the end of your fabric to the bottom bar, or let it hang – the choice is yours.  If you’re working with a mini-blind that’s shorter than your window (like I was), simply let your extra fabric hang down to cover the rest of the window when the blind is fully extended.  (My blinds were quite a bit shorter than the window, so I actually used the bottom bar as one of my fold slats and let the remaining several inches of fabric hang.)

10.  Lastly, cut and hem a strip of fabric for your valence (mine is the width of the blinds and about 10″ tall), and adhere it to the top bar of the mini blinds using Mod Podge and a foam brush.

And that’s all there is to it!  You now have a beautiful new set of DIY roman shades using plain old mini-blinds, that will work for your wide window!

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

How to Make DIY Roman Shades for WIDE Windows Using Mini Blinds | www.allthingsgd.com

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Dusty Rogers
Hi, I'm Dusty! Blogger, Mother, Maker, Decorator & Drinker of the Wine here at All Things G&D. Thank you so much for stopping by! I don't have a curfew, and hopefully neither do you, so let's hang out for as long as you'd like.
Dusty Rogers
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Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the shout out, Dusty! Your shade looks great and I really like the technique you used. I’ve had a lot of questions about if it is possible to keep all the slats for additional privacy and to keep more sun out, so I’ll be sending people over here when they ask :)

    • Thank you so much, Jena! I really liked the tutorial you wrote up (and recognize you, of course!) so when I was searching for “traditional” tutorials to link up to you were my favorite choice! You’re so kind to return the favor – thank you!

  2. Thanks for the step-by-step tutorial! I think the bigger “polka pots” look great! :) Enjoying the progess on Kate’s big girl room — especially as I starting planning one for my 2 year old.

    • Thank you, Carla! I am loving the bigger polka dots! I think those other blinds broke for a reason – an opportunity to do it better! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying the progress of Kate’s room because it’s in for a major overhaul over these next few months! I’m so excited to tackle it and share the progress!! Good luck to you with yours! Do you have any ideas in mind yet?

  3. Very cute! I love that “work with whatcha got” attitude :)

    And I am a big fan of your new watermark hahaha

  4. I love the black and white with all the other colors. If my 4 year old would have let me do that, I probably would have gone that route. I’m still thinking about it for a rug because the pink and white Moroccan tile rug on Joss and Main is always sold out by the time I get over there (even if it is just minutes after posting it) and the Pottery Barn version is too expensive! Love the polka dots too!

    • Thanks Megan! That’s too bad about the Joss & Main rug. :( I haven’t even started considering rugs for Kate’s room, but I know she’ll only have one criteria: soft. I hope you’re able to find something you like for your little girl soon!

  5. Great tutorial! And great shades, love the black and white!

  6. Looks awesome! You had me laughing about the crack house photo LOL! New reader here :)

  7. I love the look! How does it look from the outside of the window? Can you post a picture?

  8. I happened upon your site, and loved it. I saw the idea of turning mini blinds to roman shades on BH&G, but they didn’t show how, so I searched the web and found you! Your step by step is great, thanks. I am a DIY’er for everything, and I hate to throw anything away if it can be used in another way. I will be bookmarking your site. Again, thanks!

  9. Do you think that this method would work on the ugly cellular blinds that already hang in the windows? It would be nice to use these because we already have them and they already have the brackets mounted! However when they are up the folded edge is the only presenting surface meaning I could only glue the fabric to that narrow strip. Any suggestions?

  10. I’m a little confused….are you folding the fabric where you glue to the slat? Or is it just glued at the marked intervals? Love the tutorial.

  11. I am doing this with the mini blinds already on our window. My kids broke 13 in a row & I’ve had them pulled up ever since and put up some curtains up for privacy. Now I am finally ready to try this. I am not going to leave all of the slats in like you did. I untied & slipped out the three “pull up” cords on all of the slats except the top & slid all of the slats out that I didn’t mark as needed. With my wide window, my hope is that my ladders help keep the blinds sturdy (thanks to your post) & that the layer of fabric won’t be too heavy now that the other slats are out. I rethreaded the 6 or 7 slats & tied the ends again with the bottom all put back together. Now to piece my fabric together & glue it all up! Thanks for the inspiration.

  12. I made these for my two living room windows that are about the same size as the window you used. I repurposed my old drapes and added a lil extra embellishment. So putting this together was fairly easy. I followed your tutorial, which was so easy to follow, and the final product came out really nice with the exception of one detail. Even though my drapes were lined, the glue would bleed through some spots and dry that way. Its not too noticeable unless I point it out.

    So my two cents—When choosing a fabric, choose a thicker fabric that wont be too heavy but thick enough to hold glue on a side without soaking through. A darker fabric would also help hide any glue that may bleed through.

    Otherwise, this was easy and exactly what I wanted without the big price tag. Thank you for sharing your creativity!!

  13. Very interesting! I wonder why the others take the slats out, then… I would think this would add more privacy/filtering as well as strengthening it. Is there any reason to not do it this way even if you have a smaller window? Or is it that some people like the aesthetics of the fabric backing from outside more than the mini-blind backing? We are about to do this and love your different take on the project!

    • I think its an aesthetics thing, smp. It does look like mini blinds from the outside of her window when the door is closed, so if you don’t like that look I can see why you may want to remove the slats for smaller windows and go for more of a roman shade look. I’m all about function with this window though, so I don’t mind the slats being visible from the backside. Good luck to you with your project!

  14. I have a question–how do you determine how much length of fabric you need? Do you allow extra length, or does it match the length of the blinds? Thank you!

  15. I think I’m doing something terribly wrong. When I adhere my fabric to the blinds with mod podge and let it dry for 30 minutes. It’s attached but can pull off extremely easily. I only did the top slat and it pulled off as I was hanging it back up. Seems like it should stick better if it’s going to be going up and down over and over again… am I missing something??
    Thanks in advance

  16. As a senior who has more time than money, I love your work. I plan to try this very soon. Thanks for this idea.

  17. vinyl or metal blinds?

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