Wednesday, November 16, 2011

... fabric-covered roller shade

The fixing up of our new apartment continues! And while I never feel like a room is ever really “done”, I’m getting pretty close to “done for now” with my sewing room. In fact I’m almost ready to do a whole before-and-after post about it, but in the meantime here’s a quick little project I knocked together for the lone window in that room.
First I should say that I really have a thing about mini-blinds, and that thing is deep dislike. They are ugly, insanely irritating to clean, and it drives me absolutely nuts when the bottom is crooked after you pull them up. So of course there are mini-blinds in every single window of our new place, and I will be systematically eradicating them one by one.
The mini-blinds in the sewing room were particularly bad in that they were broken - some of the strips were snapped off on one side. This left an exposed hole when the blinds were down and when you pulled the blinds up, some of the strips would hang diagonally below the bottom. It looked like the mini-blind had a hernia. 

To replace it, I wanted something clean and simple - no drapes that I would bump into or get caught up in when I’m moving around the room working on sewing projects - but would add a shot of color to the room. Privacy isn’t much of an issue for that window, because it looks at the side of the building next door about four feet away. For the same reason, light quality really isn’t a big issue either. So I decided to use a simple roller shade and cover it with a colorful fabric - done and done.

This was a super easy project to prep for - just unrolled the roller blind and washed it, measured it, and cut the fabric to fit with a rotary cutter (adding about two inches to each side). The I ironed the fabric, took everything outside, and used my trusty spray adhesive to adhere the fabric to the shade. The one issue was how to finish the sides. I initially thought I’d wait for the adhesive to set and then use a rotary cutter to trim the extra fabric right to the edge of the shade, but I was concerned it would eventually start to fray. So I decided to wrap the sides around and glue them on the back, thinking no one would see the back side, anyway. However, I totally forgot that you see the back side of the shade on bit that’s rolled up. I don’t hate the look of the fabric on the sides - because the fabric I used has a white background, it kind of looks intentional, like a border - but I do wish I had trimmed the excess so that the sides were even. Right now one side is wider than the other. But it’s not driving me crazy (YET). So if you use this method, make sure to trim the edges even before you glue them down to the back. Or, you could cover the roller up with a valance or something (I’m just not a huge fan of valances).

Then George took down the hated blinds, installed the roller shade hardware, and we hung the shade. That’s it! I will say, the fabric makes the shade a little heavy, so it doesn’t spring up as quickly or enthusiastically as a shade normally would - but this doesn’t really bother me. I love that this was a pretty dirt-cheap project, which is my favorite kind. The fabric was from Marden’s and I think was about $4/yd, and I bought two yards, so that’s $8 for the fabric. I actually got the roller shade from my parents, who had a few leftover after changing some window treatments in their house, so that was free. And I already had the spray adhesive. So all in all $8 and about 2-3 hours (including drying time and installation) and I’m up one unique, colorful window treatment and down one nasty set of mini-blinds - I’ll take it. Only 13 more windows to go!!


  1. So glad to see those shades take on a new life!

    Recycle and Reuse :))

  2. Love love love!!!! Going to do this in my son's room. He has broken several sets of mini-blinds, which I HATE for the same reasons you stated.