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Roman Shade DIY

I hate mini blinds. Sure, they’re practical. But, they’re also ugly. Nothing screams “I live in a rental” more loudly than mini blinds.

Instead, I find one of the easiest ways to personalize a rental home is by hanging your own curtains. That’s why the hubs and I decided to decline the offer of brand new mini blinds when we signed the lease for our new apartment. That’s also why I spent the entire weekend making my own custom window coverings. I’ve been trying to decide what to do with the windows for weeks. But it wasn’t until I found myself peeing in the dark (to prevent a neighborhood peepshow) for the fifteenth time, that I decided on roman shades. I made two shades: one for the kitchen, the other for the bathroom (I can finally pee in peace!).

While researching roman shades, I came across this excellent tutorial online, which I followed, for the most part. I also added a shade cord lock and a pretty little tassel for a polished, professional look. Here’s how I did it:

DIY Roman Shade

My bathroom window measures 23.5″ x 35.” Your window will likely be different, so be sure to use your own measurements. Your wood piece will serve as the bracket for your shade. It should measure 1/4″ thick by 1″ or 1.5,” depending on the width of your window frame. The wood should also be the exact length as the width of your window. It will fit snugly at the top of the window frame for an inside mount.

Both the decorative fabric and the lining should be cut the same size: 1″ wider than your window, 4″ longer. My fabric was 24.5″ by 39.” This allows for a 1/2″ seam allowance on the sides and enough fabric on top to wrap around your bracket.

Your metal bar is used to weigh down the bottom of your shade, and can be found at most any hardware store (just a lightweight, flat metal that usually is sold in 3′ long pieces). It should be cut 1/2″ shorter than the width of your window. Mine, for example, was cut to 23.”

DIY Roman shade tutorial

Step 1: Sew your fabric, right sides facing in, on the sides and the bottom, leaving the top open.

Step 2: Snip the corners of your newly sewn rectangle, as close to the seam as possible. Be careful not to actually cut your seam.

Step 3: Turn the fabric inside out, perfecting your corners. Drop your metal bar in through the opening at the top and line it up at the bottom of your shade.

Step 4: On the lining side, measure where your rings will go, and mark it with a pencil, starting from the bottom. If your shade is wider than 22,” you will likely need 3 cord runs, which is what you see pictured below. Otherwise, just 2 are necessary. Also, measure the exact length of your shade, from the bottom, and mark it with a pencil. See the diagram below for where to make your measurements.

DIY Roman shade tutorial

Step 5: Using your needle and thread, hand sew your rings onto your shade. Be sure to sew through BOTH pieces of fabric, not just the lining.

Step 6: Position your wood at the top of your shade using the measurement marks you made earlier. Fold the top, unsewn pieces of fabric over and staple into place with a staple gun.

Step 7: Secure your eyelet screws into the wood, directly above each line of thread guides (see below).

Step 8: Run your cord through the thread guides and cord lock, using diagram below as a reference. Secure cord ends to the bottom rings with a knot.

Thread Guide Diagram

Step 9: Your regular wood screws and cord lock screws will eventually be drilled into your window frame. Drill them in part-way before hanging, to make the installation easier.

Step 10: Your curtain is now ready to hang! Line your shade up inside your window frame, and finish drilling the screws into the wood.

Step 11: Add the finishing touch cord weight.

DIY Roman Shade tutorial

Step 12: Practice opening and closing your shade. At first, you will have to play around with the fabric to get the pleats in the right places, but eventually they will fold correctly on their own.

So…what do you think? Pretty easy peasy, right? Here are some photos of my kitchen shade, which I love just as much.

DIY Roman Shade Kitchen

DIY Roman Shade Kitchen

Waaay cuter than mini blinds, don’t you think?

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