Lindsay Gill: 5 Steps to DIY Fabric Roller Shades

Sunday, January 4, 2015

5 Steps to DIY Fabric Roller Shades

I was on the hunt for an easy and cheap solution for window treatments.  I called a few places for estimates for "hardware" window treatments (I learned that this means more functional than decorative).  One woman told me that due to the width of my windows, I would have to spend around $600 per window, on the low end.  That's when I knew I would, once again, be putting cardboard boxes in the windows for privacy (we did this in the condo at first!)

Well, desperation breeds creativity.  I found a few DIY tutorials for roller shades on Pinterest.  I found the tutorial at most helpful, but would like to share my experience so you can avoid gluing your hands I just did.  Here's how to make cheap and easy custom roller shades:
1.  Buy cheap vinyl roller shades.  I paid $8 for mine but I have heard you can find them for $3!  I had mine cut at Home Depot to my window width.  Buy the right adhesive! Something that is for fabric and sprays clear. If the adhesive is semi-delayed bonding, that gives you some leeway in adjusting your fabric once it is placed, too. 

2.  Hang 'em up!  Pull them down to the full length of the window (or as far as you plan on pulling them down).  Make a tiny mark so you know how far up to put the fabric.

3.  With the curtain extended, lay on flat surface and cut your fabric with about 1 in extra around all edges.  Take your time and make the edges straight and clean because they will show from the other side!

4.  Bring it all outside.  I set up shop in my garage.  Ain't nobody got time for fumes around here.  Spray the shade making sure to get all edges and avoiding any pools of adhesive.  WEAR GLOVES OR USE A CLOTH to flatten the fabric onto the shade.  Pull fabric taut to get rid of wrinkles or bubbles.

The shade on the left was with the WRONG ADHESIVE.  Note that any pooling of adhesive creates an undesirable mark on top right of middle shade.
5.  Use a fabric glue gun to glue the edges to the other side of the shade.  

DOs and DON'Ts:

DON'T press fabric on with bare hands.  It's like getting super glue all over both palms, but worse...I've heard.

DON'T use 3M vinyl adhesive even though the shade is vinyl.  It is yellow and soaks through the fabric.  Use the one listed above.
DO cover the roller portion of the shade when spraying the adhesive to avoid getting glue on the rest of the shade.

DO choose a darker fabric, when it is bright out, you can see the extra fabric glued to the back.

DO use thin fabric if you want the roller shade to continue to function and roll up.  Otherwise you might have to manually roll the shade.  Mine does still work with the fabric on it, but does "stick" a little bit in places where the fabric is slightly thicker.

DO cut a square off of the bottom edges before gluing for a clean corner.

I would love to see your DIY fabric roller shades!  Please share!  Here's how mine turned out...

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