Window treatments can be so expensive, but they don’t have to be! I’ve figured out a way to use cheap vinyl roller shades to create custom size fabric DIY roller blinds, and I cannot wait to show you how I did it! This is a simple no-sew DIY project that anyone can do. Put away your sewing machine and get ready to make your own DIY fabric roller shade!
This post was originally published in 2013 and has since been updated!
Sleep is incredibly important to me. My children sleeping all through the night is also essential to me. This is why I immediately started working on blackout blinds for my girls’ bedrooms in Our DIY House after we installed our window casing (Did you see my DIY craftsman trim?).
Little C’s room was first on my DIY list because we already had all of her new room’s fabric. (See Little C’s bedroom mood board and projects here). I had seen several tutorials, blog posts, and YouTube videos on how to make no-sew fabric covered roller blinds. So, I wanted to try to make some for Little C’s windows.
I wanted the blinds in her room to fit inside the windows with an inside mount so that they wouldn’t be in front of the casing I worked so hard on. However, if your goal is to block every last bit of sun out of the room, I recommend hanging the blind over your entire window frame with an outside mount. This way, the blind will meet the wall on the side of the window and give you a true blackout blind. My kids can sleep with a little bit of sunlight peeking through. So I went with inside-mounted shades to get the aesthetic look I wanted. There’s no actual « right way » to do this, it’s all about personal preference.
How do you add blackout fabric to roller shades?
I wanted a no-sew solution to this question! This is not just because I wanted these to be as easy as possible, although that was a definite perk. What I really didn’t want were needle holes poking through the vinyl on the blinds, which would be pretty unavoidable. These would be visible when the sun was shining and would make my blind look far less than professional. So what could I do instead?
I looked around and found tutorials on how to glue fabric on to achieve this custom look. But, I was skeptical about using spray adhesive to stick fabric to roller shades. It seemed like my best no-sew option though, so I decided to give it a try. Would the shades still roll the way they should? Would the fabric lay flat?
I’m happy to say that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding « yes »! And, I also had a happy little girl who thought her window shades were « the beautifulest ». There really isn’t higher praise than that! So, I am here to say that using adhesive spray to attach fabric to your new roller blinds really is the way to go.
How do you make homemade blackout shades?
So, how do you actually make these blinds? Simple: I’m giving you a materials list and full instructions so you can do this yourself! It really isn’t that difficult. Let’s begin!
Materials to make a DIY Roller Shade
- vinyl blackout roller blind
- fabric (enough to reach from the top of your window to the bottom + about 3″) – use nothing heavier than cotton quilting fabric
- ribbon (optional, for embellishment)
- spray adhesive
- tube of fabric glue
- fabric scissors
- small saw
- mounting brackets, screws, screwdriver
An important note regarding fabric options: do not use anything heavier than cotton quilting fabric! If you do, it won’t lay flat and the blind definitely won’t roll up the way it should. It can be tempting to forget that weight matters when browsing all the fabric rolls at your favourite fabric store, but just remember to stick with something thin and light. I recommend using just enough fabric to reach from the top of your window to the bottom with a few inches to spare. In my opinion, there’s no need to cover the entire roll of vinyl. Plus, it makes the shade heavier and more cumbersome.
Buy blackout roller blinds from a home improvement store that you can cut to fit your windows. Home Depot is a great place to check first! There are also online options. Since you are going to be covering the vinyl with your own choice of fabric, you don’t need to worry too much about how it looks. Getting the best price for a decent quality product is really the goal here.
Should the roller shade roll front or back?
Just a quick note about whether or not to have your roller shade roll up from the front or back of the shade. If the ultimate purpose of these blinds is to block light, I would recommend having your DIY roller shade roll from the front, especially if you decide on an inside mount. This is because the blinds will cover more of the edges of the window if they roll down this way than if they have a reverse wind. If you decide to do an outside mount instead, this doesn’t matter quite so much. But it is best to plan which you will do before you take your measurements and decide how wide you want your blind to be!
Measure the width of the window
Measure the width of your window with a measuring tape, using either the inside measurements if you are doing an inside mount, or the outside measurements if you’re mounting your blind on the outside of your casings. Put a mark on the vinyl at your desired length for cutting.
Then cut the blinds to fit the measurements for the size of the window. I used fabric scissors on the vinyl (you should just be able to glide them along in a straight line without cutting too vigorously) and a Japanese saw to cut the thick cardboard tube. There’s a little end plug that you’ll have to pop off the cut end of your roller shade and then pop back on the new end. I used my scissors to pry it of and banged it on the floor to get it back on securely. DIY is not always graceful!
Test your Adhesive
You’ll want to test your adhesive first. I used Elmer’s Multi Purpose Spray Adhesive. Take a piece of the excess vinyl you just cut off, spray it with your adhesive product according to the directions, and apply a scrap piece of extra fabric of the same weight as the one you are using for the blind. Let it dry and then check to see if it bonded properly. When I did this test I was happy to see that my combination of adhesive, blind, and quilter’s cotton worked well, so I could go ahead and attach the fabric to my blind.
Layout the Fabric Ensuring it is Centered
Unroll the vinyl shade once your adhesive test is complete and you’re happy with your results. Lay your fabric over it, making sure that it’s centered properly if it is a patterned fabric like mine. Make sure that it’s hanging over the bottom of the shade about 1″.
Lift up the bottom 6″ of the fabric, spray the blind underneath it thoroughly, and then smooth that bit of fabric over the glue with your hands. I tried a ruler at first to smooth the fabric, but doing it by hand seemed to work much better. Now, flip down the top edge of the fabric and spray the next 6″ of the blind, and smooth the fabric over it. Repeat this until you’ve fixed the full length of fabric to the entire shade.
Once the glue has dried, flip the blind over and spray the piece of fabric hanging down past the bottom edge of the blind, turn it over the bottom edge and press down on it to stick it firmly in place.
Trim both sides of the fabric so that they reach about 1″ beyond the blind’s width. Spray glue on these edges of the fabric and turn them around the blind and press them down. Do about 6″ of length at a time. And be sure you work quickly so that the glue doesn’t dry before you get a chance to stick the fabric down in place!
If you want, you can decorate the bottom of the blind with lengths of ribbon, lace or trim. Little C picked out this sparkly, ruffly ribbon and I glued it on with fabric glue to the bottom of her blinds. This might not be what I would choose for myself, but this was her window and she was very very happy with her choice!
Ta-da! It’s a custom DIY roller shade covered in pretty fabric that’s still functional and practical! Once your fabric is all glued down you can mount the shade with screws inside or outside the window frame. Your blind should come with instructions for how to do this, and if you spent money on a slightly fancier one it might even come with the hardware provided!
I love these little DIY fabric covered shades! They’d make a great project for any DIYer. I think the best part about them is how easy they are to customize to any colour scheme or personal style preference. Kids love being able to help with projects like this, and because these blinds are affordable you can just let them choose whatever they want. It will be easy and inexpensive to change them out in a few years when they change their minds! And just think of how cute these shades would look covered in a damask fabric for a kitchen window, or in a pastel chevron print for a baby’s nursery!
If you have a DIY roller shade you’ve created for your home, I would love to see it! Leave a pic in the comments or tag me @thediymommy!
Let’s make it!
- Vinyl blackout roller blind
- Fabric (enough to reach from the top of your window to the bottom + about 3″) – use nothing heavier than cotton quilting fabric
- Ribbon (optional, for embellishment)
- Spray adhesive
- Tube of fabric glue
- Fabric scissors
- Small saw
- Mounting brackets, screws, screwdriver
- Buy blackout roller blinds from a home improvement store that you can cut to fit your windows. Measure the inside (or the outside, if you’re mounting them on the outside of your casings) of your windows and cut the blinds to fit. I used fabric scissors on the vinyl (you should just be able to glide them along) and a Japanese saw to cut the thick cardboard tube (it’s that cute little handheld saw in the photos above).
- There’s a little plastic cap that you’ll have to pop off the cut end of your roller shade and then pop back on the new end. I used my scissors to pry it of and banged it on the floor to fit it back on.
- You’ll want to test your adhesive first. I used Elmer’s Multie Purpose Spray Adhesive. Using an extra piece of vinyl, spray it according to the glue’s directions and apply a scrap piece of fabric. Let it dry and ensure it bonds nicely. My combination of adhesive, blind and quilter’s cotton worked well!
- I used just enough fabric to reach from the top of my window to the bottom with a few inches to spare. In my opinion, there’s no need to cover the entire roll of vinyl. Plus, it makes the shade heavier.
- Unroll the vinyl shade. Lay your fabric over the vinyl shade, making sure that it’s centered if it has a pattern to it (mine did) and that it’s hanging over the bottom of the shade about 1″.
- Lift up the bottom 6″ of the fabric, spray the blind beneath well, and then smooth that bit of fabric over the glue with your hands (I tried a ruler at first to smooth the fabric, but doing it by hand seemed to work much better). Now, flip down the top portion of fabric and spray the next 6″ of the blind and smooth the fabric over it. Repeat until you’ve adhered the full length of fabric to the blind.
- Once the glue has dried, flip the blind over and spray the bottom piece of fabric and turn it over the bottom edge of the blind. Press it down to adhere it.
- Trim both sides of fabric so that they reach about 1″ beyond the blind’s width. Spray glue on these pieces and turn them around the blind and press them down. Do about 6″ at a time (I found it best to work quickly with this glue).
- If you want, you can decorate the bottom of the blind with ribbon, lace or trim. We used sparkly, ruffly ribbons and I glued them on with fabric glue to the bottom of the blinds.
This post is part of my « Our DIY House » series where I’ll share with you my most exciting DIY ever – building a country house from the foundation up with my talented hubby! We’re crazy, we’re creative, we’re on a limited budget and we’re planning on having it finished in the Spring of 2013.
Linked to: Feature Friday Link Party at Blissful and Domestic, Made by You Monday at Skip to My Lou, That DIY Party at DIY Show Off, Make it Pretty Monday at The Dedicated House, Weekend Wrap-Up Party at Tatertots & Jello