My Shady Ways

I think it’s finally time to get moving on a Pinterest project that I’ve been looking at for far too long, if the 7 different styles and tutorials in my “make these things” board is any indication.

It’s all about replacing my current window blinds with new, pretty, faux shades in the kitchen, living room and office. Of course I want to do 5 of these at once but I might need to do them slowly.

I’ll post my own tutorial here because as I did this project there was a whole lot of guess work and I wish the blogs I’d read this on had been more clear. First up, measure the space you need the fabric.

1. Grab your measuring tape and measure from the top of the window (where the existing blind rests near the top) to the bottom sill. This is the height of the fabric you’ll need plus 4 inches. This will give you a bit of wiggle room if you cut it wonky and to tuck in at the top and bottom.

The second measurement you’ll need is the width of the window plus 2 inches. I found it was pretty easy to hem in 1″ on either side of the fabric so the shade fills the window without gaps or looking too big. You may want to give yourself 4″ if you’re nervous about the cutting.

2. Buy your fabric. Keep in mind that if you’re using a patterned fabric to orient the design the way you want it to show up in the window. i.e. don’t let it get cut so you can only install the shade sideways.

If you’re using a solid color like I did, remember to look for curtain liner quality. You can buy a basic muslin or cotton but it won’t hold the shape as well and will let in more light. I was pretty happy with the fabric I bought and it was on sale for $3.99/yd.

3. Carefully remove your blind from the window. You may want to extend the blinds first which makes it harder to move but easier once it’s out of the window.

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For extra credit, clean the windows thoroughly, add a bead of caulk along any seams that need sealing and touch up the window sill paint.

Or just plop the blinds down on a large, flat surface.

4. Disassemble the blinds. This is where I was so lost so I’ll show you my step by step.

Flip over the bottom bar and you’ll find a few small plugs or holes. This is where the strings running down the blinds tuck in. Remove those plugs and use a small pair of tweezers to pull out the strings. Usually they’re tied in a knot so untie the knot or, if it’s really stuck, cut it off.

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The long, more solid string that runs straight down the blinds is your pull cord, it raises and lowers the blinds. You’ll want to keep this for your shade.

The wimpier, criss-crossy cord that the slats of your blinds rests on is your ladder cord, it turns the blinds open and closed. You’ll want to remove this for your shade.

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I found it easiest to snip off the ladder cord on the top and bottom and then carefully slide it off the blind slats. With my larger shade it was more difficult so first I pulled out the pull cord so it wouldn’t get in the way.

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Now your blinds are disassembled and you’ll want to reserve 3-6 slats for the shade and move out the rest.

 5. Select the number of slats you want. If you’re like me at this point you’ll look at your blinds and think “holy crap these are filthy!” so take some time to clean them well, remember that once they’re stuck on the fabric it’ll be damn near impossible to wash the fabric or the slats.

Now, remember the measurement of your window height? Consider how tall your window is and how many bunches you want. You can do 3:




or even 5:



Pick out the slats you want, remember that the top bar is technically 1 point and the bottom bar will be another. So if you want 6 total then you’ll need 4 slats. Go ahead and slide them back on the pull strings and add the bottom bar

Now that you have the slats back on you’ll want to place them in the right position, using your measuring tape space them out evenly.

In my kitchen I had 2 windows so I chose to match the spacing of the slats on the windows so they’d appear to be matching  shades.

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6. Glue the fabric onto the mini-blind. It’s easiest to start at the top and wrap the fabric up and over the top bar. Then run a bead of fabric glue across the outside rounded edge of the slats and press it into place on the fabric. Make sure the edge lines up and if your shade is wide then you may need to measure the spacing at several places to make sure it’s even.

Be careful not to get glue on the pull string otherwise it won’t pull up. Also, if your fabric is light colored like mine the bead of glue may show up behind the fabric. So go for straight lines, not zig zags.

The bottom bar should be the last piece you glue, remember that your measurements will be from the top bar to the bottom bar. My window was 34″ tall so I made the shade 36″ so there was a little bit of a poof along the bottom.

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7. Let the glue dry. This is the boring part. Have a coffee or clean the window that you’ll be covering. Remove any spider webs hiding in the window frame.

8. Re-hang the blinds. This part is tricky because if your brackets are like mine then the top bar will fit into a metal bracket and mess up your shade. So I pulled back the fabric on just the end, locked it in and then put a dab of fabric glue on the edge to hold it.

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9. If your fabric is too short for the width, as mine was in a few spots, then you can simply clip the edges. They do sell special blind clippers but I don’t really care how they look behind the fabric. Just a quick snip with the scissors and they’re ready to hang!

Here they are all finished on and re-hung! See how the spacing has worked out to match?

2013_04_28 (07)I love how much light comes through and the votive candles on the window sill:

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One last look at the coffee corner:

2013_04_28 (09)This whole project for 2 windows was under $50 – mostly because I over bought the fabric. Hoping I’ll have enough in the roll to do one more window in the office or living room!


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