How-To Upgrade Small Vertical Blinds To Elegant Roman Shades In A Snap
A lovely set of Roman shades can be a fantastic way to gain privacy and elegance in any room of your home. Unfortunately, Roman shades can be expensive, and it isn't always possible to just purchase a new pair when your mood changes. With this helpful tutorial, you'll learn how to take smaller, more affordable vertical blinds and upgrade them with just a few items to create a look that rivals any home and garden magazine.
For this project, you will need a few basic craft items and some fabric. If you're feeling particularly thrifty, you can use like-new bed sheets or even sewn-together patchwork scraps from your own home.
You will also need:
- One set of small Venetian blinds sized to the window of your choice
- Fabric glue or a glue gun
- A few sponge brushes
- A needle and thread
Everything else you should have within your home already.
Before You Start
Before you begin this project, the first thing you should do is measure your blinds. This needs to be done in a very specific way--don't measure from the very top installation mechanism to the bottom slat. You won't be covering this top installation portion, so you'll end up with far too much material if you do this.
Instead, have someone hold the blinds from the top so that they hang down evenly. If necessary, pull the cord to let them come down to their full length.
Measure from the very top edge of the top slat all the way to the very bottom edge of the bottom slat. Add 0.5". Then, measure from the outer edge of one slat to the opposite edge to get your width. Add 0.5" to this, too.
Now you have the fabric amount you'll need.
You can purchase fabric if that's in your budget, or you can simply sew a small patchwork single-layer quilt in the same measurements. Sheets, old clothing and just about anything else is fair game too, as long as it can be cut to size. Don't be afraid to get creative--even old wallpaper or canvas can be used if you're feeling funky.
Cut and Hem Your Fabric
If necessary, cut your fabric down to size. The 0.5" on either side provides space for a hemline, so keep this in mind when continuing. This will require basic sewing skills, but if you're a complete newbie, don't despair. Watch this video for a really thorough outline of how to hem almost any fabric.
Quick tip: Whenever possible, use an iron to press down and crease your hemlines before sewing. This will make stitching easier. You can also use sewing pins in lieu of an iron.
Carefully fold over 0.25" along each side. This will be your hemline. Stitch down each of the sides to hold this in place. Be sure to choose a thread that matches both color and texture as closely as possible if you don't want it to be visible.
Alternatively, you can use a silver or gold thread to add a touch of elegance.
Once the fabric is hemmed, lay it aside flat. It's important to keep it free from wrinkles.
Attach the Fabric to Your Blinds
A real Roman Shade uses just a few slats to create panels, but you're going to skip that and paste your fabric directly to just a few slats to get the same look.
Before you do anything else, remove the large stick that would normally be used to open and close the blinds. You'll no longer need this. Be sure not to damage the pull cord itself, as this will be your main mechanism once the project is finished.
For the average window measuring less than 2' in height, five to six slats should work just fine. Now here's where things get a little bit tricky--be sure to follow this next part carefully.
For this step, the blind needs to be laid out on a table. Tilt them so that either side is facing up towards you, giving you more surface area to work with.
Take your sponge brush or glue gun and add glue to only the very top slat. Next, carefully press the top of your fabric to it, allowing the rest to drape down over the blinds. Take care to line it up well and keep it even.
Once attached, you'll want to give this a few minutes to dry.
Tip: Hot glue will take only about a minute to two minutes to dry. Fabric glue can take an hour or two.
Once the top slat has dried correctly in place, it's time to hang your blinds as you normally would. Another measurement step needs to be done while they are hanging, for best results.
Once they're in place, take your original top-to-bottom slat measurement and divide it by the number of slats you want to have. As mentioned before, five or six slats is plenty for most windows.
Example: If your blinds measure 30", and you want six slats, you'll want to space your chosen slats 5" apart. To find 5" apart, count the bottom slat as the first. Measure from its top edge to exactly 5" above it. The closest bottom edge is your next slat.
Working from the top down, apply glue as in the last step and press your fabric to the slats. Allow at least some drying time before you move on to the next slat to ensure that it holds.
Since you already hung the blinds in the previous step, you can simply leave them in place and hanging freely for 24 hours to allow the glue to set. Afterward, you can use the pull cord to raise or lower them in sections like a real Roman blind. If you like, you can take it one step further by adding a complementary valance to the top, but it's not necessary. It's easy, simple and a great way to save money while preserving your beautiful home decor. If you need to pick up a new pair of blinds to complete this project, contact your local drapery shop for assistance.