I love roll-up shades and I hate them.
Roll-up shades are easy to use, affordable, safe for small children (no cords), provide privacy and can darken rooms for nap time.
They are ugly! I actually like the style of a roll-up shade; I’m just not a fan of the way the plastic material looks.
In the past, I’ve considered custom roll-up shades or other cordless options, but they are pricy and outside my rather frugal budget. Consequently, I decided to try a DIY. I hesitated for quite a while. The idea of custom roller shades seemed intimidating, but they were actually very easy.
For this project you’ll need:
- roll-up shades
- a sewing machine (or hem tape if you want to make this a no-sew project)
- a glue gun and glue sticks.
Fabric by the yard gets expensive fast. Bed sheets, however, are affordable. Sheets provide a lot of material for a low price. Have you seen the Pillowfort line at Target? Its so fun! I chose these sheets. I like the graphic element they bring to the room. Be warned, if you need blackout type dark for your little person to nap, this won’t quite cut the mustard. I personally like the filtered light. The room is definitely darker and more conducive to sleep, but not blackout. A fabric with a dark background might be a better choice if you need a dark room.
Here’s the step by step:
- measure the width of the shade
- tear your fabric to the right size (make sure to allow for a seam allowance for your finishing technique)
- trim the piece to the correct length (based on your window measurements)
- finish the edges by making a hem, using hem tape or using a serger
- iron fabric pieces (just to make it smooth and pretty)
- remove the vinyl shade from the roller mechanism (the shade is glued on, but easily peels off)
- glue the new fabric shade to the roller mechanism (more details below)
Gluing the shade to the roller mechanism is the most confusting part of this project. I think the best way to go about it is to put the roller mechanism (without the shade attached) into the mounting hardware. Slide your fabric up behind the roller mechanism to attach at the top from behind. Make sure the right side (correct side) of the fabric is facing the room and the wrong side of the fabric is facing the window. The fabric will roll up with the wrong side of the fabric exposed on the roller mechanism, but the right side of the fabric will hang down for the shade. You could also opt for the shade to come over the top of the roller mechanism instead of under (think of a roll of toilet paper to help illustrate this). If you prefer this option, the hardware on the window needs to be hung accordingly so that the shade’s spring function will still work properly to lower and raise the shade. My choice was based on the fact that our shades were already mounted. If the hardware wasn’t already in place, I would have chosen to have the fabric come over the top instead.
The end result was exactly what I had hoped for! Here are a few other tips. Pull the shade down and up using two hands on either side or the bottom corners to keep the shade straight. Remember that you can always roll the shades up by hand if they get wonky. If you have trouble with your shades rolling up all the way, simply reset the spring by leaving the peg side of the roller mechanism in the window mounted hardware, lift the other side out and roll up by hand to wind the spring tighter. Any questions? Feel free to leave a comment and ask! I’d love to see your project if you give this a try!