Enjoy Responsibly

I’ve learned (often the hard way) that some things are best experienced in moderation. Tequila. Chocolate. Sunshine.

Last night I scribbled another item on my “Enjoy Responsibly” list.



Allow me to explain.

Easy, No Sew Roman Shade Made From A Mini BlindThat’s the ugly duckling mini blind that transformed into a swan-like Roman shade.  Well…almost.


Back=ugly duckling.

Last night I set my sights on total transformation and gathered my supplies.

  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Spray Starch (optional)
  • Pins (or fabric weights)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Fabric (I chose Ron-Loc’s Budget Blackout)

I saw no need to be exact when cutting because the fabric edges would be folded under and glue hemmed. I went for slightly wider and slightly longer. I ended up with slightly wider and lots longer. An inch wider and an inch longer would have been just fine.

I wasn’t sure what heat setting to use when ironing blackout fabric (though I did remember reading somewhere to use the iron on the fabric rather than the vinyl side). So I started on a low setting and gradually increased it. I found that the iron had to be hot to get the wrinkles out, and I ended up on a cotton setting. Out of curiosity I Googled “what heat setting to iron blackout fabric” as I was writing this post and found that a medium setting is recommended. Go figure.

Before I could go any further with my lining, I had to move the pull cords from the back of the shade to the front.

I put a matchbook behind the hole as I applied the Fabri-Tac so that the hole wouldn’t adhere to the rail. Yes, it’s a matchbook from our wedding more than a decade ago. Yet another fine example of my hoarder packrat saver instincts. If you don’t have a ten-year-old matchbook handy, an index card or other small piece of heavy paper will do.

I didn’t put the cord tassel back on. Although the kids are 10 and 5, I envisioned blue faces and protruding tongues.

I wasn’t sure which side of the blackout fabric should face outward. So I Googled. As expected, half the results said vinyl side out, half said vinyl side in. Since I didn’t want the vinyl side out, I completely discounted the second opinion. I’d have probably done this even if all the results said vinyl out. I’m stubborn hard-headed an independent thinker.

So I laid my black out fabric on the shade with the vinyl side up to begin pinning the hems. I folded the top and the bottom so that the edges fit snugly against the top and bottom rails.

One word of caution about pinning blackout fabric. Because of the vinyl backing, pins will leave tiny little holes. You can use fabric weights to avoid the pin holes, or if you use pins but are totally OCD about the holes you can dot them with an opaque white fabric marker so that they disappear.

I’m thinking that if I was totally OCD I’d never had attempted to make a Roman shade from a mini blind using just glue anyway, but that’s just me.

Once the top and bottom hems were glued together, I repeated the process for the side hems. I left about 1/4″ of my face fabric showing around the edges.

I turned the fabric over and centered it on the shade.

At this point in my project, I decided I really really didn’t care for Fabri-Tac. When I was pressing the side hems together the glue didn’t seem to smooth out well, and when I pulled the bottle away at the end of a run, it was stringy…sorta like the strings you get when using hot glue.

Could be I picked up an old bottle at the store (you know how inventory can sit on the shelf). Could be I didn’t know what I was doing since it was the first time I tried this product.

Regardless of the cause of my issues, at this point I abandoned the Fabri-Tac and went back to my Alene’s Tacky Glue. It’s not washable like Fabric-Tac, but this blind’s not going in the machine anyway. I’d used Alene’s when applying the front fabric and was pleased with the results.

I worked my way up the shade, gluing section by section.

I couldn’t wait to hang my shade back in the window. I figured it would dry just fine hanging. I ran outside and admired my no-slats-showing shade.

I ran back in, grabbed the pull cord, thinking I’d pull it up to allow it to dry folded as I did the first time around.

It was at that point that I discovered that my Roman shade no longer folded beautifully. The front fabric puckered in places it had never puckered before.

I inspected. I observed. I problem-solved. I became convinced I’d gotten glue stupid and had put too much glue along the edges of the fabric.

So I did this…

I thought that if I peeled the back off, allowed the glue to dry overnight, and then went back and glued just the edges and the slats it would take care of the problem.

So that’s what I did first thing this morning.

Not the solution. It still puckers.

In the big scheme of things…it’s not a huge deal. This shade hangs in my laundry room window. A laundry center table sits in front of that window, making it difficult for my five-foot-six self to reach the pull cord. And my laundry room doesn’t exactly have an ocean view. If I can’t look out at our parked cars…not a tremendous loss.

I am irritated that I screwed up my Roman shade. Even if I never wanted to pull it up, it aggravates me that I can’t.

I did, however, manage to hide those ugly duckling slats. So if I had to rate this project…I’d give it a 2 on a scale of 10.

Well…maybe a three. And I’m only awarding the extra star because I discovered this morning that I can take glue off my “Enjoy Responsibly” list.

In fact, the problem seems to be not enough glue. (Remember…I’m five inside. Glue=happy.)

This morning I noticed that my shade puckers more with less glue. And the puckering occurs in places along the lift cord where the two layers of fabric aren’t adhered to each other or the slats.

In the places where the fabric layers are adhered together…no puckering.

So…I’m going to try this again.

Not with my laundry room shade. That’s taken as much abuse as it can withstand.

Instead I’m going to make shades for Lulu’s room.

If at first I don’t succeed…I’ll go on and ruin another perfectly ugly mini blind.

So what about you? Got any DIY’s that didn’t work out the way you’d hoped? Did you try again? Did you learn any important lessons along the way you’d like to share?

I’d love for you to leave a comment & let me know. It’d be nice to learn from a mistake that wasn’t mine once in while.

Easy No-Sew Roman Shade & Valence


Tags: ,

Categories: Laundry Room, Renovations

2 Comments on “Enjoy Responsibly”

  1. cc
    August 25, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    Apologies ahead, it’s gonna be a long winded post!

    If you look at a regular roman shade, you’ll notice the lift-strings are exposed in the back. As do the small rings that guides the pull-strings (keeping them straight vertically). In another words, the strings and rings are visible from the outside, albeit subtle… because the strings match the liner (usually white), and the rings are so small and are white/clear.

    Check out pics on this site (scroll down):

    Note: I’ve never made roman shades, neither traditional nor mini-blinds method, so the following will be my guesstimate based on visuals and mechanics.

    When you raise a regular roman shade, the lift-strings are pulled STRAIGHT up through the rings, and the folds form when the rows of rings meet. Adapting this idea on the mini-blind-shade sans conceal-liner (will get back to this later)… the slats act as the ribs, and the holes on the slats act as the rings.

    Now, when you added a liner on the back to hide the slats, the strings are now SANDWICHED between two layers of fabric. (picture the strings laying parallel to the fabrics.) When you raise this shade, the strings cannot go straight up, and I mean straight-straight; because they are wedged, causing the shade to bunch up. (picture the strings trying to rebel against being parallel to the fabric folds, but there just isn’t a straight-through path.)

    Ok, back to the liner. It’s a good idea to use a liner layer anyway, though any plain one will do, not necessarily a blackout liner. Depends on your preference. I think there’s an option to “hide” the slats from showing on the back. Not 100% certain if it will work. Either way, the lift-strings will NOT be concealed.

    You have to first sew the fabric and liner together before attaching the slats. So the layers will go as such: fabric–liner–slats. Then, cut strips of the liner material (enough to fully cover the slates plus a bit extra on each sides), one strip per slat, cover over it to conceal their ugliness. Stitch, glue, pin, whatever. REMEMBER to make little holes/slits for the strings to pass through. They should line up to the same spots where the lift-strings pass though the slats.

    It’s possible to make a small “test shade” to see if/how this will work – using fabric scraps as shade, ice-cream sticks as slats, ribbon for strips, and any twine as lift-strings.

    Personally, if the mini-blind slats blends well enough with the blackout liner’s color, I would just leave it as that. The extra step is, well, extra work.

    • Lea
      August 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      I love a long and well thought out comment! After my second attempt at this project I drew many of the same conclusions you did. I may have stumbled upon a way to “hide” the strings and the slats (which I detest), but I haven’t managed to get around to the third mini-blind on my list yet. I do love your idea of a “test shade” and since we’re hunkered down today with no chance of seeing the outdoors I may just give it a shot. Thanks for reading and for all your observations and suggestions!

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