DIY: Roman Shades From Mini-Blinds

Ready for another project that turned out WAY better than I thought it would? Take a look:

I’ve been seeing tutorials for roman shades all over Pinterest lately and knew just the place I wanted to try it out. Our brand new and improved Craft Room/Office! I started with mini-blinds that lived in the Office before Mega-Desk was introduced to the space (more on all that over here). We bought the blinds from Home Depot over a year ago and I’m pretty sure they were about $3 each. Add a some fabulous fabric, a sewing machine, glue, some motivation, and voila! Roman shades! :)

I referred to a few tutorials that I found on Pinterest (this one, this one and this one), but added some of my own touches. The first shade took me a bit of time to figure out what I was doing, but the 2nd and 3rd were pretty quick and painless! Only two are hung at the moment because we’re trying to find a replacement bracket for the 3rd blind. To say I surprised myself with this project is an understatement. These things are awesome! Much, much better than I thought they would turn out looking like. Being meticulous definitely paid off in this project. Hope you enjoy this tutorial! :)

Supplies Needed:

  • Cheap mini blinds
  • Fabric you love (I got mine at Hart’s Fabric for $10.99/yard. A stinkin’ DEAL!)
  • Lining fabric (I used cream colored muslin, you could upgrade this to a blackout fabric if you’d like)
  • Fabric Glue (I used Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive)
  • A sewing machine & thread to match your top fabric (or iron-on hem tape)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron & ironing board

Step 1: Measure your windows. All of mine ended up being 1/4″ – 1/2″ different (oh the joys of old homes), so measuring each individual window opening proved to be helpful. Cut your top fabric to be 2″ wider than your window and 6″ longer too (my first window opening was 27″ x 45″, so I added 2″ to the width and 6″ to the length and cut my top fabric to 29″ x 51″).

Step 2: Cut out your lining fabric to the exact size of your window (I cut mine out to 27″ x 45″). Flip your top fabric over so it is face down and lay your lining fabric on the back. Adjust the lining fabric so that there is approximately 1″  of space on each side and 3″ on top and bottom.

Step 3: Fold the top fabric over the lining 1″ and pin. (This is where you could use the iron-on hem tape. If you’re going to do that, skip down to Step 6).

Step 4: Iron your folds well.

Step 5: Sew your layers together and set fabric aside for now.

Step 6: Extend your blind out all the way and lay on a flat surface.

Step 7: Cut the string that controls the angle of the blinds. It looks like a ladder. It is VERY important NOT to cut the thicker cord that actually lifts the blinds up and down.

Step 8: Pop off the plugs on the bottom weighted bar of your blinds. A butter knife or screwdriver will help you do this. Pull the string out the bottom and untie (or cut) the knot that keeps the cord from coming out of the bar.

Step 9: Decide how many folds you would like your blind to have. You will need one slat for every fold; your weighted bar will also create a fold, so take that into account (my window was 45″ tall, so I kept 5 slats + the bottom weighted bar equaling 6 folds that were 7 1/2″ apart). Take out the extra slats and throw away. Re-thread your string through the bottom weighted bar and make a temporary knot to keep it in place.

Step 10: Mark your spacing on the back side of your fabric (I marked six lines 7 1/2″ apart from starting from the top of the liner). 

Step 11: Lay your blind on top of your fabric and align the middle of each slat with your markings.

Step 12: Get your glue and carefully begin to glue down your pieces beginning at the top.

Because my blinds slide into a bracket with a small plastic piece that holds it in, I didn’t glue all the way to the edge of my top piece.

Glue on the curved side of your slat. I did a zig-zag pattern with my glue to cover as much area as possible without having to spread it with a brush.

Be VERY careful to not get any glue on your pull cord!

Flip over and firmly press down your slats, making sure that they are centered on your markings.

Step 13: When you get to your bottom piece, glue the front narrow side to the fabric and press firmly to set. Let it dry for a moment and then tie a knot in your strings. Don’t pull the strings too tight, but be sure they are not very loose. Replace the plugs and continue gluing the fabric to each side of the weighted bar.

When you get to the top of the weighted bar, snip a slit in your fabric to go around the pull cords. This is also a great time to trim any excess fabric off of what you have left. Just be sure to leave enough to cover the top of the weighted bar (I cut about 1/2″ excess)

Step 14: Let your finished blind sit for a few hours at least (overnight if you can) to let the glue really set up.

Step 15: Install your brackets on the side of your window frame (not the top!) Be sure to leave a smidge of space between the bracket and the top of your window frame. Take the excess fabric on the top of your blind and tuck over the top of your bracket. A few of the tutorials I looked at recommended using velcro to attach the excess fabric to the back of the bracket, but I haven’t done that yet. The fabric seems to be staying just where it’s at without any assistance, so maybe velcro won’t be needed.

Step 16: Step back and enjoy your finished product! :)

That third window is looking pretty lonely without a matching blind (which is finished, just waiting for a bracket). I’m so impressed with how these turned out! I spent a chunk of time on this project (probably 6ish hours split over 2 days) but the time investment definitely paid off.

This crosses off one to-do item from a list I made over on this original post about Mega-Desk:

  • Turn cheap mini-blinds into roman shades
  • Acquire another office-like chair & two chairmats
  • Create a station with some cork pieces, hanging organizers and a calendar for paying bills (maybe looking something like this, or even this)
  • Add some mason jars, cause you can never have too many (I really like this idea)
  • Add some additional overhead lighting
  • Organize the heck outta that closet. Sheesh, it needs some lovin’.
  • Work on better organizing my craft supplies on the shelves.

Let’s hope that I can keep up this momentum to continue crossing things off this list :)

Feeling accomplished,
Mrs. Edwards

Mega-Desk

It is my pleasure to introduce something so profound, even Dwight Schrute has one.

Two words: Mega. Desk.

You know when you start a project with a hope and a dream of it looking like something you imagined or were inspired by? And typically it falls a bit short, but every once and a while you hit a home run? Well this is that outta the ballpark home run for us!

(Sorry for the not so stellar lighting in these photos. I tend to only have time/remember to take photos at night…blerg)

Pretty awesome, right!?

We started with a room that has uh-mazing natural light and a small-but decent amount of space. We had great intentions for it to be an office, but it never really lived up to its name.  It was more of a catch-all room. When guests would come over, we tended to throw everything that didn’t have a home in here. Let’s just say, after a year and a half of living here it was about knee deep in junk. We had mismatched desks, two disorganized bookshelves and zero organization. It was ugly. In fact, so ugly that I didn’t take a before picture (whoops!)

These photos are after we relocated the junk-n-stuff to our dining room/living room/anywhere we could stash it.

As you can tell, this room is small…7ft x 11ft to be exact. Though its small, it is the perfect size for an office/craft room. We had to get creative in order to turn this baby into something that was functional and appealing to the eye. So, to Ikea we went! We picked up four Vika Amon table tops  in white (two of the 39 3/8″ x 23 5/8″ and two of the 47 1/4″ x 23 5/8″…crazy Swedish sizing!) We also picked up twelve of the Vika Curry legs in the silver color (we had 4 from another desk to make the 16 we projected using, but we only ended up using 10. Anyone want some legs??). The combination that we settled on came to a grand total of $87.00. That still kind of blows my mind…$87 for a room sized desk!? Yes, please!

We painted the room a color called Spring Hill in eggshell enamel by Behr. We stick to Behr paints because it’s what we know and love and we haven’t been let down yet! The color is a nice mellow green in the sunlight and has a muted greenish/blue color at night. These photos don’t do it justice at all, but trust me when I tell you its nice :)

We figured if we were going to put some good time and a little bit of money into this space that we should do it right. Enter: ridiculous wall-to-wall shelving above one side of Mega-Desk.

We picked up these three Ekby Gallo brackets at Ikea for a whopping $5.00 each and three 1″ x 12″ x 8′ white board planks at Lowes for about $12.00 each.  Josh sized the boards to fit our space and a few wall anchors and a whole lot of patience later, these puppies were on the wall (lets just say that three 7ft. boards + 3 brackets + working after 12 AM isn’t always the best combination. Yet, my husband is ever patient and loves me more than I deserve).

One thing we kind of splurged on was the under shelf lighting you can see in the pictures above and below. We figured it could only make the space better and that we would be thankful we spent the extra $ and time on it. And yep…we were right! Its so so nice to have good lighting on my main workspace!

One of my most favorite parts about this room is that I can have my sewing machine and crafting supplies at my fingertips at all times. It’s already proven to be motivating and super handy (see those organizers to the right on the desk? Made outta 3 cereal boxes and less than a yard of fabric. Tutorial coming soon! :) )

(Again, not the best lighting…sorry!)

Josh put a few nails next to my sewing area to hang my cutting mats, rulers and straight edge.

On the other side of the room, we condensed all of our books into one bookshelf that hides behind the door

And the closet looks…pretty much the same as it did before. A whole lotta stuff we need to find homes for. Our plan is to install a hanging rod in half of it to serve as a coat closet and build some permanent shelving in the other half for various items that don’t need to be accessed or seen all the time (board games, air mattress, wrapping paper, etc.). We’ll finish it off by adding a new curtain to cover the space.

We’re slowly but surely getting there! This room still has a long ways to go and quite a few more little projects, but it is WORLDS better than it was a few weeks ago! I am giddy with excitement of how well this turned out. My next project in here is to turn some plain-ol’ mini blinds into roman shades. I found this tutorial (among many others) and we have a friend who has done it successfully. Here’s to hoping I come out with the same results! Next time you see these window’s they’ll be clad with some fancy new dressings :)

Budget Breakdown (so far):

  • 4 Table tops: $52
  • 10 table legs: $35
  • Wall brackets: $15
  • 3 wall shelves: $36
  • Under shelf lighting: $40
  • 1 gallon of Behr Spring Hill paint: $22
  • Behr Swiss Coffee trim/door paint: already owned
  • Total: $200

This was the first time I added everything up and I’m definitely surprised myself! I think $200 for an entire room makeover isn’t too shabby at all…

Here are a few other things I’d love to knock out in the next couple of weeks:

  • Turn cheap mini-blinds into roman shades
  • Acquire another office-like chair & two chairmats
  • Create a station with some cork pieces, hanging organizers and a calendar for paying bills (maybe looking something like this, or even this)
  • Add some mason jars, cause you can never have too many (I really like this idea)
  • Add some additional overhead lighting
  • Organize the heck outta that closet. Sheesh, it needs some lovin’.
  • Work on better organizing my craft supplies on the shelves.

I think that to-do list will keep me (and hubby) busy for a little while! I’ll be back with more (better) pictures of the progress and a tutorial or two.

Loving this room,
Mrs. Edwards

These Coasters, They’re Sew Easy

What a lame title, right? I couldn’t help myself…

A few weeks ago, Josh made me a happy lady. Wanna know why? He took me on a date to Ikea! And I think he might have even had some fun himself. Amazing!

We got a few different things, like curtains, some kitchen gadgets and best of all, we got a coffee table…We’re moving up in the world! In order to keep this table looking brand spankin’ new, I decided to make some coasters to protect the finish. I searched through the interwebs and found a great tutorial to make “criss-cross coasters” over here. I’ve seen these made before and have always wanted to try my hand at them. I’m not gonna lie, I’m still pretty much a rookie when it comes to sewing. A year ago or so, my Mom bought me a simple Singer sewing machine (Really, it’s called the Simple model…haha. Made specifically for dumb dumbs like me), but I haven’t used it too much. Mostly because I’ve been lazy busy. But, that will be changing!! I’ve recently realized the potential in owning a sewing machine (mostly because it saves $) and I’ve vowed that I’ll start using it more often. Call it an early August resolution. Or a sew-piphany. Ok, ok…I’ll stop.

With that being said, I dug some scrap fabric out of my stash and dove right into the project! I used some leftover damask fabric from our wedding. The tutorial uses fabric with different patterns, but for this first attempt, I decided to stick with the same pattern/color on each one to hide any potential imperfections.

I know you’re just dying to see exactly how I made these, right?! Well, here ya go. In 7 easy steps, you’ll be able to whip these up in no time!

Step 1: For each coaster, cut out six 4.5″ x 4.5″ squares of cotton fabric. Choose four for the top, one for the inside and one for the bottom. I did the four top ones and the inside out of the damask fabric and then the bottom out of a solid grey cotton.

**The original tutorial suggests that you use fusible webbing between the bottom layer and the inside layer, but I skipped that part because, well, I’m not sure. I didn’t really think it was necessary, and turns out it wasn’t! You could use it to add some stiffness to the coasters, but they’re A-okay without it.

Step 2: Fold and iron your four top pieces so that they are creased exactly in half.

Step 3: Start stacking your pieces. Begin by placing the inside liner face down (not shown- but trust me, it’s under the grey piece!) Then stack the piece that will serve as your bottom (the grey square in my case) on top of that. After that, start layering your folded pieces on top, making sure your raw edges face outwards. Layer your pieces, making sure that half of your last one is tucked under your first one (think of it like folding the flaps of a cardboard box).

Step 4: Carefully pick up your stack and sew around the entire thing about 1/4″ from the edge.

Step 5: Once you have your seam around the perimeter, snip off the corners (making sure not to cut your seams). This will make your corners look much more square.

Step 6: It’ll take some finagling, but turn the entire thing inside out. Use a crochet needle, chop stick, or whatever your preferred pointy object is to push out the corners of the square.

Step 7: Repeat process however many times you’d like to create the perfect number of coasters for you! Set a cup on it and watch it do it’s coaster magic. Here are the guardians of our coffee table:

Even though I’m a sewing newbie, this project was a perfect difficulty level for me! Once I got going, they took about 5 minutes each to make. I think next time I make them, I’ll vary the patterns on the criss-cross pieces to add some interest. Though, I do love the damask fabric because it reminds me of our wedding :) They would make a great inexpensive Christmas present or gift for a shower. Hmm…

I hope this inspires you to tackle a project you’ve been wanting to try! And to use your sewing machine more often! Now that our coffee table is protected, I feel like I can conquer the world. Perhaps place mats for our dining table are in the near future…

Sew happy,
Mrs. Edwards