DIY Roman Shade

I know I talk about it a lot but I was practically signing the lease already when I saw the bay window at the front of this house. I guess you could say it was love at first sight.

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Screen shot 2012-07-21 at 11.44.30 PMThe charm, the character, the archway… I adore it. But I don’t adore the window coverings. Mini blinds and roller blinds? Fairly effective at blocking light when desired but not enough and definitely not attractive. However, it wasn’t at the top of my projects list because I thought it would be too expensive and I had no good ideas because my list of requirements was tall. Working with the obstacles (as I did a couple of weeks ago) was going to be a delicate dance. Here’s what I wanted…

  1. To block out the sun occasionally. 
  2. I don’t want to block the side windows.
  3. $60 budget.
  4. One 6 foot, long shade or blind.
  5. Curtains won’t work because they’ll hide the window too much. (Wait did I just say that I need a window covering that doesn’t cover the window too much?!)

Keeping all those requirements in mind, I decided the best option would be a roman shade. Here’ a preview…


Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Canvas Drop Cloth
  • Drapery Liner
  • 1X2 Board
  • Eye Hooks
  • Drapery Cord
  • Plastic Rings
  • Dowel Rods
  • Craft Glue
  • Cord Cleat
  • L-Shaped Brackets
  • Needle & Thread


You’ll need to cut your canvas drop cloth 3 inches wider than your window and 1 inch longer. My window is 72×72 so I cut my canvas drop cloth 75×73. Then you’ll need to find drapery liner that is 1 inch shorter than the width of your window. I simply bought white cotton fabric but one piece wasn’t big enough to be my drapery liner so I sewed 2 pieces together to make a 71x 72 piece of fabric.


Then I lined up the side seams of my fabric and sewed up each side using a 0.5 inch seam allowance with a plain ‘ole straight stitch. You can hem up the top and bottom but I chose not to to prevent bubbling in the fabric when the shade is pulled up and down.


Leave your fabric wrong side out to place your dowel rods using tacky glue. I used 1/4 dowel rods that are 36″ long. I found mine at Michael’s for $0.29 each. I had to use two dowel rods to go across each row. I easily snipped my dowel rods with scissors then taped them before gluing. My shade is going to be 72″ long so I placed my dowel rods 8″ apart starting from the top. It doesn’t matter if the last dowel rod is less than 8″ from the bottom.

IMG_8565 IMG_8570 IMG_8572Once they’re glued, it’s best to allow them to dry for several hours because you’re going to turn the shade right side out and it’s tricky enough without glued rods sticking to everything. Very carefully turn it right side out. If you’re making a wide curtain like mine, it might be best to have 2 people for this process. Once it’s right side out, you’ll need your needle and thread to sew the plastic rings on every along every other dowel rod. I had eight rows of rods so I sewed 5 rings on four of the rows at 11″ apart.

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Next I screwed my eye hooks into my 1X2 at the same 11″ intervals. Your drapery cord needs to be able to flow smoothly through each ring to the eye hook at the top.

IMG_8590Next, I tacked the top of my curtain to the 1X2. I used small tacks but you could also use a staple gun.

IMG_8593 IMG_8594You’ll need enough drapery cord to go through each ring with a 6″ allowance. Tie the cord to the bottom ring on each row then string it up and through the eye hooks leaving the slack on one side of the curtain.


As you can see, all of my string is gathered to the left side of the curtain.

IMG_8596Finally, it’s ready to hang! Using L-shaped brackets I hung my 1X2 above the window and drilled my cord cleat on the one side. Typically roman shades hang within the window frame but I decided to hang it at the top of my window frame so that I could keep my mini blinds up.


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Here’s how they work.


And here’s the big reveal!


I love how the shade turned out! I especially love that it doesn’t chop the window in half like the old mini blinds and roller blinds.


They look great at every length and they’re even perfect for our tiny dog.



IMG_8641To complete my living room makeover I picked up a couple of colorful throw pillows for my couch. I got them for only $6 each with a 30% off coupon at Kohl’s.

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I thought about dying my shade to match the orange pillows but now I’m considering this moroccan-inspired stencil along the top. Any suggestions? Do you like the plain color? Does it need a fun pattern? What color of paint should I use for the stencil?

IMG_8620I managed to do this project on a Shannon-sized budget! Want to see how much I spent?

  • Canvas Drop Cloth (Lowes) – $13
  • Drapery Liner (4 yards) – $12
  • Drapery Cord (JoAnns) – $5
  • 1X2 (Lowes)- $2
  • Eye Hooks (Lowes) – $1
  • Cord Cleat (Lowes) – $1
  • L-Shaped Brackets (Lowes) – $2
  • Plastic Rings (JoAnns) – $5
  • Dowel Rods (Michaels) – $5
  • TOTAL = $46



One thought on “DIY Roman Shade

  1. Pingback: Greek Key Pattern Roman Shade | DownShannonLane

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