How to Make a Custom Fabric Roller Shade

Fabric roller shades offer great light control at your windows and work beautifully under valances, cornice boards or draperies.

You know, certain decorative projects that I work on can bring back memories of my past.  This shade project is one of them.  I had those plain old white shades in my bedroom for as long as I can remember. I kept replacing the plastic accessory handle to eliminate fingerprints, and to keep them looking neat. Matt says he had his until they turned “off white” and the wooden rod ripped and finally fell off!

No-Sew Custom Fabric Roller Shade -

Back in those days, I vowed never to use a plain old roller shade again… however; things change, and so have roller shades!  They’re a great way to add privacy and light control to your windows with very little cost to you.  The plain white ones allow you to do something flashy with your draperies, or some of the newer styles are striped or patterned so they have a personality of their own! Today, you can even make them yourself out of beautiful decorator fabrics so they co-ordinate perfectly with your room.  And, all of the parts are available in kits, or by tearing apart old, well worn shades, just like the ones I had!  Here’s what you’ll need.

Materials List:

1. Start by determining whether your shade will be mounted inside the casing (which most roller shades are), or on the casing to cover the trim when extended.  Ours was mounted inside. Begin by measuring the window’s length, inside the casing or outside, which would include the casing, and then add 12″ to your measurement. Next, measure the width in the same fashion and add 2″ to your measurement.  Now, cut the fabric and interfacing to these measurements.

2. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric following the manufacturer’s instructions.  Ours told us to put the coated side of the interfacing down on the wrong side of the fabric.  Then, using a lightweight pressing cloth, start ironing in the center of the interfacing and work out to the edges, with the iron set on the “wool” setting.   Apply steam and pressure in one spot for 10-15 seconds, and then move over, overlapping sections as you press.  Once you’ve completed pressing on the interfacing side, (which will seem like you’ve been ironing forever!) turn the shade over to the fabric side and repeat the same steps…ARGH!!

3. To cut the shade width down to size, measure the barrel from the old shade.  (By the way, when you remove the old shade, mark on the barrel with an arrow, the direction the shade falls, you’ll be glad you did this later!)  Or, measure the barrel from the new shade kit, which you have cut down to the size required for your window. But, do NOT including the pins on the ends in your measurement. Your finished shade width should be 1/8″ shorter than this dimension. Trim the width of your fabric using a straight edge and a matte knife. Then seal the edges with a seam sealant.

4. Turn the bottom edge of the fabric under 1 and 1/2″ and stitch or fuse to form a 1″ casing for the wooden bottom slat. Then, simply staple the top edge to the barrel, keeping in mind the direction the shade should fall.  Next, roll it up, and install it!

You might consider putting your wooden slat up about 4” – 6” from the bottom and creating a scalloped edge to your blind.  Just purchase a decorative edging and hot glue it to the edge of the scallop!

You know, you can still purchase those plastic handles to protect your beautiful shade from fingerprints. You can even add decorative shade pulls that will really dress them up.  This is a great project for anyone with bare windows, unless, like Matt, you really HATE ….. to iron!


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