Dressing up your windows doesn’t seem like it should break the bank, but blinds, shades, and curtains can get expensive quickly. However, an ambitious DIYer can create simple—and inexpensive—window treatments with just a few hours of work. Old blinds can be repurposed
Making your own window dressing means you can create something unique with something you actually like at a fraction of the cost of buying pre-made curtains or shades.
How to make no-sew Roman shades
You can make your own no-sew roman shades by repurposing an old set of blinds. If you’ve got blinds that have seen better days, you’ll need some scissors, fabric glue, 1-inch fusible mesh tape, an iron, and a tape measure to get started. Measure your window length to size your fabric, and then use the width of the blinds to measure the width. You should cut your fabric about one foot longer and three inches wider than your finished shade will be.
To calculate how many slats you need to keep from the original blinds, keep one slat for every six to eight inches of window length. Remove all but the slats you need to place one every six to eight inches, usually about six or seven slats. Then, press a one-inch crease around all four sides of your fabric with an iron, and attach a strip of your one-inch fusible webbing tape and fold the edge over again and press the fold with your iron to create a hem. Once your hem is complete, lay your blind over top of the shade and measure out every six to eight inches to space out the slats of the blind evenly on the surface of the fabric and use your fabric glue to attach them. Use your glue to attach the top edge of the fabric to the top of the blinds, and the bottom edge to the bottom of the blinds. Then you can hang your roman shade just like you would hang blinds in your window, with the fabric side facing in.
Here’s a video tutorial to check out before you get started:
How to make no-sew patterned curtains
To make curtains with a pattern, you can get relatively cheap solid color fabric and use a stencil to paint your own pattern with fabric paint. To make this type of curtain, you’ll also need some fusible mesh tape, scissors, a tape measure and an iron. Measure your window opening and then add a foot of length and one foot to each panel’s width for fullness. If you only use one panel for a window instead of two, you should add two feet to your width instead of one. Add a hem to three sides of each panel using the method described above. Then, along the top edge, fold over one inch and press, then fold down two and a half inches and using the fusible mesh tape, fuse the bottom edge of the fold to create a pocket for the curtain rod.
Once your panels are made, you can use your fabric paint and stencil to make your pattern. When stenciling fabric, make sure to put a drop cloth, tarp, or a piece of disposable cardboard underneath it to keep it from bleeding through to the surface you’re working on.
How to make no-sew ribbon curtains
To make a simple ribbon curtain, you can use unwired ribbon in whatever color you like and some craft or fabric glue. Calculate the amount of ribbon you will need by measuring the width and length of your window opening and then adding a few inches to the length and six inches to the width. To calculate how many strands you’ll need, take the width of the curtain and divide it by the width of the ribbon: For example, if you have a 30-inch-wide curtain, and you’re working with a two-inch-wide ribbon, you’ll need 15 strands of ribbon. Then, if your window is 30 inches tall, you’ll need 15 strands of ribbon at 30 inches or 450 inches of ribbon—that’s about 11 yards of ribbon.
Once you have your ribbon strands measured, you can cut them to length, fold over the top edge of each strand to make a two-inch loop, and glue the loop in place. Then, thread the ribbon strands onto a curtain rod and hang your new ribbon curtain.