Acute How-To: No Sew Fabric Blinds

Bored with basic plastic mini blinds?

Me too.

If you are like me and find yourself living in a “home sweet rental,”  play around with your window treatments in order to add a little style to your temporary home.

This  mini-blinds-turned-fabric-blinds tutorial is affordable {cost me less than $15 for two windows} and fairly easy.  

What you will need:

  • Basic plastic mini-blinds {mine were 23” wide and cost less than $3 each}
  • Enough fabric to cover the length and width of your blinds + 3″ on each side {for two 23” wide windows, I used about 4 feet of fabric}
  • Fabric glue {my favorite brand is Goop…it is a bit stinky but does a fantastic job}
  • An iron {if you want your blinds to look nice and neat} 

Step One:

Lay your plastic blinds out on a flat surface and determine which slats you want to keep and mark them with a pencil so that you don’t accidentally cut them away {which I did…thank goodness for tape!}.

For my blinds, I kept three slats, each equal distance apart.  Cut away the slats you will not need but be careful NOT to cut the thick cords that hold everything together. 

 

Step Two:

Cut your fabric so that it measures about 3” wider on all sides of the blinds.  Lay the fabric face down and set the blinds on top of it. 

Step Three:

Begin the gluing process. First, glue the fabric over the top edge of the blinds.  Make sure you do not glue down any of the cords…especially the cord you will use to open and close the blinds!

Also, when gluing the fabric over the top part of the blinds, make sure you do not cover the edges in fabric as you will need to slide the edges into the brackets when you hang your finished project.

Next, glue down each slat.  I like to lay heavy books down on top of the blinds to set the glue in place. 

Wait about 20 minutes for this to  dry and then fold over the sides and bottom and glue them all into place.  {Again, I stack books on the glued sections to set them while they dry.}

Step Four:

Iron the edges of your blinds for a crisp look {optional}.

Step Five:

Hang the blinds and admire your work! 

If you want the blinds to totally block out light, you will want to use a thick, dark fabric.  I used a lighter color fabric because I like to let in some light…but block any wandering eyes.

104 thoughts on “Acute How-To: No Sew Fabric Blinds

  1. Great idea! I wonder how well it would work to add a lining to the backside? I have a room darkening white panel I am thinking of cutting up to try.

  2. oh my gosh this is fantastic! i am trying to figure out what i am going to do with my new living room that no blinds or curtains will match and i was thinking maybe i’ll make something and this is perfect! now i just got to find a fabric!

  3. Fantastic! I have just removed some awful office type blinds from my conservatory but thanks to this clever tutorial I can reuse them to make new blinds and at a low cost which is even better for me! Thank you :) x

  4. this is brilliant! can you please tell me where you got this fabric? I have been looking for something JUST like this everywhere (west elm has a comforter with a similar print that I love)! Thanks!

    1. Hi Katie-

      Thanks so much! I actually bought this fabric at a local fabric store called Discount Fabric Store {or something equally generic}. It isn’t a chain, so I am not sure where you can get the exact same thing. However, there are lots of online fabric resources. One of my favorites for decor fabrics is Ike…maybe you will have some luck there!

  5. I just Stumbled this. I had never heard of your site before. This idea. is. genius. I can’t BELIEVE that I’ve never heard of anything similar before! It’s such an easy DIY way to spruce up even rooms like dorms and rentals that you aren’t usually allowed to make changes in. I will DEFINITELY be using this tutorial next year when I’m off to college! Thanks so much for your genius. :)

  6. These look very nice, but you have suggested this to renters without noting that if the blinds come with your apartment, you should get approval from your landlord to do this before you start altering the blinds, otherwise, you may be charged for replacing the original blinds. Also, in your introduction, you described living in a rented apartment as a “temporary home.” Not everyone aspires to own a home, and many people, especially downtown folks in big cities, rent for a lifetime. They don’t consider their living arrangements to be “temporary.”

    1. yo cool your jets, this woman was just trying to share her creativity and you have to complain about her vocab choice? grow up.

      regina– you’re so creative this was a great idea!

      1. You can remove & save the blinds that belong to the apartment, & purchase new cheap ones for this project. These blinds are a GREAT IDEA!!!

    2. Hi Michelle-

      You are correct. Landlord approval is always a must when making changes to your rental home. However, many rentals don’t have blinds and landlords are open to reversible changes. And, I do apoloigize if my wording offended you, I consider MY rental as temporary but that does not mean that I think there is anything wrong with being a lifetime renter.

    3. Wonderful idea!! I can’t wait to try it!! Also as to the touchy person and her comments – she needs to take a chill pill. Why can’t you just enjoy the great ideas here and lose the attitude!!

    4. you have you own recipe site out there lets see if you spelled anything wrong or worded it badly. This lady’s idea is awesome why do you have to criticize is it because you did not think of it first. Get a life the internet is full of great ideas and if you don’t like the idea then don’t say anything just don’t look at the idea simple as that

  7. What a really neat idea! My 20 year old daughter stumbled upon your idea and I believe we will try this in her new rental home! Can’t wait to see the results! Thanks for putting this out!

  8. How did you finish off the bottom? Apparently you don’t need a blind slate on the bottom. Thanks – can’t wait to try this out!

    1. Hey Teresa!

      I did not leave a slat at the bottom, however if you look at standard mini blinds, you will see that there is a thicker bottom edge. I left this piece and glued my fabric around it. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  9. Brilliant! Much, much easier than roman shade hardware…and I have all of these nasty blinds that were left behind from the previous owner of our home.

    Thank you!!

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  11. Can the project be double sided? I would like to make sure that I see the beauty of the shade inside the house as well as outside the window. I love this tutorial its the easiest by far, but I have searched every diy project similiar to this and no one does anything with the other side. I want to try it but I am extremely nervous. Thanks so much for sharing this will be a lot of fun to do.

    1. I tried to add a liner today so that you wouldn’t be able to see the blinds through when the light comes through…unfortunately it didn’t work. They looked fine when hanging straight up and down, but the fabric bunched up when I tried to pull them up. It might work to make the fabric double sided before attaching to the blinds. I am going to try that next!

      Love this project! Did it in about an hour this morning :) Used hot glue instead of tacky glue, and it dried instantly (no waiting time!) Also, it’s easy to peel off and redo if you mess something up or want to change out the fabric later!

    2. I would think that once you glue the front material to the blinds that you can make the same measurements on matching material (or different) and glue it onto the other side. Just fold in and glue the edges down and the material should match up to the front material. Then attach to the same slats as you did on the front side and also to the edges you folded over from the front. I have not done this yet but i just redid my bathroom and the little mini blind is my last task. If all goes well i will be doing the blinds on the 2 French doors and one window in my family room . Thank you so much for this great idea. I love creating things for my home! I will post my results!

  12. I love this idea! I really want to try it in my rental but my landlord provides the miniblinds so I don’t want to cut them up. Do you think this could work by gluing the fabric to some of the slats and leaving the rest of the slats intact? Thanks!

    1. Stephanie-

      The mini blinds I used for this project are so cheap – about $3 each. SO, you could buy some and re-hang the ones your landlord provides when you move out. Personally, I would not glue fabric to your landlord’s blinds and try to remove it later – it seems like it would be messy!

      Good luck and thanks for stopping by :)

  13. I was wondering if it is even necessary to cut out the unglued slats? Has anyone tried this?

    I was thinking that the blinds would simply “cover up” the full mini blinds and by attaching the fabric to only the desired “fold slats” you could attain the same look without cutting up your rental blinds. Of course, the light coming through would silhouette the slats but that might not look too bad and would provide additional coverage for blocking light.

    Awesome idea and I am totally going to try this in my bedroom!

    1. Hi Kate-

      I have not tried this. I assume it would work, but maybe the fabric would bunch up too much due to all the slats?? Not sure. If you try it, stop back and let me know if it worked!

  14. AWESOME IDEA! My mini blinds in my living room have been attacked by my kids and are broken in places so this is the perfect double solution. I think I will do this in their room as well. Also, the blinds that most landlords use are so cheap you can easily replace them at the end of your lease by getting them at Wal-Mart or some other such place. :)

  15. LOVE this idea & wondered if I could use your idea + the roller shades I had. Did this today & am happy with how it turned out! Simple, very cheap, & a heck of a lot easier to operate (and to get to hang evenly) than all the expensive blinds/shades I’ve bought in the past.
    I put up a bunch of pictures of my “spin off” of your idea here http://wabisabilife.weebly.com/art–accessories.html

    (Middle of the page)

  16. I love this idea! I need to do something in my living room where I have some lightweight curtains and the mini-blinds inside the window frame that aren’t doing anything to stop the heat of the sun (south and west exposure). I don’t want heavy thermal drapes; they are so blah and expensive and don’t need ’em the rest of the year, anyway. I’m going to tack 2 layers of fabric together with some spray adhesive and then use iron-on tape to put a binding on the side edges before gluing the whole thing to the slats (both my fabrics are fairly lightweight). I think cutting to exact size and using binding tape on the sides would be the way to go if you want to use a different lining fabric on the reverse.

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  18. Love the idea and was excited until my hubby asked how the other side will get covered up so it’s not shown to everyone outside. :) Thinking to just cover the other side with the same fabric?? Thanks for the great idea!!

  19. This is such an awesome idea. Even if you don’t have any mini blinds, they are cheap. If you have to buy them and the material, it is still less than what you would spend on roman shades!! Thanks for the great idea!

  20. I have looked pretty much everywhere and I cannot seem to find any blinds that are as inexpensive as the ones you used, I even tried on craigslist >.< where did you find them and were they just the blinds and not the little dohicky thing that they retract up on when you pull the strings?

    1. Hi Kayla – I bought mine at Target. They were $3 each. Just use standard plastic mini blinds. If your windows are really wide, the price will go up, but it shouldn’t be more than $10. Good luck!

  21. I’m going to do it! I just moved into my new studio apartment and it has the ugliest, dirtiest mini blinds EVER. I really want drapes but can’t afford them. Perfect solution!

  22. Love this. I am wanting to make roman shades for my french doors. Would this work? Any changes that would need to be made? How would they mount to the door? My size would need to be 24 wide and 74 long, do you know if the cheap mini blinds come in the size?

    Thanks

    1. My condo has blinds on my French doors. They were here when I moved in so I didn’t buy them but my point is that they are out
      there.

  23. I have been looking all over for fabric pull up shades to replace the mini-blinds that were here when we bought the house and can’t seem to find anything. This is such a GREAT idea! I will just use the blinds I was going to get rid of and give this a try.

    Thanks so much for sharing this idea and instructions with us! :)

  24. The backing could be muslin, which would also keep the cost down. Would look similar to lined drapes and in cooler climates would give some insulating qualities. This project is a really great idea. Thanks.

  25. I LOVE this idea! It is exactly what I’ve been looking for for my office in my rental home! The landlord took the blinds out of the room so they are just open windows right now. I really needing something but didn’t want to spend a bunch of money or it just be the ugly plastic blinds. Thank you!

  26. Thanks so much for such a great way to make Roman shades!! I’m getting ready to make mine now. Got all the items needed. I’m putting a backing on mine so the sun won’t fade the material for the shades. I had that material on hand!! (sheeting). I figure material for 1 window total cost will be; $6.00 for bond to put backing on, material for shade greatly reduced (store going out of business, and end of bolt reduced price!!), and glue. I have shade, equals about $13.00!!!! Sure can’t beat that!! Thanks so much!!! :)

    1. Hey Lauren- I found this fabric at a local discount fabric store….so I am not sure of you will be able to find the same exact one. However, check out Joann fabrics or Ikea – they might have something similar!

  27. I loved this so much that I immediately went out and bought fabric. I went a little more expensive and bought emerald green raw silk. It looks so totally amazing in my light green kitchen. It was harder to iron the edges because of the silk, obviously, but turns out I didn’t really need it.
    Thanks for this easy way to update my stupid rental. I need as many tips as possible.

  28. Do you know if anyone has tried this without cutting out the slats? I’m rooming in a dorm in the fall, and I can’t paint, nail or touch any of the existing furniture. It will be the death of my creativity. UGH. :[ I can however, use as many sticky Velcro dots, or similar attachment devices as I desire. I thought that maybe if I used Velcro dots instead of glue, I could attach the fabric EXACTLY as you have on just four or five slats, and just ignore the extra ones. Do you think that this might work? I MUST HAVE COLOR! Great tutorial, thanks :)

  29. Thanks so much for sharing this ingenious idea. I live in a rental with 8,000 windows and no blinds. I refuse to buy expensive blinds for someone else’s house. If it were mine it would be an entirely different story. I have resorted to those awful stick on paper temporary blinds but you have to do the best you can in the circumstances. I have done roman shades in the past but it was complicated and cumbersome. I can’t wait to do this. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  30. I am so excited to try this in my kitchen. I have large windows and love the light we get, but I need to have something for when the sun is coming up and going down. I just haven’t found a fabric I like. I am going to try this since I will have so many more options in fabric!

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  32. Thank you thank you thank you! My shades were on their way out (have been for a couple of years and I keep fixing them.) Just got back from home depot with blinds that will fit my windows and were on sale and an awesome color drop cloth. All for under $50. We are so excited to have working blinds again! Now hopefully they turn out okay…

  33. I LOVE these shades!! I am definately going to try them for a couple of rooms in my house. I was actually debating on wheather get roman shades or the faux wood blinds. These are a great replica of roman shades if you ask me. Not to mention a heck of alot cheaper. Thanks for this awesome idea :)

  34. I am so making these to give my camper a NEW look! I also had some ideas on the ‘outside’ view….glue some material on the slats that are showing and for the visible cords, I am going to try and do like a ‘scrunchie’ effect and just wrap material around the cords and glue together! An idea for material would also be extra sheets that y’all may have laying around (I have made curtains/valances for camper out them already!) Thanks for posting the tutorial!

  35. Genius! The gal at http://www.terrelldesigns.com/ makes her Roman shades from scratch, which I’m trying to avoid. However, her instructions and videos provide helpful tips, including: (1) the slats or “battons” should be spaced 8″ apart or less (safety) AND glue fabric to only every other batton so that the fabric stacks nicely (2) Velcro the fabric to the top mount bar so that if you need to adjust/level the blind, you can do so. She also has a calculator that automagically tells you what stackage (space between battons), fabric dimensions, and hardware you’ll need when you enter your dimensions, etc. I’m going to try to combine the best of both blogs here and add a blockout liner. Not sure if I’ll use that to cover the cords, or just paste it to the back of the fashion fabric and let the cords show to the outside world. Thanks for the INCREDIBLE tutorial!

  36. Seeing this couldn’t have come at a better time!! This is genius!! I have some old plastic blinds in my laundry room ( that is currently getting a much needed makeover) I was going to donate them but now I get to reuse them! I cant wait to try this!! =)

  37. LOVE. THIS. I moved in with my fiance and his hideous red curtains. I was looking up how to DIY roman shades last week and had given up for lack of sewing machine. This popped up in my google reader and I absolutely cannot wait to put these together. THANK YOU!!!!

  38. Regina,
    I’m one of those lifetime renters…and I am not offended :)

    Also, I’m intelligent enough to know to put my rental blinds away until I move and buy my own for crafting :)

    That being said, I LOVE the idea and appreciate your sharing it!

    THANK YOU!

  39. I saw your post about one year ago and thought that this was something I could do because it was such an awesome idea.

    I kept wanting to do this with my mini blinds but never got the chance too.

    Finally, I manage the time (and courage!) to take on this project and did it the other day. My new fabric blinds are amazing!

    I just wanted to say thank you for coming up with this idea and sharing it online with others :)

  40. For linings. If you cut lining fabric (you can get blackout from the haberdasher which looks creamy/white), the same size as the blind. Then lay it over the back of the slats before folding over the outer/front blind edge, you should be able to glue it all together. May need a little direct glueing onto the slats before edges are folded.
    Roman blinds get their folds from a few rods so using all the slats won’t work.
    Never thought to convert old venetians, I always made my own from scratch. Brilliant idea.

  41. I really want to use this idea as a sort of room divider to separate my breakfast nook from my family room, I really would like to try and use 2 different color schemes but with the same pattern as my breakfast nook is more of a mauve and blue where in my family room is more or less a beige and blue, I have a sort of half wall between the two rooms so I thought that this idea would look nice hanging from the over-hang down to the half wall partition, what do you think?

  42. I printed this off shortly after you posted…and guess what? I finally got around to doing the window in my craft/sewing room and it turned out very nice. Haven’t posted the pictures to my site, but when I do will definitely give credit to your site for the instructions and idea. Really great!!

  43. Hello!
    I first wanted to say THANK YOU for posting this :). I was just completed this project for the window in our baby nursery. The dimensions are 32″x68″, and I absolutely love how it turned out! With such a big project, it would have been a challenge to transfer this onto my ironing board. So instead, I used my flat iron (yes- that I use for my hair!) to straiten out the edges. It was quick and easy, and I didn’t have any emergencies melting the plastic slats.
    I can’t wait to see what other magic you’ve come up with!!! This was awesome. Thanks again,
    Amber

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