How to Make a Fabric Roller Shade Using Repurposed Materials




Introduction: How to Make a Fabric Roller Shade Using Repurposed Materials

Upon moving into our new home, I discovered old yellowed vinyl roller shades on all the windows. My first instinct was to tear them all off... but then what? We needed window coverings. I looked online and went to the local blind stores. Window coverings are expensive!!

Wait... wait don't throw those vinyl shades away... at least not before grabbing the roller and the dowel!  Find some remnant material or repurpose sheets or draperies from a local 2nd hand store. Grab your sewing machine and a couple hours... and you've got new beautiful fabric roller shade!!!

Step 1: Snag a Vinyl Roller Shade

Take your vinyl roller shade off the window. Rip off the vinyl and grab the dowel that was used to weight down the bottom.

Step 2: Measure

Measure the roller from metal cap to metal cap.

If you are moving the shade from the outside to the inside of the window frame (like I did), you can still use the roller. You just need to cut it down to the right size. You can take off the metal ends and reattach them.

Add 1-2 inches to your width, depending on what size hem you want to use. I added 2 inches for 1 inch seams on either side.

Measure the length of the window.

Add 9 inches to your length to give you room for the bottom hem and to have enough fabric to cover the roller when the shade is fully extended.

My area was 27 1/2"  by 55".

After my addition, I needed fabric 29 1/2"wide by  64" long.

Step 3: Gather Materials

You need -
Roller and dowel
staple gun with 1/4 inch staples (don't use larger staples or you may damage the roller hardware)

sewing machine OR double-sided hem tape if you'd rather not sew
measuring tape

Step 4: Cut Fabric

Cut the fabric to your desired width and length.
Use a grid board to help you cut straight.

Step 5: Sew Hems

Press hem.

On the side hems, don't worry about turning in edges. You want to keep fabric flat as possible for better rolling.

On bottom hem (1/2 inch is good), turn-in edge for a more finished look.

If you don't want to sew all, you can use double stick hem tape.

Step 6: Sew Bottom Pocket

After sewing bottom hem, fold fabric over 1 1/2 in to create a pocket for the dowel.

Step 7: Utilize Shade Hardware

Lay fabric right side up.

Roll top of fabric over roller.

Use staple gun to attach top of shade to roller. It's very important that you do this in a straight line so that shade rolls properly. Again, a grid board really helps!!

Use masking tape to smooth down edge of fabric against roller.

Insert dowel in pocket.

Shade is done!!!

You may want to leave it rolled-up for a little while to train the fabric.

Step 8: Mount

If putting shade back in the same place as the vinyl shade you snagged, just put it back up!!!

If you're putting somewhere else, get mounting hardware from your local hardware store.

Enjoy your shade!!!

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    2 months ago on Introduction

    What a wise approch.
    Yes, let's help conserve de planet. Let's be wise. Let's be republican in the true sense of the word. We are all in the same boat.


    5 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading the directions for this project. I really enjoy creating my own stuff using my creativity to MAKE IT MY WAY.


    6 years ago on Step 5

    One stupid question: I live in mobile home and windows are close to being flush with inside frame, not enough room to mount the retaining clip hardware. Do they make a mount that mounts outside the window, and how far will it extend the hanging part from the wall. will there be a a big gap or just a little one at the edges?


    7 years ago

    Do you think that the side seams can overlap the metal ends on the rod to avoid the big gaps on the side of the window?


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have heard or read that sewing seams on the sides of shades will mess up its ability to raise and lower evenly. Therefore, I've been looking for non-raveling fabrics (limited attractive options). Have you had any problems because of the side seams?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't had problems with the side seams, and my fabric is pretty thick.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I have 2 38x78 windows. Wondering if these will hang straight and smooth because of length. Would a light or heavy fabric hang better? They would be either pulled down all the way or half way up. The windows are in my dining room and the front of the house. So it's important to me how they look from the street. Any ideas or imput would be appreciated before I start the project. I love the look and cost!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'll preface my response by saying I'm not a sewing expert by any means.. so I'm just guessing. You probably want to google other people's advice.

    From my experience with these shade, I think it is good to have a drapery fabric or a medium weight cotton to give more substance to the shade. I could see a heavy fabric might bulk up when rolling if it's too long but since you're planning on mostly having half way down or all the way down, that may not be a problem.

    Let me know how it goes!

    I have seen this project in books, TV, etc..........but they have always skipped over important details such as the size of staple. Thank you for taking your time in detailing the I can redo all my torn plastic roller shades.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I'm so glad you found it useful. Good luck with your shades!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I've always wondered if such a project was feasible, thank your for the proof of concept!