Create Your Own Top-Down Blinds

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Introduction: Create Your Own Top-Down Blinds

Create top-down blinds for a fraction of the cost of special order blinds!

Step 1: Getting Ready

Why Create Your Own Top-Down Blinds?

My reasons are simple. I live in an apartment. It is temporary housing, and therefore I don't want to spend the nearly $150 per window to purchase custom top-down blinds. I also need the privacy that they offer because of my ground floor apartment.


What is the Cost and Time Commitment?

This particular project was done for under $30 (that includes all three windows). This is a bargain compared to the nearly $450 it would cost to have it done professionally. It also took me only an hour to create and install (not including shopping time).




What You'll Need:

- Make sure to measure your window first!

- One set of bargain mini-blinds per window. You are only going to use the top bar and strings for this project, so the quality of the slats is irrelevant. I found some for $2.50 each on sale, $4 each regular.

- One set of temporary shades*. They should be the kind that have an adhesive strip on one end. I bought the Redi Shades that are "room darkening" for more privacy. These cost me about $6 each.
*(These shades can be substituted for something of a better quality if desired. You will simply need to find a way of attaching the more complex shades/blinds to the top bar of your bargain blinds.)

- A cutting knife ($1.50) and cutting board or hard surface.

- Tape (optional).

Step 2: Start With the Bargain Blinds.

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Step 3: Pop Off the Plugs on the Bottoms.

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Step 4: Un-knot the Strings.

Step 3: Un-knot the strings on the bottom and allow for about five inches of string. Carefully turn the blinds over. If you are too rough the strings you un-knotted will fall out and you will have to redo them.

Step 5: Cut the Strings.

Cut each of the strings on the top of the blinds. These are what allow for the open/close function of mini blinds, and are no longer necessary.

Step 6: Pull Away the Blind Slats Leaving Only the Strings.

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Step 7: Remove the Heavy Bottom Bar From the Blind Slats by Sliding It Sideways.

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Step 8: Reattach the Bottom Bar to the Top Bar.

If done correctly the knots will be hidden and there will be no problems adhering the new shades.

Step 9: Measure or Judge the Desired Length of the Temporary Shades.

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Step 10: Cut the Shades to the Desired Length.

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Step 11: Lay the Shades Next to the Bottom Bar.

Allow for enough slack to move around the bottom bar.

If you bought more complex blinds, you will need to attach the top bar of the complex blinds to the bottom bar of these blinds. You will be able to raise the complex blinds from the bottom up using their affixed top bar, and using the top bar of the bargain blinds you will be able to lower the complex blinds from the top down.

Step 12: Adhere the Bottom Bar to the Adhesive Strip of the Temporary Shades.

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Step 13: Optional Step.

The temporary blinds do not have much weight on their bottom. For this reason I removed the metal rod from inside of the top bar (this rod allowed for the open/close function of the mini blinds). I inserted it into the bottom of the shades and taped over the ends.

Step 14: Installing the Blinds.

Remove the existing blinds. Make sure that they are raised prior to removing them.

If you do not have existing blinds, use the instructions that came with the blinds (sorry, I already had some up).

Step 15: Installing 2

The existing blinds may not need to be completely removed. If they are compatible with your new blinds, simply slide the covers from the end and slide out the existing top bar.

Step 16: Leave the Affixed Brackets and Slide in the New Top Bar.

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Step 17: Enjoy Your New Top-down Shades!

Don't Forget!

You may want to keep the existing blinds if (like me) you live in an apartment. Otherwise your landlord may ask you to buy new ones when you move out.

Also, keep all of the pieces that you removed or cut away from your bargain blinds (slats, strings, etc.). You never know if your next apartment will have the same size windows. Because nothing was broken during this assembly, you would be able to reassemble the bargain blinds and use them again in the future.

Have Fun!

2 People Made This Project!

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71 Discussions

They lower and you use the alligator clips to raise them.

I bought them on sale at Lowe's 10 years ago. I have no idea what they cost today. They were the standard window width.

It may sound weird, but thank you for making seventeen steps. Usually other people (myself included) combine multiple steps into one. This is super easy to understand, and it produces an amazing result. (favorited) (+).

1 reply

I'm new to this site - GREAT instructions, and fantastic idea! Question: If you would want to open your windows completely, it seems this would not work so well, because the blind wouldn't fold on top of itself without falling out of the window- kind of into the room. Am I right, and do you have a suggestion for how to make that work any better?

3 replies

See my comment above; the midrail will provide enough weight to smush the pleats/cells into a stack. Locking the strings at the point you want will ensure a stable stack. =]

I have two suggestions. The expensive option would be to use regular shades (like Roman shades or double pleated blinds instead of the temporary shades) that can be drawn up like regular blinds. Then you could draw them up before lowering the top down all of the way. The cheap option (and what I do) is to just lower the top all of the way down, and then spend a few minutes gathering up the temporary shades. The ones I bought came with two alligator clips for each shade, so that you can gather them up and clip them so that they don't hang into the room. I posted a photo on another comment if that helps. Good luck!

I love the shades. I will make some soon. And I also want to compliment you on the quality of the instructable. It was full of useful photographs and I found the written instructions excellent. Good Job!

1 reply

So if you bought the bargain blinds...why not use them?  Sorry...might be a dumb question but I realy need you to explain it.

Thanks

2 replies

I'm not sure if you're asking, "why make top-down blinds at all" or "why not use the blinds instead of the ready shade".  If it is the former, it is because I live on the first floor of a very urban area and do not want to raise blinds from the bottom where people can look in.  If it is the latter, it is because you have to take the blind slats out to allow for the openness at the top - giving you privacy below but a completely unobstructed opening at the top to let sunlight in.  If you wanted to keep the blind slats in there instead of the ready-shade, you would need to buy 2 sets to combine - one to use as the mechanical (top-down part) and one that would be the regular blinds (bottom-up part).  I didn't want to affect the original blinds that were here when I moved in at all, as I'll leave those behind when I move out.

Hope that answered your question!

Thanks so much for this idea. I love bottom up blinds so I can see the trees and sky but not my neighbours or cars going by. After thinking it over and looking at my windows, I decided to go a simpler route. I attached the paper Redi shade to the bottom of the window sill instead of the top. Then I attached self-stick velcro dots to the top of the blind, and a couple of places on the window frame so I can put the blind at several heights. It helps to reinforce the top pleat by putting a strip of cardboard in (just use a glue stick). And that's all. No tools, no holes drilled to mount brackets, works amazing. For one of my windows that does not open, I was able to put the blind right inside the frame. It looks like an expensive custom blind. I love the look of the simple paper with light filtering through. I am also planning to experiment with bottom mounting a linen roller blind and using velcro dots to position it. The velcro approach only works for windows that you have easy access to, but it is a simple option.

1 reply

Thank you. Great idea. Your instructions are easy, unlike the one above

I own a custom workroom and make those "expensive " shades you're avoiding...this was a phenomenal instruction guide! You made it seem so easy, and that's usually the hardest part. Great job !!!

1 reply

She did not make it easy. The instructions and photos are very vague

Where what which string on top of blind?