Skylight Blinds




Introduction: Skylight Blinds

Having bought my mobile home in March partly because of all the available daylight from three skylight in the kitchen, the hot spell this July-August here in northern BC had me recalling wishfully recalling my father's design for blinds to block/reflect light out of the room's interior and cool off the place. This design reduced the temperature in my living space by 3oC. Quite noticeable.

At first I tried to find a cheap solution online. Most shades or blinds for skylights run in the $100's. Some require assembly on the roof and have to be put up and taken down. I'm ladder-phobic. Recalling dad's design, I would only need a broom handle to slide the blinds over or off the lites. Much better. Now that the weather has cooled significantly (and the forest fires too) I have the blinds drawn back.

Note: I'm borrowing from my window and door sales experience in this 'ible. I call each "window" in my skylight a "lite."

Step 1: Tools & Materials

I coughed up the $20 for new doweling because of the pressing need to reduce the temperature in my trailer, but I did find a used tablecloth in the Salvation Army thrift store for $4.95. Total cost about $30 with enough doweling left over to make a fourth blind. Price will vary with the size of the lites and how much salvage you can scrounge.

Materials (about $30):

  • Small diameter doweling per lite (costs about 85¢ per foot for hemlock, sold in 8' lengths)
  • Old tablecloth or sheet (white to reflect light) with enough fabric to cover each lite (thread count up to you)
  • Small nails or screws (3 per dowel)
  • Fabric glue

Tools (few and simple):

  • Drill & small drill bit
  • Screwdriver or hammer
  • Hand saw
  • Scissors suitable for cutting cloth
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge (optional)

Step 2: Measuring

I work exclusively (or nearly so as stores still sell in imperial lengths in Canada) in millimetres & metres. I loathe doing fractions of fractions when the metric system allows me to manipulate whole numbers. All reno's since 1999 have been metric.

My lites were 770 mm long and 606 wide including the lip surrounding the lite. this "ledge" lets the doweling rest on the inside edge of the lite while supporting the cloth part of the blind.

My advice is to measure all, draw diagrams, THEN shop for cloth. I did not have enough material in my tablecloth for 6mm of hem I was going to do -- with the fabric glue. Yes, I'm not a sew-er -- but i can glue with the best of them! Also, the small city where i live no longer has fabric stores. And box store staff are of no help. So you may have to improvise too...

Step 3: Cutting

Laying the tablecloth out on the floor, I cut the sections with just a guiding line eyeballed with the tape measure and a pen.

Cut 3 doweling to the correct length and test that they rest on the ledge of the skylight. One doweling at each end and one in the middle. The middle one supports the cloth so it does not hang down too low.

Step 4: Assembly

Glue the cloth to the doweling. Drill a small pilot hole and secure with a small screw or nail for extra strength. If you don't want to, the fabric glue holds pretty well; I was pleasantly surprised.

Affix all three dowels to cloth.

Step 5: Finished Project

Here are the blinds stretch across the lites. I may add some Sugru bumps to the top of the lights (mine are sloped) to make the blind close 100%. Ladders... ugh!

1 Person Made This Project!


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5 Discussions


4 years ago

Thank you!!!!! I'm also in northern BC and we bought this house in 2014 and it has two wonderful skylights. In the winter. Now that its summer... Theyre actually just oven elements. My house is 35° on a good day. Im gonna run out and get some dowling and pretty canvas since i can sew ? and so i can stop living in a sweat lodge all summer.


5 years ago on Introduction

If your ever want to automate the existing shades our instructables project is now on crowdfunding site We also added solar panels for convinience.

Good luck with your project and check us out on


9 years ago on Introduction

I don't even have skylights and I want to make these. I have a friend that does and I think she will be getting some.  Thanks for the great instructable. 


9 years ago on Introduction

Nice design and that's a decent drop in temperature. Glad to hear that they are getting those forest fires under control.


Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

Thanks VERY much! Pleased as PUNCH to be featured! :) Rain is HAMMERING the skylights at this very moment, also dousing those forest fires. Much needed!