DIY Custom Fabric Covered Vinyl Roller Shades

I know, I know, I got behind again. I’m doing my best to keep up while traveling but it’s sort of challenging.

Custom roller shades can cost upwards of $2000 (for our four windows including a french door), and after seeing the fabric choices I just wasn’t impressed. After several months of paper over the windows in our media room (yeah, I know, pretty ghetto), I decided it was time to find a more frugal solution. I decided to DIY them after seeing several tutorials online. I decided to use Lowe’s Levelor Vinyl Roller Shades as the base for my project. Because this room has a projector, I went with Room Darkening, but not Blackout since the blackout were twice the cost and already pretty heavy (I wanted to make sure I didn’t overload the little spring motor by adding all the fabric).

This project has a difficulty level of about 100, and I was lucky enough to have both my parents helping out. I don’t recommend doing this alone, unless maybe you’re doing one shade for a very small window. Otherwise I recommend enlisting at least one loved one or friend to help you out.

There are several tutorials out there for these types of shades. Unfortunately a lot of the success with this just comes with experience and practice. Here is the tutorial I referenced the most from The DIY Mommmy.

Sneak preview of the process. Details below.

Sneak preview of the process. Details below.

Materials:

» Vinyl roller shades cut-to-size for your window(s) – (I used the Lowe’s Levelor brand, because I read the reviews were better and because they cut them to size in store for you, rather than having to cut them yourself) ~ $7.97 x 4 = $31.88 + tax
» Mounting hardware for your shades (We used inside mount for the side windows and the universal mount for the doors because the roll was too large with the fabric on it for the regular outside mount brackets. Keep this in mind when you are purchasing your hardware.) ~ $0.97 x 2 + $0.99 x 2 = $3.92 + tax
» Fabric of your choice (enough to cover the shade plus excess on each side. I recommend at least 3 inches all around) ~ $5.00 per yard x 10 yards = $50.00
» Spray adhesive (We tried several different adhesives, and had the best luck with 3M brand – I only had number 57 on hand, but other tutorials recommend the 3M 77 Spray Adhesive. I definitely don’t recommend Aleene’s Tacky Spray. Make sure to look for one that says at least medium or heavy duty, not light duty.) ~ $5.00 (I already had it on hand)
» Tool to flatten fabric as your gluing (We used a piece of left over corner trim because it had a nice rounded corner but also flat sides – see photos for details) ~ $0.00
» Fabric scissors
» Fabric glue (I used Crafter’s Choice for this project. I also like Sobo glue for things like this) ~ $4.00 (I had it already)
» Paint brush (for gluing)

Total Cost of Materials: ~ $100.00 (That’s right folks, it only cost me $100 to cover four windows.)

1. Make sure your vinyl shade fits inside the window for inside mounting, accounting the space for the hardware on each side.

2. Cut the fabric to size for each shade. Leave approximately 3 inches extra on each side to be glued down on the reverse side. If your window does not require the whole length of the vinyl shade, I recommend only going a few inches above the length of the shade as to keep the roll from getting too large with extra fabric.

3. I recommend ironing the fabric before attempting to glue it down to try and ensure there aren’t any wrinkles.

4. Lay out the vinyl shades on a work surface (we covered our garage floor with a plastic drop cloth). You may want to tape the shades down with some blue painter’s tape to ensure they don’t slip around.

Vinyl shade laid out on the plastic work surface and taped in place.

Vinyl shade laid out on the plastic work surface and taped in place.

5. Lay out your fabric on top of the vinyl shade. If your fabric has a pattern, be sure to make sure the fabric is square and lined up with the shade. Once again, I recommend taping down the fabric with some blue painter’s tape to ensure it doesn’t move around while you’re working.

6. Fold back the fabric about half way and cover this surface with cardboard or something else to protect it from the spray adhesive.

Fabric lined up, folded back half way, and covered with cardboard for protection from excess spray adhesive.

Fabric lined up, folded back half way, and covered with cardboard for protection from excess spray adhesive.

7. Spray only the shade with spray adhesive. (I recommend this because spray adhesive is generally made so that if you spray both sides and adhere, it is an immediately permanent bond. If you spray one side, it allows temporary bonding with repositioning.) Most adhesives say to wait approximately 1 minute before bonding the two surfaces. This ensures the best bond.

8. Carefully lay the fabric on the shade, beginning from the center. It is best if one person carefully lays out the fabric while the other uses the tool to smooth it, working from the center towards the end.

Carefully laying out the fabric onto the sticky roller shade.  This works best with two people.

Carefully laying out the fabric onto the sticky roller shade. This works best with two people.

Flattening the fabric as you lay it down with the tool.

Flattening the fabric as you lay it down with the tool.

9. Repeat this for the remaining half of the shade, being sure to remove any bubbles or wrinkles as you go with a flat tool.

Flattening the fabric towards the edge to remove bubbles using our scrap of corner trim.

Flattening the fabric towards the edge to remove bubbles using our scrap of corner trim.

10. Allow the spray adhesive to dry completely and then turn the shade over. You should probably move to a new work surface as yours will probably be sticky and covered with spray adhesive.

11. Glue down the remaining edges of fabric on the reverse side of the shade using a fabric glue and a paintbrush. Be liberal with your glue application to ensure good adhesion.

Gluing down the edges of the fabric on the reverse side with a brush and fabric glue.

Gluing down the edges of the fabric on the reverse side with a brush and fabric glue.

12. Once the glue has dried (I let mine dry overnight), roll the shade by hand, being careful to keep the roll tight and aligned.

13. Hang your shade with the hardware required for the type of mount. Be sure you allow enough room for the roll which is larger than the vinyl shade originally. Ours came out to be about 1 ½” inches using the entire length of the shade of 72” inches.

Completed roller shade after hanging!

Completed roller shade after hanging!

Because we were trying to block out light, we elected to have the roll of fabric facing outwards.  If you aren’t worried about the shade being right up against the window, feel free to reverse the hardware (for this brand of shades, you’d put the rectangular bracket that fits onto the spring motor on the left I believe) to hide the roll.

Ensure when you pull down the shade that it is square with the window.  Sometimes these roller shades just don’t roll up evenly no matter what, and you may have to mount the shade without it being level in order to get it to appear square.  For the most part, we just had to fiddle with rolling and unrolling until we got it square.

>Note: Getting the shades to roll up can be some work.  Just keep rolling the shade by hand, putting in the brackets, and pulling down some to put tension in the spring.  If for some reason your spring gets completely stuck, remove the shade from the brackets and twist the flat motor end with a pair of pliers clockwise until it clicks.  Release and you should hear the spring uncoil.  Unfortunately if this happens you will have to start creating tension all over again.  Also be sure to pull down on both sides of the shade to ensure it unrolls evenly on each side and lines up with your window.

For Trim (Optional)

» No sew seam tape or other fabric adhesive tape (Or you can just use more fabric glue) ~ $7.00
» Ribbon or other trim of your choice ~ $10.00

Total Cost of Materials: $17.00

To Add Trim (Optional)

1. Cut your trim the width of the shade plus the 3” extra inches on each side.

2. Measure the height from the bottom you’d like to add the trim and make small pencil marks (or fabric chalk, or fabric marker) where the bottom of the trim will be.

3. Add seam tape or other fabric adhesive tape to the back of the trim. I did half at a time and waited to put the tape on the parts of the trim that would wrap around the back of the shade.

Trim with fabric seam tape attached on the back.

Trim with fabric seam tape attached on the back.

4. Peel off the backing and adhere the trim to the fabric covered shade, using your marks to line up the trim.

5. Repeat until you’re finished adhering the trim.

6. Admire your work!

Finished trim! I plan to add a smaller gray trim later on.

Finished trim! I plan to add a smaller gray trim later on.

My finishing project for these will be making some valances of some kind to cover up the roll of the shade that is visible.  I promise to try and keep up better next week after I return home!

Until next time,|The Creative Physician|

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13 thoughts on “DIY Custom Fabric Covered Vinyl Roller Shades

  1. This is a great tutorial! I’m going to bookmark this so that I will have it handy for when I’m ready to redo my window coverings. Thank you.

  2. WOW! That tutorial was awesome! I can’t believe you did it!! I just mean I don’t think I could have. Good for you and they look amazing!!
    xxDaniella

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