Faux Roman Shade Blinds

Several years ago I wanted Roman Shades in my family room.  The large window needed a shade due to the sunshine (and heat in the summer) blazing in, and I wanted something decorative yet simple on the window. When I received the estimate for the blinds I almost fell over dead!  They were so expensive!  I was a little disappointed but I decided to try the DIY route and they still look great today!  I’ve received many complements and people can’t believe that I made them.  They are simple once you know how.

The blinds in my family room are workable, meaning they raise and lower so that makes them a little more complicated than the faux blinds that I’ve made in the last couple of months.  I really like this type of window treatment because its simple and has clean straight lines. I’m going to try to explain how to make a faux Roman shade because it really is simple, and for those DIY divas out there I want to say…Go For It You Can Do It!

I made these for my daughter’s room from her old pair of paneled curtains.  We are freshening up her room and keeping some of the Zebra accents but we were done with the long curtain panels hanging to the floor.




These were for my grand daughter’s room using a decorative damask fabric.

I love them both especially the zebra, probably because of the difference it made in the room.





So anyway….Here goes.  The hardest part of creating the blind is figuring out the measurements, it’s kind of like math!

1.  Measure the width of your window. If you want your blind to be the width of your window exactly you can work with this measurement, however, if your like me and you want the blind to be a little wider than your window figure out that width and use that measurement.  Your fabric will need to be 3 inches wider than your width measurement to accommodate finishing the edges (side hem). For example, if your window is 36 inches and you want your blind to be an inch one each side longer (38″), your fabric will need to be 41 inches.

  • note:  most fabric comes in widths of 43/44 inches wide.  Some come in 58/60 wide, and home decorator fabric is usually 54 inches wide.  If your fabric is not wide enough and there is a definite pattern to it so you cannot “turn it sideways” don’t fret.. I will tell you how to work with this. But keep this in mind when choosing your fabric.  If you are trying to decide on a fabric and one is wider, and will accommodate your window better…that could be the deciding factor  **See below for the directions if this should happen to you.

2.  Figure out how long you want your faux blind to be on your window, and measure from where you will mount your blind on the wall, to that spot in your window.  You can mount your blind in any spot from the ceiling height to right above your window.  I don’t think that any one way is correct or better, it’s a matter of personal preference.  But I will tell you that your window will look taller/longer if you mount it close to the ceiling.  (and if you do this you can fool people into thinking that you have a larger window by only having the blind come into the window for a few inches)  For our example window lets say our length is 24 inches.   

3  The next step….decide on your “pleat size”, the average is about 1.5 – 2 inches each pleat (the part that folds upward and makes the loop in your shade) but I have seen larger….again, personal preference, no right or wrong.  I like 2 inches so I’ll use that number.  You will also need to figure how many “pleats or loops” you want in your window. Usually there is anywhere between 4-10 inches between pleats/loops.  Figure out what looks best, and how many, for your window, keeping in mind that the longer the window…the longer the pleat, and that the bottom and top of your faux blind do not have to be the same as the other pleats.   Based on the 24 inches I’ll use 6″ loop/fold with 2″ pleats.  Here comes the math…

  • So I will have 1 first fold of 6 inches, 2 additional folds of 6″, and 1 bottom of the blind of 6″. (6+6+6+6 =24inches total length) Here’s how to figure your fabric length.  I will need 4″ to wrap around my mounting board, 2″ for each pleat because I chose that size above. (2″x 3 pleats=6″), and 2 inches for the hem at the bottom.  (24″ length + 4″ board + 6″ pleats + 2″ hem = 36 inches)  Yay!  We did it and I promise…just take it slow and think it through, and you can do it too! That really is the hard part.   

4.  Now that you have your measurements you will know how much fabric you will need.  For our example window I will need a piece of fabric 43″ x 38 ” or 1 yard of 44/45 inch fabric.

5. You will also need a piece of liner fabric.  This can be a plain inexpensive cotton fabric or a special fabric made just for this purpose that ranges from inexpensive cotton to a thicker light blocking fabric, so you wont see the sunlight through it. (you may want to consider something like this if a large portion of your of your blind will be covering wall and the balance covering the window so you don’t see the light difference) Your liner fabric will be the same width as your fabric, minus the 3″ for the side hem and the length minus the 2″ hem. (our example – liner fabric is 40″wide x 34″ long)

5.  Begin by laying your fabric out and ironing the sides at 1.5 inches each for the side hem and 2″ at the bottom for the bottom hem.

6.  Then lay your liner material on the wrong side of your fabric matching the tops and centering.  Fold your hems over the liner and stitch together on both sides and bottom.  Tucking the cut edges of your fabric under so that once sewn you will have a finished edge. For those of you who don’t sew much tuck under approx. 1/2 inch of your 1.5 inches and sew so there are no cut edges showing.

7.  Iron again so your fabric is straight.

8.  Lay your fabric out and begin marking your pleat lines from the bottom. For our example.. Mark the first line at 6 inches. Then another 2″ above that and 6 above that, (this will form your pleat), Repeat the marking of 2″ above and 6″ above.  And lastly an additional 2 and 6″ above that.  You will leaving the top to wrap around your board and that last line will be where you mount the board when we come to that.(no pleat there).

9.  Once you have your pleats marked.  Iron the fabric to create the folds for your pleats and to keep it straight. Sew your pleats by hand along the outside edges of your fabric and also along the horizontal fold on the back of the blind.  This will keep your pleats in place and the double layer of  fabric will have some body to it along the pleat area.

  • note: if you are a little more experienced seamstress you may want to have your liner only cover the back of the blind. In this case you will mark the liner at every 6 inches and sew your fabric to the liner horizontally at this mark on the liner, and the 8″ line on the fabric.  The extra two inches of your fabric will fold over to make your pleat/loop.  Also, in this case you will need to sew your side and bottom hems after sewing in the pleat lines. If you do this you’re pleats will not be doubled but you will use less fabric liner fabric and it will be less bulky.  If you read this and do not understand it then you should stick with the original directions. 

10.  Next you will take your mounting board cut to the same width as your blind. (I used an inexpensive 1×2 piece of lumber) Make sure you measure twice before cutting your board to the correct size you don’t want to have to buy a new one.

11.  Now cover each end with a small square piece of fabric using a staple gun.  You should have leftovers from cutting your fabric but you will want to make sure you have 2 small squares. Fold it like when you wrap a package and staple it down securing the loose edges.  It doesn’t need to be pretty you will only see the end of the stick.  Some people do not do this but then you will see the bare wood when you look at the blind from the side so I like to finish off the wood.  If you are hanging your blind with an inside mount or against a wall so you cannot see it from the side this step is not necessary.

12.  Lay your board on your blind at your last marked line and hold it up, both the board and your blind, to check that all is correct.

13.  Once your comfortable that everything is as you want it, drill holes in your board where you want it to mount to the wall.  It’s a good idea to drill your holes so that they will coordinate with some studs in your wall or you’ll want to use wall supports.

14.  Wrap your blind top around the board and staple it to the board on the back (the part that will be against the wall) making sure that the front of the board lines up with the line on your blind.

15.  Now you’re ready to mount the blind.  Have someone help you and hold the blind up out of the way. Using drywall screws, mount the board to the wall and then let the blind drop back down into place.

VOILA’, You’re done!  You have a beautiful blind, custom made by you, at a fraction of the cost of custom made or ready made blind!

**If your window is wider than your fabric here is how you handle that.  You will need to sew a couple of seams vertically.  I know, you’re thinking…WHAT?  Really, it will look fine if you do it correctly.  And…these seams will change the measurement of your fabric (you already figured that above); you will need to add an additional 2 inches.  So using our measurement above for the 36 inch window, instead of 41 inches you will now need 43 inches.

  • I’m going to continue using the window width of 36″ as we are already working with that, even though you will most likely have a number somewhat bigger.
  • Divide your window measurement by 3.  36″ window divided by 3 is 12″. You will cut 1 piece of your fabric 13 inches (12″ plus 1″ for your seam allowances) the balance of your fabric (using our example 23 inches) should be cut in half.  This will leave you with 2 pieces of fabric 11.5″ wide, and your 1piece of 13 inches. Sew  your fabric together with the 13 inch piece of fabric in the middle of the two 16 1/2 inches, using a seam allowance of 1/2 inch.
  •  Again…the hardest part is the figuring…once you get past that you are quickly on the way to a fresh new window treatment.
  • Once your fabric is sewn together, go back up to number 2 and continue from there.

I know this is a looong post but I wanted to make sure to cover even the littlest of basics so that hopefully you are not too confused.

Good luck, I know you can do it. I will be making at least one more for my home….when I get a free moment!


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