** Note July 10, 2017: Using the same technique, I made a linen linen no-sew, roll up window shade – you can check it out, here. **
If you ever need to cover a window with a roll-up shade, and you want something fast and inexpensive, consider the following tutorial: Without sewing a single stitch, you can make a shade in under an hour that will look absolutely professional: no messy/uneven hems will show through the fabric. The shade can even be “double-sided”, so a different back side will show when it’s rolled up. To keep the shade up, you will use a ribbon that remains attached to the shade, so it will always be easy to tie it up. This shade has also a hidden wooden dowel on the bottom part that keeps the panel/shade straight and in place when it is down. Finally, the dowel facilitates rolling up of the fabric. This do-it-yourself roll-up shade has it all!
I made one for the laundry room door and here is what you will need to make one, too:
1. Choose a fabric. Roll-up shades look more charming when they’re made with two fabrics ~ one on the front and one on the back, each with a different pattern or color. To achieve this result without having to sew two pieces of fabric together, I used a heavy upholstery fabric with a double-sided woven pattern with opposite colors on each side. When rolled up, the different pattern on the back side will show and will make the shade a lot more interesting. You can definitely use a linen, too, or any other fabric that looks good on the back side (in that case the fabric will look the same when the shade is rolled up.).
2. Determine the size of what your finished shade will be, i.e. the area it will cover. Cut the fabric to that finished desired width as there will be no hem. For the height, add 6 inches.
2. Apply fray block all around the border of the fabric and let it dry for a few minutes; this is optional as the borders will be covered with trim, but I thought it was worth the time as I didn’t want to see little threads popping out.
3. Instead of making a hem on the sides, I covered them with trim: Calculate and buy trim four times the length of your finished panel/shade, plus more for to use as tie-up ribbons. Apply fabric glue on the trim and position the trim on the edge of the fabric along the one length of the shade/panel. Glue a small surface at a time, about 15”, to keep the glue strong. It can get a little messy, but the glue dries clear, so don’t worry if you get some on the fabric. As you proceed, press the trim with your hand to straighten it. Glue the trim on the other side of the shade/panel and then on the two back sides, making sure that the front trims/ribbons are properly aligned with the ones on the back.
5. Attach the shade/panel to the curtain rod: Place the shade/panel good side down and position the rod on the top edge. If it is an extendable rod, simply keep it in place at the desired dimension with tape. Apply fabric glue along the rod and the fabric and roll the fabric around the curtain rod two or three times, adding glue between layers. Secure with clips and let dry for a few minutes. I used the Target Room Essentials Cafe Rod | Brushed Nickel, 28-48″priced at $3.59.
6. Add the wooden dowel: On the bottom edge of the panel, I inserted a wooden dowel inside the fabric ~ the hardware store will cut it to size at no additional charge. The dowel has to have the exact same width with the panel/shade. The wooden dowel will add weight to the panel when it is down so that it stays nice and straight. It will also help the process of rolling up the shade around it when the shade is up. To add the dowel, repeat the same process as for the curtain rod, rolling and gluing the fabric around the dowel a couple of times. If you are using a thick and sturdy trim, you might want to cut it an inch shorter than the panel/shade so that the edges are not too thick.
7. Add the tie-up ribbons: Cut two lengths of trim/ribbon, each long enough to make a bow when then shade is rolled up. Glue only part of if onto the panel/shade, on the front and on the back sides of the panel.
Before rolling up the shade for the first time, let the glue dry well.
The addition of a trim/ribbon on the edges of the fabric totally eliminates the need for a hem. For this heavy upholstery fabric, I used a heavy trim. A grosgrain ribbon would also work for most fabrics.
The dowel helps the fabric roll nicely around it and keeps it in place.
It is no secret that custom made shades cost a little fortune, not to mention that it takes professionals an awfully long time to complete an order. Who would know that this custom made roll-up shade is such an easy do-it-yourself project?
Almost all the rooms in the new house need window treatments, so I will be sharing many more ideas soon!