How To Convert a Beach Mat Into a Bamboo Blind

How To Convert a Beach Mat Into a Bamboo Blind

Hi everyone! What are your thoughts on bamboo blinds? I’m only asking because I wanted to make sure that I’m not the only one who absolutely loves them… We had bamboo blinds in one of our first Athens, Greece apartment many many years ago {I remember spending a little fortune to cover just two kitchen windows} and that was also the last time.  Over the years we’ve moved a lot and living in rentals has taught me that it’s not worth investing in something that can not easily fit into the next house. Bamboo blinds can be expensive, especially if they are custom made – more affordable versions are available at the hardware stores but they’re made to fit standard size windows. IKEA also used to carry inexpensive bamboo blinds, but unfortunately not anymore.

I would give anything to have ALL the windows of the house covered in bamboo blinds, so, to alleviate my desire, I finally decided go ahead and cover at least one window with a bamboo blind. I chose the small window of the guest hallway bath, but I ended up not buying a blind. Instead, I made one myself.

Over the past months, I’ve shared a couple of do-it-yourself no-sew window treatments (you can see here the one I made for the laundry room, and you can click here for a more elegant version used on the kitchen back door). The bamboo blind I’m showing you today is somewhat similar in the way it’s put together, but instead of fabric, I used a beach mat. Also, unlike the other two, this window treatment will not move, it will not go up and down, it’s purely decorative – if you’re considering making one too, make sure they are no privacy issues with your window.

Here is how I made it.

(1) I started with a straw beach mat – these are relatively inexpensive, they cost just a couple of dollars – you can find a similar one, here, if you don’t already have one.

2) On a protected working surface, I cut the beach mat horizontally to the desired length. The blind will not go up and down, so you need to decide how long you want your finished blind to be. Then, add about 4 or 5 inches for the flap, and cut. For mine, I thought that covering about 3/4 of the window would look nice. Note:  if you’re covering a small window, the other half of the mat can be used to make a second blind.

3. Without moving the mat around too much, I added glue immediately along the cut part to prevent the straws from fraying.

4. When the glue was dry,  I covered all sides of the blind (top, bottom, sides – on the front and, if needed, on the back) with a black cotton twill ribbon, one side at a time. I waited for the glue to dry (a few hours) before continuing with another side. I used  a couple of different glues, but this one seemed to work best.

Clothespins will keep the ribbon in place during the drying process.  You don’t necessarily need to add ribbon on the back side of your blind  unless it shows from the outside of the house {I had already covered mine when I realized that this could be avoided  it will also cut down the cost of the project as it requires less ribbon}. The borders of my blind extend on top of the wall to the left and right, so only the bottom ribbon part shows from the outside. However, the top back part needs to be covered with ribbon as this part of the blind flips over.

Last detail: to give a nice finish to the corners, I tucked over the ribbon/trim to the back.

5. When the glue for the trim was dry all sides, it was time to hang the blind. With a knife, I cut a balsa wood stick at the exact same width with the mat. The stick has to be a little thick but not too thick so that the top part flips just right. (mine was 1/2″ thick).

6. I then “sandwiched” the wood stick between the beach mat and the flap, and I used three flat-head nails to attach the blind to the wall. The beach mat and the balsa wood stick are both light weight, so it doesn’t take much of an effort to put the blind in place. The flap covers the wood stick.

7. To make the blind look like a real one, I added blind pulls: I painted two wood cord pulls in black, just because I wanted them to match the ribbon/trim. And I used a suede cord because that’s what I had at home, but a nylon or a cotton braided cord would work just as well.

I secured the cords on the wood stick with thumbtacks. Here is what’s under the flap:

It’s amazing what a little blind can do! It immediately added texture and warmth to the space, and made it look a lot more prettier than before.

The black fabric trim covers entirely the mat’s blue plastic trim and it adds character to the blind. It really looks like it’s custom made – and it actually is 🙂

I wish I could take better photos, but the space here is very small that I can barely get the entire blind in one shot. The best way to show it to you is to take pictures through the mirror.

The cord pulls are, I think, the detail that completes this blind!

This window has a frosted glass so even though this is a first floor bathroom, there are no privacy issues.

The width of a beach mat is typically about 27″, so if you need to cover a larger window you could have two or more blinds, positioned next to each other, and each at a different height.

Black and bamboo is a favorite combination of mine, but any trim color would work.

Here is the bathroom when we first moved in. It used to be my least favorite space in the house.

But in just one afternoon, I transformed this bathroom into what ended up being a warm, welcoming and sophisticated space. You can read all about it here.

Today, with the addition of this blind, I feel that this space is finally completed.

I hope you can agree that this bamboo blind looks real!

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Hi! I'm Angelica! For the last ten years I've been sharing my cooking, home projects and ideas with my sister Irene. "Once Again, My Dear Irene" is just an extension of our daily chats. Moreover "My Dear Irene" Continue Reading