DIY No Sew Faux Roman Shades

Do you want a roman shade but you feel like you can’t afford it? Faux Roman shades tend to be less expensive than the real thing because they don’t go up and down. This can be an OK solution for rooms like kitchens or living areas where privacy is less important.

This solution does NOT use blinds as the base for the shade. I watched several videos that explain how to cut blinds to use as the base for roman shades. This works, but it is time consuming taking the blinds apart and if you cut the wrong string they are not operational.

Materials and supplies needed

You don’t need a lot of materials for this project. I’m not the master of DIY projects, but this is something that even I can tackle.

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  • Spring rods – you will need to measure the width of your window to be sure you get the right size rod. You need one rod for the top plus one rod for each fold. I wanted two folds, so that’s three rods. I like to use the smallest rods that are available for the width of the window.
  • Fabric – See more about choosing the fabric below. To calculate how much fabric you need measure the width of your window INSIDE the frame. These can’t be mounted above the window as real roman shades can. Measure how far you want the curtain to come down. I usually use between 1/2 to 2/3 of the window height. Add 2 inches to each side. If the width is 24″, you will need 28″ width. If the length you want is 24 inches, you will need 28″ in length.
  • Hem tape – Get the “super weight” option which works best for heavier fabric. I bought the Heatnbond brand on Amazon.
  • An Iron
  • Fabric Lining – Optional depending on your fabric. See below. If you have a white sheet that you don’t need you can cut this to make lining.

What is the best Material for drapes?

Before you dive into making any kind of window covering you will need fabric. When you search for fabric, it’s best to stay in the category of “home decor” fabrics. Read about buying fabric online. These usually tend to be heavier.

The style of fabric you choose really depends on the look you are going for. If you are going to choose a bold fabric, make sure it’s one you LOVE. I chose a bold fabric for my bedroom curtains, but overall I have neutral curtains in the rest of my house.

I always choose 100% cotton fabric so I can spot clean/wash if I need to. I prefer, duck, canvas or linen, if I’m fine with light filtering in.

To determine whether you will like the shades better if they are lined, hold a big piece of the fabric up to the window at a time of day when lots of light is coming in. If there is too much light showing through, then you need to add liner. This adds a layer of complexity that I didn’t want to tackle.

If you use a thick fabric (like canvas or duck) and you like the way it looks when sun comes through it, you can skip the lining.

Steps to making a No Sew Shade

1.) Wash your fabric first to make sure that any shrinkage is done.

2.) Iron the fabric so you have a nice smooth starting point. Cut to the dimensions of your window interior plus 4 inches. Width + 4 inches and length plus 4 inches.

3.) Start with the bottom of what will be your curtain hem. Fold the bottom over one inch and press.

Step 1 No Sew Roman Shade

4.) Lay hem tape over your one inch fold and then fold over again by one inch. Press with iron.

5.) Repeat this process on both sides of the curtain.

6.) For the top of the curtain, fold fabric over your rod and and fold fabric over 2 inches. Turn the rough under and add hem tape underneath your fold and press.

7.) Now that all of the sides are closed up, you are ready to mount in the window. Hang the rod at the top of the window and add secondary rods where you want the folds to be. Make sure you have all of the spring rods twisted out until they are fairly tight.

8.) Pull the fabric up over the first fold rod and press the fold with your fingers (i.e. run your hand along the bottom of the fold a few times). You might notice that the light in my office makes it look like totally different fabric – hello fluorescent lights!

9.) Pull the fabric up over the second fold and press with your fingers. You may need to adjust both folds as you go until you get the desired look. I hung a white sheet behind the window to hide to mess in my office/warehouse 😁.

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