Tutorial: Cheater Roman Shade

After I posted all my fabric secrets yesterday, I got an email from a reader asking if I would write a post about how I made the Roman shade in our kitchen.  I’ve (obviously) been putting off this post for awhile because my method is SO not up to par with the Roman shade tutorials I’ve seen online, but I suppose it’s time to spill the beans.

It’s a little embarrassing how ghetto this window treatment and my photos from the process are – so when you see how I did it, promise not to judge! :)

Empty kitchen window Finished blind on kitchen window

Tutorial: Cheater Roman Shade (from a Fitted Sheet)


1. Fitted Sheet

2. Sewing machine and/or hem tape

3. Velcro strips

4. Glue (I used rubber cement and hot glue)

5. A board or sturdy piece of metal (cut to a little wider than your window)

6. Nails or screws to attach the board to your wall

7. 2 metal cup hooks or Command Strips hooks

8. Thread or plastic rings to create folds in the shade

Step 1: Cut the elastic off of your fitted sheet all the way around.

Fitted Sheet

Cutting elastic

Step 2: Iron the remaining section of fitted sheet so that it lays flat and tack it up above your window to find the appropriate width for your Roman shade.  Mine is a couple inches wider than my window.

Checking size

Step 3: Mark the width and hem the sides and top (by sewing or using hem tape).  At this point your fabric will be a large rectangle with 3 sides hemmed.

Hemmed edges

Step 4: Cut your velcro into small sections and lay them out along the top hem of your fabric.  Lay your board or piece of metal along the top hem of your fabric.  (This will be the bracket you use to hang the shade.)

Cutting velcro

Laying out velcro

The metal piece I used is actually part of the track from the bi-fold doors we removed to access our washer and dryer.  It’s just what I had on hand, but it worked out because there were already several holes which I used to nail the metal to the wall later on.

Step 5: Glue your velcro pieces to the fabric and to your bracket.  I used hot glue to attach the “soft” side of the velcro to my material, but it didn’t work to attach the velcro to my metal bracket.  Rubber cement to the rescue!

Rubber cement velcro

You can see here that the velcro is glued to the top edge of my bracket.  This way, when the fabric is attached, it will go up and over the bracket to disguise it.

Velcro added

Step 6: Hang the bracket with screws or nails above your window where you want your Roman shade to start.  Make sure it’s level and the velcro edge is facing the ceiling!

Leveled bracket

Step 7: Attach the velcro along the top hem of your fabric to the bracket.  You now have what is essentially a Roman shade in the “down” position!

Checking heights

Step 8: Position a metal cup hook or Command Strip hook on each side of the window. Mine are approximately 8 inches below the bracket.

Side view of cheater method

Step 9: Using thread (or plastic rings if you’re fancy), create loops down each side of the panel.  Hang these loops over your hook to create the folds in your Roman shade.

Adding folds to blind

Your loops of thread will get progressively farther apart as you move down the shade.  As you add loops, you’ll find that you have to put the lowest loops on the hook first, followed by the next lowest and so on.  You essentially stack the loops on the hooks to raise the shade and remove the loops to lower it.

Last pleat going in

Step 10: Once all your loops are in place, take down the shade and hem the bottom edge to the desired height.

Finished blind on kitchen window

Here’s a glimpse of the shade from the side.  The hook and loops are only visible if you’re standing at the side of the shade and looking for them.  If the shade was mounted inside a window frame, the hook and loops would be invisible.  The ends of my metal bracket are also visible, but they’re small and not really noticeable.  If your board or bracket is much bigger than mine, I’d suggest painting the ends the same color as your wall for a more seamless look.

Looking towards dining room

Although the shade is not “operable” in the sense that we can pull cords to raise and lower it, we can lower it manually to cover the window by simply taking the loops off the hooks.  Eventually I’d like to rework the shade to add the lift and lower mechanism, but for now it mostly stays up!

Dining room towards kitchen

Pretty straightforward, no?  Also pretty friendly on the budget.  I’m psyched we got two dining room curtains and this shade from one set of $10 sheets!  Is my cheater Roman shade too ghetto for you, or could you see yourself making one of these for your home?

A big thanks to my reader Carla for the suggestion for this post!  If you have a question or would like to see a tutorial on something in our home, please feel free to email me at meredithheard (at) gmail (dot) com!

UPDATE: A few of you had questions on this tutorial, so I’ve posted a new version, complete with sketches HERE!

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