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!

The Shabby Nest The DIY Show Off



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37 Responses to Tutorial: Cheater Roman Shade

  1. nora says:

    Is it necessary to use the fitted sheet or just what you had on hand? I have a ton of windows in my kitchen that need covering but I’m thinking one cafe, one roman shade, and one normal set of shades so I might just buy fabric instead of different sheets.

    • Meredith says:

      Totally not necessary to use the fitted sheets Nora! Fabric would be easier because you wouldn’t have to cut the elastic, square up the sides of the sheet, etc. I just used the fitted sheet so that it would match my dining room curtains – no other reason. 🙂

  2. Cute! I think it looks great, and no judging here. I love the fabrics you used on those window treatments.

  3. Sandra says:

    This is such a great idea. Looks easy and I’m all about that! 🙂

  4. I think it’s great! I’ve been planning on making traditional roman blinds and this “cheater” version might actually be better… no cords dangling down to tempt curious children!

  5. Oh my goodness – I just found your blog and love it! I immediately clicked “follow.” I am obsessed with DIY projects and love what you’ve done with your house. I have a few little DIY projects over on my blog. Would love for you to check them out sometime:

    Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas! Looking forward to browsing through your blog some more!

  6. Crystal says:

    This is awesome! 🙂 I will definitely be doing this! Thanks so much for posting!

  7. Totally not too ghetto for me! 🙂

  8. Kim says:

    I love it….pretty smart, actually!! Great way to make attractive window dressings on a small budget…I am all about that!!

  9. Lindy says:

    Wow- what a great idea! I will totally be trying this. Thanks!

  10. Sandy says:

    I just bought a shabby chic balloon shade from Target and discovered it had the hook circles attached but no cords included! I got it to have something up in our guest bathroom until I found the shade I really want or get around to making one. I like your method of using the command strips to bring up the sides rather than cording. Using sheets is clever and one I like because they are washable. So many of the fabrics for curtains etc are dry cleanable and I like to be able to take them down and wash them whenever I feel like it. I love the pattern on the fabric too that you chose. Nice tutorial and thanks so much for sharing it.

  11. Love it! Nothing’s ever to “ghetto” for me as long as it looks top end … and this sure does. Nice color combos too. I love thinking outside the box, great job.

    Suzy xxx

  12. Seriously!?!!! I mean, come on…. This project RoCkS! I am soooo copying this!

  13. Jenny B. says:

    Great tutorial! I never would have guessed it was a makeshift shade! 🙂

  14. Pretty crafty!! They look fabo! I would never think they started as a sheet.

  15. I agree with Andrea…this is way better than my traditional roman shades. My little one is constantly trying to play with the cords! I’ve been trying to think of an alternative window covering for her room and this may be it! I’m your newest follower…can’t wait to see what other projects you have going on!

  16. Karen says:

    Yes, Yes, Yes! this is what I need to do in my kitchen- I’m looking on fabricguru right now trying to pick out something that will match- I have your post bookmarked! I would love it if you shared this @ Workshop Wednesday!

  17. sarah says:

    I love this idea- but I am not quite understanding the ring concept. Can you go into a little more detail as to where on the shade you have to put the rings, the distance between the folds of your shade, and how you went about keeping both sides even when completing your project? I want to make these for my kitchen but I am totally intimidated. 🙂

  18. Comeca jones says:

    You always pick the best prints and I love it that u used the sheet.

  19. Karen says:

    Thanks for linking ur post to WorkShop Wednesday! I am in the middle of creating my shades- I am a little confused about the rings??

  20. Hi, Meredith! I’m admiring all your creative posts here. Can you please share them at the Creative Bloggers’ Party & Hop? Hope to see you there at the party 🙂

  21. Your shades are so pretty! You did a great job and I linked this to my roman shades project post today, well done!

  22. KellyPY says:

    Thank you! Window treatments I can actually afford AND make.
    IMHO, your version is better than the traditional cord system, and I speak from experience. The roller in one of my store bought roman shades no longer clamps down on one cord so now one side of the shade will not stay up when I lift them. I won’t have that problem with these! And I don’t have to worry about getting blinds that fit my confounded windows, either. This is awesome. Thanks again.

  23. Just what I was looking for!! I’m definitely doing this for my kitchen. Not ghetto at all…genius. 🙂

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  25. Linda Ceriello says:

    Too funny, I did almost the same thing in my living room. I have 2 inch blinds that come with a strip on the top (they call it a valance) which covers up the mechanism that attaches to the inside of the window frame. I created my “Roman Shade” valances by sewing velcro strips to my fabric and gluing the loop side of the velcro to the blind valance. Using hooks on the wall and string and loops sewed on my valances I created my “balloons”. Just goes to show you that a little fabric and velcro can add some style.

  26. Tanya Wambold says:

    Great idea! I’ve got my hands in about 10 different projects around the house, but this is so easy, I think I’ll do it today! lol Thanks for sharing 🙂

  27. Taylor says:

    Where is your light fixture from? I love it and want to use it in my son’s nursery!

  28. I love your “ghetto” Roman shade! That cracked me up. I am so going to make one for my kitchen. We have a thrift store that sells bed sheets for 3-6 bucks, depending on the size. I have gotten really nice, high thread count, quality sheets like Ralph Lauren, for ridiculously cheap! I would never use them for sleeping on, but I’ve used them for other things. You can’t find that much fabric at that price.

    I can’t wait to make one!


  29. Marcia says:

    Love this print! I have been looking for something similar to use for curtains. Would you mind sharing where you found the sheets/what brand? Thanks!!

  30. Monica says:

    I love the print. The room looks very nice. I like how you budgeted wisely. I wanted to do some Roman shades for my kitchen but I don’t want to spend a ton of money to do it. Thanks for posting the idea.

  31. There is no such thing as “too ghetto” :)) Love it!

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  33. Amber says:

    I’ve done a similar project, but used a flatsheet so I had even less sewing!!

  34. Krystal says:

    Where did you buy that kitchen island? I love it and have been looking for one like that!

    • Stephen Heard says:

      It’s an Ikea Stenstorp island: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00116996/

      We enjoyed it. The butcher block had a light oil based finish, which is nice but a lot of maintenance (love it or hate it). We considered lacquering it but it ended up conveying when we sold. M really liked it, my only complaint was the stainless steel shelves got really dusty since there wasn’t any cabinet doors (again, love it or hate it).

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