Convert Mini-Blinds into Custom Roman Shades

A window with roman shades.
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Fabric yardage to fit window
Your existing mini-blinds and installation hardware
Fabritac or other cool fabric glue (don't use a hot glue gun for this project)
Bottom hem trim, as desired

If you love the elegant look of roman shades, but don't have a budget for custom-made window treatments, try this procedure for converting your old mini-blinds into roman shades. In a couple of hours, your windows will look updated and fresh.

Step 1 - Get the Window Measurements

Take careful measurements of both the length and width of your windows. You will be putting the shade wherever your existing blinds hang now, inside or outside the window frame, so be sure to get the proper sizes.

Step 2 - Remove and Delete Slats from the Old Blinds

Lay your shade fabric out on the floor, wrong side up. Take down the old blinds from the window and lay them out on the fabric, leaving a border of at least 3 inches on all sides. Extend the mini-blinds so they are open as far as they will go, and the front edge of the slat is pointing at the floor.

Carefully snip off all the tilter strings, the ones that move each blind slat up and down (they look like rope ladders). Do not cut through the thicker lift strings, as these will open and close your roman shades. Remove the small plastic plug covers from the lowest edge of the mini-blinds, and slide off the bottom slat retainer. Pull off as many slats as you wish to discard, leaving just those you will need to create the shade folds. For example, in a window 5 feet high, you will probably want 6 slats, one every 10 inches. Slide the remaining slats down the cords so they are evenly spaced from top to bottom.

Step 3 - Fix the Maximum Length of Your Roman Shade

With the blind cords still fully extended, reattach the bottom slat retainer so your shades are 1 inch longer than your window length. Cut off all the extra lift cord length from the bottom.

Step 4 - Cut and Attach the Fabric

Trim off any excess fabric from around the shade framework, leaving 3 inches around all sides to glue onto the mini-blind slats. Do not get any glue on the lifting strings or you will not be able to raise the shade. Start gluing at the header rail for the shade. Keep the ends of the rail uncovered to reattach it to the installation brackets on the window. Glue the fabric to the convex side of each slat to ensure the best fabric contact. Fold in the fabric for a finished edge, glue the fold down and glue the hemmed edge to the slat. Work all the way down till you have finished attaching all the slats.

Step 5 - Hang Up Your New Shade

Once the fabric glue has dried and the slats are stable, test the folding motion of the shade by pulling the lifting strings. If they work properly, hang up the shade on the window brackets. Attach your desired trim along the shade hem.