Roman shades are very popular with home decorators, and using blackout Roman shades in a room can both look elegant and sophisticated and help to preserve fabric from sun damage. Blackout shades are ideal for rooms with small children, or for those who wish to lie in without being woken at dawn by the sun streaming in through the window.
In rooms that get hit by dawn or dusk sun, it is sometimes not enough to try and block out this light with sheer shades. See-through shades can sometimes make things more uncomfortable by letting the light shine through in piercing pin-hole streams, and they can also be ineffective in blocking out the brightest sun. Using double Roman shades can help to protect rooms and homeowners from the worst of the sun, but the best devices are blackout Roman shades, which have special material in them which completely blocks out the sunlight.
Converting to Blackout Roman Shades
If you already own a sheer blind, rather than buying a completely new shade kit, the easiest option is to convert these sheer window blinds to blackout Roman shades. Material for blackout shades can be bought from hardware stores, or other DIY stockists. The most common blackout material is made from fabric coated with a layer of PVC, which completely blocks out the light. Other varieties can include Aluminium radiance blockers, which fit between fabrics; or the cheapest option, which is probably to buy a tight-weave fabric which can minimise the amount of sun which penetrates the blind.
In order to convert a sheer shade into blackout Roman shades, you will need to remove the sheer shade and lay it out flat on the floor. If it is a Roman shade, then you should remove the doweling sleeve, and straighten the folds. For a roller blind, remove all of the stitching. Lay the sheer material face-down.
Place the blackout fabric onto the sheer material, and then add backing fabric on top. Sew all three layers together at the bottom and sides. Replace or add the doweling sleeve, and insert dowel rods into the pockets at the required intervals: about every six inches should be adequate. Connect fabric loops to the edges of the doweling rod, and then add a sash cord. You may wish to sew the sash cord into the loops, as blackout Roman shades can be heavy, and this can make raising and lowering the shades more difficult. Sew the cord into the bottom of the shade.
Place a length of wood along the top of the shade, and fold it and the fabric over, and sew into place. The wooden board should be completely encased in fabric. Add hooks to each end of the wood: these will support the sash cord as it raises and lowers the shade, so ensure that they are tight. Nail the wooden board to the window frame, or the wood above the window, and allow the cords to hang down from the hooks. Using this method should make converting sheer shades into blackout Roman shades an easy task.