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Mini-blind Makeover

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Mini-Blind Makeover???  Did you know you could turn cheap mini blinds into custom-looking shades?  Yep… crazy, right!   Our master bedroom was full of cheap, ugly mini-blinds and the budget couldn’t afford much. So here are all the juicy details of my mini-blind makeover! This is a great budget-friendly way to get the fabric blinds you love the look of, but with a much lower price tag.

Create custom roman shades from ugly cheap mini blinds, a great mini-blind makeover

Can you believe I made these with the cheap, ugly mini-blinds that were hanging in our house when we moved in!!!  Yep, that’s right. You can use this tutorial on any window that has horizontal blinds, tall windows, small windows, etc. My smaller windows are about 24″ wide and then the larger ones are about 45″ wide. This project will not work on vertical blinds. This is great if you are looking for affordable options on how to update your windows.

Mini-blinds turned gorgeous roman shade

These gorgeous roman shades started with a $3 mini-blind!

I came across some tutorials of transforming your mini-blinds and knew that when I got around to our master bedroom makeover that I would be using them.

First, let me give you a list of what I used.

Mini-Blind Turned Custom Shade Supply List 

Affiliate links are provided for your convenience.

  • Cheap mini-blind
  • measuring tape or long ruler
  • Black out shade
    • this is not necessary, but helps it keep it’s shape and keeps more light out.  I used one like this
  • Fabric you love ~ Mine is Richloom Platinum Collection Jayda Printed Linen Blend Drapery Fabric in Bramble.
    • I recently found it on Etsy here You don’t want to use sheer fabrics.
  • Scissorsgood fabric scissors
  • Fabri-tac glue
    • I love Fabri-Tac, just make sure it’s a fabric glue

Steps to Turn Mini Blind into Fabric Shade

1st ~ Measure your window.  Add 1-2” to each side.  So, if your window is 40×50 then you need your fabric to be at least 42-44”x52-54”.  You also need to decide how many folds you want your shade to have.  This will determine how many slats you will keep.  I spaced mine about 11 1/2 inches apart, which gave me 4 slats and then the bottom piece.  (I promise this will make more sense as you read on).

2nd ~ Release your mini-blind so that it’s lowered all the way & take them down and sprawl them on your floor.

cheap mini blinds before their makeover

3rd ~ Cut away the thin, ladder-like strings.

don't cut this cord on your mini blinds

Don’t cut that thick one!!!  

That is the cord that raises and lowers the blinds – you will need that!

4th ~ Use a small screwdriver and pop off the cap on the bottom piece of the blinds.  Inside you’ll see the end of that thick, pull-up cord tied in a knot.

the knot you need to cut on your mini blinds

I just cut the knot off  (You will retie this at the end) and slide off the base piece.

5th ~ Slide off all the slats, except for the ones you need for your folds (4 for me).

6th ~ Onto the fabric!  I cut my blackout liner to the exact size of my window.  Then I cut out my print fabric 1  1/2” larger on all sizes.  I ironed the print fabric and then placed it print side-facedown and the blackout liner on top.  Use your Fabri-tac glue to glue the edges of the print fabric onto the blackout liner.

Fold over the edges and glue down for the mini blind custom shades

7th ~ Place the remainder of the mini-blind on top of the glued fabric, placing the top at the top of the fabric.  Glue the mini-blind top onto the blackout shade making sure you do not glue the pull-up cord of the blinds.

attaching the top back on

8th ~ Measure out where your slats will be on your fabric and glue the concaved side of the slat (the side with the most surface area) onto the shade.  Make sure you DO NOT get any glue on the pull-up cord.

glue the mini blind slats to the fabric

9th ~ Now take the end of the pull-up cord and reinsert it in the hole on the base of the shade.  Re-tie a knot at the end of the string and put the plug back in.  Glue down the base of the shade at the bottom of the fabric (bottom of the blinds)

retie the knot on the mini blind for your custom roman shade
finishing off your custom roman shade

10th ~ Hang your GORGEOUS shade!

Custom Roman Shades from Cheap Mini Blinds in our Master Bedroom

I LOVE the finished look! This was such a great home makeover project. With a little simplicity and time, you can add some great textures to your space. You basically have created your own DIY Roman Blinds.

You can check out here for a fab tutorial that helped me out!

Update! I had these shades up for about 5 years before we upgraded to new blinds. Most of the windows received direct light in the afternoons and they were still holding up years later. I still think it’s a great project and a great way to save some money and still get something that suites your taste. To care for them, I would just use a dust cloth or a gentle vaccum to clean the dirt and dust.

Mini-Blinds to Roman Shades: Turn those ugly mini-blinds into custom fabric roman shades

Here’s some other great DIY Tutorials you’ll want to check out!

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161 Comments

  1. Wow! Outstanding creativity!! I’m doing this for my front door…also I’ve read some of the comments regarding the cleaning due to the construction..well I’ll be looking for outdoor fabric..such beautiful selection patterns, already blackout..so all good..I thank you again and others for their input..this is wonderfully made and beautifully presented..nice job!!

  2. I think I will try using stick-on velcro to stick my curtains to the blinds, avoiding the string, of course. That way, I can remove the fabric and wash it when I want to. As I can sew, I will probably sew the edges and the velcro attached to the fabric for added security. Otherwise, I LOVE this idea for the trailer we just bought….the last thing I want to have to do is wash mini blinds, and it has 4 sets. But as they are all intact, this is a great idea for what to do with them, and give it an update.

    1. I would love to know how the velcro worked. I think that is a great idea – they can easily be changed out.

      Amanda

  3. COULD YOU GIVE ME ANY INFO SO THAT I MIGHT BE ABLE TO PURCHASE THE FLOWERED FABRIC ? thanks Love all your ideas

    1. Diane I would try google searching the fabric name that I have in the post. I purchased it many years ago – good luck! I hope you can find it. Etsy is a good place to try too.

    1. As long as the fabric is strong enough, also you will see the slats that you will place horizontally, so as long as that won’t bother you.

  4. My window is 69 wide by 27 long. Will this work for me. When open I want the window to show. What do you suggest

    1. Barbara – the windows I did this with weren’t that wide, so I can be certain… but it you’ve got ugly mini blinds you’re not loving I’d say go for it!

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  6. I loved this project! There was a bit of a learning curve for me as far as the best practice for glueing the fabric to the slats, header & footer, but overall the project turned out beautifully for my kitchen window. But the shade doesn’t raise and lower well. I have to pull it down with one hand while releasing the blinds with the pull cords (these are good quality Levolor binds, so I don’t think that’s the problem). And when I raise it, I have to place the folds – it just doesn’t fall into place. Did I do something wrong or is this “just the way it is?” Either way, they are beautiful, but if I should have done something differently to make them raise & lower more smoothly, I’d like to know. Thanks for sharing this idea!

    1. I had the same problem with mine. We have great quality mini blinds that worked perfectly – until I did this Roman Blind makeover and got rid of the weight of the extra slats. The blinds wouldn’t go all the way down without some help, so we slipped some thin lead weights inside the footer and the extra weight fixed the problem. They were just too light.

  7. Sorry for the dumb question, but can you suggest how many folds I should have for a 36″ length window?

    LOVE your post! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. You could try it, burlap can be tricky though. If you find a thick, good quality one it might work.

  8. What a great tutorial! I have a broken blind waiting to be replaced, now I don’t have to. I can repurpose it! Thank you so much for posting your idea.

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  10. Wonderful tutorial! Would you consider doing a video tutorial for this? I’m more of a visual learner.
    Thanks again!
    Hyedi

    1. Hi Hyedi! I don’t have any currently plans to make over any other mini blinds, but if I do I’ll definitely do a video with it.

  11. I am trying to figure out how you could wash these blinds if you have clued a hard section of a mini blind to it? I would love to do this but I also want to be able to put into a washing machine when needed! Help!

    1. Lori I don’t think there’s a way to do that since you’re wrapping around the mini blind slates. I just vacuum mine.

        1. Beth – I’m not sure. I’d be worried if it’s in a window that gets a lot of sun that the hot glue might melt.

          1. I have tried hot glue and it did loosen after about a month. Beacon 3 in 1 adhesive worked better.

    2. Lori,
      Using some Velcro strips may work to make it washable. The sticky Velcro strips on the blinds and perhaps the sewing Velcro on the fabric.

    3. You could use velcro instead of the glue. I think I saw that on another page somewhere for washable DIY romans.

  12. Thanks for this tutorial. I followed your instructions and made the shade this afternoon. Now my bathroom has a cute grey-with-white-polka-dots Roman shade. Thanks!

  13. Hello Maryann! I just finished my own mini blind to Roman shade make over thanks to your tutorial! I love them. I did a bit of sewing to add a border to the Roman shade. Thanks again for a great tutorial!
    Kati
    housefulofhandmade.com

  14. Will this work with “thicker” blinds? I have the straight wood type of blinds. Wasn’t sure if it would work with those as well. 🙂

    1. Wow those are amazing!! I had wanted to make blinds like that for years but never wanted to deal with the old wood style bar to hold them.
      I see a bathroom makeover in my future.

      Thanks so much for sharing your talent – I just found you off of Pinterest and signed up to follow you. Can’t wait!

  15. You can find everything you need to make these blinds at a fabric store and you don’t need to use an old mini blind. Also the frayed edge will show on the outside of the window. When making window treatments the wrong side (facing outside) should look as nice as the inside. After all you see both sides. You can use Iron on hemming fuser to fuse you fabric together. This will work better then glue. Also vacuum them periodically so the will stay looking new and clean. You can also make them drop down or pull up. You can make them look professional by remembering these tips. The minuet that people know you made them that will look at your workmanship and you want to make them look like they were done professionally.

    1. Brigitte, it sounds like you’ve made a lot of window treatments and you have been doing it for quite a long time, while this is Maryanne’s first go at it. At the end of the day, you both have lovely window coverings of which you are both proud. When you made your first curtain, did you know to line it at all? I’m always embarrassed to say that I took a sewing class when I was twelve, though I’d been sewing for a few years. In the class I made a dress. The first dress I made without assistance was a while later, sleeveless, and the dress looked great, fit wonderfully, but I had these pieces leftover that I couldn’t figure where they went. I’d already been out in the dress before my mom noticed what was wrong. I’d left the bindings off the armholes. We had a good laugh but I was mortally embarrassed and I was pregnant with my second child before I sewed again. Brigitte, after your commentary, do you think Maryanne wants to share her next project? And that’s kind of bad, since this is HER blog.

      1. Thank you for taking the time to write this. It was a kind gesture; something I would have done, had you not.

    2. Brigitte, maybe you should remember the old saying…. If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.

    3. Well I appreciate the extra tips, anyway. Sounds like a few high school “mean girls” got their feathers ruffled. And I don’t see anything “not nice” about it. Some girls just want to hiss and claw.

      1. While I understand what Jen was saying about whose blog this is, Brigitte did us a favor by pointing out that we do need to consider the back of a project when it is visible. I clicked on the link Maryann included showing the tutorial that helped her, and even that author (from littlegreennotebook) eventually revised it and pointed out that the backside would be neater if done using the revised method. Sometimes “good enough” is good enough, but if something can be seen from more than one side, we need to decide if that is important to us. I bet that Maryann took the tip to heart. Or maybe people shouldn’t tell us we have something stuck in our teeth and just let it be so that we don’t risk hurting their feelings.

    4. I appreciate your added comments Brigitte. I didn’t realize there was a raw edge – good to know before I begin as I’m doing this for my living room where everyone can see from both sides. I love the blog from Maryann, her experiences, and the great information on how to make the roman shades. I also appreciate the tips others can offer so I can benefit when I try to make the blinds/shades myself. With any project, it is a learning experience – and improvements are all part of the creative process.

  16. I just saw this on pinterest. And I saw my first one for this project a few months ago. But I have just one concern. Of course this comes after I have already completed 75% of the project. 🙂 when hanging the blind back up on the wall/frame, how do you mount it and still hide the mounting brackets? Since we have covered the top bar in fabric? Thank you.

    1. Don’t glue the fabric right to the end of the top mounting piece, leave about 2.5 inches so the bracket can slide back and support the blind as before. If you glue fabric right to the end you can’t get it to go onto the mounting bracket properly. Hope this help and you can slip the little stays back on each end to hold the blind secure and won’t fall out of the brackets. I did mine trial and error to find this out. The blind still looks the same on top and you would have to make a small valance to cover it with matching fabric to make it look like a unit.
      Hope this helps anyone having a problem, thank you for my 2 cents of time.

  17. These look great. How do they hold up to cleaning? I know some would depend on the type of fabric used, but no matter what they will get dusty and need cleaned from time to time. Cane you wash them? Does the glue hold up to washing? Would it be better to take them outside and beat the dust out?

    1. What if you used oilcloth instead? That way you could just wipe it clean. Not sure how that would effect the overall look, though.

      1. I just tried this using a thin cotton fabric because I want a light-filtering effect. I wasn’t happy with it, had trouble getting the glue to stick, plus I’m having my doubts about the cleaning issue. I’m going to start over and try using Velcro to stick the fabric to the blind. That way I’ll be able to take it off and throw it in the washer. Did I mention I’m using white? Silly me.

    1. I to just saw this, and I plan to try it. The mini blinds in my apartment do not cover my windows at the edges, and sunlight heats up my bedroom in the summer making it unbearably uncomfortable.

  18. When you glue the blind slat to the black out shade what holds the fabric to that? Wouldn’t it just droop? I want to try this but am worried.

    1. Hi Val ~

      I used Fabri-tac glue to glue the edges of the print fabric onto the blackout liner.

    2. You can sew a line where it is going to be glued, that way the lining is fastened secure to the slat and I used a hot glue gun to glue the slats and you glue the convex side not the concave side. Hope this helps.

  19. How Brilliant to use a mini blind to create a Roman Shade! Took all the headache out of trying to make them using plastic rings and lots of cording. Thanks!!

  20. Do you know that I had this pinned before I started blogging myself?? When I was stalking amazing bloggers like you? 😀 Love this makeover!

  21. This looks beautiful!! I’ve still got blinds in my living room and this might be a great solution for me. I’d love plantation shutters but the inset is so shallow, they can’t be mounted!

    Wonderful job 🙂

  22. Has anyone tried this using the wider slat mini blinds? Mine are the 2″ wide slats made from vinyl and were custom ordered originally so they are a perfect fit for my windows already. I’m so excited to try this on several windows.

    How do they look from the outside? My blinds are white and I’ll probably use a white liner for darkening so the color will match but I still can’t quite envision how the back will look from outside.

  23. This is great!! I’d love to do this with our big front window in my sewing room. My question is how does it look from the outside? It would face the front yard. Thanks!!

  24. Hello! I’m not even sure whose blog I came over from because it was around two or three blogs ago, but this is awesome! My last dog ate half of my cellular blinds and they are expensive to replace. I was hesitant about attempting to make my own Roman shade but I am soooo doing this. Yours looks fab by the way and I love that fabric. Thanx for sharing. I love blogs and the ideas they inspire!

  25. I just want to thank you for this post because it made it so easy for me to have nice (affordable) blinds in my house upon moving in! You’ll never know how much I appreciated it 🙂

  26. Maryanne, I so love this tute for a faux roman shade. We are in the process of redoing our son’s room and I wanted to make something like this for his window! You came to my rescue today friend. I’ll let you know how they turned out!

  27. It rained all day today, so my idea to do yardwork went out the door, and this project made it to the top of the list. I gathered up all the supplies needed and slowly (so I wouldn’t screw the cutting) worked my way through your tutorial. Your steps make it easy. After watchin the Fabri-tac video, I think I may have used too much glue, oops. I’m letting everything set up overnight before hanging (I couldn’t find out how long it takes for Fabri-tac to dry), but I’m dying to see how they turned out. I have a few concerns with my project: 1) I’m using a stripe pattern, what if it turnes out crooked (argh), and 2) the cords on the old, ugly blinds had been cut _very_ short. The previous owner of the house prob did it for child proffing. Anyway I just wanted to let you know that I’m giving it a whack, and also to thank you for your post.
    Nicky

  28. I love your tutorial. It’s very reasy to understand for a NON-CRAFTY person. I have completed 1 of 3 windows, but I have a question about the pull cord. My pull cored is behind the fabric, so I have to reach in/behind the fabric and when I pull up, the cord gets caught/wrapped up in the fabric.

    What did I do wrong???

  29. How could you do this to me…you had to show me these super easy blinds for my 27 windows / showed me the perfect bedroom / and introduced me to the fabric store from heaven…My life, home, and bank account will never be the same…but I love it. Thanks, Lori

  30. OH, HALLELUJAH! I just priced a roman shade kit and it was going to be $68. NO WAY…I’ve used them in the past for a client, and they were gorgeous, but I’m not paying that much! Now to find a cheap mini-blind…whew!

  31. I LOVE THIS!!!! But I have to know where you got the gorgeous fabric. It would look so awesome in my living room. Please let me know and thanks for this great idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Literally just made these 5 minutes ago. SO easy and I think they’ll look good. Waiting for the glue to dry to do the first “pull up.” 🙂

  33. Thank you for such a great idea and easy to follow tutorial! I just made the 1st of 5 planned for a bow window. It looks beautiful. However, I am having an issue with the bracket on the blind. When hung up I had to pull up the fabric from the header and now it sags. Should I just re glue onto the bracket holder? I would like to adjust them fairly often. Any advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

      1. and it held – great – that’s what i figured, but thought it was more for a fabric to fabric bond. that’s on my to do list for our master. I want more of a woven grass type fabric – I shall see what Joann’s has! If you’ve seen any fabric like that give me a shout out!

  34. Loved your curtains and had to try making some myself. Your tutorial was wonderful and I was so pleased with the finished project!! Thank you so much!!

  35. Can we do this samething with a regular sized blind? Cuz I dont have any window in my house which would use a mini blind.

    Any help is appreciated.!!!

    Thanks!

  36. Unknown ~ I'm not sure how thick of fabric you could use. I've only tried with burlap & I'm sure it might depend on your printer too.

  37. Does it matter how thick of fabric you use? I would LOVE to make these, but I am fabric illiterate!! Please help??

    Thanks so much for your awesome blog!!

  38. You are my hero – the main room where we spend time in our new house has 14 windows. My last house didn't have 14 windows in the whole house! I sit here and try to think of attractive, cheap ways to make window coverings…and even faux wood blinds would be a couple hundred dollars. The 14 windows have blinds…and I can't wait to try this project. I love the no-sew aspect of it…now I just need to find a no sew pillow! Thanks so much!

  39. I was blown away by this idea. I am going out and buying one of these mini blinds so I can try this idea. I also love the fabric you chose.

  40. Wow! Just what I have been looking for! I was thinking I would have to toss my (burgundy… yuck!) blinds but this is a great way to reuse them and still get the blackout/insulating properties of the blinds!
    Mary

  41. BRILLIANT BRILLIANT BRILLIANT…I always get hung up on roman shade tutorials when they start going into thredding the rings and such…THIS is a perfect alternative!

  42. Gorgeous room Maryann, I love the fabric you used and fantastic tutorial too. I linked this to my roman shades project post too today, well done!

  43. This is THE bedroom I want for my new house. I already have dark bedroom furniture and wanted a pretty blue wall. Also, the roman shades were just a dream….or so I thought until I saw what you did with your blinds. A magazine bedroom for sure. Hugs, Jan

  44. I just want you to know we might be window treatment twins! I came across you tutorial for these window blinds today. I posted the same tut literally the day before you did on April 21. Is it possible that our windows were made in the same factory and they were all calling out for new treatments? Anyway I adore your blog. Than you for all the inspiration you'v given me over this past year! Please check out my blogity-blog if you have a chance after all I am your window treatment twin!!

    https://365days2simplicity.blogspot.com/2011/04/easy-no-sew-roman-shades.html

    Angela

  45. Love the fabric! I have a very similar print in my kitchen with happy green walls.
    This is a great idea, do the slats show from outside the window?
    I've done this by purchasing a ecru roman shade from Pier 1 (under $15)and sewing my own fabric over the top, skipping the areas where the sticks are. They weren't functional to raise and lower regularly, but I didn't need them too.
    Happy decorating!

  46. SHUT UP!!!!!!! I'm literally internet yelling right now because I just don't know how else to express my excitement about this! CRAZY!!! And the fact that there is NO sewing involved makes my day!!! 😀 I want these soooo bad in our master, but I have had literally the WORST time finding fabric for the room that I pretty much gave up. Your fabric is absolutely stunning! I also am stuck between two designs. I'm totally in love with your style and I'd love your input… https://designbuildlove.co/?p=252

  47. I also saw that tutorial on LGN and can't wait to make these myself. Your instructions are amazing! Thanks for all the tips. And your shades now look outstanding, really!

    I think this is a miracle makeover project and you did it fabulously!

  48. You so have me ready to do this!! I hate mini blinds so this is going to be a great fix! Thanks for posting, now following from Just Something I whipped up!

  49. I bought our blackout shade at Lowes. They are hanging panels. You could probably cut up a black out roller shade too.

  50. WOW! You are a genius! And the fabric is delish! I love this. Thank you so much for sharing! We have a funky sized window in our den and now I know what to do with it! 🙂

  51. AMAZING! I will have to do this. I have always loved roman shades, but thought they would be difficult to make. These I might be able to make. Thanks so much for posting!

  52. These are just wonderful! I have bought kits in the past to do these types of shades, but they can be quite pricey. Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  53. First off, your bedroom is beautiful! Second, how cool is this project! Can't wait to try it on the blinds in my kitchen! Thanks!

  54. That is simply out of this world. I've been sitting on a bolt of fabric for a year trying to decide how to make window treatments. You have just saved me TONS of money. When I get it done, I will definitely post and send you the link. Your room looks marvelous!!!

  55. Maryann, What a great tutorial. I am certainly making this for 2 bedrooms!!!!
    I'll let you know how it goes. I have those ugly cheap blinds hanging up in those rooms right now!!!!!
    Your tutorial is wonderful an easy to follow!
    xo Yvonne

  56. I love reusing those ugly mini blinds. I've been taking them down in every room but if I use this tutorial all I need is some fabric! Thanks for sharing!
    Sarah

  57. I love this!!! We have wood blinds, but they are older and I'm thinking I can use this technique to update them. Thanks!

  58. These are gorgeous, I love the fabric you used. This is such a great idea, I never would have thought to use old mini blinds! Great Job!

  59. I LOVE this. I am window covering challenged…mainly because they cost so much. I think I am headed to home depot (i have no blinds to start with!)

  60. Super job Maryann! 🙂 They look terrific in your room.
    The whole room just makes me go ahhhhh!

    gail

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