No-Sew Success: Making a DIY Roman Shade

Have you ever stared at a bare window and thought, there must be more than this provincial life?

Before our kitchen renovation, this was one sad, bare window.  In fact, Dan and I have quite a few sad, bare windows throughout the house.  Our two mischievous  felines have prevented us from acquiring any window decor simply because of their penchant for clawing and attacking everything within reach.  We’ve even had to take blinds off of our windows because the cats got tangled up in them.  While we begin this story with a sad and lonely window, we’ll end it with something a little prettier and a lot more colorful: a no-sew roman shade.


I still haven’t quite gotten into sewing, so when I saw this project for a no-sew roman shade, I thought it would be perfect for our kitchen.  We get a ton of light in the space already, and we want to keep it as light and bright as possible (making it look slightly bigger than it is).  Thus, it wouldn’t make sense for us to buy an expensive window treatment, but it would be easy to add a fun and colorful DIY solution.

First, I had to evaluate the window situation.  Based on the fact that we have blinds already on the window, we had to make this an outside mount shade.  Also, you might see in the photo above that our cabinet bumps right up against the windowframe.  In order to prevent even more obstruction for our cabinet doors, we decided to make the shade slightly smaller than the actual width of our window.  We measured the actual window width that we wanted covered, and it came to 70 inches, which was actually the exact width of the fabric.


I revisited my trusty Kitchen Mood Board from back in April to look at the fabric I chose (item #2).  There’s a little more blue in this fabric than I wanted in the finished product, so when I went to Jo-Ann on a hunt for the perfect choice, I was looking for something more red-based with hints of yellow and light blue.  I found it in this fun, floral fabric with red being the primary focal point and quite a few other colors popping up.

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Next, I prepped the kitchen floor for ironing.  Since my ironing board is quite small, I decided to use the floor as a flat surface for ironing.  I had to lay down towels on top of the floor first for safety reasons. I spent about 20 minutes ironing the entire piece.

Before I started the hemming process, I determined that I wanted to start with the left and right vertical sides of the fabric.  I used Heat N Bond Heavy Duty tape, which I got from Michaels for about $3.  Before hemming, I aligned the fabric with the straight edge of a yard stick. I laid down the tape paper side up against the yard stick. Per the instructions, I ironed each section of the tape by holding the iron for about two seconds. Then I let the tape cool and peeled the paper side off very slowly so as not to rip the paper.  Next, I folded the fabric over, and ironed again for six seconds on each section, creating a relatively straight edge with no need to sew!  I did this twice to form the vertical sides of the roman shade on the left and right.  Unfortunately (for you and me), the pictures that I took of this process came out either very blurry or very dark, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

While I was ironing, Dan was busy in the garage cutting an eight foot 2×4 to the size of our shade.

He ripped the board (cut along the length) on his tablesaw to create a one inch wide strip and crosscut it to match the 72 inches of the fabric.

Then he clamped the strip onto his workbench and laid out where the keyhole hardware would go.  We used keyhole hardware because it is less permanent and the shade can easily be removed from the wall since we will be painting our entire downstairs in the next few weeks.  He estimated and marked out the location for both keyholes to be about 10 inches from each end.

Then he chiseled out a shallow rectangular hole that the hardware would fit in. Next, he chiseled out a slightly deeper hole within that for the screw that would be attached to the wall.

He drilled two pilot holes and screwed the hardware into place.  When hanging the shade, he laid out where the keyholes would be located on the wall and marked them with drywall anchors.  He put two screws into the wall and slid the wooden board onto the screw.

Now, back to the fabric side of things.  We measured the perfect length for the roman shade based on the approximate height that we wanted to hang it.  It came to 13 inches long, or 11.5 inches plus the 1.5 inches for the height of the wood. We used double sided carpet tape to wrap the fabric around the front and top of the wood, but any double sided tape would likely work. This is where the extra 1.5 inches of fabric was needed.

The last step was to actually make this into a roman shade with pleats, as opposed to just a straight hanging piece of fabric. We decided to lay the fabric on the kitchen floor, again on top of towels, to iron with the no-sew tape.  When making the pleats, we marked the ends of the fabric for reference at 13 inches using another piece of scrap wood as a straight edge.  We marked the fabric at about every four inches to determine a straight line (where my finger is marking the fabric is right along the line).  We aligned the no-sew tape slightly above that line and repeated the ironing process I outlined above. We did this for the first pleat, which would serve as the bottom of the shade.

We then repeated the ironing one more time so the fabric would not simply drop, rather it would become layered.  Above is a close up of the first two pleats – one at the bottom of the photo and the other in the top third.  These two pleats will really just look like one when you’re looking at it straight on.

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We added two more pleats, but we simply used pins for these since they would be behind the front pleat and wouldn’t be visible to anyone looking at it.  We also had to hang the shade, which I detailed above in the wood keyhole hanger process.


Here it is again, in all its no-sew glory. I never in a million years thought I would be making window treatments, but here we are. Comfort zone pushed.


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