Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Knock-off Pottery Barn Cordless Roman Shade


 About a year and a half ago I bought a couple of Pottery Barn's cordless roman shades.  If you are not familiar with Pottery Barn roman shades let me just tell you they are pretty amazing! They're cordless, fold up perfectly every time and they are from Pottery Barn so of course, they are high quality beautiful shades AAAAAAND I would love it if most of the windows in our house were covered with those amazing shades!! But, there are a few drawbacks..

 1. They only come in a limited amount of standard sizes (unfortunately the standard sizes are the wrong size for most of the windows I would love to adorn with these amazing shades)

2. They are permanently attached to a roller shade mechanism so removal for hand washing is impossible.

3. They are kinda pricey.

Once I realized that my dreams of covering multiple windows with Pottery Barn's cordless romans shades was pretty much shattered I started researching ways to reinvent the wheel. ;-)

It all seemed so simple at first but of course in my head everything seems simple!   Then once I get to the point of no return I usually realize I must have skipped a few steps and over sought few hiccups in my original brain plan because it is waaaaaaaaaaay harder and more time consuming in real life.  This has really been such a long drawn out process; tons of research and time gathering up all the right products to pull it off, and to pull it off for a good price!  I have to say, in my search for the perfect way to make these roman shades I discovered there are several different ways you can attach your roman shade to a roller shade to make it cordless but Pottery Barn's method is by far my favorite so my tutorial is mostly based on how they make their shades except, I did design a way that the shade can be easily removed form the hardware for easy cleaning.  Long story short, I have made 3 shades start to finish.  If you count all the prototypes and times I picked apart an almost complete shade to make it a little better I have made more like 10.   I think I have ironed out most of the kinks so, if you decide to make these hopefully my tutorial makes the process go a lot smoother and quicker then it did for me.
The way these shades turned out is better then I imagined and all the drawbacks that I listed above for the Pottery Barn roman shade are not even a problem

1. You can make them the exact size you need.  The largest one I made is just over 5 feet wide and works great but I don't know how well one would work much bigger than that.  If your shade weights more than 4 pounds the roller shade gear has a hard time rolling up. Its probably more about finished weight then the width but I cant be sure because I have never made one that big.  Also my tutorial is only for a shade that is 64 inches long.  If you want a longer shade you would have to figure that part out on your own.    

2. If you make them the way I recommend, using Velcro.  Which makes them very easy to remove for hand washing!  I don't know about you but we live in the desert and our house gets pretty dusty and our kids have horrible allergies.  I love the fact that I can very easily remove the outer decorative shell from the roller shade mechanism and give it a good washing.   Plus, because of where the Velcro is placed it does not interfere with the design or look of the shades in any way shape or form.  

3. Lastly, these shades cost a fraction of the cost of a Potterybarn roller shade to make!  The smaller ones I made cost me around $30.00

Now I am sure you  are dying to make your own so on to the tutorial!

Just FYI.. This roman shade tutorial is designed for roman shades that are widths between 12 inches and 5 feet and a length of 64 inches finished. 

Supplies needed

1 inch Velcro I bought my Velcro from Joann's.  It is sold by the foot but on a 5 yard roll.  It has a sew on Loop and a sticky back Hook.

1x2 board

Liner I used black out liner but you can use any white fabric.  You will need at least 2 yards for length

Levolor brackets I bought mine at Lowes in the department where they sell shades.  They are very inexpensive.. Like around $1.00

Fabric roller shade I used the Ikea Isdans They come in 24', 32", 39", 47" and 55" wide shades and cost between $9.99 and $23.99.  

Sheer Lift Fabric I used a curtain panel from Ikea, its called Teresia

Decorative Fabric for front of roman shade You will need at least 2 yards for length.  It is better if you don't use a supper light weight fabric.  I used a light weight linen that I was going to use for a different style of roman shade and it would have worked perfect for that style.  I made it work for this purpose but it wrinkles really easily and I had to tack it down in a few extra places so that it did not sag.  You also don't want to use a supper heavy fabric like denim.  If the shade is too heavy the roller spring will not be strong enough to pull up the shade.  

Nylon rods I ordered 3/16 outside diameter from Max-Grain systems, INC.  Phone number 770-973-6251 web: 

Rectangle aluminum weight rod These are optional and you can find them at Lowes.  I used them in my smaller shades but I think the Nylon round rods work just as well and don't add nearly as much weight to the shade. 

Other supplies

Adhesive fabric spray
Erasable fabric marker
Hot Glue gun
Your shade will not function properly if the finished shade with rods weighs more than 3 to 4 pounds.  Here are some ideas to keep your shades lighter.. use lighter fabrics and liners.  I used heavy black out liner on all three shades but my outer shade fabric is supper light weight.  You can also try ordering nylon rods that have a smaller outside diameter.  I used 3/8 inch outside diameter rods but I am sure 1/8 inch outside diameter or just under 1/8 inch outside diameter would work great.  Aluminum weight bars give the bottom of your shade a really nice straight hem and edge but 3/8 inch nylon rod works good as well.

Velcro makes your shades removable for easy washing but it does add cost to your shade so if you would rather not use Velcro follow all the steps, unless otherwise noted, and special instructions in red writing. 


 ** if you plan on screwing your curtains to the ceiling or to inside your window you don't have to use mounting brackets.

1. Measure and decide how wide you would like your roman shade to be.

2. Cut a very straight 1" x 2" board to desired length.  (A 2X2 can also be used.  You just have to rip two sides to get it down to the right width and depth)

3. ** You only have to do this step if you are using brackets..  I used the Levolor Mini Blind brackets.  Throw out the clear plastic brackets you only need the metal bracket.  Each package only has one metal bracket.  I found them at Lowes and they are very inexpencive. 

4. Run wood through a table saw to get
desired width and depth.  I cut my wood down to a width and depth of 1 3/8" X 7/8" so it would fit the metal bracket.

 5. Cover wood using some of the fabric that will be used to make the roman shades.

My outer roman shade is linen and I did not want the wood to show through the linen so I covered it with black out fabric first.  I used a hot glue gun to adhere the fabric to the wood and pulled it tight.  Then I covered it with the linen.

 Be sure to pull the fabric taut and make the ends look as clean and crisp as possible (the ends are what you will see).  I tacked down one end then pulled the fabric taut and worked on the opposite end folding the fabric in and tried my best to make it look clean and crisp then I glued the middle. 

6. Cut a piece of Sticky Back hook Velcro to the same length as the covered wood support and adhere it to one of the sides that is 7/8" thick.

I am not writing up a way to attach your shades to the support rod with out Velcro so if you are going the no Velcro rout you will need to figure out how you want to attach your shades to the support rod  ;-)  


This fabric will never be seen but is sewn or Velcro'd (depending on how you want to make your shades) to the back side of the liner and will make it so when the roller shade rolls up the roman shade folds up.

I think you can probably buy exactly what you need from a distributer but I do not have access to a whole sale distributer and I wanted to keep my cost down so for this part I used a curtain panel from Ikea, its called Teresia.  Whatever fabric you end up using be sure it is very light weight (sheer), strong and does not stretch.  I chose the Teresia panel because it was sheer, not stretchy, inexpensive and convenient.  Be sure to WASH and IRON your fabric before you get started on the next step. 

 Cut 4 strips out of sheer fabric.  They should be narrower than the width of the fabric on the Ikea roller shade (4-5 inches narrower)   For this part I used a cutting board and rotary blade to cut the strips.  These fabric strips to be cut perfectly so the shades hang properly.

Here are the dimensions you will need..

Width of Ikea fabric roller shade minus 4 inches by 22 1/5 inches
Width of Ikea fabric roller shade minus 4 inches by 16 inches
Width of Ikea fabric roller shade minus 4 inches by  10 inches
Width of Ikea fabric roller shade minus 4 inches by 4 inches

Put NO FRAY on all 4 edges of each piece of fabric.  Be sure to do this on cardboard or a table you don't care about because it will drip and leave a residue on anything it touches.

1. Cut fabric LINER that will be used (I used black out fabric) and cut it to the same width as the top wood support by 2 yards for lenght. 

2. With right side of the black out lining facing up and using a fabric pen or chalk you are going to draw 4 horizontal lines.  You will be doing the same thing when you get to the fabric roller shade.  But it is a lot easier to sew on here because you will not be working around a rod.
  • From the bottom measure up 9 inches and draw a horizontal line all the way across.  This will be the bottom of the shade.   This will now be the bottom of the shade.. Be sure not to get the bottom and top mixed up..
  •  Measure up 13 3/4 inches from the first line and draw another line
  • Measure up 13 3/4 inches from the second line and draw another line
  • Measure up 13 3/4 inches from the third line and draw another line 

***If you don't want to use Velcro, you will need to pin and sew on the narrowest piece of sheer fabric (4 inches tall) to the top of the bottom line (The line that is just up 9 inches is the bottom) Then the next piece that 10 inches, to the next line up and the one that is 16 inches, to the next line up and so on.  This next part I am going to tell you is very important! The Velcro has two purposes.. It is to hold the curtain together as well as to hold the fiber glass support rod.  Since you are not using Velcro, you will need to sew on 3/4 inch bias tape across each of the lines. Sew along the top and bottom of bias tape but not the ends so that the rod has a place to slide in between the bias tap and the liner.  Once you are done here skip the next step and go to DECORATIVE OUTER ROMAN SHADE

3. Cut four pieces of 1 inch wide loop Velcro to the same measurement as the liner minus 4 inches.  I usually take the Velcro outside and spray the back side with a temporary sewing adhesive spray.  Standing at the bottom of the roman shade liner you are going to line up the top edge of the Velcro with the bottom of the chalk line.  Center the of the Velcro in the middle of the fabric along the lines.  The Velcro should stop 2 inches before it touches each edge.   Sew each Velcro strip on the bottom and top.  (It is important to sew on the bottom and the top and not the sides so that a rod can be slid between the Velcro and liner).    Don't put the rods in till just before you hang your shades.

In the picture to the right you can see the fabric on the left already has the Velcro sewn to it and the fabric on the right is marked and getting ready to have the Velcro sewn to it.

This part is easiest if you have a big table to work off.  Cut the width of the DECORATIVE ROMAN SHADE fabric to the width of top wood support PLUS 4 1/2 inches and 2 yards for length

THE BOTTOM HEM (invisible)

1. Make sure you know what end is the bottom of the liner.  It will have Velcro sewn closest to the bottom (9 inches from the bottom). With DECORATIVE OUTER ROMAN SHADE fabric right sides together with ROMAN SHADE LINER (sewn on Velcro strips will be in between the two fabrics) line up the bottom edges of the fabric but make sure the LINER is centered.  It is 4 1/2 inches wider then the DECORATIVE OUTER FABRIC and should hang over 2 1/4 inches on ether side of liner.

2. To insure you get a nice straight hem take a long ruler and measure 1 1/4 inches up and draw a line all the way across.  Pin the two pieces together to prevent shifting and sew straight across the line.


 3. Open up the fabric and iron the seam so the decorative fabric is folded and the liner is flat.

4. Top stitch 1/4 inch away from the seam on the decorative fabric side.

5. Wrap the outer decorative fabric the rest of the way around the liner so the two fabrics are now
wrong sides together.  This should give you a 1 1/4 inch hem and you can only see the sewn hem from the back.  Iron.  Don't top stitch the front, it is not needed.


Make sure your fabric is ironed really good before you start this part.

1. With the DECORATIVE OUTER FABRIC right side facing down and LINER right side facing up and on top smooth out fabrics so they lay perfectly flat.  Iron and smooth it out and smooth it out and smooth it out.  I cant say this enough getting  your fabrics perfectly smooth and laying flat is very important in this step :)

2. Fold and press edges of DECORATIVE FABRIC 1/4 of an inch all the way up on both sides.

3. Fold in one more time approximately (2 inches) toward and over the top of the LINER.  Make sure your sides are straight and iron the sides really good.

4. Tack down the corners and sides by hand with a tacking stitch.

On the corners try to tack them down without coming all the way through to the front so it is invisible.  On the sides pull the needle all the way through both fabrics.  Make sure you are using thread that matches you DECORATIVE OUTER FABRIC perfectly or nearly perfectly.

You want to tack down the sides at each Velcro row (tack it at the top of the Velcro width) as well as in between each Velcro row.  When you hang your shades you may see if additional spots need to be tacked down.  I used really thin linen.  Probably not ideal for these shades but it is what I had so I used it.  I had to tack it to the liner in additional places because it was sagging in some places.


1.From the bottom measure up 64 inches.

2. Draw a line with chalk then top stitch all the way across. (The top stitch will make it so the shade folds perfectly at that point)

3. Cut a piece of loop Velcro to the same width of the roman shade and sew it just ABOVE the top stitch.

4. Trim the top so it is only an inch past the Velcro.  Surge the edge or pink it to prevent fraying.


1. Make sure you get a fabric roller shade that is a little narrower than the width of what you want your finished shade to be otherwise you won't be able to screw the roller shade brackets onto the support bar (the support bar is the same width as the finished shade)  In the picture to the right you can see by looking at the wood support the finished width of the shade will be at least 3-4 inches wider then the roller shade.  *** the sheer fabric does not come sewn on the roller shade.  ;)


 My roller Shades are from Ikea.  They are called Isdans and come in 24', 32", 39", 47" and 55" wide shades and cost between $9.99 and $23.99

One of my roman shades is 5 feet wide. So I bought an expensive spring and tube from a whole sale company. It is heavier and I thought it it would work a ton better for my extra large shade.  The spring was supper strong and at one point when I was calibrating the spring the gear end popped out and almost sliced my finger in half.  Ok not really in half, but it was a pretty deep cut and my index finger is now permanently scarred. WAAAA  it hurt so bad!  Anyway, after all that the Ikea shade and spring work just about the same. 

2. Place your your Ikea fabric roller shade on a flat surface (a hard floor or table) so that it is facing down as as seen in picture.

This part is important because if you sew the sheer fabric onto the wrong side the shade wont work and you will have to pick if off and resew it to the other side..

I may or may not be speaking from experience here. ;-)

3. Draw 4 horizontal lines.  Start from the bottom:
  • Measure up 7 1/4 inches and draw a line with fabric chalk or pen all the way across horizontally.
  • Measure up 7 inches from there and draw another line
  • Measure up 7 inches from there and draw another line
  • Measure up 7 inches from there and draw another line

 4. Center each strip with the shade (they should be 4-5 inches narrower than the shade).  
Starting smallest strip to largest and working from the bottom of the roller shade up.
** if you are not using Velcro, at this point you will need line up the strips that are already sewn on the liner to the fabric shade on the corresponding lines. It will probably be tricky but can be done.  You might want to try peeling the fabric off the roller shade and re taping it down after everything is sewn together.  Good luck!

4" strip goes on the bottom line
10" strip goes on the next line up
16" strip next line
22 1/2" strip is on the top..

Line up the top of each fabric strip with the chalk line and pin it onto the shade.  Sew each strip on with a 1/2 seam allowance.   The fabric is lined up with the chalk line but your seam will be 1/2 inch down from the chalk line.

5. Last, cut  4 pieces of the sticky back hook Velcro that are the same lenght as the strips of sheer fabric that were just sewn to the roller shade.  FYI hook is the side that will snag everything in its path if you are not careful with it.  Carefully stick the Velcro hook tape to the bottom of the strips of sheer fabric.  When placing the Velcro on the bottom make sure that the fabric completely covers the sticky adhesive part of the Velcro tape.  It is supper sticky so once it is on there is is there to stay forever.

Velcro can get expensive.   The type I got is sold by the yard and comes as a sew on loop and sticky back hook.  Just a side note.. I ran out of the more expensive sticky hook Velcro so I used a less expensive brand I had on hand and it all fell off by day two. The expensive name brand kind has now been on my shades for a year and is still holding strong.

6. Measure the Ikea Roller Shade and screw in the brackets that come with the Ikea roller shade to the bottom of covered wooden support (The bottom which ever side you choose that is 1 3/8 inches thick.  I always pick the nicer of the two sides for the bottom)


1.Line up the corresponding Velcro on the roller shade and Roman shade and stick them together.

2. Also, Velcro together the top of the roman shade to the top wood support


1. Screw in the Levolor brackets above the window.  Make sure to take note of where the Ikea brackets are on the wood support so Levolor brackets are not trying to attach to the wood in the same place as where the Ikea Roller shade is hanging down. 

2. Slide the shade into the brackets.

3. Place a screw through the bottom so the shades do not slide out.


Fiberglass rods are definitely the best to use for roman shades!  I tried, wood and metal.  Fiberglass is
very light weight unlike metal and they do not permanently bend or break like wood dowels.  

I did not know the exact lenght I needed my rods to be so I had to cut mine.

If you have to cut yours tape around the area that needs to be cut with masking tape and draw a line on the masking tape where it needs to be cut.  I used a miter saw to cut mine.  IF YOU DON'T TAPE THE SPOT YOU ARE CUTTING IT IS REALLY DANGEROUS.   It will be a really rough cut and the rod will most likely splinter and fly all over the place.  You can probably use a hand saw too. 

Also, be careful when handling the rods.  You can get fiberglass splinters if you touch the ends.  Once again I speak from experience and the splinters do not come out it will just itch and be uncomfortable for a few days.   After you have cut your rods to length put a little supper glue on the ends to seal them so you don't get splinters.  

This is what the rod looks like installed.  It just slides right in between the Velcro and the roman shade liner. 

Below is what the shade looks like between the decorative outer fabric and the fabric roller shade.

This is what the outside of our windows look like with the shades closed.  As you can see there are no loops or strings hanging down.  Just the back of the white roller shade is visible. 

If you decide to make these shades please let me how it goes!  Also, I am horrible about responding to comments on this blog.  I am so much better with instagram but, I promise I will try to be better over here and answer any questions you might have.  Hope you have a wonderful day!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

The entry and a little thow back

 A little Throwback Thursday
 I really cannot believe that top picture was taken just a little over a year ago.. Renovating is rough and living in your renovation is even harder.  Although we lived thought our fair share of dust and renovating we obviously did not live in the house when it was at this stage of the renovation.  

Lately I have been looking through old pictures and it is really fun.  I thought I would share some with you.

The bay window is my favorite part about the front of our house.  And it is a good memory.  Ben and I framed the curved roof and put all the wood board and batten siding on the outside.  It was a fun project to do together. 

You cannot tell from the picture but we have not really gotten around to landscaping the front yard.  It needs a final grading irrigation and some top soil and curbing and grass.  You get it, pretty much it needs everything.  Right now we have some random grass and weeds growing in the front and some pretty flowering pots.  The picture below is of our gardens at our old house last spring.  Sigh... someday.  I love grass and flowers.   
The entry and front room

Just thinking about this space make me want to take a nap. . no, maybe more like hibernate. We did so much to this area.  It was the biggest headache.  It used to be the master bedroom and bathroom.  We took it all out and added a bay window.  Then long story short one of the walls was super crooked so in February we tore down all the dry wall straightened it out re-drywalled, textured and painted.  Ugh what pain. I am not sure I want to bore your with that process.

This is what it used to look like.. 

Below is a picture standing in the new front room/old master bedroom after we we gutted everything.
This is now. .. Still a work in progress. The couch is a work in progress too. ;0

The old front doors
 Now the office doors

Here is our all time favorite throwback from last year... Tomorrow she is a year! Time has really flown by.   Annie is the perfect fit for our family.  This is so bitter sweet, we are thrilled with the progress of our house and to be out of the thick of construction but kind of sad our baby is growing up so fast. 

Thanks for taking a little journey back to last year with us. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chandelier Love

Has it really been almost 3 months since I wrote a blog post.  REALLY?! Where does the time go?  I had every intension of posing this ages ago.  Along with several other posts.  I have a TON of catching up to do.  So much has happened.  Bear with me, hopefully I can get a little caught up here.  

Restoration Hardware currently has a beautiful wooden chandelier that I have had my eye on for a long time.  And it would have looked so pretty in my Kitchen.  But, $1100 is kinda pushing the budget.  So, I improvised and found one on Craig's list.  Aaaaaaand chandelier's are like my favorite to refinish.  They are smaller than a piece of furniture, so usually take less time and if done tastefully they can add so much drama and interest (and light) to a space. .. Unfortunately this is not exactly how I found our chandelier ... 


The picture below is what our chandler looked like when I found it.  Have you ever driven a long way for a Craig's list item and when you got there it might not have been exactly what you envisioned but because of the inconvenience and time you already spent driving the distance it only seemed logical you should come back home with something?  Well this was probably one of those times.  And I think I spent more than I should have.  It was $80.00.  But I bought it in a very poor part of Pheonix from a young college student. I should of offered a lot less but she needed the money so I could not bring my self to offer her one dollar less.   

Yep it was pretty ugly!  This chandelier took a little bit of brain storming.  However, I could tell it had good bones...  I just did not know where to start.  I think I stared at it every night for a week or two before I went to bed.  Finally I just took the whole thing apart hoping after I striped off all the yucky yellow/orange stain some inspiration would come.   I really had to call on the creative juices for this one.   

To get the polyurethane and stain off I poured a bunch of paint stripper into a tub and let the wooden pieces sit in paint stripper for 15 minutes.  I then scrubbed each piece with a course plastic brush.  Then rinsed them off with watter and used a wet dry sanding block to get the rest of the polyurethane and stain off.  Some pieces were a little more stubborn.  For those pieces I poured Turpentine into a basin and let them soak for a few minutes then scrubbed and rinsed with water.   Turpentine and paint stripper are very strong stinky chemicals.  I used a really good mask for gas fumes and heavy duty gloves.

Fortunately all the stain and polyurethane came off nicely.  I love the natural color of this wooden chandelier! I decided to not put the horizontal spindles back on so I had to rework the structure just a little.  To fill the void in the center I cut a piece of wood off the spindle I no longer was using and wrapped it in some jute rope. 

And this is how it turned out.  I love, love, love this chandelier.  I had my doubts and it was a bit of a labor of love but it is completely original and is the perfect piece for our kitchen.  Have you ever redone a chandelier?  If you haven't you should try it!  Definitely my favorite thing to refinish!  Speaking of chandeliers I still have not replaced my chandler over our dining room table.  I de-crystallized it and took the shades off.  It's not perfect but it looks a ton better.   I received so many great suggestions for chandeliers.  However, last week I was watching a show on HGTV that had a chandelier that would be absolutely perfect and so easy to build.   I cant wait to build it...  Sometime this year ... or maybe next year ... or in 10 years (at the rate I am finishing projects around here)

Thanks for stopping by XOXOX