DIY Tutorial: Upholstered Roller Shade

DIY Tutorial: Upholstered Roller Shade

Happy Friday, Friends!  I’ve got a fun easy tutorial for you today, and I hope you enjoy it.

I’m still working on my girls room (yes I know, but there have been more pressing projects around here lately), and I wanted them to have a shade underneath their cornice and curtains.  The shade would give the room extra darkness, it would be easy to pull it up and down for naps without having to close the curtains, and duh, it would look cute!

The fabric on their cornices and drapes is Braemore’s “Flowering Branch”.

It is a bit difficult to tell from the photo, but this fabric has a touch of very pale pink so I wanted to highlight that.  After picking up a few yards of this Ralph Lauren fabric, “Monroe Stripe”, on super sale (details on that coming soon), I knew this would be a great accent fabric for the room.  The pink and cream is light and lovely, and it just looked sweet.


First, I picked up some roller shades.  These can be found at many big retail stores (like Walmart), but I purchased mine at Home Depot.  After all, I am one of their Style Challengers this year, so I thought I should show them my support.  They have three different levels of roller shade:  Good, Better, and Best.  I went for the middle level – not the worst, not the best.

Since I have had my fabric for awhile, I lightly starched and ironed it so it would be wrinkle-free and crisp.

After it was ironed, I was ready to begin.  I laid my fabric on the table with the right side DOWN.  (make sure your table is clean!)  Then I laid the roller shade on top.  Leaving about two inches on each side all the way around, I cut out my fabric template.  I didn’t measure, I just eyeballed it.  The stripes were nice too because I could follow them so my lines were fairly straight.

My shades are really wide (nearly four feet) so I quickly realized this project was not going to take place on my dining room table.  Therefore, I moved this party to the living room floor at this point.

For this next step, I unrolled my shade all the way and placed it on the floor back side down.  (so you want to lay it with the side down that will be towards the window)  Then I laid my fabric on top of the shade, making sure it was evenly spaced with two inches all the way around.  (I also made sure my lines looked straight.  I took a can of spray adhesive, and section by section, I applied the adhesive lightly and laid the fabric down, smoothing it carefully with my hands as I went.

I did cut a little “notch” of fabric out where the cardboard tube of your shade lies.  Doing this makes the next step much simpler.

After my fabric had been lightly adhered to the shade, and I cut a little notch on each side near the roller, I turned my shade back around so the right side of the fabric was on the floor.  Because I like all things to be pretty, I decided to make nice edges on the back of my shade.  Using my fingers, I folded one side of the extra two inches I left in half, and then folded it again, and pressed all the way down the shade.  Basically, you are acting as a light iron.  This step is tedious, but it helps you later.  (ignore the glue on the fabric in this photo)

After you have your folds done, take your fabric glue (I used Fabri-tac, LOVE it!), and place a light bead of fabric along the edge of your roller shade.  (I started putting the glue on the fabric at first, as the above photo shows you, but it didn’t work as well, and was messier.  Putting the glue on the shade is the way to go.

Your folds make it so much easier for the gluing process to pick up speed!  After you have secured your edge to the shade, press with your fingers to make sure you get it as flat as possible.  (you like the blue on my finger where I slammed it in the door this week? #doingtoomanythingsatonce)

To glue the fabric to the top of the shade, I ran a small bead of glue along the cardboard and pressed the fabric down.  No folding on this one.

For the bottoms of the shade, I glued everything down just like I did on the sides, but left the corners for last.  I cut the extra fabric hanging on the sides, folded over the cut edge so it looked nice, and secured the corners with glue.

The corners looked like this when I had finished.

Roll up your shade, and you are ready to install!

When you purchase your roller shade, you need to make sure you also purchase the mounting kits.  They sell them for an inside mount (inside the window frame) and an outside mount (you want the shade to be affixed to the window trim).  I wanted mine to be outside mounts so that is what I purchased.  Mount the hardware per the instructions, and make sure your drill has a good battery or you may have to screw in the screws by hand.  (or get your sweet hubby to do it)

Here is a photo my oldest took (he is quite the photographer) that I found on my camera when I was uploading these photos.  You can see here how the shade is mounted on the window.  You can also see it is dark, and I, of course, am looking very glamorous.  HA!

I also found this doozy he took of his brother during this process.   And by the way, we had already put them to bed.

The big reveal!

As much as I wish my photos were gorgeous and taken in natural sunlight, with beautiful rays streaming through the windows, that did not happen.  I figured you guys would rather have the tutorial than perfect photos, and truth be told, it is tricky to get this sort of thing done during the day.  But there you have it, my pretty upholstered roller shade!

A few tips:

1.  Make sure your fabric is thin.  You definitely do not want to use an upholstery weight fabric.  My fabric was thin, but looking back, I wish I had used something even thinner.  The mechanism does not work as smoothly when your fabric is too thick.

2.  Yes, I like pretty edges, but they don’t matter, and no one will ever see them.  Fold your fabric over and glue it down!  I think I spent too much time on that step.

3.  When you mount your shades, make sure you have all of your hardware turned the right way.  Especially if it is late and you have gotten your hubby out of bed to help you.  (wink wink)

Enjoy your weekend!

Written by Grace

  • Lynn
    Posted at 07:52h, 15 March

    Absolutely gorgeous! You are a very talented lady and your family is blessed to have you.

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:11h, 15 March

      Lynn, you are so kind! I am the one that is blessed to have THEM! 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. G

  • amber
    Posted at 08:00h, 15 March

    So beautiful! I really love the fabric combination.

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:11h, 15 March

      Hi Amber, thank you so much! I’m happy with how it turned out!

  • CJ Harris
    Posted at 08:10h, 15 March

    Bravo Grace! Beautiful! Thanks for the wonderful info!

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:16h, 15 March

      Thank you so much, CJ! So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. G

  • Julie
    Posted at 08:11h, 15 March

    Gorgeous! I am inspired 😉 Check out Janell’s “roller shade jewelry” you may like :

    • Grace
      Posted at 08:17h, 15 March

      Hi Julie, that is so neat! So many brains, so many ideas! Thank you so much for sharing! xo, G

  • Shelley
    Posted at 09:13h, 15 March

    Gorgeous! Your instructions were so thorough, I think I might be able to do that!! Do they make a roller shade for a double width window?

    • Grace
      Posted at 09:38h, 15 March

      Thanks Shelley! I feel so torn when I do DIY’s sometimes regarding instructions because I want to give plenty of info and detail without being too wordy. I’m glad you thought it was helpful! Thanks so much for reading! G

  • Lisa
    Posted at 09:21h, 15 March

    So pretty!! I love that the hardware is hidden under the cornice and curtain panels. The whole effect is beautiful.

    • Grace
      Posted at 09:40h, 15 March

      Thank you, Lisa! I thought it turned out nice, too. It’s great when something that looks good in your head looks pretty in real life! Thanks so much for reading and commenting! G

  • Susan
    Posted at 10:22h, 15 March

    Absolutely love this! I may have to do the same thing in my son’s room!

    • Grace
      Posted at 10:55h, 15 March

      Thanks Susan! Send me photos when you are done! xo, G

  • Meredith
    Posted at 14:56h, 15 March

    Love the finished look. May have to try this. As an aside, I have the same picture molding in my house and I was wondering where you got the clips that mount on the trim to hang the pictures.

    • Grace
      Posted at 17:03h, 19 March

      Hi Meredith, thank you so much! I got the hooks from a local salvage yard that sells items for old homes called “Old Home Supply” here in Fort Worth. But I believe Rejuvenation sells them, they should be pretty easy to find with a google search. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks so much for reading! G

  • Alex
    Posted at 11:14h, 16 March

    Great tutorial! Looks beautiful and your kiddos are so cute! I’ve been dying to try this in my downstairs sunroom…one of my many troubled spaces! I’m going on a hunt for fabric! Or stencils as I’ve seen that done too! Have u ever stenciled roller shades?

    • Grace
      Posted at 17:04h, 19 March

      Thanks so much, Alex! I haven’t seen them, but I am sure you could make them look great! Good luck! xoxo, G

  • Curtain
    Posted at 04:11h, 30 April

    Interesting post and thank you for sharing. There are things here that I have not thought before.Thanks to make such a cool post which is really very well written.will refer a lot of friends about this. Keep blogging.

  • Harriett
    Posted at 08:42h, 16 January

    Those Roller blinds are beautiful. It looks like a pelmet, very clever thinking. I work in the industry (in the UK) and we usually don’t suggest a Roller blind (shade) with Curtains as it ruins the look of the Curtains and instead recommend Romans.

    Really, we just need to offer these! Thanks for sharing Grace!

    • Grace
      Posted at 11:30h, 17 January

      Hi Harriet, thank you so much for your comment! You should offer these – actually, I think fabric roller shades would be a great seller! Please let me know if you ever start manufacturing them, I would love to give them a try. G

  • Jill
    Posted at 21:29h, 18 February

    Hi Grace! Your look inspired me to make a few in my kitchen. They turned out pretty well… however I am having a hard time with some spots where the fabric is bubbling (slightly coming off the shade). I did my best to smooth the fabric out as I sprayed the adhesive on. It’s not terribly noticeable, do you have any advice from preventing this? Thanks!