Tips To DIY Roman Shades

Roman shades make sleek and functional window coverings and are relatively easy to make (although they may take a while depending on the number you are creating so make sure to set aside enough time for this project!). Window treatments (especially custom ones) can certainly get pricey, so why not find some cheap fabric and make your own? Although there are a lot of steps to this one time cost savings will definitely be worth it when you have your own custom window treatments!


  • fabric (here we did 3 windows using approximately 60 inches each of fabric so we used 5 yards total)
  • pins
  • sewing machine
  • eye hooks
  • cord cleats
  • screws
  • drill with phillips head bit and thin drill bit
  • staple gun
  • dowel rod (optional)
  • tape measure
  • small plastic rings (quantity depends on size of project and number of shades made)
  • nice string for shades (4x the amount of fabric you used)
  • 3 pieces of wood (rectangular and fitting to size for the tops of your shades)
  • needle
  • thread


1. Start by measuring for your entire project. Measure the interior of the window and cut your wood for the top of the shade to size length wise. Cut your fabric down to size leaving plenty of room for seam allowances (we used a 2 inch seam allowance to each side of the shade, 2 inches for the top and 6 inches for the bottom).

2. Sew up the side seams of your shade by using a 1 inch double hem. Pin up both sides and run through the sewing machine with a basic straight stitch.

3. For the bottom of the shade, measure and pin a 3 inch double hem and sew across. This will leave plenty of space for an optional dowel rod if you decide to use one.

4. Once your shade is sewn up, you will need to add your plastic rings that will hold in the string for your shade. Measure and mark where you want your rings along each side of the shade and middle of the shade (3 rows total). Each ring should be spaced evenly from the bottom up to the top. Here we used 10 inch spacing between each ring and used 5 rings on each line (for a total of 15 rings per shade). You do not need a ring at the very top of the shade as that part will be attached to the wood to drill into your window. You can use more or less depending on how far apart you would like your pleats (closer together means tighter and more pleats, further apart will mean looser and fewer pleats).

5. Once you have measured, marked and placed each ring in place (you can use pins to hold them in place), sew them on. You can hand sew them or drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine and use a zig zag stitch to attach each ring.

6. Once the rings are attached, measure the distance width wise between your columns of rings. Mark this distance on the wood and pre drill 3 small holes. Insert the eye hooks into the holes.

7. Staple the top of the fabric to the top of the wood (other wise of where you placed the eye hooks).

8. String up the shade by tying the string at the bottom of the shade to the plastic ring. and feeding it up through each ring until you reach the top and string through the eye hook. Pull off to the side and half way down the shade. Cut there. Continue with each column of rings, but with each column feed through the beginning rows eye hook to have your string end at the same spot at the end of the previous column. Once all 3 columns are strung, tie the ends of the string together to create your pull.

9. Pre drill your shade and screw it to the top of the window (on the inside border of the window).

10. Lastly screw the cord cleats into the side of the window. Pull on your string and wrap around the cord cleat to pull up the shade! You may want to add in a dowel rod to the bottom of the shade to provide weight on the shade when you are pulling up and down but this is optional (but may keep your shade more straight).