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How to customise roller blinds

With a little imagination and creativity, you can successfully customise an old or plain roller blind to make one that fits with your home decor. The process is straightforward, inexpensive and safe and can even provide a learning experience for your children, if you want to show them how you can improve your home without throwing everything out and starting again. Make sure you buy plenty of material if you want to cover an old roller blind, and keep the edges tidy for a professional finish.

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  1. Purchase a new, inexpensive roller blind or select an old one you already have and wish to customise. Be sure the blind fits the desired window location by measuring the distance between the two side walls of the inner window with a tape measure. Take this as your opportunity to rehang poorly aligned or badly measured roller blind. Standard roller blind fabric is 2.1 or 2.5 cm (7/8 or 1 inch) narrower than the tip to tip measurement.

  2. Select the method or combination of methods you will use to customise your roller blind. Choose from painting, dressing with wallpaper or attaching new fabric. Make sure you match the planned design of the roller blind with existing decor. Alter the room decor now if you dislike it or it needs updating so your roller blind matches the new decor, and will not suddenly look out of place.

  3. Unroll the blind gently on a clean flat surface, such as short-pile carpet or dry floor tiles. Measure the length and width of the shade using the tape measure. Calculate the area by multiplying the length by the width in the same units, such as centimetres. Write the value of the area in your notepad for future reference because it will help you when you buy materials.

  4. Buy fabric that is at least as large as the roller blind when extended to its full length. Always buy more fabric than you need -- about 12.5 to 25 cm (5 to 10 inches) in both length and width is sufficient. Buy the same size of fusible interface material. Cut off any rough, uneven edges using sharp scissors.

  5. Lay your new fabric face down on the flat, dry floor. Lay the fusible interface material on the back of the fabric. Adjust them so they are as flat as possible. Make sure their positions match as closely as possible to complete overlap (a small discrepancy is expected at this stage). Lay your fully extended roller blind over the fusible interface material and, beneath it, the new fabric. Make sure all the old roller blind material is in contact with new fabric and fusible interface to get an effective bond.

  6. Dampen a large, thin towel in warm, clean water. Drain it off so it does not drip or retain too much water. Lay the damp towel over the three layered fabrics on your floor, making sure you do not introduce any creases into the fabrics as you work. Spread the towel out so it completely covers the fabrics underneath. Flatten it and smooth out any final creases.

  7. Allow your iron to heat up to about two thirds of its maximum temperature (the exact value varies depending on the iron manufacturer, and should correspond somewhat to the content of the fabric). Carefully iron over the entire towel to enable the fusible material to bond to your new fabric in a process called steam heating. A standard iron heats up to between 110 and 200 degrees Celsius (230 and 290 degrees Fahrenheit).

  8. Lift off the towel. Allow the towel, iron and fabrics to cool and the customised roller blind fabrics to bond together properly. Carefully cut around the new materials using the edges of the old roller blind as a guide. Trim and neaten stray threads. Prevent edge threads from fraying by using a generous amount of seam sealant. Spread the seam sealant evenly along the edges to create a good seal. Opt for waterproof sealant if your shade might get damp, such as in a kitchen or bathroom location.

  9. Turn the bottom edge under by about 3.7 cm (1 1/2 inches), as specified by Alternative Windows. Sew a neat seam to create the roller blind base, using a needle and some thread that matches the fabric. You also can opt for an inexpensive plastic sheath that slides over the bottom edges to create a neat base for the blind, and they are available from most haberdashery/sewing supply stores ready-made. Reattach the roller blind to its housing inside the window frame. Test it by rolling it down and up a few times.

  10. Tip

    Wallpaper is attached in exactly the same way as new fabric. Alternately, paint your own design onto a plain roller blind or use a stencil to form particular shapes or patterns.


    Hot irons can burn skin. Even hot fabrics can hurt your skin if you pick them up too soon after they have been ironed. Let hot surfaces cool and keep young children out of the room during work.

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Things You'll Need

  • Roller blind with hardware and pull cord
  • Tape measure
  • Calculator
  • Fabric
  • Fusible interfacing
  • Sharp scissors
  • Large, thin towel
  • Warm water
  • Household iron
  • Fabric seam sealant
  • Sewing needle
  • Matching thread
  • Plastic base sheath

About the Author

Debbie Williams studied design at the Kansas City Art Institute and has operated a graphic design and printing business for the last 17 years. She has been involved in various crafts including sewing, quilting, costuming, woodworking and various DIY all her life.

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