Drapery Sewing Supplies
HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99.9% of hacker crime.

Knowledge Base:  
You are here: Knowledge Base >
How To Make A Fabric Roller Shade
Last Updated: 03/09/2008

Do you want an attractive window treatment that you can easily lower to block out the light and provide privacy... with minimal sewing?

Then a fabric roller shade is the perfect window treatment for you.

I'm going to show you exactly how to make a fabric roller shade that will easily lower and raise with a bead chain.


  • Roller Shade Clutch Kit (includes bead chain, clutch, brackets, shade roller, wood slat and double face tape)
  • Fabric for the front of your roller shade
  • Shade cloth that is at least 2" wider than the final width of your shade
  • Laminating Adhesive
  • Fringe Adhesive
  • Straight Edge (longer the better)
  • Rotary Cutter (this creates clean straight edges)
  • New sharp blade for rotary cutter
  • Rotary Matt (larger the better)
  • 2 low nap paint rollers (3/16" thick)
  • Masking tape (1" wide)
  • Lint brush

You can find your roller shade clutch kit, shade cloth, and adhesives at www.draperysewingsupplies.com

  • Flat surface to lay your entire shade (this may have to be your kitchen floor)
    or you can create a surface by getting a piece of plywood that's larger than your finished shade dimensions and lay a rotary mat on top of it.

Step 1. Measure the inside width of your window frame.

Your shade final width will be this measurement MINUS 15/16"

Note: these instructions are for an inside mount. A fabric roller shade can be mounted on the outside of your window too. But to simplify these instructions, I chose the most popular method. You can easily take this method and apply it to an outside mount.

Step 2. Install the roller shade brackets. Make sure you install the brackets low enough so that the large round clutch part has room to rotate. The bracket will insert into the center of this piece (don't do that yet). But this will help you decide how low you need to install the brackets.

Step 3. Measure from the top of the bracket down to the window sill. This is your shade's final length.

Step 4. Lay your shade cloth onto your work surface and measure in from the left edge 1" and mark with a sharpee. Do this in several places and draw a line down the left side of your shade cloth. Your shade cloth edges are square, so the line you draw should be parrallel to the edge. If not, measure again.

Step 5. Measure up from the bottom edge of your shade cloth about an 1" and draw a line across your cloth.

The lines in step 4 and step 5 should be square to each other. You can easily check this with a T-square or right angle.

At this point, you may be wondering which side of the shade cloth you should use. One side has a matte finish and the other side is shiny. You can use either side. If you like the shiny side, then you will work on the matte side and glue the fabric to the matte side, so that the shiny side faces out your window.

Step 6. Cut your fabric to slightly wider than the shade's finished width. Make sure that you cut your fabric square.

To ensure that your edges are square, clip your selvedge edges at a diagonal every 2"-3". Then fold your fabric in half lengthwise aligning the selvedge edges. Then measure from the folded edge across 1/2 the finished shade width. Do this in several places and draw a line. Cut your fabric along this line. For best results, cut your fabric with a rotary cutter.

Step 7. Square off the bottom edge of your fabric.

Step 8. Roll the lint brush over both sides of your fabric. This is very important! If you don't, you'll end up having lint and threads inbetween your fabric and shade cloth.

Step 9. Lay your shade cloth onto your work surface and tape down all four edges with your masking tape.

Step 10. Pour a little glue onto your cloth and roll it out with one of your paint rollers. You want a thin, even coat of glue. Pour and roll until you have enough glue on your roller to distribute the glue over the entire side of your shade cloth.

Step 11. Continue rolling your paint roller across and down on your shade cloth (no more pouring glue), until there are no more bubbles. Look closely. Roll until the glue becomes tacky... it will feel like the shade wants lift with your roller. Again, make sure there are no air bubbles. You will be rolling for a few minutes, so don't fret if you're still rolling after 3 minutes.

Step 12. Roll the lint brush over your fabric one more time.

Step 13. Starting with squared edge of your fabric, lay your fabric onto the adhesive... aligning your fabric's raw edges with the lines on your shade cloth. Take your time and smooth the fabric with your hands as you go. Don't stretch your fabric.

Step 14. Once your fabric is on your shade cloth, smooth from the center out with your hands. Feel for any lint or fuzz inbetween the fabric and cloth. If you find a bump, gently lift up your fabric and remove the item. Then take your clean paint roller and roll it over your fabric... smoothing out your fabric even further.

Step 15. Lay your shade aside and let it cure for 12 hours.

Step 16. Trim your left edge off... use your drawn line on the shade cloth as a guide. Cut using your rotary cutter for a clean line.

Step 17. Measure across your shade the final width of your shade and mark. Do this in several place and draw a line down your shade.

Step 18. Cut on this line with your rotary cutter.

Now you have clean side edges for your shade.

Step 19. Trim your bottom edge so that it is square.

Step 20. Measure up from the bottom edge the final shade length plus 3" and mark. Do this in a few places and draw a line across your shade. Trim your top edge of your shade on this line with a rotary cutter. This edge should be square to your side edges.

Step 21. Fold the bottom edge up 1 1/2" to the shade cloth side and finger press. Apply fringe adhesive to both sides of the slat and lay the slat within this fold. Press the shade cloth to both sides of the wood slat... until the glue has dried. You may want to lay weights on your shade to keep the shade pressed to the slat for a few minutes. (Your wood slat should be cut to the finished shade width)

You're now ready to attach your shade to your roller shade clutch.

You can hang your roller shade in one of 2 ways.

You can have the shade attach to the front of your roller... when you roll up your shade the fabric side always shows.
Or you can attach the shade to the back of your roller... when you roll up your shade the shade cloth side shows. This method provides the most privacy and light block. If you decide to attach your shade to the back of the roller, you may want to add a valance to your window to hide the roller shade hardware.

Step 22. Lay your shade fabric side up if you are planning on attaching the shade to the BACK of the roller. Lay your shade fabric side down if you are planning on attaching the shade to the FRONT of the roller.

Step 23. Lay the roller with the double face tape facing up on to your shade. You can hold the roller in place by placing scissors into each open end of the roller and placing weights onto the scissors.

Step 24. Peel off the paper on the tape.

Step 25. Carefully adhere the top edge of your shade onto the adhesive strip. The adhesive strip is already straight... and so should your shade top edge... so align carefully the top edge with the strip. Press with your fingers.

Step 26. Roll the shade up around the roller. Roll back and forth a few times.

Step 27. Unroll your shade and place a strip of masking tape over the top edge of your shade to ensure your shade doesn't come off the roller.

Step 28. Roll your shade up.

Step 29. Assemble the roller shade clutch and attach it to both sides of the shade per the clutch instructions

Step 30. Slip the clutch onto the clutch brackets inside your window

Raise and lower the shade with your bead chain! You did it!

The most important tip I can offer you when making a fabric roller shade is to take your time. Make sure your edges are square and clean. And that your fabric is smooth when adhered to the shade cloth.

Again, you can find your roller shade clutch kit, shade cloth and adhesives at www.draperysewingsupplies.com

Was this article helpful?