Bean Bag Beam Blocker
Yep it's true...I've joined the ranks of all the mini blind maker overs. These dated little buggers are NOT in short supply....but...if you don't still have some to turn into recycled treasures...then you can get them for less than five bucks!
Two years ago....yes...you read that right...two years ago I got these really cool coffee bean bags.....and I knew when I got them that I wanted them for window coverings....I just wasn't sure how I was gonna sew, fashion or style them. They are so cool....and the best part....burlap! It just doesn't get any more charming than that!
So....how does this story go? Well...once upon a time.. there were these really UGLY one inch mini blinds.....that NO one loved anymore....but everyone needed some privacy and easy light control....something sleek that would fit behind curtain panels if they wanted. So...no one said...."I hate to throw these out....and new "in style" window coverings that are so versatile.....are so so expensive.' So here's what no one did.
The right width of the window....length isn't important....as long as it's long enough.
fabric...keep in mind...the thicker your fabric is....the "sloppier" the folds will be when you have them pulled up....it's hard to get stiff fabric to lay pretty. You'll see....because mine is stiff...but I don't mind that look. If you prefer a "neater appearance when they're pulled up....I suggest using a fabric that has less body. If you don't like how transparent it is...you could always put a liner on it. Your fabric should be the width of your window....plus enough to turn under or hem.....long enough....plus enough to fold over the top....and turn under the bottom.
Scissors, glue (fabric glue...or multi-use), screwdriver, tape measure....and a calculator.
Now....what I did was decided that I wanted my shades to fold every 7 inches. That really just depends how your own personal preference.....but your window length needs to be divisible by what ever depth you want your folds to be when your shade is pulled up. I am making my shades 55" long....by 36"wide. So I figured after the top and bottom rail....about every 7"....so I needed 6 of my slats...plus the top and the bottom rails.
So...take your blinds....and lay them completely stretched out on the floor.
Pry the buttons off of the bottom rail (don't throw them...or the bottom rails away)....and pull out the strings. What you'll notice is some small strings that go up along the outside of the the slats on the front and back....tiny strings that go between each slat....or ladder like strings.....and then a larger single string that runs up through all of the slats.....this is the most important string.....DO NOT CUT IT!!! Leave the cord that draw the blinds up and down....but you won't need the stick. I know this sounds really complicated....but as long as you don't cut the center cords....you'll be fine. Even if you get the math wrong....they'll still turn out okay....they will just have a slightly different size fold...but no biggie.
Slide all the slats off...except the number that you got with your math above. I needed six slats. Now...I decided that my slats were just too flimsy....so I glued two together for each space....just stacked them, and pretended that two are one. I didn't throw my extra slats away....You'll see why another day! :) (Hoarder! lol)
Here is a close up of the "ladder" portion pulled out of the way....you can see that all my slats are feed up....and the center string is still in tact. I cut my "ladders" off leaving about two inches or so...and tied them right under the top rail....just to keep them neat.
Take your fabric and hem all your edges to the size of your window. I didn't hem the top or the bottom...but I frayed mine....so I didn't need to. So I guess if you're using something that you want to fray....just hem the edges....or not. lol
I laid my hemmed fabric....pretty side down....and glued the top cap to it. Remember that the blinds need to be facing down also. like it's standing behind the fabric....facing it's back. now....before gluing the slats down....lay them out. This is where you can make adjustments in the spacing and see if you want the amount you figured. If it looks good....glue them down....with the rounded edges facing the fabric....it really won't effect the way they work...but the rounded edge will glue better.
Here is where you can make adjustments in your measurements. If you want...you could do your math right here...if you have more than one window....you can use this as your "pattern" project if you don't want to do math and figures.
As you're gluing...take care not to glue the string that runs through your slats...as it will need to move freely.
Now run the strings back through the bottom rail....retie...and replace the little caps.
Once the glue has dried....hang and enjoy!
Here are mine.....keep in mind...I haven't finished my windows out....our sun room is a "work in progress"....but that doesn't keep the sun from BEATING through those windows already!!! I love the sun in the winter....but WOW in the summer! I know I know....it's fixing to be winter....but this gives me all winter to get them done....and the skylights!!! It will probably take every bit of that too....there are thirteen windows...and two skylights...=\
This was my first one and it took me several hours. I started with my one short window to "learn". I think once I start on the others...it will go somewhat faster....they are all the same size so my measurements shouldn't change. Allow yourself a fairly good bit of time to do this. It isn't HARD...just a little time consuming and you do need room in your floor to work....or a large vertical surface.
See what I mean about the stiffness of the fabric and it gathering a little sloppy...I don't mind that...but softer fabric would pleat nice....I promise.
What do Y'all think?
I am dying to see what Y'all come up with for ideas to create your own UNIQUE shades!!!