Easy Window Treatment: How To Make A Fake Roman Shade

Alright folks, you know I have a love affair with fabric, so when I realized I had never attempted to make a roman shade (even a fixed one that’s just for looks) I knew I had to get on that. So here’s how I got my fake roman shade on.

First of all, is this bare kitchen window begging for some fabric action, or what? It actually leads into the sunroom, so it didn’t need anything functional to draw/close, which is why I opted to go the faux shade route (actually all of the bamboo blinds in our first house remained open since I loved the light flooding in, so if you’re not a shade-drawer, a faux shade might work in any room for ya).

I didn’t follow any tutorial for this, I just sort of made it up as I went along, but here’s how it all went down. First I measured the window and realized that I wanted a finished shade that was about 47″ wide by x 18″ long, so I cut a rectangle of fabric that was 49″ wide (to account for an inch of hemming at the sides) and 30″ long (to account for the looping I was going to do with the fabric to make it look like a roman shade).

We used Gazebo Cloud by Braemore as our fabric (you might recognize it from here). We loved it so much, and it looked awesome in the kitchen, so we grabbed one more yard of it at U-Fab here in Richmond for $16 during a little store-expansion sale. Woot! Here’s an affiliate link to the same fabric on amazon for any non-locals.

The first thing I did was hem all four sides of my 49″ x 30″ rectangle of fabric with no-sew iron on tape (I like heavy duty Heat N Bond, which I get for a few bucks at Michaels). Oh and there’s a little video tutorial on how to use no-sew tape here for anyone interested.

Then I cut a piece of 1 x 2″ scrap wood to the width of the fabric so we could hang the shade up (the finished width was 47″ wide). Although you could get them to cut you a piece of wood to the right size at Home Depot if you don’t want to whip out a saw yourself (I hummed the MacGruber theme song while sawing, BTW).

Next I wrapped scrap pieces of fabric around each end and secured them with white duct tape. That way once it was hung, you wouldn’t see raw wood from the sides.

Then I rolled the fabric around the wood piece and secured it with more white tape (being sure the tape was on the back/bottom of the wood so it wouldn’t be seen from the front when the shade was hanging). See the flat 2″ part of the board in this photo (the part that’s facing up)? That will be the part of the board that is screwed into the wall to secure the shade (so the top and front will not have any white tape on them, it’s just on the back and the bottom of the board which won’t be seen).

As for how I made the roman-shade-esque fabric loops, I just eyed things and tried to use a ruler where I could to keep things straight. Lining up the top of the shade with the top of our area rug in the kitchen also helped me try to keep things even (laying it down on the floor at an angle might have made it harder to eye things, so at least knowing it was straight on the floor and lined up with the rug gave me a nice frame of reference). As you can see from this picture, I made about a 5″ loop of fabric (which would show in the front of the shade) and then pinned that loop in place from the back of the shade. See how in this photo the fabric is folded back and comes to a point in the corner? That’s where the first pin went in. Then I followed that same line all the way across the back of the shade with pins, holding that loop in place along the entire front of the shade (and tried to keep the loop/pins at the same distance from the wood piece up top so it all looked even).

Here’s a shot where you can see two of my straight pins (see the one in the middle of the picture and the one on the right?). The key was to let them grab a lot of the fabric in the back (where they won’t be seen) but only grab a tiny bit of the fabric in the front since I didn’t want the pins to be super obvious.

I used rows of pins to make two folds about 5″ apart, along with pinning the bottom of the shade so it appeared to roll up/billow out as well. There definitely was some noodling when I turned the shade around and surveyed it from time to time (sometimes a row went up at one end so I repinned things to look straighter, etc). All in all the cutting and hemming process probably took about twenty minutes and the pinning/noodling/repinning process might have taken forty minutes or so. So it wasn’t a super long project, but I didn’t get all of pinning whipped out in ten minutes on the first try or anything. But with a little patience, I was able to get things looking a lot more lined up and then I could stop sweating so much. Haha.

Originally I had planned to pin each fold and later go back and “tack” each area where I pinned the fabric (tacking is basically doing a few manual stitches to hold things in place once you have pinned them and are sure that you like the look), but I worried that tacking might cause more puckering and the pins were holding very securely (and of course it was easier to call it done since everything felt nice and solid) so I did. Done ditty done ditty, done done done.

As for hanging it, we predrilled three holes in the wood piece and then hung it up with screws (nothing is drilled through the fabric to secure it to the wall, the fabric is pulled aside and the wood is just screwed into the wall directly and then the fabric in front can drape over it so it’s hidden).

Maybe this shot explains it better. See how John is lifting the fabric up so he can drill right into the wood part to secure it to the wall? Then he let the fabric go and it fell back down in front of the wood piece so there aren’t any screws or wood that can be seen.

Like so:

It definitely feels like it finishes that formerly naked window a little more, adds color and pattern, and even balances other things in the room like the range hood. The coolest thing about the fabric is that it ties the wall color into the gray tile, so it’s sort of like a bridge to connect the shiny penny tile and the gray rugs with the soft avocado walls.

Bam, detail shot. See how you don’t see any pickering or pins? I worried if I tacked things it might look more lumpy and bumpy. But if anyone out there has faux shaded a window and used another method, I’d love to hear what worked for you!

All in all, I definitely like how it makes the window feel taller, doesn’t block any light at all, but looks a lot more finished than the bare window did before. For about an hour of time and $16 worth of fabric, it was totally worth it!

What are you guys faking around the house these days? Any faux plants going on? Faux fruit? Faux shades? Faux cleanliness? That’s what I call it when we shove all of our clutter into baskets and closets so it looks like we’re not drowning in chaos. Haha. It’s all an illusion!


  1. Beth says

    Love your faux-roman shade! I really love that fabric… if they had a navy and grey version with pops of red/orange/pink I would buy it in a heart-beat!

    The only comment I have is that the steel sewing pins that you use for that kind of project tend to rust over time. It will take a little while, but I would guess that with temperature fluctuations and moisture (normal in a kitchen) they will eventually rust and stain your fabric. If you tack the curtain like you would hem a pair of nice dress pants, it shouldn’t pucker too much.

    Happy book touring!

  2. Nicole says

    I live an hour and a half from Toronto, and am so sad I can’t come tonight to see you! Would have loved to, but have to work :( Hope you have a great time! However, I would LOVE to know which morning show you are going to be on tomorrow morning…is it Canadian?

  3. says

    It totally is the missing link between the tile and the walls! I love it.

    I just had to help my mother-in-law-to-be (in six months! woo!) hem a curtain that had been pinned up in their home for about 15 years, because they sold the curtains with the house and she thought she’d better finally finish them!

    I think tacking would cause bunching, but I bet you could just zip Oh Brother along each fold (providing it’s hidden by the fold above) for a sturdy and straight finish. If you did that and replaced the tape holding it to the stick with velcro tape then you could put the whole thing through the wash every now and then!

  4. Allison says

    Oooh, this is just what I need for my two kitchen windows! And no sew? What could be better?

    I just saw you mentioned a morning show in Toronto! Which one are you going to be on? I’ll definitely have to catch that!

  5. Jordan says

    I have made 3 of these and just have one tip……black out fabric! It makes it look finished because the light doesn’t shine through at certain parts of the day.

  6. says

    I love that shade. It looks so pretty! And what a great idea to make a faux one.

    I have a big window in my bathroom that would look great with a cute roman shade. It’s over the bathtub but I’m up on the 4th floor of the townhouse (3 floor townhouse + garage) so it’s not like anyone can see me. As it is right now, I have blinds that I just never close.

  7. Sarah says

    Hahshs, I made a faux shade a few weeks ago! I was doing the bamboo shade and white ikea curtains on my sliding glass door, and I opened my bamboo shade box and it was a bench instead! So, having already started, I switched to faux fabric roman shades instead. I grabbed curtains from my bedroom that I didn’t really like there (not quite big enough) and pinned them just like you did. I didn’t do the wood because they’re just hung on the curtain rod with the white curtains. And no hemming required because they were already curtains!

  8. says

    It looks great! :)

    Odd question, do you ever have issues with fruit flies? (I saw all the fruit out on the counter– or is it fake?) Whenever I put bananas, apples, etc. in our counter-top fruit basket, I end up having little fruit flies within a day or two. Any ideas on how to combat this??

    Shannon :)
    Fabulously Vintage

    • Lindsey says

      I’ve definitely had fruit flies before — so miserable! I’ve found that hardware stores (like ACE) sell fruit fly catchers that work really well. They aren’t attractive, but can be tucked in a corner or pantry. My mom suggested putting a piece of banana in a small glass jar, covering the jar with plastic wrap and poking holes (just big enough for the flies to get in) into the wrap. She has found that it works pretty well.

    • says

      Hey Shannon! I’m located in MI and it seems when the weather changes, we get little fruit flies. The way I combat them that worked really well this past season change is taking a little cup or small bowl and warming up a little bit of water, a pinch of sugar, and cider vinegar in it… but not to where it’s boiling, just warm. Place a little bit of cling wrap over it, poke a few holes in it and let it sit close to your fruits. I caught about 15 of them in 3 days or so when I did this. Hope it helps! :)

    • Lesley says

      I definitely has to do with where you live, but not because of the environment like you might think. It has to do with the suppliers – the larger the market, the more fruit they are shipping, the denser packed the fruit (of all kinds( is. The fruit flies often actually COME WITH the fruit! (If they are already somewhere in your house, they are drawn to the off gassing of the new fruit.)

      I took to washing/rinsing our fruit before I put it away, because the kids never slow down enough to wash it themselves… I realised the fruit fly population dropped dramatically. So I started washing ALL of our fruit, even the ones where you don’t eat the peel.

      If the fruit flies still persist – leave out a glass of red wine vinegar or red wine, they will love the smell, go to see what it is and get caught in the surface tension of the liquid. Replace every few days during the summer months.

  9. Bonnie says

    Faux cleanliness is the story of my life! Love the shade! I think I’ll make one for my back door. It has a big window on top that I’ve left empty for over a year because I can’t decide how to cover it. Just have to figure out how to mount it…can’t drill into the door.

  10. Alice says

    Thanks so much! I’m definitely going to do this. We moved in 2 years ago and still don’t have non-industrial shades!

    P.S. I missed you in Chicago on Saturday (my sister went into labor)! :) :(

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