Warning, this post is looooong, but it’s necessary. I have read and watched at least 25 posts about DIY roman shades in the last month, and to be honest, a few of the posts made me more confused than ever and I nearly decided to scratch the idea of roman shades in my living room.

The tutorials out there are confusing. And, they stressed me out. {Just ask Mr. All Things Thrifty, I was a wreck}. I don’t usually get stressed about projects because normally I have confidence that I can “figure it out.” But, those tutorials felt like a different language to me.

I shouldn’t have been scared. I know that now. But, I’m going to do my very best at explaining how to make Roman shades the EASY way. No more confusing math equations, mini blinds, and don’t cut that string, and times the length of your window times pi gobbledegook.

I promise, this DIY Roman shade tutorial will be easy to follow. I’ve worked on it for a few weeks, to make sure it’s the best I can do. :)

DIY Roman Shades Tutorial

Materials needed:

Fabric for your shades {see measuring instructions below}

5/16 wooden dowels {I used 6 per shade}

Extreme Craft Glue I used E6000 Fabric Fuse Extreme Strength

5/8 wooden dowels {1 for the bottom of each shade}

1X2  cut to the width of your window opening

L brackets to install the 1X2

Staple gun and staples

Three small eye hooks for each shade

Miter saw

and 14 small loops for each shade {I used tiny metal washers for this because I’m legit like that}. I mainly didn’t want to go to another store and Walmart had washers that worked perfectly.

Sewing machine

Needle and thread


Step 1. Measure your window, and cut two pieces of fabric for each window {one for the front and one for the back}. I cut mine exactly the width of the window but I added 5 inches to the height. I used the same fabric on the front and back because it was cheap fabric from Walmart. But if I had bought expensive fabric, I would have used cheap fabric for the back.

DIY Roman Shades Tutorial Step 1

Step 2. Sew a 1/4 inch seam along the two long sides of the shade. This will make your shade 1/2 inch less than your window openings. This should be perfect. :)

Roman Shades Tutorial step 2

Step 3. Turn your shade right side out and iron the shade and along the edges.

Iron the seams

After it’s nice and ironed, carefully turn the shade inside out again.

Step 4: Decide how many dowels you want for your shade and mark the spots with a pencil. I used 6 on each shade because I wanted a lot of folds. The dowels should be evenly spaced on the fabric. I think that a good rule of thumb is to use a dowel every 7-10 inches.


Make sure you leave 1 inch of extra fabric on the top of your shade. This is to staple your shade to your 1X2. After you leave 1 inch on top, mark every 8-10 inches. So, if your shade isn’t as tall as mine, you will need less dowels. {Remember to mark on the inside/front of your shade. In other words, your shade should be inside out at this point}.

Leave 3-4 inches of extra length on the bottom also. This will be hemmed for the larger dowel in a later step.


Step 5: Leave your fabric inside out and measure the width between your hems of your shade and cut your 5/16″ dowels 1/2 inch shorter than that measurement.


Step 6: Glue on the 5/16 inch dowels. Center them between the hems.  I put 4-5 glue dots under each dowel to make sure the dowels were secured well. Watch the video at the end of this post to see the gluing process. The dowels will be on the inside of your shade, so make sure you are gluing them on with the shade inside out!


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