Monday, November 29, 2010

Cheapie Shades

Window treatments are a problem for me.  I know what I don't like, but finding something that I do like and can live with isn't always easy.  Part of it is that I have too many choices.  I go to the stores and stand there, slack-jawed, staring at all the fabrics and colors and getting increasingly confused.  Part of it is that my idea of what I do want is usually something like "I'll know it when I see it". 

After almost two years of having nothing on the dining room windows but sheers, I ended up with this:

(In real life the drapes don't look quite so much like wrapping paper.)
I really need to take the steamer to those wrinky curtains...Anyhow, what's there now is pretty much the antithesis of what was there before, a gigantic cornice about two feet high that stuck way out from the wall and was upholstered in light blue and moss green velvet with gold and green gimp braid, above balloon valances also of velvet, yards and yards of velvet drapes with giant gold plastic sunflower tiebacks, light green sheers, and roller shades in apple green.  Ick.  Much too much. 

Until last week, I just had sheers and drapes up there, but that let in too much light and too much of the view of my neighbor's side porch.  While I was looking for old-fashioned fabric roller shades with scalloped edges, I somehow came across this:

That's General Grant's house in Galena, Illinois.  I fell in love with those roller shades (and everything else in the room, too) but couldn't find any like them.  So I made a cheaped-out version of them myself.  See?

Those are El Cheapo plastic roller shades from Wal-Mart, retailing at $5 per shade.  (I think the actual brand name is Magic Fit, and it's a subsidiary of Levolor.)  They come in plain white.   That design on the shade I did myself.  I traced an element of the wallpaper onto a piece of plain stencil plastic, tediously cut it out with a utility knife, taped it onto the shade with painter's tape, and then colored in the stencil with a Sharpie paint marker in Metallic Gold.  Although the shades are white, once they're covered by the pale gold sheers they don't look so stark. 
General Grant's house it ain't, but I think it works.  For now.

Since then, my faithful reader Karen Anne has told me about the Ann Wallace website, which sells fabric roller shades--exactly what I was looking for.  They also carry a variety of Arts & Crafts stencils, too.  Beautiful stuff on that website, and I will probably upgrade to the nicer fabric shades with the scalloped edges.  I won't feel bad doing so since I have less than 30 bucks (including shades, hardware, stencil blank and paint marker) in the cheapie shades I DIY'd.


  1. Now if you hadn't told us those were DIY cheap blinds I would have never known. That's what you call having champagne taste on a beer budget! Personally, I like being resourceful and saving money, so I don't see anything wrong with those blinds!

  2. FABULOUS!!!

    Let me add that good ole Jacques Pennoit (also known in certain circles as JC Penney) has a great selection of shades. We've been using their room darkeners for years.

  3. Now I'm coveting the General Grant shades :-)

  4. I think your shades are fabulous :) Good job!

  5. Here again is why I love you DIY bloggers. You all come up with great ideas that would never occur to me. They look fantastic!

  6. Well look at you girly. I think they look fabulous. Bravo!

  7. Nice! Have a pleasant holiday shopping season.