As a longtime renter, I have learned that window treatments are absolutely necessary in making a temporary space feel like home! When painting walls and other more permanent décor options are off the table, window treatments are the single most effective way to make a space feel decorated, inviting, personal and stylish. Whether you prefer the drama of long patterned drapes or the tailored look of simple valances, with some creativity, anything is possible in an apartment. If you want something on your windows but don’t want to spend a ton of money or hassle with tricky hardware, this is the project for you! These completely no-sew, hardware-free Roman shades are an easy and inexpensive DIY you can finish in a single afternoon!
Start by taking measurements of your window(s). Take into account how high and wide you want your window treatments to hang, keeping in mind it’s always best to hang curtains as high and wide as possible! Also consider window moldings and any pleats or tucks you may want in your finished look, and add those measurements in accordingly!
The best part of these Roman shades is they are made from a single, store-bought, light-blocking curtain. Because most of the edges were already done, these two shades were completed in about 90 minutes! Here’s what else you need:
Curtain(s) or fabric – Always buy larger than you need and cut it down to size, and when possible, use a pre-made panel. Take note of the panel measurements to see if you can get more than one shade from a single curtain. I was able to make both panels from one 42” x 84” drape by cutting it in half.
1” wide iron-on hem tape
Roman shade tape – enough length for both vertical edges of each shade
Mini clear command hooks (with adhesive strips, not shown)
Tools: iron, ironing board, scissors, ruler, level
Start by trimming down the curtain/fabric to fit your window measurements. To make two Roman shades, I cut my 84”-long panel into two 42” squares.
If your panel is too wide for your window, you have a few options. You can trim it down with a scissors and hem all the raw edges with the hem tape, or you can make pleats in the panel to take up the extra fabric and create a decorative detail. To make pleats, measure about one quarter of the way in from the side of your panel and create a vertical tuck. Ensure the tuck is even the entire length of the panel and iron it flat.
Place the hem tape under the tuck and iron the pleat shut with a very hot iron. Make another pleat on the other side of the panel for a balanced look.
If you cut down the fabric/curtain, you will likely need to clean up the top (or any) raw edge. Fold the edge over 1” or 2” and iron it in place. Place the hem tape under the fold and iron the flap down again to activate the adhesive.
The folds of the Roman shade are quickly and easily achieved by using Roman shade tape, which features pre-placed, equally spaced plastic hooks. Simply secure a length of Roman shade tape down each side of the shade with more hem tape. Ensure the hooks start at the same height on each side of the shade so it will hang evenly. Once the tape is ironed on, the shades are ready for hanging!
Small, removable plastic Command hooks are the perfect size for the loops on the Roman shade tape, and how close together you place them on your window will determine the thickness of the pleats. The key to clean, even pleats is attentive and level measuring and making sure your shade is pulled (horizontally) as taut as possible at each level! Once your hooks are secured to the wall, simply place the plastic hoops onto them at regular intervals, smoothing the fabric pleats as you go.
And that’s it! Create as many shades as you need, then step back and enjoy your newly decorated windows!