How to Make Window Shades Out of Wallpaper


Sometimes, a custom look for window shades is just the touch to pull your decorating scheme together. Making your own window shades from wallpaper can unify the look of a room where walls seem too cut up by windows. Using the same wall paper that is on your walls can make those walls, and therefore the room, seem more expansive. Using a wallpaper that coordinates with painted walls and un-patterned curtains brings a sparkling new look to a quiet decor.

Things You'll Need

  • Window shades
  • Masking tape
  • Measuring tape or yardstick
  • Scissors
  • Rubber cement or white glue
  • Rolling pin or squeegee
  • Newspaper or craft paper or plastic sheeting
  • Damp sponge
  • Stapler
  • Pliers

Buying Supplies

  • Obtain shades that are sturdy but not extra-heavy. (Most room-darkening types are too heavy, and adding paper will strain the brackets.) Ideally, the shades and wallpaper will be of similar weight. Paper shades provide a better adhesive surface for wallpaper, but plastic shades can be used with a different adhesive.

  • When choosing wallpaper, avoid heavily embossed or flocked surfaces. The paper will be rolled, and the bottom will be frequently handled to adjust shades. A smooth, even surface works best. Just as shades come in both paper and plastic,
    wallpapers come in paper- or plastic-based forms. (Often, plastic-based papers are advertised as particularly easy to wash.)
    As long as the paper and shade are of roughly similar weights, adhesives can be adjusted to provide a smooth bond. You will need enough wallpaper to cover the entire shade when it is pulled down, plus a 6-inch margin for top and bottom.

  • In choosing the paper and shade, consider the strain that doubling the weight will place on the roller spring mechanism. Shades with wooden rollers and firmly attached caps work best for this project. Inexpensive shades with cardboard rollers and plastic caps may be too flimsy to work well.


  • Install the shade and pull it down to the bottom of the window. (You may not wish to do this often, but the paper should cover all possibly visible areas.) Mark the shade by the roller when it is in the pulled-down position. You may wish to remove the shade from the roller at this point (use heavy-duty pliers to pull the staples) or work with the shade on the roller if you prefer.

  • Lay the wallpaper face-down on a flat surface. Place the shade (either face-up or face-down) on the wallpaper; be sure you can see the mark you made when the shade was pulled down. Line up the shade on the paper, so that you can turn up a 2-inch cuff over the bottom, pulling part of the shade. Center the shade on the wallpaper. (It is tempting to line up a shade edge with a paper edge, but do so only if your paper does not have an unprinted margin at the edge.) Secure the shade with masking tape so it does not move during measuring.

  • Using a yardstick or measuring tape to help you draw a smooth line, tracing the long edges of the shade. You have already allowed 2 inches to cover the bottom shade edge. Your wallpaper should now extend 4 inches past your pulled-down mark. This will prevent the paper from tearing if the shade is pulled down farther than you intend.

  • Put the shade aside and cut out the wallpaper. Check the fit with the shade and trim any excess.


  • Spread newspaper, craft paper or plastic to protect your work surface.

  • Lay the wallpaper face-down on the protected surface. Fold up the 2-inch cuff to hold the shade bottom.

  • Coat the wallpaper thoroughly with adhesive. If either the shade or thje paper--or both--is plastic-based, use rubber cement to produce the best bond. If both the shade and the paper are paper-based, you can use white glue. Cover the wallpaper with a smooth, even coat of adhesive.

    If you are using rubber cement, make sure your work area is well-ventilated.

  • Lay the shade over the paper and smooth thoroughly with your hands. To prevent bubbles or creases, roll the surface with a rolling pin, using long, steady strokes that are the length of the shade. Use a squeegee the same way, instead of a rolling pin, if you like. Continue to smooth, working diagonally toward the edges. Excess glue will ooze out of the edges; wipe with a damp sponge.

  • Turn your project over while the adhesive is wet, to press out any bubbles or creases. Glue a 2-inch cuff over the shade bottom and trim neatly.

  • Replace the protective covering to provide a clean drying surface. Let the project sit overnight until it is completely dry. Replace the shade roller with new staples, if needed. Gently roll the finished shade over the roller--first loosely, then tighter.

  • Hang the shades and admire your work.

Tips & Warnings

  • Rubber cement produces fumes and white-glue smells. Make sure your workspace is well-ventilated until your project is completely dry.

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