How to Make Inexpensive Window Blinds

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Any room can become a spalike retreat with the clean, crisp look of woven straw or bamboo shades. Purchasing ready-made shades can be a pricey proposition, but you can make your own with inexpensive straw beach mats. Check out your local dollar store at the end of summer to pick up the already-cheap mats at clearance price. Basic tools and minimal DIY skills are all you need to outfit your windows with chic, yet inexpensive, window blinds.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Handsaw
  • Staplegun or tack hammer and tacks
  • Straw mats
  • Large-eye screws
  • Screw-in cup hooks
  • Wood strips
  • Paper clips or clip-on cafe curtain rings
  • Drill with 1/16-inch bit
  • Plastic drapery rings
  • Thread and needle
  • Measure window opening. Cut a wooden slat to the window's width with a handsaw.

  • Position the slat across the narrow end of the mat, 8 to 12 inches from the end. Fold the end over the slat so 7 to 11 inches hang over the slat, creating a short valance at the top of the blind. Turn over the mat, keeping the slat in place. Ensure it is still even and staple the mat to the slat with a staple gun.

  • Mark the top of each blind a few inches from each end and in the center. Drill a small hole with a drill at each mark. Twist in an eye screw through the mat and into the slat at each hole.

  • Predrill holes in the underside of the top of the window frame so they line up with the eye screws on the top of the blind. Screw in the cup hooks at each point, ensuring the opening of each hook are all in the same direction, either front or back.

  • Thread a needle with neutral thread that blends with the mat or any edging on the mat. Sew small plastic or metal drapery rings to the bottom edge of the mat at the same points as the eye screws at the top of the mat.

  • Slip the eye screws at the top of the mat onto the cup hooks in the window frame. Hook the drapery rings over the cup hooks to open the blinds.

Tips & Warnings

  • Two mats can be used in one window if they are wide. Sew a band of fabric or ribbon onto the edges of the mat to expand a mat's width by just a few inches.
  • Photo Credit IT Stock Free/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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