Sunday, September 27, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Mini-Blinds Edition

Recently, my husband presented me with a challenge that, had it been presented as such, I might have declined. The task: replace three beat up, custom-sized mini-blinds at his office. And now for the element of challenge...for as little money as possible.

My first stab was to try to sell him on the paper $4 ones you buy at Home Depot when you first move into a home (me: "Remember honey how no one suspected they were temporary blinds for the YEAR we left ours up?" him: "If only the plastic clips to pin them up weren't a give away." me: "But their custom sized windows! What do you want from me?")

Second attempt..."no worries, I'll just head over to 3 Day Blinds and order you some up." After letting my fingers do the walking online, I come to discover that the window treatment store that I've taken for granted all these years--never having stepped foot inside but certain that somebody has--is closing shop within a 20 mile radius of us. Truth be told, those wouldn't have passed the cheap-enough test either. It's leased office space so anything more than $20 a window would've been too expensive.

Third try: Fine. I'll make blinds. I can't be the first person who doesn't know how to make blinds who's attempted to make blinds. But who can help me? Oh yes--my friend Google. Insert search term: "make blinds" and hit "Search." Come on, Google, don't let me down.

An interesting result appeared six headlines down. It read "Little Green Notebook: Make Shades Out of Mini Blinds." Wait, come again? Use the existing hardware (which was custom fit, albeit 20 years ago) and turn the tattered mini-blinds into something brand new? Genius!

And so began my journey of proving to myself for once and for all that I just might be a crafter after all.

Had I bought blinds, I would've purchased ivory colored roller shades, so I headed over to Joann Fabrics and found fabric that fit the bill. Because the largest window is 44" wide I had to head straight to the 54" wide window treatment/upholstery section which I quickly discovered to be a much more expensive section (obviously I don't spend much time in the fabric section).

After nervously browsing all the beautiful and pricey fabric, I stumbled upon a perfect solution: ivory "suede" fabric liner. It was the exact color I had in mind and the exact price my husband had in mind (6.99/yd). The 3 shades required a total of 4 yards ($28 and I used a 40% coupon, so each shade ended up costing about $7).

The final shade proved to be my most challenging as it was missing the internal pulley system (which for this project is about all that you keep of the original blinds). I (again with the help of Google) replaced the cord and gave myself a pat on the back.

Not only was this a budget friendly solution but my brain greatly appreciated the exercise it received by thinking outside the box. Thanks Little Green Notebook!

Here is the big reveal...


  1. brilliant! how satisfying!! and the 40% coupon to top it off:)
    It looks beautiful too. I'm sure it makes the world of difference to him.

  2. Wow! That looks great! I bet it was a lot of work too!

  3. Wow! I am very impressed! I have one window in my house that still has yucky blinds! I am going to try this!!!

  4. Your finished project looks fantastic, way to go! I discovered the Little Green Notebook blog yesterday after seeing it referenced elsewhere for the mini blind transformation, and I've been reading Jenny's whole blog since. I've got 5 windows that I'm going to do this to, and I can't wait to get started. Seeing the comments & photos of others who have done this project makes me satisfied that I, too, can be crafty!

  5. You certainly did a beautiful job.