Easy DIY Blinds
These roll up blinds make your south or west facing porch a lot more comfortable to sit on on hot summer afternoons. They add shade to the front wall of your house too, which helps reduce the heat inside your home and your (scary) air conditioning electric bill!!
Here is what you need:
- enough polyester fabric or outdoor decor fabric to make your blinds (cotton will fade and rot) (yarn died is better than printed on one side only)
- 1/2″ thick dowel for the top and bottom pockets
- two eye hooks
- 4 m length of 1″ to 1-1/2″w twill tape for the top ties
- 4 m length of 1/2″ twill tape for the bottom ties
- two cup hooks to put in the top dowel to hook the blind to the eye hooks in the upper framing of the porch.
It is pretty simple to make these blinds, cut the fabric to fit the space. Hem the side seams. Make a pocket top and bottom (with ties sewn in). Slip a 1/2″ dowel in each pocket. Add 2 cup hooks to the top dowel. Screw two eye hooks in the top of the porch frame to correspond with the cup hooks and hang. Roll the blind by hand and tie it to whatever height you want with the twill tape ties. When you lower it, tie the bottom of it to the porch railing with the twill ties sewn into the bottom seam, so that it does not blow all over the place in a breeze. Note: do not leave them down in a strong wind as you could ruin them. They are fine otherwise and will last for many years, especially if you have used polyester fabric which will not rot or fade and does not rip easily either.
Here are some more detailed instructions for the less confident DIYer!
To establish how much fabric, first decide how long you want them. The ones in the picture just go to just over the top railing. You could have them full length if you wish. Measure from the top to where you want them to end and add 13 cm (5″) — which is 6.5 cm (2-1/2 “) each to the top and bottom to make the pockets to hold the dowels.
Width. — This depends on your porch and how far apart the posts are. You do not want the blinds to be any wider than 6′ because that is the widest the dowels come in and also, the wider they are, they become really awkward to handle. Also, most fabric is 54″ wide, although you can find extra wide fabric. If your blinds are going to be any wider than 50″, you will have to buy two lengths of fabric for the blind and have french seams in the blind (seams that are finished on both sides) or hunt for extra wide drapery fabric. The fabric shown in the picture was double wide drapery fabric and so there was no problem with the width.Measure how wide it needs to be and then add 8 cm (3 “), that is 4cm or 1-1/2 inches for each side seam.
Lay out the fabric on the floor and cut it to the desired length. Then measure how wide it needs to be and add the extra amount for the seam. Cut it out. Sew up the side seams with a full double fold over so it won’t fray in the wind. (Fold it 3/4″ and then fold it again) Press the seam in place before sewing, then sew. Now the sides are made. Measure and be sure that the width is right before your final sewing of the second side seam.
Fold down the top edge .6cm (1/2″) press, then fold 3.7cm (1-1/2″) press. The next step is optional. Measure in along the second fold (which will be the top edge of your blind) about 30cm (1 ft) and make a small button hole on the fold. This is to make a place to screw in the eye hook to be screwed into the dowel which will be placed in this pocket for your top support. . Another way would be to place a small grommet there to make a hole for the eye hook. You can screw the eye hook right through the fabric if you don’t want to struggle with making a hole in the pocket, but you are risking creating a ‘pull’ in the fabric, if the screw catches a thread awkwardly.
After making the holes, fold the pocket down. Cut 2 m of the wide twill tape and fold in half. Place the fold inside the seam if the upper pocket, a little bit farther in than the hole for the hook is. Do this at either end. Stitch the fold down. Now you have the upper dowel pocket and the ties for the blind made,
To make the bottom dowel pocket, you do it exactly the same as the top pocket, minus the holes for hooks. The other difference is that you substitute the narrow twill tape for the wide twill tape to make the bottom ties.
Now hang your blind.
Roll it up by hand and tie it in place with the wide twill tape (flip one of the two parts of each tie over the top of the blind) Tuck the bottom ties in while you are rolling. You can let it part way down and retie the wide ties if there is no wind or let it all the way down for shade or privacy.