Natural woven window shades are the freakin’ cat’s meow right now. From the moment we moved in last October, I knew their warm texture was the perfect solution for our white-walled home, but it wasn’t until 9-months later that we actually installed them. Why? It wasn’t that I got DIY burnout and didn’t get around to it. No, I’d been pining over these bad boys the entire year.
It all came down to numbers. You see, our old 1930’s home has unusually sized windows in some areas. They’re not the standard sizes that off-the-shelf shades are made in, and we weren’t in a position to spring for custom-sized shades–though I was REALLY tempted, and actually had them measured and quoted, but $2000 later I was like…”ohhh, okay no.” And that was even during their 1/2 off and free installation sale.
So there I was trying to figure out what the heck to do, when it finally dawned on me to try cutting the ready-made shades down to size with a mitre saw. Afterall, the shades for the unusually sized windows only cost around $14, so it wouldn’t be pocket-book-devastating, if it was a total fail. Though I may have been pretty hurt emotionally…did I mention I really wanted woven shades?
To my surprise, cutting the shades down actually worked, and I (finally) no longer have a fish-bowl style living room. I couldn’t be happier!
On a different note, I was excited to find out recently that Francois et Moi has been nominated for it’s first award…ever! The Amara Interior Blog Awards. Woo hoo! If you like what’s happening here on F&M, please take 30 seconds and click over to vote! *Thank-you!*
Okay, now on to the tutorial!
- Natural woven shades to be cut down
- Mitre saw
- Rubber bands or hair ties
- Safety glasses
Safety First! Always wear safety glasses, especially with this DIY, because reeds may fly when you make your cuts. Also, never wear loose clothing around power tools, and when using the tools make sure they have your undivided attention.
1. Roll the shade up as tightly as you can. Start rolling with the top of the shade, rolling down to the bottom of the shade. (Bottom of shade will be at the outside of the roll.) Secure with a tight rubber band (or hair binder!) at each end.
2. Determine the amount the shades need to be cut down. In this case, the shades were 2″ wider than what is needed for the window, so I’ll need to take 1″ off each end of the shade. Mark the location to cut on the wood bar at the bottom of the shade
3. Preparing to Cut:
- Put your saftey glasses on
- Stand the shade on end to ensure all shade layers are packed down to the end and in line.
- Make note of the position of the shade cords and make sure they’re swept back from your rubber band or tie so as not to be cut off
Time to Cut!
- Line the mitre saw blade up to the pencil mark on the shade
- Stabilize the shade against the back guard of the saw, and make a steady cut with the saw blade.
- Keep the saw blade moving consistently and at a medium speed, as you move right through the shade.
- Repeat with the other end of shade
- Depending on the length of your shade, you may need to prop the other end of the shade up so that it rests horizontally (not angled) on the saw platform.
- Also, after cutting you may have a few straggler reeds sticking out, so line the shade back up with the saw blade and make one more pass.
- The more confident the cut you make, the less straggler reeds you’ll have. Pictured above was my first shade, the second shade was ALOT cleaner.
4. Unroll the shade and if it’s a wavy edge, trim any uneven parts with sharp scissors. Note: As I mentioned in step 3, keeping the saw blade moving at a steady and consistent pace through the shade with help reduce the waviness of the cut. The second shade was a much cleaner cut and I was able to skip this step for that shade.
5. Now that we’ve cut the shades down, we need to make the slots on the shade’s top bar a bit longer so that they’ll accommodate the mounting hardware that comes with the shade. Lower the routing bit on the router as far down as it’ll go. My router bit was only 1/4″ long, so I needed to route the board from both sides so that it reached all the way through the board. Use the router to lengthen the slots 1/2″+ depending on how much you’re cutting your shades down. If you’re cutting more than 1″ off each end, you’ll need to make the slots longer.
Keep in mind that the slots don’t need to be pretty (no one will see it), they just need to be longer. You got this.
Once the slots are routed, simply hang the shades according to the manufacturer’s instructions as you normally would if they were straight out of the box.