Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to Shorten Bamboo Shades

We've finally finished up some of the lingering kitchen details, so I hope to take some final reveal photos soon.

One of the items that I couldn't decide on was window treatments.  A lot of my inspiration photos actually didn't have window coverings at all, so I was stumped.  On one hand I like the look of a "naked" window, but I feel it's more effective with black frames.

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Also, while the window and door overlook the deck and backyard and don't necessarily need privacy, the window over the sink looks towards our neighbors house.  Although is mostly blocked by large bushes, it still felt a little too open.

I went back and forth for a long time, the whole time knowing I would probably end up with bamboo shades.  I knew they would work since they are used in kitchens all the time, and they would also bring in some natural texture to the black and white we had going on.

I began searching for the right blinds a couple months ago and wanted to use the same Home Depot brand we used in the upstairs bathroom, since I already knew the coloring would work and they were inexpensive and could be picked up locally.


The problem was the sizing.  I'm assuming it's because our house is so old that the windows are not standard sizing because I couldn't find anything to fit our 23" and 33" windows.  I could have special ordered online, but I wasn't willing to spend $60+ per window.  I set out to make the Home Depot blinds work.

Usually I go to Mike for any "engineering" or manipulating of something, but I was determined to figure it out on my own.  First, I found a 23" size that would work on the back window.

Sorry, I don't have any current photos that show both windows.

Since this wall was built out, the window framing is recessed, which would allow the blinds to be inside mounted.  The problem was the other window, above the sink, was on a regular wall which meant it did not have a thick frame and could not be inside mounted.  It didn't matter anyways, because the closest sizes available were either 31" or 35".  I decided I would mount both blinds outside the frame which meant I could get a couple sizes larger to sit beyond the window openings.  I decided on 27" and 39".

After I figured out my first roadblock, I came upon my next.  Both were only available in 72" lengths.  For the bathroom upstairs, I was able to get a 48" length.  Since these are shorter windows, I was afraid of giant chunk of rolled blinds in the middle of the window.  I figured I could shorten them somehow.  I took pictures along the way, and was prepared to share my success or failure, thankfully I came out on the other side with perfectly shortened shades. 


The first thing I did was lay them out on the counter, I cannot tell you how excited I was to have this amount of counter space to do this!


I took a photo of the bottom ring just so I would have something to reference in case I forgot how to reattach.  I also peeled back the bottom hem to see how they did it.  Simple glue gun for the win.


 
I then gathered my tools: scissors, tape measurer, and glue gun.  Measured the window length.  Measured the shade, twice.  And got to the point of no return by cutting the cord.  I actually used the rings as my basis of measurement.  Since the shades will be up almost always, (we've yet to pull the bathroom shades down after 2 years), I figured this would be the easiest.  I tied the cord to the last ring using the same knot as they had.   


The next step is actually why you're benefiting by me doing this first.  I learned on the first three inches that it's a good idea to glue each piece of thread before cutting.  I just dabbed a little hot glue to each piece, a section or two above where I planned to cut.


As you can see, once cut, the pieces and thread unravel very easily.  Meanwhile on the other, (good), side they're staying strong.


To finish it off, I applied hot glue liberally, and folded up the last four pieces of bamboo, like a hem.  This created a more substantial bottom.


Once hung, the last step is to shorten the pull cord to look nicer on the shorter length.

To mount outside the frame, I had to alter the original hardware directions.  For an inside mount, the bracket sits on the side like this:



Because of the design on this shade, there was no option to mount any other way, but Mike and I are never satisfied with answers like that.  We realized if we moved the bracket 90 degrees it could be mounted to the top of the window frame.


The only downside is it sits further from the frame than an inside mount.  It didn't matter for the window above the sink because it sits between 2 cabinets, but I worried for a second because the little window is open on the side to the back door, and the basement staircase.  In the end I didn't care enough to be bothered by it and we installed it anyways.  I can honestly say now, that I've not thought about it, or noticed it at all.

I quickly took some photos this morning before work, so the lighting isn't the greatest.  Here's the small window to the deck:


You can see from the side that it sticks out far from the window frame.  But, like I said, it's only noticeable looking directly at it which isn't where the eye normally goes when walking up from the basement or coming in from the back door.



Here's a more natural angle which shows it even less.  It actually is a little beneficial in that it allows light to come in from the side which was the only down side from adding a window covering. 


The window above the sink is impossible to see from the side, so no one would ever be able to tell it sits further than normal from the frame.


You can also see my collection of new succulents from Ikea, (the best source I've found around here), that I've yet to figure out what to do with!

With a little modifying, I'm really happy that I was able to get inexpensive shades to fit our non-standard windows.  I was surprised at how much it warms up the space.  Just a couple last minutes touch-ups, (spray painting register covers, touching up the shoe molding), and we'll finally be finished!

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