How to Hem Wooden Shades

Ready-made Roman shades of the wooden variety come in many widths, but their lengths are generally about 72". That’s long, especially if your window is only 38". Although the shades work fine for any length, that’s a lot of weight to which to subject the shades’ mechanisms. Plus, there’s excess bulk at the bottom of the window. You don’t have to live with ill-fitting shades like this. You can hem them, and it’s a surprisingly fast and easy procedure to get a custom look.

What you need, besides the shade/s:

Tacky Glue
Hot Glue and Gun
Utility Knife
A Pencil
A Measuring Tape

  • First, measure the length of your window. Mark the shade at this point. (This is your FIRST marking.)

created on: 05/27/08

  • Make a SECOND mark about 5 slats (or about 1 ½") down from the first mark.
  • Lay the shade on a flat surface (the floor works great!) At the SECOND marking, glue ALL the strings down with tacky glue. Do this on EACH side of the shade. The glue acts like Fray Check, keeping the strings and wooden slats from unraveling.

created on: 05/27/08

created on: 05/27/08

  • While your glue is drying, untie the strings from the rings at the bottom of the back of the shade and re-tie them to the rings above where the new hem will be.

created on: 05/27/08

  • When the glue has dried, use the utility knife to cut the strings about 1 ½" down from your glued slats. GENTLY remove the slats UP TO the glued slats.

created on: 05/27/08

created on: 05/27/08

  • Cut the strings up to the glued slats.

created on: 05/27/08

created on: 05/27/08

  • Then fold up the hem to the FIRST mark you made, making sure you fold from the front of the shade to the back to hide your hem.
  • Using hot glue, glue the hem down at one edge of the shade. Then, repeat gluing at spots along the hem every 6 to 8 inches or so, until you reach the other side of the hem, which you’ll glue as well.

created on: 05/27/08

created on: 05/27/08

(This is the view from the back of the shade after it's been hemmed. The glue will become clear.)

  • Wait a minute or two for the hot glue to set up. Re-install the shade and cut off the excess pull cord and you're done!

created on: 05/27/08

Note: My shades were made of 1/4" wooden slats, but I can’t imagine a procedure similar to this wouldn’t work for bamboo and reed shades as well. 

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DIY Maven on Aug 22, 2009:

Thanks P.M.!

porcupinemamma on Aug 22, 2009:

Ab.Fab!! Beautiful bathroom reno!

BLINDFinder on Jun 09, 2008:

Wow... this is great!  A cheap way to get the custom window treatment look.

lmilla on May 29, 2008:

THANK YOU!  I have been needing to do this for 2 years now, but I never took the time to figure it out.

ModHomeEcTeacher on May 28, 2008:

What a great idea!  As usual, you are IT!

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