When we first moved into our house, we had plain white roller blinds installed in every room. We chose translucent fabric because we wanted to maximise the natural light in the house. Later, we realised that we had overlooked the importance of being able to darken the bedrooms - especially for having a lie-in on summer mornings. So we decided to replace the blinds in the guest bedroom windows with white-coloured blackout blinds so that we could maintain a consistent look on the exterior of the house while regulating the light inside.
I had seen white blackout blinds in Ikea, but I didn't feel confident about cutting them to size myself. However, when a local shop quoted me €258 to replace the fabric on our existing blinds, I reconsidered the DIY option. While I do appreciate that a small business cannot compete with the low cost of a "big box" store like Ikea, the price differential in this case was phenomenal: the same four blinds in Ikea cost me just €72. And, although I was apprehensive about it at first, cutting them to size wasn't a big deal after all.
We bought the Tupplur cordless blinds that are designed to be safer for children since they don't present a choking hazard. As we don't have any kids at our house, and because I preferred the side chain mechanism of our existing blinds, I wanted to see if we could somehow use the Ikea blinds with our existing roller blind mechanisms. I don't know if roller blind poles are a standard size or if we just got lucky, but the poles in the old and new blinds had the same internal diameter. So I just used a flat head screwdriver to remove the mechanisms from each side of the old roller blinds.
Once you can get a grip on them, they just slide out.
Then I removed the wooden baton from the pocket at the bottom of the blind.
I measured how much needed to be cut off the new blind and marked that amount on my quilt ruler using masking tape. Then I trimmed the fabric using a rotary cutter with a cutting mat underneath. That's my preferred method for cutting lengths of fabric, but you could just mark a line and cut it with a scissors if you wanted.
I bought four blinds, and noticed afterwards that two of them had a pocket at the base that was stitched rather than glued. I recommend getting blinds with a glued pocket because you can cut those without worrying about them unravelling. With the stitched pockets, you need to avoid cutting through the stitches because it could cause the seam to rip open. So, for the blinds with stitched pockets at the base, I opened the stitches at the edge of the blind and then used a seam ripper to pull the threads back to just short of the desired width, where I tied them in a knot. I used a needle to pull the tail ends into the pocket between the layers of fabric so that they weren't visible from either side. Then, when I was trimming the blind fabric, I was careful to cut outside the knot and to leave the remaining stitches intact.
With the fabric trimmed, I rolled up the blind and Hubby cut the pole to size using a hacksaw. We did this part outside because metal filings fall off as the pole is being cut.
Then I replaced the mechanism at each end of the pole with the ones I'd salvaged from the old blinds.
Finally, I measured the baton against the fabric and marked it to be cut a little shorter so that it wouldn't be visible from the sides. Once it was cut to size, it just slipped back into the pocket at the base of the blind.
And that's it! The new blind then clipped back into the old hanging brackets on the window and the job was done.
I also have some sheer cafe curtains hanging on these windows for when privacy is required without blocking the light.
With Hubby and I working on this together, it took us less than an hour to do the first blind and the rest went a lot quicker once we'd gotten everything set up, figured it all out, and had gotten the hang of it (pardon the pun!).
Left: new blackout blind. Right: old translucent blind.
When drawn, the new blackout blinds make a dramatic different to the light levels in the room and will hopefully ensure a better quality sleep for our house guests.
And the room is still lovely and bright by day. It's a win-win!