I made some simple balloon shades for my daughters’ room. It’s just one piece of fabric, no lining, and some ring tape and cord. The hardware is pretty simple too.

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DIY your own beautiful balloon shades with this easy tutorialMy daughter have a window in their room that is 10 feet long and a foot and a half tall. It takes up the whole wall. We wanted to give it a window covering that would not only add privacy and block light, but also add a little height to such a narrow window. Our solution was balloon shades. Traditional roman shades would have worked too, but balloon shades give a softer, more feminine look which is perfect for a girl’s room.

Fabric for Balloon Shades

We chose some cute eyelet fabric to match the look of their room. I didn’t worry about lining the curtains because the sunlight filtering into their room in the morning helps my daughters to wake up.Eyelet fabric for balloon shades

The fabric needs to be slightly longer than the window is wide so that it will drape some. We bought 4 yards, or 12 feet, to cover the 10 foot window.DIY Balloon Shades

I hemmed up the ends of the fabric (you could also use seam binding tape if you don’t want to sew), then sewed ring tape on top of those hems. Then I sewed 4 more strips of ring tape at even intervals along the curtain, so that I would have 6 strips where the curtains would gather when they are raised.curtain ring tape for balloon shades

The sides of the fabric are called selvages, and don’t have to be hemmed because they are already finished, but I added a small hem on the top edge, just for looks.hemming the edge of balloon shades

There is drapery cord going through the rings in the pictures, but it’s easier to put it in after the curtain is up.Sewing balloon shades


For hardware, we bought six cute flower finials from IKEA, and some screw mounts to attach them to the wall. We found out finials have very short screws. They’re not meant to screw into a wall. How silly is that?wall fasteners for finials Even with the screw mounts, they are not sturdy, especially since we have plaster walls. This is important: The finials do not hold the weight of the cord being pulled, only the light weight of the fabric itself.Finials and screw eyes hold a balloon curtain

A few inches below each finial is a screw eye. Those screw eyes hold the weight of the curtain being raised and lowered because the cord will go through them. Those screw eyes won’t show, but they are the work horse of these curtains.Finials for balloon shades

Putting Up the Balloon Shades

I cut 6 pieces of ribbon and put them through the top ring of each tape. Then I tied the ribbon, with the ring, onto the corresponding finial. Now the curtains were up!Balloon shades lowered

I threaded the drapery cord through the rings. To start, I tied the cord to the bottom ring on the far end, then up through the rings on that tape. And, finally, through all of the screw eyes to the other end of the curtain. I left a lot of extra cord, just in case. Next, I went to the bottom ring on the second tape, and repeated the same process. Because the cord is all behind the curtain, I can’t show you a picture, but here’s a diagram:A diagram showing how to thread cords for a balloon shadeWhen all the cords are through, give it a test, or a few. This is the exciting part. It was so much fun to see that my curtain actually worked!

The Pull Cord

Now to deal with all those loose cords. Because this is a kids room, I didn’t want the cords to be a strangulation hazard, so I made a cord cover. I used a 1 inch by 36 inch piece of white fabric, folded it in half, sewed it up the side, and turned it inside out to make a tube. I pushed the 6 dangling cords through the tube of fabric.Making a cord cover for drapery

I wanted to string a large bead onto the end of the cords, to make it look nice and easier to pull, but I couldn’t find one. So I made one.Dowel for a curtain cord pull I cut about an inch from a large wooden dowel, then drilled a 1/8 inch hole through it. Then I drilled 3/8 halfway though it. I coated the whole thing with silver Rub N Buff (I love that stuff).

I threaded all of the loose cords through my new bead and tied a knot. The 3/8 inch hole hides the knot, and the 1/8 part keeps it from slipping through.Cord pull for DIY balloon curtains

Last of all, I mounted a cleat on the wall. I looked into some kind of pulley/holding thing so I wouldn’t need a cleat, but they all seemed cheap or complicated. And my skills in raising a lowering mini blinds seem to be lacking, so I decided not to go there. A cleat is simpler and easy to wrap the cord around.Curtain cord pull and cleat for balloon shades

Here’s the finished balloon shades. I just have to say that taking a picture of window that is the only source of natural light is terrible. Something like trying to see the shape of the sun. So, these pictures are only made possible by Photoshop!A tutorial on how to make your own balloon shades

Wow, that sounds like a lot of steps, but it was actually a fairly easy project. I finished the whole thing in just a few hours. I hope I explained each step well. If not, please ask questions in the comments sections below. I’d love to help you make your own shades.

I love how they turned out, very relaxed and fluffy looking, and very feminine and pretty. And compared making true roman shades, they were very quick and simple.Balloon curtains or relaxed roman shades


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