The sun shines straight into our family room every morning which really heats up the room. Curtains and even a black sheet weren’t doing much to keep it cool. With near 100 degree heat in the forecast, we needed to do something fast.

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I read an article on by Mariana Pickering, an LEED architect, called 6 Ways to Cool Off Without Air Conditioning. Her first tip said, “the best way to avoid summer heat is by blocking the sun’s ray from ever reaching the windows.” We needed shade outside our window to keep our family room cool. And these pictures, also from, inspired me.

I love the look of bamboo shades, especially in outdoor rooms, but they can be pretty pricey. Also, if the shades were going outside the window they didn’t need to be nicely finished like indoor window treatments. Then, I noticed how similar a bamboo fence looked to bamboo shades, only sideways. I figured I could use a bamboo fence to DIY my own shades.

How to make shades from a bamboo fence

DIY Bamboo window shade | SimplePracticalBeautiful.comI bought a 16 by 6 foot fence from Dixieline, our local lumber store, that was on sale for $16. Much cheaper than any bamboo window shades I could find.

I unrolled the fence and measured to 8 feet, figuring that would be half of the 16 foot length, and I could make two shades for my window. Also, an 8-foot shade hanging from the roof eaves would almost reach the ground, the perfect length. Unfortunately, I when I later hung the shades, I realized that the fence was not quite 16 feet long, so one shade is longer than the other. I should have measured the fence instead of trusting the measurement on the packaging.

DIY Bamboo window shade |

I used wire cutters to clip all of the connecting wire along the 8 foot mark.

DIY Bamboo window shade |

I took out the first few bamboo sticks so I could twist the wire tightly and secure it onto the next stick. I wasn’t sure how secure this would be, so I used that end for the bottom  of the shade.

DIY Bamboo window shade |

The end of the fence, secured by the manufacturer, looked a little more sturdy, so I used that for the top.

There were already nails on the ends of the eaves, and it was getting late in the evening, so I hung the first few bamboo sticks over the nails and left it at that.

DIY Bamboo window shade |

I’m going to add more stability by attaching the end of the shade to a board and hanging that board on the underside of the eaves. I also want to make both shades even in length. You can see how different they are in the next picture. I’ll post about those changes when I get around to doing it.

DIY Bamboo window shade | SimplePracticalBeautiful.comIn the mean time, our bamboo shade is working great. It blocks about 70% of the sunlight which makes a big difference in temperature, especially since it shades the whole wall around the window. It  keeps our family cooler than an indoor shade or curtain would, plus it’s a nice view out the window with the decorative-looking bamboo. As a bonus, it even adds some privacy to that window.

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Update: I just found a post about DIY Bamboo Shades on the blog Bigger Than the Three of Us. She show how to make indoor shades from a bamboo fence that look like roman shades. They look great. You should take a look.


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