DIY Tutorials, Rental Remedies

How to: DIY Privacy Bamboo Blinds

On Monday I promised to return and tell you how I took my budget bamboo blinds from see-through to peep-proof in a few easy steps.

I saved a ton of dough by opting for the unlined blinds in my living room and dining room-turned-office. . . but they allowed both strangers’ eyes and cold drafts straight through the windows.  So, in one afternoon I DIY’ed them into privacy bamboo shades.   Here’s the scoop:

How to line and insulate Roman bamboo shades:

1.  Purchase white insulating lining fabric from a sewing store.

2.  Spread out the shade, fully extended, on your work surface.

3.  You’ll see that pull cords run down the back of it, going through little rings.  Untie the pull cords from the bottom, and remove from each ring. Leave them attached at the very top, where all the fancy hardware is.

4.  Figure how much of the back of the shade you need to line.  (For example, I didn’t need to extend the lining to the very bottom, because the shade is doubled up at the bottom.

5.  Cut a piece of liner fabric to fit the shade.

6.  Grab a glue gun to adhere the fabric to the back of the shade with hot glue.

**Notes: I found that three thin vertical rows of glue worked best.  The blue arrows and numbers in the image below show how I applied the glue in three rows.   The red circles show where the rows of cord loops are.   Be sure not to apply glue too close to where the cord loops are.

7.  Once the liner is glued to the shade, carefully use sharp scissors to cut a notch in the fabric where each metal loop is.  Pull the ring through the notch.

window treatments

8.  Run the cords back through the metal rings, and tie at the bottom as they were before.

9. Hang your shade, and enjoy your newfound privacy.

Tips and tricks:

  • If you have a single shade that is wider than 54″ you will need to line it in sections.  For example, if your shade is 60″ wide, you’ll want to line it with two 30″ sections just to keep things nice and even.
  • Shop around for the best price.  You should be able to find the fabric for less than $7 a yard.
  • If hardcore insulation, and not just privacy, is your goal – be sure to buy “insulating” liner fabric, not just privacy liner fabric.

By all means, if you are confused by my directions, please let me know so I can improve them!  I really love this inexpensive privacy remedy, and hope it helps!

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  • Reply Sunny's Life in Rehab at 11:59 am

    NICE! I’ve never even thought about doing this. Okay, so before the blinds go back up in Savannah’s room, I need to hit the fabric sttore…

  • Reply Sunny's Life in Rehab at 12:00 pm

    Forgive the typo. My fingers are all covered in paint.

  • Reply JanaCoyote at 12:08 am

    I love this idea! What a money saver…and my cats won’t be able to get at the shades!

  • Reply Reader Q: Jenn’s living room decor dilemma(s) | The Borrowed Abode at 11:29 am

    […] used hot glue and insulating drapery liner fabric to line the blinds.  It worked like a charm, and saved me a ton of moolah – not just on blinds, but also on […]

  • Reply Skooks at 4:01 am

    Ohmygoodness JANE.  You don’t know how long I’ve been puzzling over how best to add privacy to my bamboo blinds.  I even bought ALL THE FABRIC which is still sitting on the roll because I just did not think to hot glue it down.  I think I was scared because they were all brand new . . .but I’m TOTALLY doing this now!  Thank you for showing me how and for telling me that this works and won’t ruin my blinds!  🙂

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 12:54 am

      Awesome! So glad I could help 🙂
      I didn’t blog about it, but I actually procrastinated for about 4 months before doing it myself! How silly we can be…

  • Reply Steph at 10:00 am

    Great instructions! I am going to do this to my shades! I am just curious how these have held up? Also, did any of the glue come through to the other side?


    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 12:36 am

      Hi Steph – I’m so sorry I didn’t reply to you sooner. I’m cleaning up my inbox and just saw this again.

      I did not have an issue with glue coming through to the other side. I hope it worked out well for you!!


  • Reply Omenseeker at 5:27 pm

    hi:  your blinds look fabulous!  i would like to do the same to mine but mind are roll-up, not fold-up so i’m wondering how they will look if lined because when the blinds are rolled up, the liner will be showing in the front.  any other suggestions?  thanks!

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 2:52 pm

      Hi! I wonder if you could use a patterned fabric over a plain insulation fabric? Maybe then you’d have something cute peeking out when you roll up the blinds. 🙂

  • Reply Jenyfer Matthews » Blog Archive » Procrastination Can Pay Off at 10:07 am

    […] With the sun going down earlier and earlier I decided that I really did have to go ahead and finally line the bamboo shades in the living and dining rooms. I like the way they look with the light filtering in during the day, but I am not one of those people who likes to be on display at night. I followed these instructions. […]

  • Reply Christie Leigh at 10:49 am

    Thank you thank you! I recently purchased a new home that came with existing Bamboo shades. The previous homeowners had the cheap roll up shades underneath that never really roll back up once pulled down. I assume they NEVER opened the shades. I, on the other hand, enjoy natural light! Except at night when you can see my every move within the house. This is a perfect solution for my dilemma and can’t wait to get this project underway! Thanks again for the step by step directions.

  • Reply Marti at 9:59 pm

    We put up bamboo roman shades today, just the look I wanted, and after they were all cut to fit the windows and installed, hubby came home just after dark and informed me that they are totally see through. I told him I wasn’t going to scrap them, that surely someone has figured out a way to line them. And you have! Did you hem your liner, or is it something that won’t ravel?

  • Reply Dawn at 7:14 am

    Thank you so much for your easy solution!! I put bamboo blinds (the roll-up kind) in my upstairs bathroom a few years ago. I always wondered if they were see-thru, so I would always open the cupboard doors when stepping out of the shower, which helped block the window.

    I finally went outside at night and stepped far away from our condo. Yikes!! I love the look of them, but holy cow, TOTALLY see-thru!

    Now I know what I have to do!!

    • Reply Jane at 10:29 am

      Dawn, so happy I could help! That EXACT kind of thing happened to me – heaven knows what my neighbors saw before I realized those bamboo blinds are not opaque at all!! This solution was really, really easy. The kind of thing where, once I did it, I thought “why on earth did I wait so long?!” 🙂

  • Reply Walker at 1:40 pm

    Thanks for the idea! I think I’m going to try this. My only question is, did you do anything to the edges of the fabric to keep it from fraying?

    • Reply Jane at 3:55 pm

      That’s an awesome part – I didn’t have to do anything as the fabric didn’t want to fray. Maybe because it’s insulated so there’s some sort of coating on or in it? But if you used plain cotton fabric that may be an issue. I used an insulated drapery liner fabric.

  • Reply Kate at 9:24 am

    This sounds like a great idea! I have some questions though –
    My roman bamboo shades are cordless (they just have a little wand at the side you twist to raise or lower it)
    I’m assuming this would mean all I really have to do is glue the fabric onto the back of the shade? (Sorry if this seems like a silly question, but I’m pretty novice when it comes to this kinda stuff!)
    I’m also wondering if the glue will still adhere when we have really hot days – when the sun is beating down on it all day. I’m just worried it’ll melt and get all gooey and gross!

    Thanks so much in advance!

    • Reply Jane at 10:10 am

      Hey Kate, these are good questions. Regarding the cordless blinds, I’m honestly not sure. I have never seen how the cordless ones work. Sorry I don’t have a clear answer. As for the glue – I think that’s a good question. I didn’t have a super sunny window. If you’re worried about heat, I wouldn’t use a glue gun. I’d use a stronger glue, something like rubber cement. Hope it works out for your blinds!

      • Reply Jim The Soundman at 1:51 pm

        I don’t think the hot melt glue will decompose if the sun shines on it even on a really hot day. According to Wikipedia, the standard hot melt glue gun melts the glue at somewhere between 248 °F and 374 °F. So I think you are pretty safe with the sun shining on it.
        However, I do know that hot melt glue is pretty stiff when dry, so if you need more flexiblity, maybe contact cement would be better. I don’t think rubber cement would work, it might, but it’s really meant to be removable without damaging the items, such as when you glue photographs into an album, so it’s bond strength is very low. I would just experiment with different glues to see which works best for you.

  • Reply Eleanor H at 10:23 am

    Thank you SO MUCH for this post! I recently moved into a beautiful place that came with bamboo blinds, and I wanted to keep them but had to do something about the privacy issue. They’re very narrow, so replacing them wasn’t really an option, either; at least not an option I could comfortably afford after an expensive move. I was ready to tear my hair out when I found this. It took me a few hours to add lining to the eight blinds along my front windows, but the results are exactly what I hoped for, and the total cost was less than $25. You are my hero!!

    • Reply Jane at 1:30 pm

      Oh my gosh! I am so stoked to hear that it worked well for you! It seriously makes my day to know that my idea helped you. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Reply Kara at 4:31 pm

    I just finished my bamboo shades! I shortened them and lined them with your tutorial! They look great from the inside and they seem to be rolling up and down with no problems (no fabric hanging down, etc.). My only beef is that they do not look so pretty from the outside. I used a white liner and you can see the pull cords against the liner when looking from outside in.. I’m not sure what to do. I was thinking of re-threading the pull cord underneath the liner and pulling it through the hole where the metal loops are. I don’t know if this will work. I’m not sure what to do. Ant suggestions?

    • Reply Jane at 8:29 am

      Hey Kara – Oh shoot! I don’t know what to say about the appearance from the outside. I don’t remember how mine looked. If you send me a photo I’d be happy to brainstorm some ideas. Is the pull cord a different color than the shades?

  • Reply Mary at 9:05 am

    Kara- I have the same problem. I was thinking of using a small paint brush, taking some white acrylic craft paint and painting the cord on the outside to blend in. Kind of tedious but I bet it would help. You could even paint the rings if they also stand out. Hope this helps!

    • Reply Jane at 11:45 am

      Mary – that’s a great idea!!

    • Reply Angel at 9:13 am

      I’m thinking if you paint the cord it is going to be white/brown hanging down when the shades are pulled up. I know there is a roman shade tape that has plastic hooks. You attach it to the liner fabric and put them back to back somehow, hooking the plastic hooks around your strings. The only catch, and the reason I haven’t done it is that the fabric would bunch in the opposite direction of the shade when pulled up. That’s why I was following and loving your idea, but these are on front of my house. This has me thinking…

  • Reply Cyndy at 1:56 pm


    Do I cut holes down the left and right sides?


  • Reply DC at 6:50 pm

    I tried this today and failed!
    I followed the steps and seemed like it worked but then when I hung them and tried to raise the shade the cord broke! I am too frusterated to try and restring them or figure out the mechinism to restring the cords.
    Also where I made very small slits for the cord rings shows rays of light through them. Anyone else have this issue?
    One thing that was a bit tedious which I think just depends on how your shade is put together….it was a lot of work to take off each ring to detatch the cord and then restring correctly. This was probably the only part that makes me not want to try this again;)
    Now stuck with a broken bamboo shade..hmmm

    • Reply Cecelia at 4:21 pm has a solution for covering the slits. I found this site via Creative Little Daisy.

    • Reply Ann at 7:01 pm

      I don’t think you remove the little rings. I think you untie the cords at the bottom and then pull them out of all the rings and leave each cord attached at the very top, out of the way, until your liner is done. When liner is attached, you feed those cords all the way back down and through each ring to the bottom and re-tie, right? Look on YouTube for videos on how to restring your shades to give you an idea. It doesn’t look that difficult. Sorry this happened to you.

  • Reply Lauren at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for this! We moved into our current home just over a year ago and have lovely, but unlined woven blinds on 10 windows. We bought new ones for two other windows that had awful curtains. While nice, the new fully lined blinds were over $500 for the pair. Gulp. So, your project will be my solution for the 10 existing blinds. Thank you so much!

    • Reply Jane at 10:47 pm

      So glad to help! I had the same gulp when I looked at lined blinds 🙂

  • Reply Mary at 3:19 pm

    Thank you very much for this tutorial. I used yours and a couple others as a guide for my recently purchased woven wood blinds. I am SO relieved that this was a possibility because I will tell you that panic ensued when I got the blinds up and they were totally transparent. I posted about it in my house blog.

    THANK YOU. So glad this was a success.

    • Reply Jane at 8:05 am

      Hey Mary – I’m so glad this was helpful!! How silly is it that the bamboo and wooden blinds are transparent? 🙂

  • Reply Joey at 4:00 pm

    Thanks for the reminder , omg I used to use the glue gun for everything even made curtains out of them in the 90s’, thanks cause I didn’t think of black out fabric and I already had three overwhelming my gym room so I just cut them and glue lined them.

    looks awesome , The Afternoon Sun In Florida can be brutal I used rich dark burgundy bamboo with yellow and great Mandala in my Gym /Yoga Room

    awesome , my shades didn’t have hoops though thank still works

  • Reply Anna Gonzalez at 10:14 am

    Thank you!!! I ordered bamboo shades for our “new” used RV but need privacy for the bathroom and bedroom. Thank you for a great solution!

  • Reply Terry Hillman at 4:26 pm

    What a great idea! I have 12 roman shades for a screened in porch. I would like to make liners from shower curtains so it would help when it rains…Any suggestions on what type of glue to use? Won’t use the plastic shower curtains more of the cloth.

    • Reply Jane at 10:14 am

      Terry, that’s an awesome idea! I’m honestly not sure what kind of glue to use. I really like hot glue from a glue gun, because it’s very rubbery. The only downside I can think of is if it got so hot outside that it would melt the glue? If it were me, I’d try one as a test run.

  • Reply susan at 2:06 pm

    This tutorial is awesome. You can also find fabric privacy liners online already cut to standard roman shade widths. Search for the Designview fabric privacy liner or Radiance bamboo fabric roman shade liners on major online retailer sites like Walmart, Home Depot, Amazon, or Overstock.

  • Reply Janie at 3:45 pm

    It didn’t stick to the material at all!!! We are trying superglue now!! What a pain this has turned out to be!!!

    • Reply Janie at 3:50 pm

      Still didn’t work…now what?

      • Reply Jane at 2:30 pm

        I’m sorry to hear the glue isn’t working for you! There are so many different materials used for bamboo blinds – I would take them to the hardware store and see what they recommend. Good luck!

  • Reply Kathy at 7:57 am

    OMG, Jane, your instructions were flawless. What a money saver. And the finished product looks so good. I can’t thank you enough for posting this step by step how to. Truly, thank you – I read this, immediately went to the fabric store and before the end of the night, I had one of the blinds up. My only mistake – and it was a huge one – was that I laid the fabric on top of the blind to make sure I was cutting it long enough and cut right through one of the cords at the top. Major mistake! Luckily, it was at the very top so the remainder was long enough that I could tie it back and continue. And when I tried to roll up the blind, the bottoms weren’t tied good enough so it all fell down. I took it down, rethread and retied the cord, crossed my fingers and up it went again. Three more to go, which I’ll get to today.

    • Reply Jane at 11:07 am

      Oh man! I’m glad everything worked out even though that bump in the road probably was annoying! So happy to have helped you with a solution. Thanks for letting me know! 🙂

  • Reply Mae at 12:10 am

    Did you put glue on every horizontal piece of bamboo when going down vertically? Or at intervals, like quarter inch or something? Nervous about losing control of glue gun and having hot glue squeeze through bamboo like chubb through a split seam, you know?

    • Reply Jane at 10:56 am

      That’s a great question. it’s been several years since I did this project, so I can’t remember exactly, but I think I just ran a few thin lines of hot glue straight down and didn’t leave any spaces. practice on a piece of paper first, but if you don’t pull the glue gun trigger too hard, you won’t get a super thick line. It dries quickly, just FYI.

  • Reply Beth Riley at 11:18 pm

    I’m about to try this project and noticed that the cord went through the metal rings but also through numerous cord rings in between the next metal ring. Do I need to worry about those cord rings or just skip them?

    • Reply Jane at 1:57 pm

      Hi Beth, I have to tell you it’s been 7 years since I did that project, and I no longer live in the house where they hang. I think mine only had a few rings, but if yours have more, I’m guessing you should pass the cord through all of the rings. I’m sorry I can’t be more confident in this but like I said it’s been a while!

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