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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34 thoughts on “How to: DIY Privacy Bamboo Blinds

  1. Pingback: Reader Q: Jenn’s living room decor dilemma(s) | The Borrowed Abode

  2. Skooks

    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!  :)

  3. Steph

    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?


    1. Jane @ The Borrowed Abode

      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!!


  4. Omenseeker

    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!

  5. Pingback: Jenyfer Matthews » Blog Archive » Procrastination Can Pay Off

  6. Christie Leigh

    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.

  7. Marti

    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?

  8. Dawn

    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!!

    1. Jane Post author

      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?!” :)

  9. Walker

    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?

    1. Jane Post author

      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.

  10. Kate

    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!

    1. Jane Post author

      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!

      1. Jim The Soundman

        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.

  11. Eleanor H

    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!!

    1. Jane Post author

      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!!!

  12. Kara

    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?

    1. Jane Post author

      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?

  13. Mary

    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!

  14. DC

    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

    1. Ann

      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.

  15. Lauren

    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!


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