How to Make Top-Down, Bottom-Up Roman Shades

roman shades in a white room
What You'll Need
Measuring tape with self-lock
Stiffener board, 1 inch thick x 2 inches wide
Velcro 2-piece hook and loop strip (non-adhesive)
Flat pulleys 2 for each lifting line
Cord cleats
Lift cords and lifting rings
Weight rod for shade bottom, 1-inch diameter
Hand saw
Staple gun
Electric or cordless electric drill
Philips head screwdriver

Top-down, bottom-up Roman shades are an ingenious solution to meet two needs: getting light into a room, and ensuring privacy at the same time. These shades work best when mounted outside the window frame to avoid obstructions like window locks. Modify an existing roman shade into the top-down, bottom-up format by following these suggestions.

Step 1 - Remove the Top Mounting Hardware

Remove the top mounting hardware from your roman shade. You will replace this with a new top stiffener and set of lift cords and lifting rings, that let it move downward, and the bottom to still move up.

Step 2 - Cut and Prepare the Stiffener Board for the Shade Top

Cut the stiffener board to the finished width of the shade plus 1 inch. It will pull up into the top valance without touching. Upholster the stiffener board with plain white cotton or fabric remaining from making the shade, by stapling it around the board as you would wrap a gift. Be sure all raw edges are turned under, and cover the board completely.

Step 3 - Add the Velcro Hook Pieces and Hardware

Staple the Velcro hook pieces with the hooked side out. Attach pieces to the front and both sides of the stiffener board. Affix the small screw eyes to each side of the stiffener board. Attach both sets of pulleys to the stiffener board. The top-down pulleys will work from one side of the board and the bottom-up pulleys from the opposite side. Last, attach two angled iron brackets to the board, between the outer sets of pulleys. These will fasten the stiffener board to the inner window frame.

Step 4 - Close the Top of the Top Down Shade

Fold the extra fabric left over when you removed the top mounting hardware and make a pocket for the stiffener board. You will make a 1/2-inch hem at the top, sew down the fabric and insert the stiffener.

Step 5 - Make a Weight Rod for the Shade Bottom

Reinforce the bottom of the shade to support the top when it is open. Make a pocket at the bottom and insert a 1-inch rod that is 1/2 inch shorter than the shade width. Sew up the bottom corners of the shade to enclose the rod.

Step 6 - Attach Lift Rings to the Shade

Hand-sew the lift rings to the shade in line with the rear set of pulleys, using thread that matches the front fabric.

Step 7 - Hang the Top-Down, Bottom Up Shade

Place the shade on a chair while you attach the lifting strings to the shade. Screw the stiffener board into the window frame with long wood screws. The front of the board aligns just behind the front edge of the window trim. Run the lifting strings through the correct pulleys and wind over cord cleats.