DIY Skylight Window Shade

This is the post about my DIY Skylight Window Shade that I’ve been meaning to put together for a while now.  When we bought the new house it came with skylights – a neat feature that gives light to rooms that don’t otherwise have natural light.  Only issue is, the heat they generate is a killer when you are standing under them in the summer and the light, well, yup they provide it – even when you’d like to be sleeping.

DIY Skylight Shade Start

A beacon of light!

Sticker Shock!

One skylight is in a room directly across from the thermostat and I’ve always thought that the radiating heat from that room must have an effect my thermostat turning on.  Another is in a bedroom, not pleasant if sunrise is early.  So, one day I decided to do some research on a shade for it.  Because it is a skylight, I also looked at the remote control features – it just isn’t practical to get out the ladder each time you want to adjust.  Much like me and ice on the roof, there are stories of me and ladders.  You’d think I was uncoordinated!  Near instantly, I realized that I just can’t (or won’t) afford anything store bought.  Turns out (at least from my research) they are kinda custom done and so is the price.  I think $300 is a lot for one window.  Especially for a girl who sews.  Whoa!

Ole Fashioned Drop Back and Punt Time

So, I let the brain start down another road.  What if I sewed one myself?  I’ve made roman shades before, but they won’t work here – who wants a string hanging down?  And again, there’s the whole ladder thing if I create a hook for the string.  Sooo, French Curtains to the rescue.  Well, those and tension rods.

These might be some of the easiest curtains to sew.  All you need is the fabric, the tension rods, and a little bit of skill and knowledge.  The skill? – really just being able to sew a straight line (or reasonably close).   The cost was really inexpensive for me too.  I already had the fabric – I used an old sheet.  And the tension rods were like $3 each at either Walmart, Target or Meijer  — can’t remember which store.

Instruction Overview

I’m not perfect at step by step instructions, but here goes.  I think you’ll get the idea, as these are not very complicated.

First, measure your window, width and length.  Measure the inside opening because you are using tension rods.  You need to know the width measurement because tension rods come in different sizes.  Once you have it, go purchase some tension rods.

DIY Shade Step 1

Measure then purchase tension rods

Because you are making a pocket to slide the tension rod in, you’ll need to add additional length to the measured length.  So, for mine, I think I added an inch to each end.   You’ll also need to add to the width.  For fullness of the curtain, you’ll want to add at least 1.5 times the width – so if the width is 20 inches, you’ll want to cut for 30.  But you also need to have some side seams, so I gave mine a half inch each side.  So, for example I would cut my fabric at 31 inches.

Important – I’m leaving out the pic of cutting the fabric and a whole bit on actually sewing hems.  I’m assuming you already know.  But just in case, very quickly, iron your fabric, fold over for hem allowance, iron again.  You’ll want to at least initially sew along the cut edge (I use my serger, but you can do it with a regular machine too) and then you sew the hem allowance down.  One of my pics has a decent, but unintended shot of it.  Side seams get sewn first and then your top (where the rod will go) gets sewn next.

Slide your tension rod in.  I used two rods for this project, so for me, one in each end.  I’m guessing here that you’ve already got your tension rod measured to fit the window opening tightly.  If you didn’t, do it before you put the tension rod in the curtain pocket.  It’ll make life easier.

Skylight Curtain

Tension rod goes in pocket after hems are sewn

Tension rods now in, hang the curtain in the window.  Normally, I’d say start with the top rod first, but in this case they are hanging in the air so it didn’t matter.  Adjust to exactly where in the window casing (or frame) that you want the curtain to hang (meaning how close to the actual window) and then adjust your fullness so it looks right and you are done.

Hanging of Skylight Curtain

Place the tension rods and adjust

  The Finished Product

Finished skylight

This is how the skylight looked after I got them up.  The light coming through is now filtered. I haven’t gotten my next energy bill, but I’m hoping it made a little difference.  If nothing else, it looks better, and only cost me like $6.00.   Also, I can easily take them down or move them to one side to allow more light if I want.

A little more…

If you were to do both ends on a normal window, it could function as a shade, or you could easily move them up or down as I do in my living room.  I’ve included a  picture of that below for reference.  I needed to do something in that room and this was a quick, easy fix.  And the bonus is I can move them in any configuration I want, as I tried to show in the picture.


DIY Curtains

See how you can move them up and down?

Well, that’s it.  What do you think?  If I left anything out that you want to know more about, just leave a comment and I’ll respond.



PS – check out one of the sites that I link “or blog hop party” with.. Carrie This Home

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