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How to Cut a Roller Shade

Measurement, Roller Shades

Since the simplest roller shades do not have cords, they pose no strangulation hazard to children. Another plus is that they are an inexpensive way to gain privacy compared to their custom – made cousins. And when paired with drapes or curtains, when it is time to launder or dry clean the latter, you do not lose privacy.

Knowing how to cut shades at home is useful in correcting an error if they were cut incorrectly at the store. Of course, this plan works only if the shade is too wide. Unless a shade is only about 1/2 inch too short, it cannot be salvaged.

A store with a well – stocked roller shade bin has shades in a variety of widths. Typical widths are 37 1/4 inches, 55 1/4 inches, and 73 1/4 inches. Window shades with cardboard cores that are sold and machine – cut at stores are easily sized at home. Another type of roller shade sold to consumers that can be sized at home usually has a metal core. The method described here does not apply to shades with metal cores.

Cutting Tools

To trim the width of a roller shade, you will need a flathead screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a miter box, a hacksaw, a new 18T hacksaw blade, a measuring tape, a pencil and a rubber mallet.

The Process

Step 1. Measure the opening the shade will cover. Choose from one of two types of installations: inside mount or outside mount. With inside mounting, the roller shade fits within the window frame to cover the window pane. Inside mounting requires that the window be at least two inches deep without a valance and at least four inches deep with a valance. Measure the width left to right at three places: top, middle and bottom. Write down the widest measurement. The purpose of taking three measurements is to determine if the window is square and to compensate if it is not.

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Outside mounting is the choice for windows not deep enough for inside mounting or for intentionally covering window frames and molding. In outside mounting, the shade’s width is your choice. Measure the width at the top, middle and bottom. Write the longest measurement down.

Is the measurement tip – to tip or cloth – to cloth? A tip – to – tip measurement includes the ends of the shade which actually fit into the shade brackets. Outside mounting frequently uses the cloth – to -cloth measurement. This latter measurement begins and ends where the shade fabric begins and ends. Decide how much overlap you want on each side. The common recommendation for outside mounting is 1 1/2 inches to 3 inches of overlap on each side. Overlap is a must on outside mounts to seal out any light gaps. Write down the overlap and add it to the width to get the cutting measurement.

Step 2. Prepare the roller shade for cutting. Make sure the shade is rolled up. Locate the end with the pointed insert. This end has a plastic cap whereas the end with the tension spring has a metal cap. Mark the width measurement near the pointed end. Using pliers and/or a screwdriver, pull out the pointed insert and set it aside.

Step 3. Remove the pull. Slide out the wood or plastic pull at the bottom of the shade and set it aside.

Step 4. Cut the shade. Line up the mark on the rolled – up shade with the 90 – degree – angle mark on the miter box. Hold the shade against the side of the miter box so it will not move as you cut with the hacksaw. Use a hacksaw blade that has 18 teeth per inch. Using a blade that has 32 or 24 teeth per inch will yield an unsigthly jagged cut. Use a new hacksaw blade after cutting about three shades.
A lightly used blade ensures a clean cut.

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Step 5. Cut the shade pull. Mark the width on the shade pull. Cut it in the miter box as you did the shade.

Step 6. Prepare the shade for hanging. Reinsert the pointed end. If necesssary, use a rubber mallet to tap it back into place. Reinsert the shade pull. Hang the shade.

If the shade is too wide after the first cut, take another measurement and repeat the above steps. If the shade is a little too short, use pliers to pull out the pointed insert just a bit to widen the shade a few eighths of an inch.