Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How To: Make a window fan shade

My son has one of those half moon shaped windows in his room. Custom blinds for these things are very expensive. The best option I found was something called a Redi Shade you can buy at Lowes or other places for 20 something dollars and cut to size, but it comes in basic white and needs to be stuck down with velcro. This window is better uncovered in winter so that light and warmth come into the room, but in summer the sun just beats in due to a western exposure. I wanted something I can remove in winter and replace in summer without dealing with adhesive velcro strips.

This window is 22 inches high and 46 inches wide so it's not a perfect semi-circle. And the arch is something like 6 ft so I knew I needed a long piece of paper to make a fan for it. Rolls of wall paper were not wide enough. I went to a teaching supply store and got a roll of 48 inch by 12 ft paper that is used to cover bulletin boards. This one has a cloud design, but they had many colors and patterns. This cost about $8.50. It also comes in different sized rolls both larger and smaller.

At a building supply store I bought two wooden slats 1 1/2 inches wide by 2 ft long for $1 each and painted them to match. These attach to the ends of the fan to weigh it down and hold it in place in the window. These were cut to just under 22 inches and I drilled a hole in one end for a ribbon to go through later.

The roll of paper is long and wants to roll back up so you need to weigh it down to work with it. I cut 5 inches off the width so that when folded in half it would be just under the 22 inches (height of the window).

I found I couldn't work on a tabletop to fold the 12 foot roll in half (so that the finished fan would be double sided) because it kept wanting to roll up. I needed a long stretch of floor to work. 

Live and learn: it would have been MUCH easier to work with a single thickness instead of double. Also, I should have used double sided tape and sealed all three open edges before trying to fold it into a fan. If I did it again I would definitely not fold it, but only use one layer of paper.

I used my quilting ruler and a bone folder to impress guide lines every 2 inches so that I could fold it evenly. This took a long time! I didn't want to use a pencil since I wanted this to be double sided.

I used white glue to stick the wooden slats to the ends of the fan.

I used a hole punch and stick on hole reinforcements to make a path to string ribbon through to gather the fan. The ribbon also went through the holes that I drilled in the wooden slats.


  1. wow! that's great! Looks like it took awhile to make... :) But well worth it for getting exactly what you wanted!

  2. thanks good idea

  3. This is exactly what I needed since I have two windows like this.

    Thanks, Ros

  4. I have two of these windows now, and I couldn't believe the prices to these fans! I'd rather make them myself, using your step by step process. Thanks for posting this! I shall return to comment on my finished product.

  5. Awesome! Just what I was looking for as I have two guest rooms with arched windows. One room will double as my project room and I love natural light. But when it's used for guests, I wanted something for privacy and light darkening - this should do the job nicely! Thanks bunches!