Sunday, December 4, 2016

DIY No-Tool Shade Screens

Keeping sunshine out of the house during the summer keeps the utility bills lower, as does letting sunshine into the house during the winter.  The obvious answer is removable shade screens.

The problem: How to mount shade screens on windows that have no place to attach the screens because the windows are inset into old adobe and fragile stucco instead of wood or concrete.

The solution: Use tension rods to hold the shadecloth top and bottom as if it were a French door curtain.  No power tools required, 

Despite the non-standard construction materials and methods, the screens have just finished their fourth summer and survived several severe thunderstorms each summer.

Tension rods holding shadecloth

Tools and Materials:

  • Two curtain rods,  tension style, that will fit the inside of the window area
  • Shadecloth of the desired color
  • Office stapler and staples
  • Measuring tape
  • Craft scissors
  • Straight pins

    NOTE: Shadecloth has grain - a stretchy direction and a non-stretchy direction.  Buy enough fabric so that you can make the screens with the non-stretchy direction running top to bottom.  They will hang better.

 Constructing the screens

  1. Adjust the tension rods to fit the top and bottom of the opening and take the rods down.
  2. Measure the opening height and width. 
    You need a piece that is 6 inches longer than the window height and slightly less than the width.
  3. Fold the top edge down 3 inches and pin it in a few places to make a casing for the rod.
  4. Staple the fold in place. The staples should be about an inch from the cut edge, diagonal to the grain of the fabric, and 2 or 3 inches apart.  (see the picture below - there are two barely visible  staples)
  5. Slide the top tension rod into the casing and install it in the window, with the cut edge facing out and the cloth hanging smoothly across the window.
  6. Install the bottom tension rod.
  7. Make a casing around the bottom rod with the bottom edge of the shadecloth, gently pulling the shade fabric to make it smooth.
  8. Pin the casing in a few places.
  9. Staple the bottom casing like you did the top casing. Make sure the cut edges are on the same side of the screen.
  10. Put the rods back into the casings and hang your shade screen so it is flat across the window with the cut edges closest to the window pane.

Tension rod close-up
To store the shadescreens, roll each screen around its tension rods and tie it with something. Label each bundle.

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