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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Ikea Hack: Cutting SKOGSKLÖVER and ENJE Roller Blinds to Fit Your Windows


This article was originally published after I hacked the ENJE roller blinds, now discontinued. The new SKOGSKLÖVER roller blinds are made of the same solar mesh and can be hacked in exactly the same way. Here's how you do it.

"How did I come to hack the Ikea solar roller blinds? It's a long story that starts with why roller blinds are the perfect window treatment for a midcentury home and ends with I couldn't find window treatments the right size and price that better suit the spare architecture of our mid-century home.

If you have non-standard size windows like we do, custom window treatments can cost upwards of $400 per window. You'd be hard pressed to find something more suitable than the IKEA, even at bespoke prices. 

The IKEA SKOGSKLÖVER and ENJE blinds are made of a semi-opaque solar fabric that filters light without completely blocking it. When raised, they simply disappear into the wall. I love the spareness, the lack of cord, and the smooth spring loaded mechanicals. Even the pulls and the aluminum rails are good-looking. They have the look and hand feel of a much more expensive product.

And did I mention the price? $20-$43, depending on the size.




Where Enje came in a standard 64" length and variable widths of 23", 30", 32", 34", 36", 38" and 48". SKOGSKLÖVER has an additional one at 27":

W23×L76¾" $19.99 203.145.99
W27×L76¾" $22.99 803.146.00
W30×L76¾" $27.99 203.146.03
W32×L76¾" $29.99 003.146.04
W34×L76¾" $32.99 303.146.07
W36×L76¾" $36.99 103.146.08
W38×L76¾" $39.99 303.146.12

W48×L76¾" $42.99 103.146.13

Most of our windows are standard 34" wide, but the "bay" in the master bedroom has narrow 18" side windows. And in the bathroom we have a 17" wide window. The smallest size available at IKEA is 23" wide, but they can be easily hacked down. The roller and rail are both aluminum, which can be cut with a standard hacksaw. The mesh can be removed from the roller and cut with a sewing scissors, then adhered back onto the roller and rails.




I've done this for three of our windows, and you'd never know they aren't custom made. If you're interested in hacking the Ikea roller blinds, here's what you'll need and the step by step instructions on how to do it.

Tools



  • Measuring tape 
  • Pencil
  • Hacksaw
  • Sand bar or sand paper
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Staple remover
  • Pliers
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Box cutter

Steps

Step 1: Measure the width of your window box. Mine is 18".


Step 2: Decide whether you're hanging the hardware from the top or the sides. My walls are very old plaster that has a tendency to crumble. As we're cutting these to fit, I'll put screws and anchors in both the top and the side. 


I want to point out the nice flexible design on this hardware. That you can attach them at the top or sides means the blind width does not have to exactly match. If your windows are, say, 24" wide you could hang the 23" Enje from the top, and the 1/2" space on either side would not look weird. You've got some wiggle room.

Step 3: Measure the roller shade with the hardware on and note how many inches the hardware takes up. I'm measuring 3/4" on the right and 1/4" on the left.  But Ikea changes their products from time to time so do not rely on my measurements. 



Right side is 3/4"
Left side is 1/4"
My hardware takes up 1" altogether. Given my window boxes are 18" wide and subtracting an additional 1/4" for give, I cut roller, rail, and fabric 16-3/4" and that worked out perfectly for my 18" width windows.

Step 4: Remove the end caps on the roller.




The left side contains the spring mechanism. If you decide to make all your cuts on the right side, you do not even have to remove the left cap and spring.

Step 5: Remove the fabric from the roller. (This is easy; the fabric glue remains on the fabric and makes reassembling the fabric to the roller quite easy later.)



Pull firmly at each side until the stretchy glue gives and you have separated the roller from the fabric.




Step 6: Pencil mark the roller and make your cut.




Step 7: Sand the end of the roller smooth. (I used a painter's block.)



Step 8: Now, the lower rail. Remove the plastic end caps from the lower rail.



Step 9: Slide the fabric panel out by grasping the plastic strip that it's stapled to.


Step 10: Remove the staples from the plastic strip and free the fabric.




Step 11: Make your cut and set the rail aside.


Step 12: Lay the fabric out on a flat surface, measure and mark it. I like to make a small pencil mark every six inches to give myself a dotted line to follow with scissors.



Step 13: Cut the fabric with a sharp scissors.



Step 14: When you are finished cutting, reassemble the fabric to the roller using the fabric glue that's still on the roller and roll the fabric up the roller tightly.




Step 15. Replace the roller end caps.



Step 16: Now, down at the rail end, re-attach the plastic strip to the fabric and staple it firmly using a household stapler.




Step 17: Slide the fabric covered plastic strip through the end of the hollow rail on the side that has the indentation (opposite the side with the plastic Pull).







 Step 18: Replace the end caps.



Step 19: Install your custom-fitted Enje Roller Shade per Ikea instructions that came in the box.



Step 20: Sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy your handiwork. You just saved yourself hundreds of dollars on custom window treatments. And these look like a million bucks!