How To Customize a Roller Shade with Paint

Rather than throw out that plain old vinyl roller shade when upgrading your room, why not paint it and customize it for your decor?  Here, I’ll show you how.

How to Paint a roller shade

This roller shade started out a boring white but functional specimen.  I began by rolling it open on a relatively flat surface that was protected by a dropcloth.  It’s best to do this outside and away from the house because spray painting is very messy.

First, lightly spray the entire surface with a primer.  Here I used gray primer because I’m going for a gray finish product.  Remember, when working with spray paint, use a very light and consistent spray.  Several light coats give better coverage than a single heavy coat.

After the primer dries, sweep or brush the primer to remove any dust or flakes.  Be careful not to step or lean on the primed surface as you will leave a mark.

Use masking tape to create your pattern.  I was mimicking a grid pattern from my valence, so I marked off a grid roughly twice the scale of the fabric grid.  In this example, I used grid lines 8″ apart from each other.  Laying a yardstick alongside the tape helps to keep it straight when laying out the lines.

Do your best to adhere the tape flat to the primed surface, since gaps will allow the paint to bleed and soften your lines. This is trickier than it sounds, since tape won’t adhere well to a primed surface.  I tried both green Frog tape and 3M Delicate Surface low tack tape.  The blue tape barely stuck and didn’t pull up any of the primer, while the Frog tape stuck a little too well.

Once all the tape lines are laid, apply a thin coat of spray paint.  Here I used Rustoleum High Heat silver paint, leftover from another project, but with a nice sheen to it.

Let this coat dry at least an hour, then apply a second coat if desired.  Here, I added a coat of Krylon Stainless Steel finish, to add more gray sheen.

Carefully remove the taped lines, being sure not to lean on the finished product. 

The stainless paint finish leaves tiny flakes, so lightly brush or sweep it again.

That’s it.  You don’t need many supplies for this little project.

The finished product has an antiqued look to it, but is still quite flexible and operates on the roller pins wonderfully.