DIY Pallet Wood Vertical Blinds -- What what?!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Aww yeah, the window treatment for our swanky in-progress library is done!

Right, so as we all know, I'm not thoroughly on the whole pallet bandwagon but I admit, pallet wood was the texture I wanted for this fancy pants DIY vertical blinds project.  Well, and heh, the wood was free.

Wait a sec, you made your own vertical blinds?!  Why yes I did.  And you can too.  It's very easy actually!

Here's my supply list:


I picked up the swivel key tags* from Home Depot, which were a special order online.  The copper wire* came from Joann Fabrics.  The binder rings are from Office Max which I can't find on their website, but here are some.*  Everything else came from Menards, well, sans the wood.

It took me quite a while to find the right swivel piece, I'll tell ya.  I looked at goodness knows how many options but felt these key rings had a good look, a good size, and hey, they swivel!  All important for vertical blinds, that swiveling action.

My total cost:  $29.00

Tools I used, which may vary for you, depending on what you have:
  • cordless screw gun
  • 3" circular saw (thanks Bob!)
  • grinder
  • rafter square
  • 1/8" drill bit
  • 1/4" drill bit
For this project, I visited a place near home that has pallet wood, where I met Twitchy.  Kindly, he let me have eight pieces of extra long wood for free.  


I began by getting the top plate connectors attached.  Based on my window frame depth, and the width of the wood, I found I needed to put the plates at the edge so that the wood could swivel and fold up like vertical blinds.  I used these screws* to anchor the top plate connectors into the window frame which I already had.

Once the plates were secure, I screwed in the threaded rods and then the split ring hangars.


It was all hanging a bit low for me, especially considering I had the hanging hardware length to go yet.


So I did something unintelligent that you should never ever ever do; I free-hand trimmed the threaded rods down a quarter of an inch with my grinder.  Do not do that.  Use a stationary vise if you decide to trim.

I'm normally not fond of trimming threaded rod as generally it ruins the threads, rendering the rod useless but amazingly, this worked.  But do not do it the way I did.  Don't.  They're still an eensy long for my taste but I am not that much of a daredevil to cut them any shorter.

And yes, the idea for the hardware came from that wine bottle tiki torch you see all over Pinterest.

Next up, I cut my five foot long piece of conduit down to size using the grinder; in my case, that was 30".  I unscrewed one of the split ring hangars nearly completely in order to get the conduit in then secured the whole thing.

(In all honesty, I originally purchased 1/2" split ring hangars then discovered they were just too small to hold the conduit, so I had to run back to the store and exchange them for 3/4".  Heh, always frustrating but hey, this is how we learn!)

I screwed the split ring hangar on the threaded rod enough so that it would act as an additional clamp to keep the conduit from sliding around when I opened and closed the blinds.  Much like a set screw.


Yeah, no I know, I haven't quite mastered the art of taking a photo when the light is behind my intended subject.

At this point, I measured from the center of the conduit down to my window sill in order to figure out the length of the wood pieces.  I then subtracted out the total length of the hanging hardware which was 2.5".   I also figured in a little clearance at the bottom so the wood could hang freely and got my height of 54.75" for the wood slats.

Time to slice and dice!  I trimmed up my nifty free wood strips, mindful of the nail bits still in the wood.  Once the pieces were trimmed, I measured a half inch down from the top edge, then center, then drilled a 1/4" hole for the binder rings to go through.  Clipped all the hardware together and bam, easy peasy.  Swivel hanging hardware!


In order to connect the boards together similar to vertical blinds, I drilled itty bitty little holes a quarter inch in from the edges.  Those are a foot down from the top, a foot up from the bottom, and then center on the length, so three connection points.

I hauled everything upstairs, unscrewed one split ring hangar and slid all the wood pieces onto the conduit, then screwed the hangar back together.


A tip?  Don't leave the hangar screw on the window sill while you're up on the ladder trying to hold everything together with one hand, then have to struggle for the just-out-of-reach screw with the other hand......I got it though.

And aww yeah, everything held!  Whew!!  Woo hoo!!  Heh.  Some of those pieces of wood aren't particularly lightweight.

The last two steps?  Cut the copper wire into six inch pieces....


.....then thread them through the small holes from behind and twist the ends together.


In retrospect, I'd probably get heavier wire, like 16 gauge, as 20 is still a bit on the malleable side, especially if you expect to be opening and closing these quite often.  I don't, so the 20 may prove to be all right for my purposes, we shall see.  I might also drill those holes a smidge larger, but again, time will tell.



So yeah, pallet wood vertical blinds!  Right, they are not kid friendly.  Nor pet friendly, really.  And the key ring piece isn't the smoothest glide across the conduit.  But I dunno man, I kinda think these blinds are pretty darn cool.


They bring nubbly-ness and visual interest and a natural rough hewn wood element to the room.  They are industrial hardware-y without being too industrial hardware-y.  Shine, texture, color, and pattern; much like as in fashion, everything a room wants but all in one snappy, stylish, budget-friendly package.



With everything else I have planned to go in here, it should all come together quite spiffily.  If that's a word, spiffily.  If it's not, it is now.  Clearly I'm good at making up words, huh?


 

So let me know how this one goes for you, what worked, what didn't, what changes and adaptations you made as I'd love to know!

*The binder rings, key tags, connectors, split ring hangars, threaded rod, and Walldog screws are Amazon affiliate links.  The Home Depot key tag link is a Home Depot affiliate link and the Joann Fabrics copper wire link is an affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!

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11 comments

  1. Come vote for this project in the Instructables pallet contest!! :)
    http://www.instructables.com/contest/pallet/

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  2. OMG... for real?! These are so cool! I'm pinning to my "what to do with a pallet board" which I thought by now had every possible thing you could do with a pallet on it... these are great!

    Tania

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  3. Oh my gosh, thank you Tania! Thanks so much for taking the time to read about my project, to comment, and to pin too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You’re quite handy with these stuff, so it isn’t difficult to believe that you made this project with less than $30.00 for a budget. The end result looks great, by the way! The wooden vertical blinds is a nice change from the usual aluminum and fabric. Cheers!

    Steve Walton @ Blinds Shop Online

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much Steve! I appreciate you reading it and taking the time to say such nice things!

      Delete
  5. That's so cool. Does it keep the cool out too?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm rarely in that room and I leave them open so I'm not quite sure. I suppose closed they'd keep some cold out but maybe not all.

      Delete
  6. Thanks so much for the brilliant plan! I've been looking for a way to hide our ugly vertical
    blinds in our rental, and this is absolutely going to be experience soon!

    vertical blinds oldham

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's looking very unique and attractive styles.

    Oldham Woodblinds

    ReplyDelete