How to use an Aluminium Corded Roman Blind Kit

Terry Baskeyfield | Posted

Tools Required

To cut the headrail to size (where necessary) and to install it, you will need a few basic tools as follows: Drill and 6mm/8mm Drill Bit (for fixings supplied – see Screws & Plugs), Screw Driver, Hack Saw, Pencil, Tape Measure & Ruler.

What the kit Includes

Your Aluminium Corded Roman Blind Kit will include everything that you need to make a Roman Blind except for your choice of fabric (and lining if you are using any).

The Kits are available in 6 pre-manufactured sizes of 60cm, 90cm, 120cm, 150cm, 180cm and 210cm headrail lengths; but can be cut to size for a perfectly customized fit. This is particularly beneficial for blinds being fitted inside a window recess where an exact size is needed. If you are mounting a Roman Blind outside of a window recess, then in many cases you may be able to purchase the nearest pre-manufactured size to eliminate the need to do any cutting.

Below we detail all the component parts included with your Kit and it is worth taking a few moments when you open it to familiarise yourself with all the parts and what they are called. Also check that you have everything you need before you start using or installing the Cassette Headrail.

  • Headrail with End Cap – this is a ‘U’ shaped track (either metal or PVC depending on which Kit you have purchased) containing several pre-corded bobbins called cassettes; and a central operating bar which runs the full length of the headrail. The front of the headrail is easily identifiable by the strip of hook tape. This is the (hard) hook side of the hook & loop tape which is used to attach the top edge of the blind to the headrail. The (soft) loop side of the tape, if not already pressed onto the hook tape is supplied in the Kit and needs to be stitched to the top edge of the blind during the making process.
  • Support Brackets – These are the brackets which support the headrail. They can be top or faced fixed and use a pivoting cam mechanism to securely lock the header rail into them. This simple but effective locking mechanism means that once the brackets are installed, the headrail and blind can easily be installed and removed again in a few minutes.

N.B: We recommend that where possible, a professional or a person competent in DIY undertake the installation of the cam supports prior to installing the headrail and blind.

  • Cord Guides – The chain and pulley mechanism turn the central metal bar in
  • Cord Pulley with Cords – The chain and pulley mechanism turn the central metal bar in the headrail, which in turn rotates the cord bobbins (cassettes) and winds the cords either up or down to raise or lower the blind. It is positioned as standard in the right-side end of the headrail in the Cassette Roman Blind Kits. This is referred to as a Right-Hand-Control but can be changed to the left-side end of the headrail if your blind needs to have a Left-Hand-Control.
  • Split Cord Collector – This is a split-toggle which receives the ends of all the cords that come out of the pulley mechanism. The cords enter holes or grooves in the top of the toggle, which collects them in a specified order to prevent them from getting crossed or twisted. The ends of the cords are knotted to secure them inside the collector. A single cord then exits from the bottom of the collector. This single cord is used to operate the blind and is more easily and neatly wound around the safety cord retainer (Cleat Hook) than multiple cords would be.
  • Cord Pull – This is a toggle that neatens and weights the end of the single pulley cord that comes out of the bottom of the Cord Collector.
  • Cord Cleat – This is a double ended hook that is used to contain the excess length of cord that is created when the blind is in the pulled up position. The cord is wound around the double ended hook in a figure of 8 shape.

N.B: Children can be strangled if the chain safety guide is not installed correctly. Use of safety devices helps reduce the risk of strangulation but cannot be considered entirely fool proof.

  • Roman Blind Rods (or Dowels) – These are the narrow rods which are inserted into the pocket tape. They are supplied in pre-cut lengths according to the Kit size you have purchased but can easily be trimmed to an exact size to fit the pocket tapes on the completed blind.
  • Bottom Bar – This is a flat oval bar, made from weighty plastic which sits in a fabric pocket at the bottom of the blind. It keeps the bottom edge of the blind straight and adds weight to assist the blind in coming down effectively when it is lowered via the pulley mechanism. The bottom bar as with the rods/dowels can easily be cut to size.
  • Hook On Cord Toggle – These are quick release safety toggles which are used to attach the cords to the bottom row of pocket tape. They have a spring-loaded toggle which releases the cord in the event of the blind being tugged on sharply. This helps to protect the blind from being damaged and provides an added safety measure.

N.B: Children can be strangled if the quick release cord toggles are not installed correctly. Use of safety devices helps reduce the risk of strangulation but cannot be considered entirely fool proof.

  • Loop Tape – This is the soft side of the hook & loop tape which is used to attach the top edge of the blind to the headrail. The (hard) hook side of the tape is already attached to the headrail in a Cassette Roman Blind Kit and the length of (soft) loop tape provided needs to be stitched to the top edge of the blind during the making process.
  • Pocket Roman Blind Tape – This is the tape which holds the rods/dowels in position across the back of the blind. It is also sometimes referred to as Rod-Pocket Tape. The tape is stitched into position, at regular horizontal intervals down the full length of the blind, to create channels into which to insert the rods/dowels; and has small pockets along its length through which cords are threaded at regular vertical intervals across the blind.
  • Screws & Plugs – In your kit you will find wall plugs and screws provided, to aid you in installing the Cam Support Brackets and the Chain Safety Guide. The shorter screws are for the Chain Safety Mechanism and the longer ones for the Cam Support Brackets.

N.B: Additional fixings other than those supplied with your Kit may be required depending on the mounting surface. Wallboard and plaster require the use of anchors such as expansion or toggle bolts. Brick, tile or stone need special plugs and drill bits. Always pre-drill holes in wood to avoid splitting.

What Else Will You Need?

The only thing not included in your Cassette Roman Blind Kit will be your fabric and lining (if you are using any). These will need to be purchased separately. Bear in mind, that all of our fabric have a handy roman blind calculator on them - this will let you know the exact amount of fabric you will need for your roman blind.

How to Change the Controls from right to left

Your Aluminium Corded Roman Blind Track will have been supplied with the locking cord pulley mechanism already installed on the right-side end of the track. This means that when your blind is installed it will have a Right-Hand-Control.

Pro-Tip - for a more Professional finish: If you wish to change the controls from Right to Left and your headrail needs to be cut to size, then this step needs to be completed before cutting the headrail.

To change the headrail to a Left-Hand Control, place the track on a firm flat surface with the back of the track (the side housing the cord guides) facing upwards. The track is supplied ready corded so you will notice that the cords pass through the pulley mechanism and are also threaded through the individual cord guides which are evenly spaced across the headrail.

Undo all the cord bundles and ensure that all the cords are unravelled and free from each other, then unscrew and remove the end-cap cover from the left-side end of the track (that will be to your right as it now faces you) by loosening the retaining screw and sliding the stop out of the end of the track.

Now unscrew and remove the chain pulley mechanism from the right-side end of the track (to your left as it now faces you), by loosening the retaining screw and carefully sliding it out of the end of the headrail with the cords still threaded through it. Remove all the cords from their individual cord guides so that the pulley mechanism and cords are completely detached from the headrail.

With the back of the track still facing you, slide the pulley mechanism into the left-side end of the headrail (to your right as it faces you) and secure it by tightening the retaining screw again.

Insert the end cap into the Left side of the headrail (your left as it faces you) and re-tighten the retaining screw to secure it in place again.

Now you will need to re-dress the cords through the cord guides. You will notice that the cords are different lengths. When the cords have been correctly re-threaded, the shortest cord should be nearest to the pulley mechanism and the longest nearest to the opposite end of the headrail.

So, starting with the shortest cord and with the back of the headrail still facing you, thread the short cord through the cord guide closest to the pulley mechanism and let the remaining cord hang down. Thread the next longest cord through the first cord guide with the shortest one and through the second cord guide along from the pulley mechanism and let the remaining cord hang down; ensuring that none of the cords get twisted as you re-dress them.

Now thread the third longest cord through the same two cord guides and the third one along from the pulley mechanism and so on, until you have re-threaded all the cords in the same way and the longest cord is through all the cord guides in turn and is hanging down from the last one. If you have rethreaded the cord correctly only one cord should be hanging down from the last cord guide (i.e. the one closest to the end of the headrail without the pulley mechanism and with just the send cap).

If your headrail does not need cutting to size you can now replace the end-cap cover on the ride-side end of the headrail (your left as it faces you) and tighten the screw to secure it in place. If you need to cut your headrail to size then leave the end-cap off and see guidance below on how how to correctly cut the track to size.

How to Correctly Cut the Track to Size

For this you will need a hacksaw, tape measure, pencil, ruler and a flat head screwdriver.

Pro-Tip - for a more professional finish we recommend that you cut any excess off your headrail from the end which is NOT going to house the pulley mechanism, just in case the cut you make isn’t quite square or true. If the pulley mechanism is always fitted on the un-cut end of the headrail then it is guaranteed that it will fit securely and squarely; and therefore, operate more efficiently. For this reason, if you need to change the controls from Right to Left and your headrail needs to be cut to size, then change the control over before cutting the headrail.

Place the headrail on a firm flat surface with the back of the track (the side housing the cord guides) facing upwards. Unscrew and remove the end-cap cover from the left-side end of the track.

Using a pencil and a tape measure, measure and mark the required cutting size on the headrail, then using a ruler mark a clear straight line on the headrail from the top edge to the bottom. Depending on how much you need to take off the headrail you may now need to move the cord guide(s) nearest to the end of the headrail that you are cutting, if any of the cord guides are beyond the cutting line.

To do this insert the end of the flat head screwdriver under the release catch (A) and gently lift it to unlock the cord guide. Slide the cord guide further along the headrail until it is clear of the cutting line, ensuring that any cords are kept clear of the cutting line too.

Carefully trim the headrail using a fine-toothed hack saw keeping the cut on the line and as straight as possible. Replace the end cap and tighten the retaining screw to secure it.

Your headrail is now ready for you to attach and cord your blind. See guidance below for how to attach the roman blind to the headrail.

How to Attach the Roman Blind to the Headrail

Before attaching your finished blind to the headrail, first turn your attention to adjusting the spacing between the cord guides.

  • Spacing the Cord Guides – Place the headrail on a firm flat surface with the back of the track (the side housing the cord guides) facing upwards and release the cord guide locking levers (A) by inserting the end of a flat head screwdriver underneath each one in turn and gently lifting them to unlock the cord guides. The two outer cord guides need to be positioned approximately 5 to 8 cms (2 to 3”) from their respective ends of the track. Move them to their positions and press the locking levers back down into place to secure them again. Now measure the distance between these two outer cord guides and divide this measurement to evenly space the remaining cord guides. Move them into position and secure them in place by securing the locking levers
  • Attaching the Blind – Place the headrail on a firm, flat, surface with the front of the track (the side with the strip of hook tape visible) facing upwards. Attach the blind by pressing the soft loop tape at the top of the blind firmly against the rough hook tape on the face of the headrail; ensuring that the blind is centralised and that the top of the headrail is covered by the top edge of the blind. If you’re not happy with the positioning, then simply peel the blind away again with care and reposition. When you are happy that your blind is positioned correctly press the top edge firmly to achieve good adhesion between the two loop tapes.

How to Cord the Blind

Turn the headrail (with the blind now attached to it) over, so that you are working from the back of the blind and the rod-pocket tapes are clearly visible. Working from one cord guide at a time, the cords now need to be threaded vertically down the back of the blind, passing through one of the small guide pockets on each horizontal row of tape.

Your headrail is pre-corded for ease of assembly and you will notice that all the cords pass through the pulley mechanism and into the split cord collector. Ensure that the split cord collector is no less than 20cms from the pulley mechanism and then, using a large sewing bodkin, small safety pin or a paperclip, thread the cords through the pocket guides as vertically in-line with their corresponding cord guides as possible. Thread the cords through all the horizontal rows of tape except for the bottom one.

If the cords run in straight lines parallel with the side edges of the blind, then you have threaded them correctly. If the cords look crooked or slanted then they will need to be realigned as straight as possible to avoid the blind folding incorrectly as this can cause twisting and distortion when the blind is pulled up.

Securing the Cords

The cords need to be secured to the bottom rod-pocket tape before the blind will operate properly so the hook-on cord toggles now need to be attached to the bottom row of rod-pocket tape.

With the open end of the hook on the back of the toggles pointing upwards and towards the blind, use a firm upward motion (as shown in Fig ?) to push a hook into the pocket guide on the bottom row of pocket tape that is vertically in line with the one above to keep the cord line straight. Repeat for each row of cord until you have the same number of cord toggles as you do cords.

Now secure the cords as follows:

Squeeze the spring-loaded button on the side of one of the toggles to open the hole in the centre., pass the cord down through the hole from the top and pull all the excess cord through until it is all below the toggle, then release the spring-loaded button again. Do not cut any of the excess cord off just yet. Repeat the process for all the other cords and toggles.

With the blind held in a level, vertical, position as it would be when mounted at the window (you may need someone to help you with this?), adjust the hook-on cord toggles so that equal tension is held on each cord and the bottom of the blind is running straight and parallel with the top edge. Do this by releasing the spring-loaded button on the toggles and sliding the cord through to the required position – ether slackening or tightening the cords as required. Release the button again to lock the cord in place.

You can now test the blind to see if it pulls up level and correctly by carefully operating the pulley mechanism to draw up all the folds (again, you may need someone to help you with this by holding the headrail firmly?). 

Look at the blind in the drawn-up position to see if all the folds and the bottom edge are level, then release the blind down to its fully closed position and check once more that it drops down evenly and that none of the cords are pulling any tighter than any of the others. Adjust accordingly if they are, repeating the steps above. It is much easier to make any necessary adjustments at this point than when the blind is installed, as you may struggle to get behind the blind to make any adjustments once it is installed.

Once you are happy that the cords are all adjusted correctly and that the blind is level, trim off the excess cord to a minimum of 4cms from the hook-on cord toggles and discard the excess. Do NOT knot the ends of the cords.

Do I have to use the Hook on Cord Toggles?

The hook-on cord toggles are necessary to meet health & safety measures required with your Aluminium Roman Blind Kit. They are designed to be quick-release in the event of an accident, such as a young child or a pet becoming entangled in them. They are designed in such a way that the cords will slide out of the spring-loaded toggles when sharp or heavy pressure is applied to them, thus avoiding any serious accidents or damage to the blind itself.

The cords can slip out of the toggles if the blind is operated heavy-handedly or the pulley mechanism is operated too quickly or sharply. To avoid this happening, always use the blind respectfully and apply only even, steady, pressure and speed to the pulley mechanism. This will ensure the smooth operation and longevity of your blind and headrail.

Using the Cord Lock Pulley

The pulley mechanism has a simple locking system inside it which allows you to stop or lock the blind at any horizontal position. To operate it, apply firm but gentle pressure to the cords and pull them across towards the blind (i.e. if the control is on the left side of the blind pull the cords to the right, and vice versa) to release the locking mechanism so that you can freely raise or lower the blind.

To lock the blind in place again pull the cords across away from the blind (i.e if the control is on the left, pull the cords to the left and vice versa).

How to Hang the Headrail

Your blind and its aluminium headrail are now ready to be installed at your window. Your Aluminium Roman Blind Kit comes with the correct number of brackets for the width and weight of your blind, so it is advisable to fit them all to ensure a secure fixing and the safe operation of your blind.

The brackets provided with your kit are universal support brackets and can be either top or face fixed for inside or outside recess mounting.

Pro-Tip – For inside recess mounting ensure that the front edge of the header rail is slightly forward of any window catches or handles, to ensure that the blind does not catch on any fixtures as it is lowered and raised.

For outside recess fixing it is worth considering how far the window sill protrudes from the wall. If you have measured for your blind to come to sill height then this is not an issue, but if you have measured for your blind to come down beyond the sill level, then you will need to check if the depth of the sill protrusion is less than the depth of the header rail. If it is not, then you may have to mount a baton on the wall first, to bring the headrail forward enough for the blind to clear the sill; and then mount the brackets to the baton. Measure and mark where the top of the headrail needs to be and use a spirit level to achieve a level line.

Fix the two outer brackets so that they sit somewhere between 5-10cms (2-4”) from the outer ends of the headrail, ensuring that they do not clash with the end cap or pulley mechanism on the headrail. Evenly space the remaining number of brackets between these two, checking that they will fall between the cord guides and adjust the spacing of the brackets (not the cord guides) accordingly if they clash. Mark through the screw holes in the brackets and using appropriate fixings, drill and secure the brackets into place.

To attach the headrail to the brackets, you will find it helpful to peel the top edge of the blind away from the headrail and let it hang down onto the front of the blind, so that you can easily see and hold the headrail. Offer the top back edge of the headrail onto the grooves on the top edges of the two tabs on the front of each bracket.

Gripping the header rail firmly, push the bottom edge down and back until it clicks in place into the grooves on the bottom of the tabs.

Now reattach the blind. Replace the top fold by realigning the top edge of the blind with the top of the headrail and pressing the hook and loop tapes together again firmly, as you did when you first attached the blind to the headrail. Drop the blind fully to ensure it is fitted correctly then raise it again to the open position required.

Adjusting the Split Cord Collector

Depending on the length of the blind and how much excess cord is remaining after it has passed through the pulley mechanism, you may wish to adjust the position of the Cord Collector and move it further up towards the pulley. Always do this with the blind in the fully lowered (closed) position.

The cord collector is in two halves. Prize it open carefully to access the knotted ends of the cords. Pull the required amount of cord down through the connector, re-knot at the required length and cut off any excess cord. Do not put the cords back in a twisted or crossed position and do not allow the cords to become twisted when in use.

Adjusting the Cord Pull and Shortening the Single Pull Cord

The Cord Pull toggle is supplied already threaded and knotted onto the single pull cord. To adjust the position of it in order to shorten the cord, ensure the blind id in the full lowered (closed) position, then prize the end cap (the small plastic button) off the end of the toggle and pull the knotted end of the cord down through the hole on the end cap; sliding the toggle up the cord to the desired position. Re-knot the cord, cut off any excess and replace the end cap to hide and secure the end of the cord.

Mounting the Cord Safety Retainer (Cleat Hook)

The Cleat Hook needs to be fitted at a position that is easy to reach for practicality but should ideally be as close to the headrail as is practically possible. Mark the position of the holes, then drill and secure the hook. Raise or lower the blind to the desired position and lock into place with the pulley mechanism; then wrap any excess cord round the cleat hook in a figure of 8 shape so that no cord his hanging loose.

Cords left hanging loose present a serious strangulation hazard so it is imperative that a cord retainer is fitted to keep cords neatly wound, secured and out of the reach of children.

How to Correctly Remove an Aluminium Roman Blind Headrail

To remove an aluminium Roman blind headrail from the support brackets, firstly ensure that the cord is released from the Cleat Hook safety retainer. Then, with the blind in its fully raised (open) position, peel the top edge of the blind away from the headrail and let it hang forwards down onto the rest of the blind so that you can access the headrail more easily.

Underneath each bracket, near its bottom front edge you will see a small plastic clip or tab(see diagram). Using your thumb or a flat head screw driver, press each tab upwards from underneath. This will release the bottom edge of the headrail from the bracket. Repeat for all the tabs then tilt the bottom edge of the headrail towards you and lift the headrail upwards to release the top edge from the brackets. Lift the headrail off to remove it from the brackets completely.

What do I do if a cord comes out of one of the Hook-On Cord Toggles?

If a cord, or more than one maybe, becomes detached from the hook-on cord toggle(s), your blind will operate ineffectively and probably start to look a little lob-sided or uneven.

Lower the blind into the fully closed position, then lift the bottom edge and tilt it towards you so that you can see the bottom row of rod-pocket tape, to establish which cord(s) have become detached.

If the cords that have come undone are still threaded through all the other rows of pocket tape and have just come out of the cord toggles on the bottom row, then you can simply re-insert the cords back into the relevant toggles with the blind in this position; then drop the bottom edge of the blind down again and adjust the toggles accordingly to make sure that the blind is sitting level.

If the cords have come out of the guide pockets in one or more of the rows of pocket tape, then you will need to remove the blind to rethread the strings.

What do I do if the cords come out of the pulley Mechanism?

Your Aluminium Roman Blind Kit will come with the pulley mechanism already corded and attached to the headrail for ease of use. If a cord or a number of cords should come out of the pulley for any reason then you will need to remove the pulley mechanism from the end of the headrail to re-thread it. Firstly remove the blind from the window.

With the top of the blind peeled away from the headrail so that you can access it easily and with the back of the blind facing you and in the fully lowered position; loosen the retaining screw on the back of the pulley mechanism and gently slide it out from the end of the headrail.

The lower half of the mechanism which houses the pulley wheel has an outer casing. With the inside edge of the mechanism facing you, prize the sides of the cover open gently and remove it from the rest of the mechanism, taking care not to drop the small brass pulley wheel as you do so. Put the pulley wheel to one side whilst you rethread the cords.

The cords coming from the top of the cord collector should enter the mechanism via the gap at the bottom of the mechanism and exit via the gap at the top. The cords coming out of the top are the ones that are threaded through the cord guides along the headrail and down the back of the blind.

Re-thread the cords as required and replace the brass pulley wheel before you reassemble the mechanism. Drop the pulley wheel into the mechanism so that the cords are between the pulley and the front of the mechanism (the side the cords come out of), so that the pulley is effectively behind the cords.

Click the outer casing back in to place the push the mechanism back into the end of the headrail and secure the tigheting screw again. Check that the pulley mechanism is working properly before reinstalling the blind by trying the lock and unlock positions a few times – see: Using the Cord Lock Pulley

If your blind does not need re-cording then you can now reinstall it at your window.

Related Products

Related Collections