vintage-rattan-shades-5I grabbed these vintage bamboo stick shades at a recent estate sale, thinking that I could take them apart with my seam ripper and use the slats for wood flooring in my dollhouse. When I got the shades home, I looked even closer and was surprised to see that the shades are not meant to hang vertically, like Roman shades. Instead, they actually have loop trim sewn down the long end so that thay can hang on a curtain rod, horizontally. 

vintage-rattan-shades-1Above: I hung one of the shades to cover the window of my office door, which leads to the garden outside. The door is steel, so the curtain rod is magnetic. Magnetic curtain rods can’t hold much weight, so this lightweight blind is a great solution. Also, very tidy, with relatively little stack back because the material is so thin.

vintage-rattan-shades-4Above: The loop trim, which is a little bit grody. But other than that, the shades are in great shape.

vintage-rattan-shades-10Flocked roses! 

vintage-rattan-shades-7The shades were $4 for the pair — what a deal, that’s a lotta wood flooring.

vintage-rattan-shades-8Above: The back side of the bamboo shades. Hmmm…. is the wood really bamboo — or is it a different material? I do not know for sure. The feel is thicker, sturdier, that what I associate with today’s bamboo. But then, it could be that back in the day, even the bamboo was heftier. Was there such a thing as old growth bamboo once upon a time?

vintage-rattan-shades-6Doggonit: These vintage shades are too odd and wonderful to chop up into wood flooring. I presume that these were marketed as an affordable window covering for bedrooms or sunrooms. I found them stashed in a bedroom closet.

Has anyone else ever seen these, or any like these, in the wild?

  1. Cynthia says:

    Nice find! Yes, I have seen these before, very charming. Yes you can clean the groddy parts but I wouldn’t recommend soaking, nor oxy clean, which is a bleach and could damage these vintage natural materials. Try a little mild cleaning soap and water, dip a soft brush (even a paint brush) in the solution and use it to saturate the soiled loops or whatever is grimey. Let it soak in a little while. Rinse the brush and dip it in clean water, and start removing the soap solution from the loops. Repeat until you don’t get any suds coming off the loops. They should dry quickly in this weather.

  2. pam kueber says:

    Yes, too wonderful to take apart. Fortunately, I can use them ! Thanks for the lesson in proper terminology!

  3. Mary Elizabeth says:

    Me too! I remember the crocheted trim. I believe they were made either in post-war Japan or in Hong Kong. There were some hanging in the screen porch of my hot-dog-stand-converted-to-cottage-by-the-sea when I moved in. They had no painted or flocked pattern on them, though. And they were so disgustingly dirty that I threw them out after various attempts to clean them. I made cafe curtains out of yards and yards of nautical flags pattern I got at a discontinued fabric store. I think it cost under $2 a yard.

    Pam, speaking of made overseas stuff, I have some faux bamboo coasters and placemats that my grandsons purchased for me one Christmas. They look very much like those screens. I wonder if you could make curtains for your dollhouse and/or flooring out of such?

    I think there is such a thing as special species of bamboo that was used to make bamboo furniture from the late 19th through mid 20th century. I think I read that it was the kind pandas like to eat, and it was “logged” out, as it were, and replaced with a weaker, faster growing variety that is used to make bamboo products now. And the pandas can’t eat it.

  4. tammyCA says:

    Cool, thanks…I forget amazon has lots of different stuff. I just ordered the skinny sticks with flat edges instead of rounded..gonna get this dollhouse finally done this summer.

  5. SpaceCadetNM says:

    We have the plastic ones at our cabin, too! Ours are orange and yellow, and still look amazingly good. I’d love to find more of them!

  6. Sandra says:

    I’ve seen some nice grass or bamboo placemats at Bed Bath & Beyond that might work, instead. I imagine you could floor the whole house with one or two.

    Bamboo grows fast, hence its “renewable” designation. I doubt there is any old growth.

  7. lilyleftthevalley says:

    I found some of these at my favorite local second hand shop. I too originally thought they were roller blinds and assumed the bric-a-brac was someone covering up them being cut narrower.

    Then I found the brand new still-in-the-package valance that matched the one trio of colors they had on hand.

    They have two sets of tri color block variants there (one doesn’t have the matching valance). I’ll try to take a picture of them next time I go over.

    Ever since I realized they’re not the ’30s roller variant I had hoped they would be, I’ve been on the fence about buying them. I may still just because they are so unique.

    These are the style I was hoping they were: http://www.thehistoricdistrict.org/app.php/gallery/image/359/source

    Both sets of colors are made from plastic straw–not bamboo at all like the one with the painted flowers you have pictured.

  8. Kathryn says:

    I have a set of these that I got from a friend’s great aunt. I haven’t used them anywhere yet, but I am thinking of using them on my new screened porch at our cottage (there is a diagonal screened area at the ceiling that I might want to cover to kind of keep the weather out) Mine are a beautiful green (really!) plastic bamboo with the little crocheted edges. They are short (18″ or so) and were used on basement windows. I kind of remember these from my childhood in some houses. Very cool stuff!

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