Blackout drapes are among the most popular type of curtains for the household. They are of course not always black but they are distinguished by a special lining that prevents the light from entering. This makes them especially desirable for windows on a side of a house where the light from the sun is especially intense. They are also perfect for the bedroom if you are the kind of person who prefers to sleep in pitch darkness (just like me, by the way). Blackout drapes are also valuable because they muffle sounds coming from outside the room. Various types of lining may be used—French blackout, which is usually make of flannelet or heavy cotton fabric, are sandwiched between the curtain linings and face fabrics.
If you are not fortunate enough to be able to get such curtains for your house, there is no need to despair. You can always make blackout drapes out of the ones that you already have. Here is how to do it.
1) Blacking out the drapes
For this project you will need just three items—a pair of sharp fabric scissors, a measuring tape and fabric glue.
The first thing to do is to take the curtain
s down from the window and spread them out over a flat surface so that you can take measurements of their dimensions. Then cut out sheets of black lining fabric matching those dimensions and squeeze out a thin line of the glue all around the sheets one inch from the edges. Press the blackout sheets onto your curtains, making sure you match the edges up perfectly. Wait ten to fifteen minutes for the glue to dry, adding more as needed. Do not hang the drapes back up until the glue has dried COMPLETELY.
Some types of blackout fabric have two sides—one made of fabric and the other made of vinyl that feels smoother. When ironing the sheet, be sure to do so on the fabric side only. The two sides may be of different colors—there is an “unspoken rule” that the white side should face outward because that is the side that passersby will see.
2) Hanging the drapes
The way in which you hang your blackout drapes determines the pattern of light coming in. You may wish to hang them in such a way that the light is blocked out completely. If so, the drapes should be hung a few inches above the top of the window frame and to either side. Alternately you can arrange them so that their will be a sliver of light coming in from the top or the bottom or between the drapes. The effect can be very interesting and pleasant!
3) Bamboo shades
Bamboo blinds can also be used to make blackout shades. Only roll-up blinds should be used in this way, never venetian ones. For this task you will need only two additional items—craft glue and black fabric. The blinds should stick out four inches from either side of the window.
Glue a layer of black fabric to each blind so that it just covers it, trimming off any excess fabric if this is the kind that is subject to flaying. Let it dry for an hour or two. Then hang the blinds from the window with the black side facing inwards.
4) Roman shades
Among the most popular blackout shades are the Roman type, which are designed to stack up evenly when opened. You can make these too. First measure the window and add eight to the width (four inches to each side). Then cut out dowel rods, outer fabric and blackout lining. The task is very complicated so we will not go into further detail here.
You can also create dim-out lining by spraying a light layer of acrylic foam to allow some light to get in. If the area in which the curtains are located is back-lit, then shadows will be blocked. Valance lining may be hung above blackout drapes. If so they should be given the same lining as the curtains themselves to prevent further “bleeding in” of the light and distortion of color.
George Dennis is president of King Shade and Window, a home improvement company that helps customers compare replacement window and roller shade prices for all windows. Find the perfect windows to allow for pot gardening inside your home, apartment, or condo. Check out our Harvey window reviews here.