Blackout Curtains/Drapes

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by Genevieve, Jun 9, 2010.

  1. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

    I'm looking into making some blackout curtains and drapes and I was wondering if anyone knows of a good material that would work?
    I don't want to have to use my blankets and quilts to block the windows and doorways because I might need them to keep warm and such.( and I don't know how many of his family would show up on our door step if SHTF)
    Joann's have muslin on sale by the bolt ( but thats for another project lol), and I wanted to check on maybe some other material for the curtains while I was there.
    Thanx for any input!
  2. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

    My experience with pre-made black-out curtains was pretty good - found in the local Walmart. The only thing is, if there is sufficient light inside the house, it will find ways through the small gaps in the curtains and can be seen from the outside world. Unless you are willing to layer the curtains in such a way that every "seam" is covered with another layer of curtain (doubling your costs right there) I don't see how you could have true black-out.

    The only true "black-out" that I have found is to use permanent solutions - paint is one choice that I have used on vehicles (work van) and it worked very well. I had one white work van that was used as a courier vehicle. The inside of the windows was painted with white paint which helped keep the inside of the van cool on hot summer days and kept prying eyes from looking in if I had a load stored for early morning delivery.

  3. bunkerbob

    bunkerbob Supporting Member

    Most home improvement stores carry a line of black-out shades, they completely block light from going through them. In combination with heavy curtains this should block out light that can be seen from the exterior.
  4. Catastrophy

    Catastrophy Catastrophy

    My Grandmother told me that when they had the blackout during WW2 that they made use of the pelmet over the top of a window. The pelmet was made of wood and looked like a box over the top of the curtain rail. Then they used a frame of wood that had black fabric draped over it, this was lifted up against the pelmet allowing the bottom of the frame to be positioned on the window sill and the top was then pushed forward into place with your hands or "tapped" using a hammer. This could be done by one person, usually by a woman! Other people used cardboard, with dark fabric over it and pushed drawing pins through it and into the wooden window frame.

    A more modern approach, but more expensive, is to use something like magnetic paint around the frame of your windows (it can be painted over and it will still work!) you could then cover a folding screen/card/plexi-glass etc with blackout cloth and put magnetic strips around the frame. The folded frames would be easy to store and no one visiting the house would be the wiser. If you aren't fussy about what people see then use velcro strips!

    It may be worth your while looking at the blackout ideas used in Britain during WW2 - as many people who use this site know, older generations were very wise and adept and had ingenious solutions to common problems. RIP my Grandparents it was an honour to know you!
  5. pioneergirl

    pioneergirl Junior Member

    maybe a heavy fabric like black velvet, with velcro around the edges to secure it to the frame and down the middle. Otherwise I'd say foil duct tapped to the window.
  6. kyfarmer

    kyfarmer Well-Known Member

    Good post and question, i blackout mine now with thick black garbage bags, done right not one peep get,s through. I do wonder how many have thought of this or not have. I will say if ya can talk with an elder who went through it, during WWII. Advice from them is priceless on many thing,s.
  7. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

    Back in the days when I developed film and printed with an enlarger I built a darkroom. To black out windows and doors I purchased black vynal fabrick at the lumber yard. This was pre Home Depot and Lowes. Am I getting old or what?:eek:
  8. Genevieve

    Genevieve I'm done - gone

    Thanx all! Lots to think on for sure.I think the frames might be doable. Hubby has all manner of scrap lumber around and to knock together some simple frames wouldn't be no problem.
    I was wondering if maybe those vinyl felt backed tablecloths might work? You can usually pick those up really cheap at "end of season" sales, and they're fairly large, so I may only need 2 for the bay window. And 1 would cover the regular sized windows.
    In a SHTF senerio, I certainly won't be worrying about "looks"! LOL
  9. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    Cardboard has worked well for me.

    I am thinking of switching to the foam insulation panels (with the foil on both sides) for the R factor.
  10. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

    As long as you don't mind an idea from a new member, I would suggest making some nice thick window quilts and use them also as black out blinds- I live in the cold north and have been making and using window quilts for my windows to help keep heating costs down and to block some of the drafts from old windows that we can not afford to replace now.
    To begin, I got fabric on sale for .25 cents a yard, But if you are going to try to make blackout blinds, then I would look for the darkest fabric you can afford. Then buy up some of the ugly flannel backed vinyl table cloths that go on sale right after the holidays(any holiday usually) and use them as moisture barriers.
    And then get some old blankets or hit the awful black Friday sales and buy the $2 fleece blankets for insulation.
    To put them together measure the window on the inside of the frame as you want to tuck the quilt into the window and then add about 1 1/2 inches to make it tuck well.
    Cut two of the fabric, one of the fleece and one of the table cloth. Make sure that your table cloth is vinyl side toward the window and layer like this.. one piece of fabric, table cloth, fleece and then the last fabric... you can always put the plain dark side toward the window and put a pretty fabric on the inside where you have to look at it. I pin mine and then sew them in a diamond pattern to quilt... I have also started finishing them with an edging of fleece since I have plenty. Then I put a couple of loops on the side facing the window about an inch or so down from the top and then put the quilt up using tension spring rods so that every thing is tucked in, it cuts down the light and the cold and if you don't tuck the bottom in the cold will still pool down the window and hit the floor.
    We have saved tons of cash on our heating bill using them on the windows this past year... I have only to make two more(I just pinned the fleece over those last two windows this year) and the house will have all the windows covered.
    The first room that we put them in used to get about 10 degrees above the outdoor temp in the winter, very cold for sleeping, and since I put them on the windows the temp last winter never went below 50 even tho we don't heat the upstairs.
    Just don't look at the trim- the bedroom is the last that needs to be done!:eek:

    And for the summer I have two windows that receive the full sun and heat up those rooms tremendously (we do not have air conditioning )so I have bought the silver survival blankets and pinned them to the quilts and then put the quilts back up with the silver out and it reflected the heat back out and has kept the house cooler.

    I think that by using darker fabrics and finding dark table cloths (look after Halloween) and dark fleece you could effectively make black out blinds that could do double duty with heating and cooling savings.

    Oh and I really enjoy reading all the threads here- I have been lurking for some time and finally just decided to take the plunge and join!:2thumb::peep: