Frugal Fix: BlackOut Curtain

>> April 09, 2009

Ok... so summer is fast approaching (really fast in the desert... it was HOT yesterday). And while the heat isn't generally an issue for me, I must now take exception to the sun rising SOOOOO early. I am a decent sleeper and if I am tired, a little sun in the morning is no big deal for me. Our bedroom window faces west mostly, so we don't actually get direct sunlight in the morning.

Quinn's bedroom faces the same direction as well, but apparently little kids are NOT programmed to turn back over and sleep longer when faced with a little light... (MEANING, the little guy that runs out household has been getting up at 6ish in the MORNING!)

We already have nice wood blinds and a "wimsy" curtain hanging in his room(see picture above), but we needed something MORE. I headed to walmart to see what they had to offer. There was BlackOut curtains for $25, which seemed WAY TOO pricey for me particularly considering the window coverings we ALREADY have in there.

Plus I already have blinds hanging IN the window and a curtain rod ABOVE the window. I wasn't sure how I could hang another curtain, if I could sneak another curtain rod in the window with the blinds still installed. Plus, the price was deal breaker for me anyway.

There was also a BlackOut shade (that pulls down) for $5-7 depending upon the size, but when I called my husband, he said we couldn't temporarily take down the blinds and install the shade because its too big of a pain on a masonry wall.

I hunted through the clearance curtains looking for a dark one in a thicker or lined material. The prices were as low as $5-$9, which wasn't bad. However, I wasn't sure about how to hang them (I was thinking about tacking it up).... but I was afraid that the curtains would be too HEAVY for the tacks. I thought about black sheets too, but even dark sheets are pretty thin and I again worried that too much fabric (when doubled up) would be too heavy to tack up.

Luckily... I ran across some standard vinyl tablecloths (with the light flannel-ish backing) for ~$5! I was able to get a large table sized one for $3.79 with coupon overage! I picked out the darkest color I could find, which was a redish/brown color.

When I came home, I found I was doubly lucky. I was able to just about fold the table cloth in half (doubling up the thickness) and tack it up before Quinn's nap. This was only a temporary fix because I want to be able to remove the tablecloth and let the light in on a regular basis. I knew that tacking it up each day would eventually stop working, too many holes in the same location would weaken the drywall.

My husband suggested "industrial strength" Velcro! I actually had some left over Velcro pieces from a previous project stashed away in my sewing junk. First I stitched up along the top and bottom in a few places to keep it "folded" together.

Then I stuck a 2 inch piece of Velcro across the top on both sides. We then removed the blind "valence" piece and attached the other half of the Velcro to the main/heavy duty part of the blinds.

I mainly wanted to do that so that when we are done with this, we can throw the blind valence piece back up and no one would see the Velcro.

I know have a pretty decent "blackout" solution for a very frugal price. And I can remove it from the window each day to let the light in! Here are some pictures of the project.

Here you can see the tablecloth behind the curtain.

Here you can see how the velcro is attached to both the blind and tablecloth.

Here is the window without the "blackout" solution. You can compare it to the top photo, which has the blackout shade installed, you can see it makes a huge difference.


Precious April 10, 2009 at 7:26 AM  


This is a good job done cheaply to temporarily keep that light out. The sun is bright around here! Fortunately we have room darkening pleated shades in all the bedrooms. I am not an early riser either and do not like being woke up by that brightness. Sun screens help too!

kc April 10, 2009 at 7:40 AM  

Hi Precious,

Yeah I thought of the room darkening (vs blackout) shades, but honest I feel like this should be somewhat temporary. Besides we already have nice blinds/curtains in there. The blinds work well in our bedroom (and should in his) because we don't face east, but I don't think I can "reason' with Quinn yet. :-)

I am not sure what age I would expect him to understand that he needs to sleep/stay in his room until a decent time.

Oh and we do have sun screens because those windows face west-ish so it can get warm in the afternoons if the light is let in. I actually am not a big fan of them, because I like lots of light and it does damper the light quite a bit...but there isn't much you can do with that AZ sun.

Anyway, I am torturing my own self now, I stayed up late trying for the $75/100 Q at Old Navy. And of course when my internet froze, the Q was found. By the time my computer and router rebooted, they were all gone. :( Uggh! What a waste of time! I really wanted to go to bed at a good time last night, because Quinn still gets up 7ish anyway.

Dianne October 5, 2010 at 11:16 AM  

I know this an old post, but I just wanted to say thanks for a brilliant solution! We also wanted to leave the blinds/curtains up in our little guy's window. Who wants roller shades, or heavy expensive curtains? I had been stuffing towels, blankets, and cloth diapers in the slats of the blinds. Not good for the blinds, and too much time spent taking down/putting up. Velcro - perfect! Thanks again, Dianne, Austin

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