Sunday, May 13, 2012

No-Sew Blackout Shades

Ever since sunrise has been getting earlier and earlier, the kids have been getting up earlier and earlier. Not good for someone who doesn't like to get out of bed even a minute before she has to! My hubby is up anyway so he's there to take care of them, but they get tired at night much earlier than usual and are sometimes yawning at the dinner table. I knew the problem was that the mini-blinds on their windows didn't do a whole lot in blocking out the sun.

I finally went off to JoAnn in search of blackout fabric. I found some that was on sale (score!) and spent only $8.73 on the liner itself. Now for some pictorial foreshadowing...

More on that later...

The first step was measuring and cutting the fabric. I measured my windows and added 4 inches to each dimension. For example, one window was 34"x45" so I cut my fabric to 38"x49". One inch on each side would be to overlap a little onto the moulding around the window so there would be more light coverage and the other extra inch was for the hem on each side.

You can see the the fabric is different on each side and I wanted the white part to face towards the room (not that it really matters because you can't see it through the blinds.)

I then used the Heat n Bond to hem each side. Make sure that you put the fabric with the wrong side face up. I found it easier to first iron the fold without the tape to it would stay flatter while I was ironing with the tape.

For some reason, there is literally no space for an inside mount of a curtain rod or anything of the sort, and since we already had the blinds, an outside mount was out of the question. I had to get my MacGyver on and figure out a way to get this fabric hung. That's where (I thought) the elastic and mini-command hooks would come in. (By the way, don't you love that they are now making clear hooks??)

I had in my head that I could just put four of those hooks in the corners of the window, fashion a little loop made out of the elastic and then hang them from the command hooks.

Like so:

Clearly, those hooks were not made to support any significant amount of weight so this idea became one big FAIL! Luckily I had only sewn the elastic loops onto one piece of fabric! On to plan B. I looked through my craft area trying to figure out what I could use and then it dawned on me - velcro! (Excuse the trim that needs some major touch up paint - those marks are from the blinds and some kids (who will remain nameless) banging into the moulding.)

See, I wanted the fabric to be removable in the winter time when sunrise is much later, otherwise it would be so dark that I'd never be able to get the kids out of bed. That's why I was looking for a way to hang it that would be easily removable.

Here's how one of them looks all hung up. When the blinds are down, you can't see that anything is behind them.

But when you turn the lights off,  it makes a world of a difference. I don't mind the slits of light coming through because I don't want it to be pitch black in there ever.

 From the outside it looks totally normal, too. The hems are covered by the moulding so they aren't visible from the outside.

And just because we all love a good before and after, here you go. The lights in the room are off for both of these pictures.

So far I'm happy to report that it's working! Yay for an extra hour of sleep (or not being awoken an hour early)!! What tips do you have for keeping your kids in bed later?

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  1. I love this idea for my sons room... It didnt even accrue to me that they sold Black Out Fabric... lol silly me...! My goodness I need to go this morning and get me so fabric!

  2. Visiting from HoH!

    I am doing this this weekend for sure!!! When we put my lil one down at night, there's still some daylight which I think throws her off, and in the morning, her room is one big ray of sunshine, lol

  3. Hi - I'm following from the Networking blog hop. I love these darkening shades! I'm for sure making some for my daughter's room. She wakes up with sun every day! (And of course wakes everyone else up with her). Great idea!!

  4. MUST DO! we have 3 children under the age of 4...

  5. I had thought of this too when we needed to blacken our windows to prevent glare on our TV. The block-out fabric is SO HEAVY for my 72" by 36" sliding windows that it pulled off of my industrial-strength velcro. I ended up just getting black scrapbooking cover-stock and taping it in sections directly to the glass of our window. It doesn't show under the blinds either. I think in my next house, I will buy the thermal 'winterizing' block-out curtains and hope they do the trick. Also just a note, any pins you push through the block-out fabric will let up a tiny point of light through. Looks really annoying when hung up, so don't use pins! You can use clothespins to clamp something folded over but then glue it, don't SEW it.

  6. Uh, question. How do you raise them during the day?
    I have shades and live in an apartment so cannot put in blinds.

    1. It's velcro- you could probably just detach the curtains in the morning and attach them back on in the evening :0)

  7. This is awesome! I desperately need to put up curtains or these blackout shades in my room.

    I'm waking up way too early myself because the sunlight is streaming in :) Might use your tutorial to make some of my own (I'm sewing challenged so this is perfect ;) )

  8. Awesome idea. If you want to raise them during the day, you could put some velcro on the bottom in the middle and another strip along the top of the molding and just fold it up! I have 4 kids under 4, and we've always just told them that they're not allowed out of bed until one of us are up. They're pretty good most of the time and just wait for us. Sucks sometimes though when hubby gets up for work at 6, but I want to sleep in til 7 when the babies get up... but he will mostly get them brekky so I can sleep longer (important when I'm baking baby #5!).

  9. Very Interesting! I have a friend that has been searching for a company with a great selection of blackout shades in Las Vegas.

  10. Hi!
    Did you put velcro on 4 corners of your window? Thank you! Can't wait to try this!

  11. Hi,Lori, Looking so nice! Great idea!!! I am preparing for making blackout curtain for my master bed. I have a question.

    Which fabrics can I choose for blackout curtain?
    Thanks for this info.

    1. The fabric is specially labeled as blackout lining. Here's a link at Joann but you can probably get it at any fabric store:
      Hope that helps!

  12. Most of the blogs pretend themselves as most usable and updated blogs with new information but sometime truth might different. I want to share some facts related to this subject which will help people to enhance their skills. curtains

  13. Hello! I was just about to go out and buy all the supplies for this and was wondering if I had to hem it since I do not have an iron or if that was optional. Thanks!

    1. If you do not mind an imperfect edge, you do not need to hem the edges.