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No-Sew Blackout Curtains

Transform a set of curtains into the blackout variety. Not only is it energy efficient (most lock in warmth in the winter and block out heat in warmer ones), but this fabric has the distinctive quality of naturally stopping light from preventing a good night's sleep.

blackout curtains

Photography: Ashley Poskin

Source: Martha Stewart

Introduction

This idea comes from our friend Ashley Poskin. Blackout fabric is available at most craft stores to purchase by the yard. Once you've purchased your fabric, it's simply a matter of cutting it down to size (first, measure for hanging a set of curtains), placing an iron-on adhesive strip, and bonding the backing with heat. (We used Stitch Witchery, which is a fusible bonding web that permanently bonds two layers of fabric together with the heat of an iron—plus, it's machine washable.)

 

When purchasing blackout fabric, you have a few options: a lightweight fabric that feels less like vinyl, but lets in more light (if you're working with a medium- to heavy-weight curtain fabric, this is a good option). Otherwise, if your curtain fabric is very see-through, you'll want to choose a heavier weight blackout fabric, which feels slightly similar to vinyl. If you find yourself at the store and unsure of what to choose, turn on the flashlight function in your phone and hold the light directly behind the blackout fabric to see how much light actually shines through. Your other option is color—white, off-white, ecru, and gray—to be complementary or a pretty contrast to your curtains. Blackout fabric is one of the many ways you can personalize your curtains.

 

For parents, blackout curtains in a kids room can mean a priceless extra hour of sleep for their little ones. They also come in handy if you're a night owl and aren't quite ready to greet the day as the sun comes up.

materials

  • Curtains or fabric (Pictured: Opalhouse Velvet Curtain Panel with Tassels, in Blush Pink, 84", $30, target.com.)

  • Blackout fabric (Pictured: Roc-Ion Blackout Drapery Lining White Fabric, 54" $6 per yd., amazon.com.)

  • Iron-on adhesive (Pictured: Dritz Stitch Witchery Heavy Duty Tape, $5, joann.com.)

  • Straight pins

  • Measuring tape

  • Handheld iron

  • Scissors

steps

  1. Before purchasing supplies, measure the length and width of your curtains. (Note: Our curtains were 84 inches long, so we purchased 3 yards of fabric for each curtain.)

    how to make blackout curtains
  2. Iron-on adhesive can be a bit tricky to work with, so to avoid any pulling or dimpling after the blackout backing was attached, place it only along the top hem on the backside of the curtains; this allows the fabric to fall naturally without compromising its shape.

    how to make blackout curtains
  3. Measure along the top of the backside of the curtain and cut an appropriate length of iron-on adhesive. Pull the blackout fabric that you've placed along along the top hem back, and place the iron-on adhesive so that it's sandwiched between the back of the curtain and the blackout fabric.

    how to make blackout curtains
  4. Place straight pins along the backside of the curtain to hold the blackout fabric, iron-on adhesive, and curtain in place. Set your iron to the "wool" setting (as according to iron-on adhesive directions), press and hold the iron on the back side of the blackout fabric. (Note: Depending on the type and thickness of fabric you're working with, you may need to press and hold the iron onto the blackout fabric for longer than the recommended 20 seconds. Our curtains were a medium-weight velvet and required up to 60 seconds to bond adhesive to the fabric, working in 10 second intervals. Usually, a damp cloth is layered between the fabric and your iron to prevent burning, but because the blackout fabric is so thick, it's best to apply heat directly to the fabric. As with most fabrics, be sure to test a small area before proceeding. ) Once the blackout fabric has bonded to the backside of the curtains, hang them in place and trim any excess that might show. 

    how to make blackout curtains

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