Make Your Own Blackout Shades

Blue fabric
  • 2-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-150

To make a bright room dark, blackout shades are an absolute must. Unfortunately, as with any window treatment, getting them in the right color, size, and effectiveness can be costly. Fortunately they are not hard to make, and for a fraction of the cost, you can get exactly what you want.

Shady Material

Most home improvement stores will offer a PVC based black out material in their window treatment section. This material is available in different grades, from lighting filtering to complete blocking. While it’s extremely effective, when new, the PVC can produce an unpleasant plastic smell that bothers some people.

Another option is to buy a heavy cloth material from a fabric store. Be sure to test it against a bright window to see how well it blocks the light and suits your needs.

Measuring Up

extended tape measure

Carefully measure the window and buy your material slightly larger, so that you can hem it. If you have chosen a non-blackout material you may want to use two layers to help block out the light, so buy accordingly.

Use a fabric glue or sew hems to size with a sewing machine. Be sure your measurements are correct so the shade will block the entire window. At the bottom of the shade fold the hem and attach it so that either side is left open. Insert a piece of wood or plastic cut to the width of your shade to help it hang flat and straight.

However You Roll

Depending on how often you plan to have the shade up and down, you have several options to consider for hanging your shade. You can make your own manual roller shade by attaching material to a cardboard tube, cut to the size of your window. By attaching a ribbon to the end of your shade, you can tie it into place when you want to roll the shade up to let in the light.

Without much more effort, you can attach your shade to a spring loaded roller. This would require your material to be somewhat stiff such as the blackout PVC material or for you to sew in stiff hems on either side of the shade, so it doesn’t bunch or catch when the spring roller is activated.

You can also attach it to a simple spring loaded curtain rod. If you keep ties nearby, it is easy enough to just tie it up to the rod when you don’t need darkness. However you choose to mount your blackout shade depends entirely on your preferences and needs.

By following these easy instructions you will have a custom made blackout shade, fit exactly to your window in whatever style you choose. By choosing the right materials, getting the proper measurements, and deciding how you want it to hang, you will save a bundle. This incredibly simple task may even have you considering what other kind of window treatments you can save on.