DIY Blackout Curtains

Easy, inexpensive, and effective!

As a parent of three young children, quality blackout curtains are a must for keeping naps and bedtimes as painless as possible. So when my family moved into our first house, installing blackout curtains in the bedrooms was at the top of my to-do list. Even with the blinds fully closed, here’s how much light one of our windows lets in without blackout curtains (too much!):

Blinds on a window letting in sunlight
Without blackout curtains, this window in our house lets in way too much light!

Available options were pretty disappointing. Many were overpriced, others unsightly, and most weren’t the right size and weren’t adjustable. Disappointed with what I could find, I set out to make my own blackout curtains.

The results were fantastic! I was able to make blackout curtains that were budget-friendly (six windows cost $50 total), super effective, and really easy to adjust and install. And they’ve lasted over the years. If you’re looking to put up blackout curtains, here’s my step-by-step DIY guide. It will only take a few minutes per window. Hopefully this helps you or gives you inspiration for your own blackout curtains!

Step 1: Measure and order the fabric

After extensive research, I found this to be the perfect material for DIY blackout curtains:

Plastex Fabrics Vinyl Black Fabric

This black vinyl fabric is sold by the yard and cut to order. It is 54 inches long, which should accommodate the height of most windows. Then you can measure the widths of your windows and get a total width to order. For instance, I needed about 200 inches of vinyl fabric, so I ordered 6 yards. It’s only about $8 per yard, so it’s very budget-friendly.

When measuring your windows, add 1-2 inches to the window’s length and width – you will need a little extra for installation. Plus, it’s always better to have too much and trim the excess than wish you had more.

Step 2: Order the clip holders

You can see in this picture that the windows in our house have a decorative valance, and that concealed within the valance is a rod that holds the blinds:

Rod within the window valance indicated by a blue arrow
Order clip holders to attach the black vinyl fabric to the rod within the window valance.

I used these clip holders from Cook with Color to keep the vinyl fabric up on the rod:

The blinds and valances in our house are white, and the walls in our bedrooms are off-white, so I ordered the white clips to match. The clips come in 11 different colors, so you’ll probably be able to find a color that works for you!

Step 3: Cut the fabric to size

The vinyl fabric comes rolled up on a poster tube, so simply cut the fabric to the desired size with scissors. It’s extremely easy to work with. You can see in this picture that I use a pencil to mark the cut line, and a basic pair of scissors for the cutting:

Black vinyl fabric, scissors, pencil, and tape measure on a hardwood floor
Measure, mark, and cut the black vinyl fabric to the size of the window.

Step 4: Attach the vinyl fabric to the window

Face the black side of the vinyl fabric outward (away from you) and the gray side inward (toward you). Then slide the fabric up under the blinds and over the valance rod (pictured in Step 2). Use a clip to hold the fabric in place, then repeat on the other side of the window. Here’s what one side should look like:

Black vinyl fabric attached to a window valance rod using a white clip
Slide the vinyl fabric underneath the blinds, and attach in place with a clip.

Adjust the positioning of the fabric as desired, and trim off any extra fabric so it’s not visible.

I used two clips for most windows in our house (one at each end). For one wider window, I needed three clips (an additional clip in the center).

Step 5: Enjoy your new DIY blackout curtains!

Once installed, you’ll barely be able to notice the vinyl fabric behind the window blinds, or the clips holding it up in place. Here’s what one looks like installed on a window in our house:

White window blinds in a white room
These DIY blackout curtains are quite inconspicuous – you can barely notice the clip holders at the top of the window!

And here’s what it looks like in my older daughter’s bedroom during the brightest part of midday with the blackout curtains up (you can barely see her toddler bed in the center of the photo):

Toddler bed in a dark children's room
Minimal light enters through these two bedroom windows (photo taken during the brightest part of midday!).

Especially during the summer months, when the sun rises early and sets late, these DIY blackout curtains have been so incredibly wonderful in helping get our children to nap during the day or to sleep at bedtime.

I hope they help you, too!

What do you think of this method for DIY blackout curtains? Have you tried something else? Let me know in the comments below!

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