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DIY Insulated Blackout Curtains

This post on making diy thermal curtains was originally published in January 2014 and updated in May 2017.

Almost two years ago, I made a set of insulated curtains for a window off of our kitchen.  They were one of my first sewing projects, and they were fine.  A bit small if you ask me, but I worked hard on them and used them proudly.

One of the things that I can’t stand about store-bought insulated curtains, is the assumption that if you want energy savings, you like really ugly and solid, boring colored fabric.  And, also, you love to show the whole world that the back of your curtains are white, and lame.  It is like wearing your “bloated days” underwear on the outside of your clothes.  No thank you!

After learning a little bit more about sewing (just a bit…I’m still so (sew?) new to it), I set my sights on making some better diy thermal curtains for the kitchen window.  I wanted them to be light blocking and insulated, as that part of the house gets the brutal part of the sun during the summer, and is above an uninsulated garage (brrrrr in the winter).

While at the fabric store, I sent Troy two pictures of fabric I liked, and he picked a grey geometric pattern. The blackout fabric was incredibly expensive, so I had to come up with a different plan. Instead, I used big scraps of thin quilt batting that I had leftover from previous quilts.  It was really easy to work with, and I’m thrilled with the results.

DIY Insulated Blackout Curtains
-4 cuts of fabric that are equal in size
-2 cuts of thin quilt batting that is equal in size to the fabric
-thread (doy)

1) Iron your fabric, really, really well.

2) Cut four pieces of fabric that are equal in size.  Lay one piece of fabric (right side up) over some quilt batting, being very generous so that there is excess batting on all sides of the fabric.

diy thermal curtains

3) Pin the fabric on the batting, being super excessive with the pins.  You want the fabric locked in tight and not moving around on you!

diy thermal curtains4) Pick a thread that is the exact shade of your fabric.  In 5-8 spots around the middle of the fabric, sew a few stitches – making sure to back stitch to secure the fabric to the batting.  Cut the excess threads.

diy thermal curtains

5) Remove the pins from the fabric and batting (this will piss you off because you just spent so much time putting them on, but trust me, m’kay?), and then lay another piece of fabric face down on top of the fabric and batting.  The pretty (or “right”) sides of the fabric should be together.  Pin heavily.

diy thermal curtains

6) Sew a basic stitch around three sides of the curtain, leaving parts of one of the shorter sides unsewn, stopping the stitches about four inches from the end. In laymen’s terms, you’ll sew all the way around this whole thing, except for 4 inches leading up to one of the ends.

diy thermal curtains

7) Remove the fabric from the sewing machine, and lay it on a flat surface. Cut the extra fabric off from around the side.  On the side that is still unsewn, peel back the fabric, and cut the excess quilt batting off.

diy thermal curtains

diy thermal curtains

8) Turn the fabric rightside in.  Then, iron all the edges, pressing carefully to get a crisp seam.

diy thermal curtains

Side note: my friend bought me that iron for our wedding.  We were roommates before Troy and I got married, and later were neighbors.  She said she bought the iron so that I would stop using hers.  Likely, since I used it a lot.

9) Using a hot iron and a spray bottle full of water, fold down one edge of the unsewn side, and iron a seam.

diy thermal curtains

diy thermal curtains

 Flip it over and do the same to the other side.
diy thermal curtains

Secure with pins.

diy thermal curtains

10) Sew the unfinished hemmed edges together.

diy thermal curtains

You’re done! Don’t worry, I made another one too; I don’t have two different types of curtains. 🙂

diy thermal curtains

Left: after Right: before

Congrats!  Now, you have DIY thermal curtains to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.  And the best part is, you don’t have to show the world your bloomers. Unless you want to. Totally your call.

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17 comments on “DIY Insulated Blackout Curtains”

  1. Those look nice! I really should think about doing this as our rental house is not insulated and the random fabric we have hanging in the windows doesn’t do much :0)

  2. They turned out great! I really need to make a sew for my girls room. There poor room is always the coldest room in the house since their window is to drafty.

  3. How do those do with blocking light?? I have a streetlamp that shines directly into my bedroom windows, so I am always looking for a decent-looking way to block it. Thanks!

  4. Thank you for sharing this tutorial, Sarah! I love the graphic print. Your idea to use thin batting as the insulation is genius–why didn’t I think of that?!

  5. Perfect timing! We’ve been in our house for 6 months and finally decided to do something about curtains in our bedroom, of course we can’t find any insulating/light blocking ones that aren’t plain. Now I’ll just make some! Thanks for the tutorial!

  6. I love light blocking curtains–not so much for the weather, as blocking sunlight in the summer. It gets light so much earlier here, like about 4 in the morning for awhile, because of the earth tilt or something. Can’t stand it! Plus it heats up the house. What really gets me is the way people in this state don’t seem to believe in curtains. AT. ALL. What is up with that? I do not want to see you walking around in your tatty undies, people!! Cover your windows at night if you are gonna walk around like that. And I really don’t care that you have so-called swanky shit in your house! Take pictures and post it somewhere if you are that proud of it!! If you have no curtains, don’t go thinking people aren’t going to look out of politeness, it’s just plain human nature. And if you are into that kind of exhibitionist thing, again, take pictures and post them somewhere and let the rest of us have an eye break…um-kay?? Sorry, had to get that rant out.

  7. Had to remove my first attempt at a comment, got so excited I couldn’t spell good!

  8. Great post! The instructions were clear. I just bought a pair of curtains that I would like to turn into blackout curtains.

  9. Love this! So smart to make them double-sided rather than just lined.

    There’s a product that would work even better than batting. It’s called InsulBrite and is specifically designed for this exact purpose. It looks like a batting but it’s embedded with heat-reflective fibers to keep the cold out/in. Since it’s made by The Warm Company, it should behave just like batting in your pattern. NAYY, just a fan. I’ve used it in curtains, trivets, iron travel bags, and even to cover our dog door in the winter to keep the cold air from leaking in around the sides. I needed so much for projects that I invested in a whole bolt!

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  12. Great tutorial, but how do I hang them up?

    • You can get rings with clips on them at any store with a home goods section.

      • 1. Can add a fixed valance with a rod pocket for a ruffled look and seal at top of window.
        2. Sew a pleating band at the top edge and use pleating hooks. Nice drapery look.
        3. Insert grommets and use a large curtain rod.

        Just some more suggestions for hanging.

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