DIY Blackout Curtains
Learn how to make easy DIY Blackout Curtains. These affordable room darkening curtains can dress up any room or home.
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 blackout 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.
How to Make DIY 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
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.
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!
4) 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.
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.
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.
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.
8) Turn the fabric rightside in. Then, iron all the edges, pressing carefully to get a crisp seam.
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.
Secure with pins.
10) Sew the unfinished hemmed edges together.
You’re done! Don’t worry, I made another one too; I don’t have two different types of curtains. 🙂
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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This post was originally published in January 2014. It has been retested and updated with reader feedback.
Beautifully done! I’ve been sewing for 55 years, professionally for 30. I’m impressed. One thought to add… If you would like to keep a little more of the cold out, you can see medium weight magnets into the sides and hem, then affix a magnet strip to your window frame. The drawback is the ugly magnet strip. I have done this in my bedrooms and it does make a difference.
Julia, the magnet strip is a genius idea!
Thank you for this tutorial. It came at just the right time. My son is an over the road driver and purchased his first truck a few years ago. Little by little he has been doing updates.
Well, asked me to make some insulated black out curtains for the bunk area. It was quite a daunting task because of the size, but thanks to these clear and concise instructions he now has a new set of curtains for the bunk, a set for the windshield for when he has to sleep during the day and also some insulated, blackout snap on panels for the little windows in the bunk.
Next I’ll be working on some of my own.
Thank you again.
K, I’m so happy to hear this worked so well for you and your son! Congrats to him on purchasing his truck, and please extend a thank you to him from us for doing very essential work.
It always astounds me how people who want blackout /thermal curtains hang them up on poles sticking out from the wall…. Energy saving tip. Use a rail which is close to the wall. Then the light/ cold cant get in around them. Love this tutorial. Very clear and easy to follow. I shall be having a go.
Might as well not have curtains on at all if you stick them that far from the wall, right?!
This is exactly what I planned to do for our new house. I already have some purchased blackout curtains, but I wanted insulated ones. I’d planned on taking the curtains I have , buying batting, and more blackouts for the backing. With different curtains for the back, I’ll have a change of decor for summer and winter. Thanks for assuring me I’m not crazy.
You’re definitely not crazy! And congrats on the new house!
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.