How To Make Blackout Blinds
If you’re a light sleeper or would like to block out light and noise from your bedroom, blackout blinds have impressive light-blocking properties that will darken any room without compromising on your style.
If you’re struggling to find the perfect set of blackout blinds, and you’re handy with a sewing machine, then why not create a bespoke blind with a fabric that compliments your room flawlessly?
Here’s how to make blackout blinds for your home.
What Are the Benefits of Blackout Blinds?
The main reasons for installing blackout blinds are controlling light and privacy, but there are plenty of other benefits to installing a set of blackout blinds in your home.
First and foremost, they can protect your rooms from prying eyes outside the house and are obviously ideal for keeping your rooms darker by blocking out street lights or patio lighting, which improves your sleep quality.
If you work night shifts, blackout blinds can reduce the light in your room, allowing you to sleep during the day. Their light-blocking properties are also perfect for home movie theatres where light can ruin the experience.
The thermal properties of blackout blinds can also help to regulate the temperature in your home and reduce utility bills. During hot days, blackout curtains can block the sun’s rays from your room, keeping your home cool.
During winter, the insulative properties of blackout blinds will help to prevent heat from escaping, trapping the heat and keeping your rooms warm in the cold season.
Blackout blinds can also help to protect your furniture from harmful UV rays from the sun that can cause fading, so having the blinds will also keep your textiles and furniture looking fresher for longer.
What Do You Need to Make Blackout Blinds?
Making your own set of blackout blinds is quite simple and straightforward, however, you will need basic sewing skills.
If it’s your first time, it’s a good idea to start with plain fabrics just to make your work easier.
Creating a new set of blackout blinds can be fun, but if you don’t have much experience it can be a tedious and time-consuming process – taking anywhere from a couple of hours to a full day – but the finished product will be worth the wait!
When collecting materials for your blackout curtains, you’ll need a fabric that suits your decor and some blackout fabric to make sure no light can get through.
The fabric size will depend on the size of your window, but to get the full blackout benefit there needs to be as few gaps as possible between your blind and the window recess.
What You’ll Need
Most of the tools you need are available around your home, but you will need a few special items to create your blackout roman blind:
- A needle and thread for hand sewing and creating perfect stitches,
- A measuring tape to measure the fabric and windows before cutting,
- A sewing machine for sewing the fabric and blackout material together,
- A pair of sharp scissors for cutting the fabric and thread,
- Pins and tailor’s chalk to help with marking the cutting lines,
- An iron and iron board for ironing your blinds once they’re finished,
- A staple gun and staples,
- 5 x Wooden dowels cut to the width of your blinds,
- 10 x Plastic rings for the dowel pockets,
- Nylon string to create a pull-cord for the blinds,
- A small eye hook,
- A mounting baton and brackets for the top of the blind.
Measuring The Fabric
Before you get started with making your blackout blinds you’ll need to know how much fabric to order.
First, you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to hang your blinds inside the window recess or in front of the recess. For this guide, we’ll be focusing on making a roman blind that will fit inside your window recess.
Measure the height and width of your window(s) and make a note of the measurements. This will give you the dimensions that your finished product needs to end up with.
When ordering your fabric, we recommend giving yourself at least 6 inches or 15 cm of extra material on each side to account for any errors in your measuring and to give you enough room to hem the edges.
How To Make Blackout Blinds
When you have the necessary items and correct measurements, it’s time to get started with creating your blinds.
These instructions, based on this video by A Butterfly House, explain how you can create a simple blackout roman blind for your home.
- Measure & Cut The Fabric
Measure and cut your fabric so that it is 1 inch wider than the width of the window recess, and at least 7 inches longer than the final length of your blind.
Cut your lining to the same width as your window recess and the same length as the cut fabric.
Remember, when you’re mounting the blind inside the window recess the final width of the blind will need to be as close as possible to the width of the recess, otherwise light will still be able to get through.
- Pin & Sew The Fabric & Lining Together
Lay your blackout fabric on the back of your blind fabric and fold over half an inch of the fabric and pin in place.
Once you’re happy the two materials are lined up properly, sew the two together along both sides of the blinds.
- Calculate The Dowel Pocket Measurements
First, take the total length of your fabric, subtract 3 inches for the mounting, and divide the remaining number by 4.
The first pocket will be at the very bottom of the blind, with the pockets then spaced that number of inches apart.
For example, if your window height is 51 inches, then your dowel pockets should be 12 inches apart.
- Sew The Bottom Dowel Pocket
To make the bottom pocket, fold the bottom of the material over at least half an inch to create a pocket that runs the full width of the blind.
Pin the pocket in place and make sure your dowel will fit securely in the pocket.
Once you’re happy with the sizing, sew the pocket into the blind.
- Make The Remaining Dowel Pockets
To create the remaining dowel pockets, fold the blind over so that the finished fabric sides are together at the pocket location calculated previously.
Pin everything in place to create the pocket, and sew a seam across the blind.
Repeat this to create a pocket for each dowel, spaced accordingly.
- Add The Dowels & Sew On The Plastic Rings
Add the dowels to each of the pockets on the blind and lay the blind flat on the floor.
Using a needle and thread, sew the plastic rings to each of the dowel pockets.
Each pocket should have two plastic rings – one on each side of the blind – approximately 3 inches in from the edges.
- Create The Mounting Baton & Attached The Blind
Cut the baton to the width of your recess and add mountings to enable you to fit it to the top of the window frame.
Screw your eye hooks in so that they’re roughly the same distance from each edge as the plastic rings on your dowel pockets.
Staple the fabric to the top side of the mounting baton using the staple gun. This will then be hidden when the baton is mounted to the window.
- Add The Pull Cord
The next step is to add the nylon string to the blind to create the pull cord.
First, feed the string through all of the plastic rings on the left side, through both of the eye hooks on the mounting baton, and down through the plastic rings on the right side. Tie this string to the bottom ring on the right side of the blind, and leave yourself plenty of extra on the left side so that this can be cut to length when mounted.
Next, feed a second string through all of the plastic rings on the left-hand side of the blind, go through the eye hook, and then back down through the plastic rings on the left side of the blind.
Tie one end of this string to the bottom plastic ring and then cut the other end to match the length of the first string.
- Mount The Blind & Enjoy!
Finally, affix your blind to the window using your chosen brackets.
Once in place, test to ensure the blind is working and then trim both strings to the same length and tie them into a knot to create a neat pull cord.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Attach Blackout Fabric To Blinds Without Sewing?
Because a blind is designed to move up and down each day, attaching a blackout fabric without sewing isn’t going to be the best option.
If you’re feeling crafty then you could make your own set of blackout blinds from scratch using the instructions above.
Are Blackout Blinds Worth It?
Blackout blinds are a great investment if you’re a light sleeper or you find yourself having to sleep during the day.
However, they’re also great for anyone who wants to improve their sleep hygiene, as countless studies have shown that creating a dark sleeping environment and reducing light exposure helps to improve the quality of our sleep.
Can I Make My Existing Blinds Blackout?
Unfortunately, it’s not straightforward to turn an existing blind into a blackout blind. If you wanted to upgrade, we have a range of affordable blackout blinds to choose from, or you could add a set of blackout curtains to darken your room.