DIY Blackout Drapes – Project Fail

Oh blackout drapes, what did I ever do without you?

Living in the PNW, it doesn’t get dark until really really late in the summer.  I’ve learned that blackout drapes are essential to getting my kids to go to bed.  And really my hubby and I for that matter! I’m going to show you a cheap trick for diy blackout drapes on a budget that will get these puppies up on your windows in no time.

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Drapes from IKEA

Previously, we had these dark navy curtains up in my sons room.  They were not blackout drapes but they did block most of the light because they were so dark.

That was the problem for me.  They were so dark.  I want light and bright and beautiful! We painted the walls a blue color and it darkens the room as well.  If I had my choice now – I would paint it white.  I would paint the whole house white if the hubby would agree.  You live and learn I guess!

The other problem?

I shrunk them.  I went on a spring cleaning spree and decided to give them a good laundering.  Well, I ended up with high water curtains.  Ugh! Anything but high water curtains! They ended about four inches above the floor.  No bueno.

I decided I couldn’t wait any longer and needed to swap out those curtains ASAP.  But with a renovation on the horizon,  we are definitely on a budget.  Plus, I didn’t want to spend a lot on something that might change after our Reno is done.

DIY blackout drapes

And I need them to belong because I plan on raising the curtain rod.

I really love Pottery Barn and West Elm curtains but they want a hundred bucks or more for ONE blackout panel! And I love IKEA curtains but it’s a hike to get there and their shipping costs are ridiculous.  So I decided to make my own.

I had good luck using the Roc-Lon Blackout fabric before for my daughter’s curtains so I ordered 7 yards of that.  That’s enough to make two long curtains.  And then I just needed some basic white fabric.  I would bleach drop cloth because I love the fabric but I am really iffy on that due to all the bleach you have to use (something like 8 cups and overnight?) Maybe someday in the future – it’s so tempting!

Close up of white drapes.

So what did I finally end up using?


I found these long white tablecloths on Amazon and decided to give them a try.  It’s a polyester fabric so it’s not going to shrink too much.  And they were super cheap!  The reviews were decent too.

Amazon also sells blackout drapes at a pretty reasonable price and in long lengths – but the reviews for the white ones say that are gray looking.  I don’t really want gray looking curtains.  But it’s a super easy option for you if you want to skip making them.

And if you do live close to IKEA – the white RITVA curtains are fabulous and have a blackout lining that attaches and all you need to do is hem the bottom.

White drapes hanging in bedroom

Want to know the hardest part of making blackout drapes?

Lining up the dang fabric!

It’s so much fabric that it was nearly impossible to get both pieces super smooth and flat when pinning all the sides.  For me at least.

I should disclose that this was a complete eyeball of a project! I really didn’t measure aside from hanging them and cutting the excess off the bottom.

Basically here’s what I did :

  1. Take the white tablecloth fabric and lay that out.
  2. Lay out your blackout fabric on top of the tablecloth.
  3. Take the tablecloth and fold the edges over the blackout drape and pin all the way around.  I trimmed excess fabric as necessary.
  4. Hem three sides, but the keep the bottom loose for now until you hang and measure.
  5. I also sewed a seam about 1 inch down from the top for aesthetics.
  6. Take your clip rings and clip them at equal points at the top of your curtain.
  7. Hang!
  8. Cut the excess off the bottom after hanging.
  9. Sew the bottom hem.

Are these curtains the most gorgeous things you’ve ever seen? No.  Do they work ? YES.  And they are easy on the wallet.  And they only take a couple hours to make.

DIY Blackout Drapes on a Budget and What I Learned

What did I learn going through this process?

I learned that it’s  probably easier to buy them or semi – diy them.

I might go the IKEA route next time.  Or buy non blackout curtains and just sew on the blackout liner.

DIY Blackout Drapes on a Budget and What I Learned

But these definitely work in a pinch.  I don’t think I’m in love with them because the tablecloth fabric is a bit thinner than I would like and the bottom pools too much on the floor.  But if I cut anymore off there may not be enough once I raise the curtain rod.  If I actually made them to fit they would look better.

But it’s better than those dark, too high curtains we had before!

I hope you guys learned something! Thanks so much as always for reading and visiting.

Xo Karen