Blackout Cloth in LA - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by marcmarc, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    Hi Everyone,
    I'm in the process of setting up a darkroom in a friends garage. There is too much light coming in through the door jams around the garage door as well as the door that one walks through from outside. I want to tack up some blackout cloth but need a direction to start from. I looked for some several years back a regular cloth/sewing shop but they did not have any. Being in LA there might be some at some film production supply stores, but I'm thinking I might find some cheaper at one of the wholesale fabric shops in downtown. This area, known as the garment district is several square blocks of one fabric store after another. Does anyone know offhand the name of one of these shops that carries such an item? Thanks for replies.
    Regards,
    Marc
     
  2. Luseboy

    Luseboy Member

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    How big are the light leaks? I've had success with just using the foam weather stripping around doors. That way you don't lose the ability to open/close the doors too. Or you can just use the darkroom at night, that's the other option.
    -Austin
     
  3. mike c

    mike c Subscriber

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    Freestly sells or use to sell black out cloth,and I think the stuff they use in motels curtains is light proof.If it is not a to fancy a garage staple some roofing under felt around window frames,buy it by the roll at a roofing warehouse or Home builders Warehouse.

    Mike
     
  4. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    The light is coming in through the sides of the both the garage door and the walk-in door, so basically four shafts of light that are pretty strong in mid afternoon which is when I'll probably do my printing on my days off (printing at night might be too inconvenient for the owner). The ones around the walk-in door are pretty wide. Today I took measurements and I need two pieces of cloth, one four yards long one and a half yards wide and another piece four yards long and two and a half yards wide. The garage door and walk-in door are side by side which makes it easy to cover up three light leaking jams with one piece of cloth. I figure one of these fabric shops will be able to cut them to my required sizes. I'll look into the foam weather stripping too.
     
  5. ghostcount

    ghostcount Member

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  6. Charlie Wheelihan

    Charlie Wheelihan Member

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  7. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I have used closeout naugahyde succesfully in past darkrooms. Find the cheapest opaque cloth you can, color is not a factor. Cutting pieces large enough to drape at least 6 or more inches onto the floor should prove sufficiently light-fast to develop film safely.
     
  8. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    Walmart and the fabric stores sell heavy black duck canvas that works well and it is cheap.
    You may have to double it up, make a drape to go across the entire door area.
     
  9. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The stuff from the film supply houses is called "Duvetyne" or "commando cloth" and comes in different thicknesses, depending on how much light you need to stop.
     
  10. marcmarc

    marcmarc Member

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    Commando cloth eh? That won't be easy to forget that's for sure. :laugh: Thanks again for replies. I have to stop at Freestyle this week, so I'll have a look. $15 a yard though...ouch! I was kind of hoping to take care of this minor issue for under $100. Now that I know the trade names, I'll call around to some of those wholesalers in the garment district to see if they stock it. I'll also check into the duck canvass and weather stripping as well.
     
  11. Sonicmook56

    Sonicmook56 Member

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    I'm moving a just got rid of a bunch of Duvetyne.. :sad:
     
  12. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    if I were you - I'd go downtown to the garment district and get a roll of thick plasticized black cloth... or regular black cloth and then sandwich it with a layer of black cloth...
     
  13. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    I usually just find a fabric store and start looking for black fabric. Hold them up to the light -- if you can see light through them it's too thin.

    You can also ask the people working there -- in my experience, they know their stuff. Most of them use what they sell and know their inventory very well. Tell them what you're looking for and how you're going to use it. Odds are all you'll need to do is tell them you're looking for black drapery fabric and they'll point you right to it.

    Ed
     
  14. frotog

    frotog Member

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    If you choose to purchase fabric from a lighting supply place make sure to get commando cloth instead of Duvetyne as the Duv is designed to black out sets, not stray light. Commando has a tighter weave. It's probably cheaper than curtain material at a fabric shop- 56" x running foot costs about $8.
     
  15. largely

    largely Subscriber

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    Joanne Fabrics has blackout cloth. It's a large chain. Try the Yellow pages.
    Good luck,

    Larry
     
  16. Jon Shiu

    Jon Shiu Subscriber

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    I bought some blackout cloth that is white and is lightproof. I think it is used as the backing of drapes usually. I don't remember the actual cost, but possibly $8 yd @ 54" wide.

    Jon
     
  17. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Why not builders supply for the thick black plastic used for below grade foundation wrap?

    I know of a guy who covered up a walk out patio door with the stuff.
    Two layers of this plastic were needed to block enough light to allow him to process sheet filom in trays while the sun was out and shining on the window.
     
  18. greybeard

    greybeard Member

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    Filmtools, Inc. in Burbank sells 16-oz Duvetyne (which they list as "AKA commando cloth') for $7.85/yd in 54" width, cut to length. You might want to call and ask them how opaque it is; I have some, and it is really black in reflection, but I can't vouch for the opacity.

    You may also find that black poly backed up with Duvetyne is both light-and cost-effective; the poly is cheap but may develop pinholes, but the cloth should easily soak up whatever comes through a tiny hole if the layers are not in close contact.
     
  19. curiousart

    curiousart Member

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    Get a box of contractor grade garbage bags and a roll of Gorrilla duct tape. Lay one open bag on top of another (one single bag isn't lightproof, two are), and make panels by taping them around the edges with duct tape. Make them as big as you want by taping the panels together.

    You can also get some brass grommets and make a strip for hanging it on nails along the top, like a shower curtain.

    It'd probably would have been cheaper to get some gardening plastic and use that, but I had problems finding it here in the big city.