Darkroom curtains

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Sean, Dec 16, 2003.

  1. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    Things are moving along with my darkroom construction (a garage being converted to a room). It's time to start thinking about light proofing it. It's a multipurpose room with a door in the front and the rear. I've had the builder build a sheet rock (or gib for the international crowd) box around each door which creates a small hallway. I figure, have a darkcloth in the middle of this microhallway, and have another at the end which faces the inside of the room. This should help with my paranoia of light leaks. I'm looking for a fabric to use for the curtains. I've seen the stuff some people attach to their house curtains to reduce light but am not sure if that's good enough? Are there any companies that make heavy dark cloth material at a reasonable price cut to spec? Or should I make my own? The lab I used at college had one of those rotary doors, would love to have 2 of them but am not rich! Thanks for any info. I searched the forums but didn't find much.
     
  2. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Calumet sell blackout material.

    Also a fabric store may have some sort of black material for lining drapes that is light tight.

    Michael
     
  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Heck, an ordinary door works for both ends of the light lock. If need be, look for blackout curtains at a good fabric store. My darkroom doesn't have a light lock, just a well sealed door. Very little light makes it through in daylight and the interior light outside the door at night hardly touches it.
     
  4. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    sean:

    i use heavy cloth ( black ) it is almost like canvas for a door. i think in the fabric industry they call it "duck cloth" .. but i don't know for sure :smile:
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For many years my darkroom was my kitchen - which didn't have a door. I came across a black PVC shower curtain (!) and hung that across the doorway - and a black binliner over the window.

    It doesn't necessarily take much!
     
  6. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    When I was a kid, I had a corner of the garage that I turned into a darkroom by having black plastic curtains. They rolled up when not in use.

    In the optics lab at work, where money is no object, they use very heavy black fabric, possibly several layers, to block out stray light and stray lasers.
     
  7. Thomassauerwein

    Thomassauerwein Member

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    I have a window in my darkroom, I use black out vinal which is larger than the window then along the edges: at the hardware store they have garage borders for keeping dirt from blowing under the door their a plastic mold with a hard tongue looking thing molded along the length. Once I pull down the curtain I tuck the edges into the molded tongue, boom lights gone! I have no idea what this trim is called but it is in the garage door dept.
     
  8. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    I have the same arrangement semi-permanently anchored with black duck tape around the edges. Top tip - Put up a white (or pale-coloured) blind between the vinyl and the window. I didn't and the damn thing is like a radiator when the sun shines on it, making the darkroom nearly unusable in the summer.
     
  9. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Sean, I think the door will catch most of the light - IF you run some sort of insulating material (foam, rubber, etc) around the door frame. That's what I did on mine..plus I added heavy dark cloth at the bottom. Been thinking of just using the black-out cloth from Calument (Porter's Cameras may have this, too!) and hang it over the doorway with a curtin rod. But then my dark room has only one door, and is only 8x10. With the monster enlarger, you need a monster dark room.
     
  10. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I have one door in my darkroom (shed) and it blocks most of the light. In addition, I stuck some foam draught excluder along the side of the door frame and a 2" strip of 1/4" plywood along the closing edge of the door so that it covers the gap between door and frame to act as a final light trap. My wife made me a door snake, a material tube filled with grain, to lay along the bottom of the door when it's closed. If you do need a curtain try some heavy velvet on a pole, I used this method in another darkroom many years ago and it worked as was not expensive.
     
  11. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    Fabric stores sell a material called blackout cloth, I believe used as drape liners. Its white, but does an excellent job at blocking light. I'm using it as a curtain in a corner of garage to create a darkspace for my enlarger. My wife sewed velcro along both sides, then matching velcro placed on walls. I shadow-boxed top area, & seems to work well enough.
     
  12. bmac

    bmac Member

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  13. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Same basic problem for me, South Midlands U.K. based. I got material from Nova Darkroom which is completely light proof but unfortunately my window is South facing and in summer the light proof material acted like a radiator despite window being double glazed. When I used to go in it was as if the radiator was on. Also the material tended to lift from the velcro due to heat and then light leaked in.

    I got a 1 inch polystyrene sheet and cut it to fit round the glass. It needs to be painted matt black as polystyrene is full of holes but it acts as a heat absorber. The material stays in place now and the room stays light free and reasonably cool even in summer. Today it was about 30 degrees C but room temp. never got above 24 degrees C which is about tolerable to work in.

    Pentaxuser