Darkroom curtains

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by tkamiya, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I am considering of creating a semi-permanent darkroom arrangement and it involves having some kind of material that is soft/flexible that will block-out light.

    To be little more precise, my dry side will be a room that is near a bathroom. The window in this room needs to be blocked out. From there, exit the door and on the way to bathroom, there are one opening (no door) that leads to my living room. This opening needs to be blocked-out.

    I know there is a such thing as darkroom curtain made specially for this purpose but they are quite expensive. Are there any material suitable for this type of use that's not quite that costly?

    The window in my bedroom can be more-less permanently blocked out, so using a cardboard and tape it to the place is an option. However, the opening to the living room must be easy to operate and not-that-ugly.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Neal

    Neal Subscriber

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    tkamiya,

    Assuming you have a bedroom door, the installation of weatherstripping around the door will block out light nicely.

    Neal Wydra
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    There is an opening from bedroom to the bathroom. This opening does not have a door.
     
  4. thisismyname09

    thisismyname09 Member

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    You can do what I did when I needed a cloth for a view camera: go into the fabric store, find something thick and dark looking, then put it on your head. Just find something that doesn't let any light through, then buy twice the amount you need so you can fold it over to be sure.
     
  5. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    If you get sticker shock at prices for fabric that is dense and dark enough to block all light, you may consider using black plastic. Double layered black plastic will not look good at all, but could be folded up and stored away when not in use. Stiffeners may be needed in either case, like a slat across the top to make it easy to hang.

    I'm working on something similar for an occasional-use darkroom.
     
  6. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Larger fabric stores stock material for making curtains - Ask for "blackout cloth" which is an opaque white lining material. Grab some self adhesive velcro strips while you're shopping. Stick one side of the velcro strip around the door frame, and the other half to the blackout cloth. When you want to shut yourself in, the velcro will hold the cloth in place.
     
  7. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    for my darkroom door
    i use black canvas from the top of the doorframe
    to the ground
    it is wide enough to overlap the sides of the "doorframe"
    and it is long enough that its weight keeps it in one place.
    i think i have 3 or 4 layers ...
    it could easily be done without any nails or screws ( although it would make it better that way )
    by getting some heavy curtain rods and putting them up to the top of
    the doorframe snug against the fabric.
    i've used a door light this for 8 years without any problems ...

    good luck!

    john
     
  8. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    This thread made me recall a fortunate opportunity many years ago to take course under Howard Bond. His darkroom was in the basement, yet had no door. The opening was designed as a light trap. Pretty slick, but requires more space than many of us have.
     
  9. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    Cheap Ideas...

    So far, the black plastic idea sounds the cheapest to me.
    Black trash bag plastic is cheap, but not usually opaque.
    I might sandwich cardboard or aluminum foil for added stopping power.
    A roll of wide tape of the appropriate type could also be used to tile the plastic as well.
    You could use an overlapping split desgin for entering and exiting, if needed...

    How about refridgerator box cut to the right size? Just lean or slide it in and out of place. Reinforce if necessary.

    Are there others using the house?

    As for curtains, I have used both the for photography and the for sleeping types mentioned above but neither are cheep, even at the fabric store (if they even stock it... as it is not really used for clothes). If you go that route you might have to hunt a bit.

    If you can darken the living etc rooms, you might get away with a old blanket or two...
    Also consider if you must have darkness at all...
    Perhaps you could just put the exposed print in an empty print box... (or two) and carry it to the processing room... other options are big tubes like (or even) processing tubes for color prints....

    Best of luck!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2009
  10. Ray Rogers

    Ray Rogers Member

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    Yes, Those are very neat!

    I think the largest I ever experienced was on the Ilford tour...
    At one location it seems we walked from full light to full dark room condition and I did not even notice the change!

    Usually, the change is much quicker as the distance is normally very short.

    Ray
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 6, 2009
  11. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    Second the "blackout cloth" from the fabric store. Tell the clerk you want the material that's used in making drapes. Cheap, easy to cut, and very effective.
    juan
     
  12. Craig Swensson

    Craig Swensson Member

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    another idea,
    do not know if you get this in the states but i used black building paper[ the stuff used to wrap timber before cladding] for my window, made a frame that fits into the inner frame of the window, overlap the edges so it covers the window surround. works great
     
  13. DLawson

    DLawson Member

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    Mine is at the mid-point. It is black vinyl(ish) coated fabric. Think of the stuff on cheap pseudo-leather throw pillows.

    I don't recall what it cost. That was 1996.
     
  14. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    That's a good idea. They used to call it Naugahyde. Now it is just vinyl-coated upholstery fabric. It should block light with one layer.
     
  15. totalamateur

    totalamateur Member

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  16. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    If you go the black plastic route use the material available in garden stores or the garden dept of Home Depot. It is very durable and can be doubled . Get a closet pole, cut tow the sane length and staple the plastic sheet (or blackout cloth) to top and bottom. Attach "L" hooks of appropriate size above the door or window and set the pole on them when needed. When not in use just roll up like a scroll. Simple and very inexpensive.
     
  17. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    sorry for the typos --cut BOTH THE SAME length
     
  18. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    Nice idea with the roll. I use double black plastic from home depot but I use indutrial strength velcro to attach it to the top of the door frame. I think I'll redo it with your method.
     
  19. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I believe the naugas went extinct in 2001.
     
  20. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

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    That's a loss.:sad: They were so damn cute!