How to hang a temporary darkroom curtain

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Jerevan, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    I am trying to set up some of my old dark curtains. I can't keep them permanently installed (rented flat), so I need to put it up for each session. I want to block off a doorway but the cloth that I used before just sags down and lets light in, mainly because of the curtain wire I am using. Earlier this was not a problem, but now I need some other, better way to putting it up. Tried sticky stuff and other things before, but it fell down and was no good.

    Any good ideas? Pictures are always welcome.
     
  2. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    Depends on the design of the door frame, but I used to use a rod along the top of the curtain. The door frame had the usual decorative frame at the top, so I could put in a couple of fine nails on the top. The rod hung on the nails, and the curtain spread over the door. The nail holes were invisible from below, and were easily filled if it was an issue.

    Graham
     
  3. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Although it is my own home I needed to blackout two doors in my darkroom. Here's how: get two dowel sticks and staple the fabric to both one for the top and one for the bottom; place two "L" hooks above the door jam drilling two small holes and using plastic anchors into the wall. Just hang the top dowel on the hooks. When leaving for a new flat remove the anchors and fill the holes with some spackling compound. This has worked in my darkroom for 36 years.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Try using a valence that slides with the curtain and that has a stiff rod through it if needed. We used them at EK and in the small lab I used to work in.

    PE
     
  5. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Except I use an old blanket, I do about the same as others mentioned. Some brads into the top of the door casing where the holes would only show if the landlord climbed up on a ladder to look, although my landlords are less fussy than some about such things.

    For the outside window, I made a wood frame that fits tight around the window casing with tempered hardboard to block the light. I drilled two hole down at an angle into the top of the frame, and drove nails through those holes into the top casing, then cut the heads off the nails so the frame hooks on and off them easily. A strip of black duct tape doubled over at the bottom of the frame forms a flap that blocks the light at the sill. Works quite well even in bright sunlight, and is easy to put up and take down.

    Anyway, my rule for all modifications is not to do anything that can not be covered with a bit of putty or spackling compound.
     
  6. TomStr

    TomStr Member

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  7. Jerevan

    Jerevan Subscriber

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    Thanks guys, for all the tips! Good to know I am on the right track. I'll try to report back when I get something decent going. :smile:
     
  8. youngrichard

    youngrichard Member

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    I use black polythene bin liners pinned to the door frame above with a length of dowel pinned to the lower edge. Can be rolled up, I just tie it at the top with string looped over it. Joins are done with sticky tape up and down, and dowel pinned in the rolling axis. Polythene doesn't wear out, sticky tape needs re-newing every 10 years or so.
    Of course as it just rolls down there is light leak. But a polythene curtain on either side of the door frame renders it pretty well light proof; I just don't print in the middle of the day in high summer.
    Richard
     
  9. zesbaugh

    zesbaugh Member

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    Gaffers tape - it's what I use to hold up the three curtains in my laundry/darkroom (two doors and a window). Easy to put up, easy to take down, and no marks at all if you pull it off within 24 hours (after that it MAY lift some paint).
     
  10. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Rather than hanging curtains, you can achieve a really good light seal with foam strip weather stripping, about 3-5mm thick, 1cm wide, comes in coils and is cheap. It has pull off covering for the sticky stuff, which you use to attach. I used it for my darkroom door, top and sides., place it in the contact areas between the door and the jam. It lasts an amazing length of time (in terms of the foam bouncing back). Then just roll up a towel for the crack at the bottom of the door.
    The only thing in your situation, is that the adhesive is quite aggressive, and might be hard to remove. So, you need to figure out a way to attach it with enough stick to hold it, and be able to remove it later. Might be able to tape it in place with masking tape, without removing its adhesive cover. Or you could stick it down to plain strips of paper, then attach the paper at intervals to the door jam, then easily removable.
     
  11. graywolf

    graywolf Member

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    Some of these methods have a problem. They are basically air tight, and will block air circulation. Since I hang a blanket that is porous to air over the door, and have the bathroom fan (Something I added to this old apartment, and made sure was light tight when I did.) there is air flow through the makeshift darkroom.

    I do not think I would want to try and work in a darkroom with plastic over the windows and door, nor do I think weather stripping is a good idea. A sweaty, airtight, room filled with noxious fumes does not seem like a good place to work.
     
  12. Sirius Glass

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    I put velcro on the top of the door frame and above the window and down the sides of the window. I use the blue painters' tape to hold the places where the light would come in. Gaffers' tape can and will remove paint.

    Steve
     
  13. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    graywolf is right about the air circulation. I never thought about that when I used the insulating stuff, probably because the apartment I had had forced air heating and a/c, and I usually wasn't in it for more than 3-5 hours at a time. If you have such a system, might be ok for you.
     
  14. wilfbiffherb

    wilfbiffherb Member

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    for my own darkroom i nailed 3 strong tacks (unnoticeable to a landlords eye) into the door frame. hoops on the curatins can hang from it and hey presto - instant darkroom curtian!!