I used to have the darkroom in one of my bedroom and I used the large plastic bag that came with the printing plate material. They are light proof and I attached them to the windows with velco. The curtain would cover them up so from the inside the room look fine. From outside of the house people often wonder what the heck I was doing. I do RA-4 drum processing so it's purely dry darkroom. I would take the loaded drum to the bathroom and process the print.
I've done just this in a few rooms! The cheapest product to use for windows is blackout cloth for curtains which you should be able to buy from just about any good cloth shop. They can also sell you white velcro - white will help it blend in with your widow frame though it will yellow with time and need replacing. Curtain blackout cloth works just fine with the velcro. You tend to find that if a product is targeted at the photographic market the price increases by a factor of 3-4.
" ... a cook who relies on nothing but a sharp knife has no guarantee of producing excellent dishes." - Yoshihisa Maitani
Like Sirius Glass and onepuff, I too use a blackout cloth to mask the window - I also use one over the door. A couple of points about velcro. Use the self adhesive type and make sure the paint is sound around the window/door frames. Also, don't sew the stuff to the dark cloth - You'll end up with a long line of pinholes that may let light through.
Being in a shared house, my darkroom which was formerly under the stairs at my old house is now in my bedroom. I have to black out the door cracks and window. Mine is a master bedroom though so I am better off, but it is full to bursting point! I have my trays in a walk in wardrobe all my gear is at ground level. +1 to not leaving chemistry in the trays, I have done that with developer once, felt like I was hungover but it quickly subsided. Ensure you are careful not to spill, especially as RA4 developer and also fixer can stain and RA4 developer is nearly impossible to remove. I have old carpet placed over areas where I work, saved my neck when I used to have my trays on the wardrobe shelf which collapsed, fixer and developer everywhere! Not the odourless kind of fixer either.
Also I advise you pour chemicals back into ther bottles and don't carry full trays to and from the room, mind you I do have two floors to go down to my kitchen, so I carry the water bath tray down with the prints in it from a session, ready for a full wash. But it is doable! All the best,
P.s if your room isn't fully blacked out there is a high chance of fogging paper and film and you should ensure that you let your eyes adjust before making judgment on weather it is sealed or not. Also if you are working at night light leaking in from Orange street lights I find doesn't fog ortho materials as quickly, so it could go unnoticed. But a high ASA film it would spell disaster or fog other films or panchromatic materials.
I dd the street light experiment not long ago on ortho materials.
Last edited by jm94; 07-31-2012 at 06:43 AM. Click to view previous post history.
200 micron builders film. You might be able to make a frame from tomato stakes or similar material you can buy cheap from the same hardware store. Make the frame a tight fit inside your window frame then wrap the builders film over/around it and staple it on. simply push the blackout frame into your window frame. If it leaks a little light, work at night and expose negatives during daylight hours instead.
This approach has the benefit of being very cheap, easily replaceable and not requiring repairs to the property when you want your rental bond back...
to lightproof my room i hit homebase/b&q who sell black rubble sacks. basically a lot thicker than a black bin bag. tape them over your window in double layers and theyre fully lightproof. willl cost you about £4 in total!