How To Make Fifteen Minute, Fifteen Dollar Black Out Curtains

File this under “A Lazy Mom’s Trick To Get More Sleep.” I made no-sew, mind-numbingly-easy, shortcut-blackout curtains. Enough adjectives for you? I’m an over-explainer. Anyway, this isn’t the professional way, it’s the cheater way. Haha.

First the why. Although the faux wood blinds on Clara’s bedroom window provided a decent amount of light-blockage, I knew blackout fabric would make the room pitch black in the middle of the day (which means it might help with the just-one-forty-five-minute-nap that we’ve been getting these days). To JoAnn fabrics I flew, and purchased 5.5 yards of blackout fabric (which sort of felt like the white fabric on roller-blinds). Thanks to a 50% coupon I got it all for $15.

Now for the how:

  • I returned home with the 5.5 yards of fabric (I measured her existing curtains to see how much I’d need beforehand)
  • I washed the fabric (it said dry clean only but the lady at the counter said I could wash it on cold and air dry it without any issue and she was right)
  • I unclipped the two fabric curtain panels from Clara’s room and laid one on the floor on top of the blackout fabric to use as a template
  • I cut two blackout panels to the same size as the two curtains

  • I debated sewing the back side of the fabric to the back side of the blackout fabric on three sides and then turning it rightside-in to hand sew the top closed, creating a finished panel the same way you’d make a pillow cover
  • I realized I had four minutes before nap time and couldn’t wait to see if the blackout fabric would even make a difference
  • I used my ring clips along the curtain rod to clip the curtain up in front of the blackout fabric without sewing anything together (thanks to the weight of both materials, the fabric drapes down in front of the liner, looking virtually identical to how it looked without it)

Haha, so with that description of virtually identical, I will now share a photo of Clara’s room that looks pretty much the same as many others I’ve shown sans blackout liner. Haha. But know that it’s there. Lurking.

So yeah, I’ll probably go back and sew at least a few sides of them together like a proper semi-dysfunctional seamstress (remember, I’m not exactly old friends with Oh Brother, but for now… it works). Clara has been giving us about 90 minutes for naptime instead of 45 for the past two days since we added it (we’ll take it!) and now sleeps 12+ straight hours overnight (from 7:30 pm to 8 am). In the keep-it-real department, she has always been an awesome night sleeper (I take no credit, it’s just how she was made) so this was more about attempting to convince her that napping for more than 45 minutes in the 12-ish hour span of day between that awesome night of sleep is a good idea. It was a total bonus that her usual 7:30 wake up time scooched back to 8.

So those blackout liners are well worth the fifteen bucks and fifteen minutes spent. Sleeping until 8 for the past two days has been amazing life saving, especially since we’ve been going to bed around 2am due to book stuff. But it’s all worth it! Can’t wait to share sneak peeks of our book shoots and other how-does-this-word-doc-become-an-actual-book stuff as we go (now that the final manuscript is in as of last night, well, this morning at 2:14am). Woot!

Have you guys taken any shortcuts lately? Are you all in complete disbelief that Clara runs around all day long and only naps for 45-90 minutes? When the Bowers came to visit Will was regularly serving up three hour naps and Jeremy couldn’t believe how Clara would pop back up a little over a half-hour later and be raring to go. And yes, I was jealous of their sweetly slumbering son. Very, very jealous. Do you know how much backsplash tile we could start installing over a nice three hour chunk of time? Haha. That’s ok though, we definitely can’t complain about the awesome night sleep Clara has given us pretty much from day one. And the fact that we can put her to bed at 7:30 and hammer away from 8 o-clock on is pretty darn awesome.


  1. says

    Good work supermom! I think it’s great this way as if you ever wanted to use the fabric for something else or replace her curtains but keep the black out you won’t need to worry about it… but I guess it is better to sew it…

    I made my first ever thing on a sewing machine over Christmas! It’s a cat made out of pyjamas and although it’s really funny looking and realistically looks rubbish, I’m totally in love with him! Here he is:

  2. Lizzie says

    One of the best baby shower gifts I was given was a set of handmade blackout curtains from one of my BFF’s interior decorating moms. That baby can snoooooooze.

  3. Sarah says

    We love our blackout curtains in our master bedroom! The first night we slept in our new house, we had no blinds or curtains and when the sun started shining directly in our bedroom window at 5:30 a.m., my husband went and slept on the floor of the closet. I bought cheapie blackout curtains from Target the same day. haha

    Did you ever consider just using some stitch witchery tape around the edges for a slightly more finished, but still very quick, fix?

    • says

      I did think about that, I just didn’t know if I’d end up melting the liner (it’s sort of plastic/rubber feeling, so I worried using the iron would singe it- haha).


    • Rosie says

      blackout liner can be ironed, just not on very high heat. And be careful how you store them if you they’ll be off the windows for a while… the light blocking layer can peel off if it get stuck to itself, which leaves light spots in the curtains. Ask me how I know… :)

      We LOVE blackout drapes at our house… been using them since the first “spring forward” with a baby in the house and now we have them in ever bedroom. A bonus is that they also have some nice thermal properties too, so they can help with your heating bill. If you REALLY want to help your heatin bill, ask for the “warm windows” liner that runs bout $30 per yard at JoAnns. Not cheap, but worth it if you’ve got a real heat seive in the house. We lined the curtains that cover the sliding glass door with it and it makes a HUGE difference. :)

  4. Bboss says

    From what I read about you in your blog, it sounds like she is channeling your energy level. If you asked your mom, I bet she would call it payback?

  5. Cathy says

    I didn’t know blackout fabrics existed. Awesome! I’ve been meaning to do something about my bedroom curtains because I cannot stay asleep when there’s light shooting into my room. Thanks for yet another great tip! :)

  6. says

    I made black out curtains for my younger son, too. He’s a great napper, like 3 hours, but still doesn’t sleep through the night consistently. Last night the first time he woke up was 4:30, compared to the usual 2:30. But he can sleep through almost anything. Oh, and he goes to bed at 9:00. Definitely be thankful for Clara’s good night sleeping!!

    • says

      Oh yes, I’m so grateful! We always talk about how we lucked into that (she was a sleepy night girl from birth, to which my mom says “the next one is going to throw you for a loop”). Haha.


    • JennyB says

      So true! Our 2 year old has never been a great night sleeper. He makes it through a whole night about once or twice a month…maybe! I’m pregnant with #2 and hoping that he’ll have Clara’s sleeping habits. I don’t know if I can take TWO kids that can’t sleep through the night! Mama’s TIRED!

  7. says

    If I was writing a book, taking secret photos, making secret projects, writing blog posts for my own blog and another blog, checking facebook and twitter for messages so I could respond and see what was going on, dealing with sponsors, giveaways, questions, comments, kitchen renovations, a toddler, a dog and not sleeping I would have made these exactly the same way.

    It works, it’s awesome, and here’s to hoping 90 minute naps become a regular.

    • says

      nix that comment “I would have made them the same way”. I would have crumpled into a pile of tears under that stress and chaos long before I ever made it to Joannes.

      You’re superwoman.

    • says

      Hmm, you’re probably right, thought it might be nice to pretend she’s exhausted after saving people so much. I bet when no ones looking she’s in sweats with a pint of ben and jerry’s watching the jersey housewives. I still give you the slow clap for being superwoman-esque.

    • says

      Superman totally is into laptops in the cafe as he writes a autobiography.

      Batman wants people to think he gets his fitness on, but in reality he eats greasy spicy fried chicken and laughs with his mouth full at Tosh.0.

    • Kathy says

      haha! yes! And Sherry says that she’s amazed at Clara’s energy! :-)

      I’M amazed that you guys can start working on house projects starting at 8 PM after such a full day! Wow.

  8. Courtney says

    my 10 month old son is the exact same way. Sometimes he will only sleep 30 mins throughout the day. Maybe we should try something similar to help him sleep during nap time. He is fantastic night sleeper though (12+ hours) and has been that way since he was about 6 months old, so I can’t complain too much.

  9. Monika says

    Congrats on finishing the book. Can’t wait to get a copy! I can’t imagine how intense that must have been! It sounds like Clara is a very good sleeper. I think a range of 11 to 15 hours of sleep is normal for her age and each kid seems to pick a number of hours and go with it. Our son’s # is 12: naps 2 hours but only sleeps about 10 hours at night. Sometimes I wish he’d sleep 12 hours at night and forgo the nap altogether! Ahh, getting up at 8 sounds so good ;) We installed black out shades a while back, they do help!

  10. em says

    This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that??” moments. I ended up buying hideous curtains from Target for my daughter’s room when we started needing blackout curtains. They are so poorly-made that I’m sure your no-sew cheater version looks far more professional. And, of course, mine were more expensive.
    Well, I’ll be using this trick for my son’s room in the future.

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