Room Darkening Ideas : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

I have often wondered how I am going to block my windows during the nighttime hours so that any light which I have inside cannot be seen from outside.

Here is an idea which I have thought about, and will start making in the near future.

I bought some very thick black twill fabric (got it on sale at 2 yards for a dollar). I will take some of the batting used to make quilts and use about 2 to three layers of the batting with two layers of the fabric.

I will make these window shades so that it is fabric/batting/batting/batting/fabric. I plan on using velcro to hang them to the window frames very tightly. I may come up with another way to attach them, but this was my first guess for quick removal during the daylight hours.

I mention this, because normally places like Hancock Fabrics will be having sales for back to school, and then usually a huge sale around Labor Day.

Any of you have any other ideas?

-- (cannot-say@this.time), July 08, 1999


Sounds like a good idea. I have a holly hedge around my whole house and I am thinking I can not trim them so they will grow up over the windows to block some of the light. Also it will be misery to try to go through a holly bush to break in. The hedge is 3ft across now.

-- Carol (, July 08, 1999.

If you are in a situation where light is dangerous, then don't use it.

If you use it and block windows, you'll create an illusion of security and forget about the outside. You'll probably miss something - just a pinpoint is all someone needs from outside, though it looks completely blocked from the inside.

Safer would be gauze or equivalent over a window, so someone shining a flashlight in can't see you, but you can see them. Then keep your lights off and live with it.

-- bw (home@puget.sound), July 08, 1999.

Yes, this was my idea too, not only for keeping out light but for insulation in the winter time. By using the velcro you can fold the top down during the day to let in some heat and light. I thought of using comforters found at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. For insulation, I was(am) going to put plastic in between 2 comforter pieces and sew it together.

This would also work to keep heat out on the hot sides of your house in hot climates.

Problem seems to be the price of velcro for the amount I need. Trying to locate a wholesale supply.

-- sue (, July 08, 1999.


I understand the cost of the velcro. I have been trying to come up with another idea that will keep this shade tight all the way around. So far, I haven't found one. I said that about the Hancock's sale because if my memory serves me correctly they have a 50% off sale on all notions during the Labor Day sale. This would cut the cost of the velcro down to half. You might just want to talk to the manager about ordering an entire box roll and see if they are willing to give you a discount.

As for not being able to know what is going on outside, I already have that figured out. There will be one room "sealed" off with no shades. I can view everything that I need to from this vantage point.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), July 08, 1999.

What about internal wooden shutters & heavy curtains.Thats what we are going to do.Picking up the ready made curtains at thrift stores.We are also going to block up non essential windows in a semi- permanent fashion.

-- Chris (, July 08, 1999.

I have another idea after reading the thread about solar blankets!

You could use the cheap solar blankets found at walmart for about two dollars instead of the batting. Batting is not cheap and could be put to more use made into a quilt. The solar blankets would be better in holding the heat in and hot out too. I would weight a lot less, thus less velcro would be needed to hold it up.

-- Carol (, July 08, 1999.

Donna-glad to see you're still around. I thought of you just today as I was up near your area.

I have thought about getting some heavy duty window tinting. Would work well during the day so that people couldn't see in but I would have to come up with something different at night.

Thanks for the ideas. Linda

-- newbiebutnodummy (, July 08, 1999.


I've thinking of you as well. Did you get my last e-mail about some of the sales at crest? Seems like the 2/1.00 items are now 3/5.00. Anyway, seems the Sams in MWC no longer has the water containers (sold out).

-- (cannot-say@this.time), July 08, 1999.

To prevent too much marring of the walls/frame around the window, I thought I would apply the velcro to a 1 x 2 and screw the 1 x 2 around the window where needed. I plan to use cut-to-fit plywood, nowm thanks to y'all, I might use thinner plywood with a mylar blanket sandwiched between. I'd use fabric but the cats will find a way to wiggle their way in.

The dark bronze sunscreen I've mentioned for obscuring the interior in daylight does obscure some (but by no means all) of the interior view at night when a light is on, so it's possible any chink will be greatly dulled. Besides, the window of the room I plan to retreat to for warmth if the power goes off will be hidden behind a privacy fence.

-- Old Git (, July 08, 1999.

A good temporary expedient is aluminum foil.

We use is on our west facing windows as a bit of heat transfer resistance as well.


-- Greybear, who tried to sleep when he first wen't to the Arctic and found 24 hr/day sunlight not to be all that much fun.

-- Greybear (, July 08, 1999.

Color me naive but if the windows are dark and it looks like no one is home, wouldn't that be an invitation to the uninvited? Wouldn't I want to give the impression that this place is "occupied"?

Just asking.

-- S. David Bays (, July 08, 1999.


I don't think that I would want to advertise the fact that I have the limited lighting that I will have should the entire neighborhood be dark.

I plan on taking in some of my close neighbors, but I cannot take in the entire neighborhood. I pitty the poor soul that would try to enter the house. Hmmmm... wondering how I would feel when I saw the red beam targeting me...?

-- (cannot-say@this.time), July 09, 1999.


After Hurricane Fran almost everything was dark. People drew their blinds as usual, even with candlelight. It glowed through some vinyl blinds but for the most part houses were dark. I think a villain would have to assume that even a dark house was occupied, just consering what little fuel there was. Consider too, if things are that bad, there will be no noise from air conditioners or anything else, movement inside a house would be audible. Windows would be open, screens in place, you could surely hear sleep-breathing (and snoring!) and people turning over.

I really do believe a lighted house is an invitation to break in. If the residents were prudent enough to store something for light, they were prudent enough to store food and other useful items. No sense risking B&E to a dwelling where it looked as if there was no food or fuel. Why bother? In such a situation, most popular stolen items (VCRs, TVs, CD players, etc.) would have little or no value compared to food and fuel.

-- Old Git (, July 09, 1999.

OK, thank you for the answers.

Now I have another question that has been weighing: Am I going to have to bring into my house or garage all my propane, kerosene, wood, etc. which I am now storing outside? I do live in a suburban-city of about 250,000.

Thank you,


-- SDB (, July 11, 1999.


Please, start a new thread with your second question. I, too, would like to discuss that question and I think people won't see it if it is buried, here.

About the blackout standard operating procedure [SOP]...

We have one room that I can't really figure how to black out. Unfortunately, one must pass through this from to get from any room in the house to any other room. It has 25' high windows that are about one foot high but forty feet long across almost the whole front of the house. The height pretty much dictates a permanent solution. There are many houses in this neighborhood built on this exact plan, so any modification of those windows would probably stick out like a prepared thumb.

The same room has six huge French doors facing the back of the house. We have never applied window treatments there, in the six years we have lived in this house, because we couldn't figure out how to do it (they open a full 180 degrees, leaving zero clearance between the doors). These doors also have huge transom windows above them. In January, with Y2K in mind, I ordered some privacy blinds for the French doors. These won't block light, but would make it harder for someone to aim a gun at us, and will allow us to eat without seeing or being seen by any hungry strangers (if we choose to continue to use that room to eat).

The rest of the home has plantation shutters on every window. These are pretty good, but not perfect at blocking out light. I have been considering getting some custom cut white foam to insert between the shutters and the window. These would be a couple inches thick. I believe that, in combination with the shutters, they would completely block light.

I think these can probably be had for less than $5 each. They would be easy to use and wouldn't leave any kind of evidence of preparedness. If someone comes across them in the garage, they probably won't recognize what they are, or that they are good for anything.

They would also make good insulation, and could probably be made to look almost identical to the shutters with the use of some drawing or carving. Perhaps they could be sprayed with a latex paint to give them a more glossy finish. Another idea might be to have a cabinetmaker or the shutter manufacturer make some fake removable shutters to insert in the same way as the foam.

Some problems I see with this are that the door to the rest of the house would have to be also blocked (all the way around), and anytime anyone wanted to go from one room to another, all the lights would have to go out. Then the door blockage would have to be removed and the house would have to be traversed in complete darkness, after having eyes accustomed to light. If the person is coming back to this room, everyone would have to wait to re-light until they get back. That would suck.

Also, a room with light would sound different from one without light. People would be talking lively, reading to kids, telling each other about what books they're reading, pots and dishes clanking with the sounds of cooking or eating, tools being repaired, plans being made, things being written down, etc. etc.

It seems to me as though the only safe solution would be to cultivate a strong "already had absolutely everything of value ripped off" look, eat in absolute silence, go to bed at dusk, with absolutely silent reading.

If things really went to hell, at some point, merely being still alive would be ample evidence of having been prepared.

Idea: Take a portrait studio style photograph of everyone, then computer enhance them all to look like they weigh about 100 pounds more than they really do. Buy fancy frames for them and hang them proudly in a prominent location, like the entryway, or wherever someone is likely to look in the window.

-- Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr near Monterey, California (addy.available@my.webpage.neener.autospammers.regrets.greenspun), July 12, 1999.

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