Best Blackout material? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

What is the best material for blackening out a bathroom? Are there any pre-made ones out there, or would I need to be creative and get out my sewing kit for this one?

-- Andy Biggs (, November 10, 2001


Andy- Porter's Camera carries a heavy gauge, black opaque vinyl formulated to adhere to glass and plastic surfaces by use of static electricity. There is no adhesive and they claim the material can be removed time and time again. It comes 36" x 48" and can be cut to size with scissors. They also carry other blackout materials if you go the needle and thread route. (

Merg Ross

-- Merg Ross (, November 10, 2001.

If you don't like black or plastic, a solution that works well for me is the "blackout cloth" sold in fabric or decorating stores. Its intended purpose is to use as a drapery liner for people who want their bedroom DARK, no morning light coming in. It is white, so it doesn't make the room look like a cave, which is nice if the room is multipurpose as mine is, but it is completely opaque and blocks light totally. I've hung it in big sheets over French doors in my present darkroom, making the room quite dark enough to tray-process film. The cloth is wide, maybe 60" and I think I paid around $6 a yard for it this spring. I tape it with white gaffer's tape or, for a French door I need to be able to use as a door, I put velcro on the wall and on the curtain, so I can take it down and fold it up when I'm using the room for one of its other purposes.

-- Katharine Thayer (, November 10, 2001.

FWIW, blackout cloth is also great for use in making dark cloths.

-- David Munson (, November 10, 2001.

Aluminum foil will keep the light out. Then you can put some cheap cloth over it to stop any possible reflection. If you are rich I think Lee Filters makes a black aluminum foil > I uae this trick to convert bathrooms in motels when traveling soI can load and unload the 8x10 film holders. If you look at alot of apartment buildings you see the midnite shift workers windows covered in aluminum foil. THis is the cheapest and easiest way, I also use painters tape to be able toremove it. The green tape that does not pull the paint off, This makea a light tight block.

-- Ed (, November 11, 2001.

I use Delta blackout cloth for motel bathrooms, which is not cloth but plastic, available at darkroom stores. BUT once I got a bad shipment from them --- it was not opaque! After I fogged a bunch of mural paper (I'd made a big bag of the Delta plastic to hold pre-cut sheets) I tested the stuff and found one box of it was defective; Delta agreed and replaced it with opaque. So always test your materials before opening any boxes of important film/paper.

-- Sandy Sorlien (, November 13, 2001.

Home Depot (and others presumably) sells rolls of opaque plastic. I am not sure what it is intended for, but it blocks all light. The roll I have is 100' x 6'. I paid $40 for it. This is much cheaper than the alternatives, and there's enough plastic that you can make lots of cutting mistakes.


-- Paul G. (, November 13, 2001.

Be careful if you go the home depot route. They sell a black plastic film that is 4 mil thick as well as a thicker 6 mil material. The 4 mil is definitely translucent while the 6 seems to be almost opaque. I say almost as I am not sure I would use a single layer to block sunlight. A double layer is certainly adequate and this stuff is cheap enough why not do two layers? It provides an insurance policy against pinholes.

-- Dave Schneider (, November 13, 2001.

Fabric store; Blockout cloth. $5.99 a yard @ 60" wide. Home Depot; Velcro. Make sure you get the right cloth. Hold it up to the store window. They may carry two brands like my store does and one isn't opaque.

-- Wayne Crider (, November 14, 2001.

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