Letter Re: How to Make Your Own “Black Out” OPSEC Window Panels

Mr. Rawles,
To counter the ridiculous prices of heavy duty lined upholstery fabric and pre-made retail offered curtain panels with “supposed” 99% light blocking out fabric liners, or the use of fabric remnants of odd sizes and black dye, this alternative suggestion beats the cost of other approaches hands down. They can be put up in a hurry with two staples or my preference is to apply them up with screws at both chord ends using para-cord through the holes, which will allow them to be cinched open and closed during daylight hours, if you chose to do so.

I purchased the darkest-colored shower curtain liners from a local dollar store in bulk. I started with tan colored ones. They are heavy duty plastic with weights embedded in the hem bottom to keep them straight and taut. I hung them up on an outdoors clothes line, (yeah, remember those?), so that I could have access to both sides. I spray painted them with non-toxic latex flat black paint, (which I also purchased at the dollar store), and also found para-chord there as well.

Once thoroughly dried, these blocked even the sun which was shining bright that day to dry them in the wind.
I let them hang out in the sun one more day after they were found dry to the touch, to cure the paint and also rid them of the plastic shower curtain new smell. I then rolled them up individually, marked them by number which was assigned to each window on each building and corresponds to a master log sketch picture sheet which also depicts the same numbering system on our OPSEC house “security plan”, and stored them away in the closet of each room. They are now ready for a TEOTWAWKI day that they will be hung up in a flash.

The end cost to do all my windows in the house, barn and outbuildings was 1/4th the price of what it would have cost to hang newly purchased rolled black visqueen material in the widths that I needed.

The second alternative suggestion for economy and successful black out affect, for kitchen windows, or use on those short, small windows, is to go to your local variety store and look for heavy Black bath towel blankets. They are oversized like a beach towel, plush, and very black. They were found on sale now at our local Wal-Mart for $5.00. I used these and made “cut to custom” width and length covers for those odd-sized windows that are used for house perimeter monitoring and are designated “target ports”, and the curtains have no signature sound “rustle” when you pull them open.
Again, this was far less expensive to complete this project, than starting with base materials. It was a fast, efficient use of goods, effective for blocking out light, ( we tested them) and inexpensive project and the materials are available right now. – KAF

JWR Adds: For any new SurvivalBlog readers that are wondering why they might need opaque window coverings, consider this: In a disaster situation where the utility power grid goes down, there will be very few people that will have have electric lights for more than a few days. Most SurvivalBlog readers have either a photovoltaic power system, or a propane-fueled backup generator. But having your house lit up might attract the attention of looters, in search of lucrative targets. So it is wise to be prepared to black out your windows, and perhaps even add a “light lock” foyer (similar to a photographic darkroom entrance), just inside your house’s main entrance. (In a disaster situation, that will most likely be the utility room door.) Once you’ve set up your blackout shutters or drapes, be sure to check for light leaks, preferably with a starlight scope or goggles. Add opaque duct tape to any glaring cracks, as needed.