Letter Re: Light Blocking Suggestions for Windows

Mr. Rawles,
I’ve just listened to another interview you gave, and noted yet again that you consider light control of utmost importance.  I have several suggestions from the fabric store.  There is a material that really does work perfectly for light control at a reasonable cost (helped by the readily available Joann Fabric Store – also online – 50% off coupons): drapery lining material referred to as ‘blackout’ fabric.  A common brand of this fabric is Roc-Lon, if searching Joann.com online for it. 

Another fabric I’ve worked with is the Warm Window insulated shade system (www.warmcompany.com and also carried at most Joann Fabric stores).  This system uses multiple layers of fabric which not only produces a blackout effect but also provides a vapor barrier and a nice layer of insulation for windows.  This fabric can be used to make something like a balloon shade, which can be raised and lowered according to need without removing/disassembling anything.  They look great, as this fabric is covered with an attractive fabric of your choice.  I’ve made these myself and they do work incredibly well.  This system (check the web site) recommends sewing magnetic tape into the outer edges of the shade and putting magnetic tape onto the edge of the window where the fabric should meet to form a seal.  I’m trying to think of something other than magnets as they may not last as long as you need them or be ‘my-life-depends-on-it’ strong.  The fabric is kind of expensive, but it doesn’t scream ‘prepper’, looks good in any home, and adds insulation value to the window every single day.

Both these fabrics are ideal also for those who need total darkness to sleep or trying to sleep during daylight hours.  These fabrics are vastly superior to any other kind of blackout fabric attempts such as window quilts that just use multiple layers of heavy fabrics.

The Roc-Lon blackout fabric is light enough to be held up on the interior of a window casing by an el-cheapo tension cafe rod.  For those who would like to try this fabric but are not sewers I have used safety pins to fasten the top of the fabric to the tension rod (top and bottom rods can both be used – fold a bit of fabric around the rod then pin into place at roughly 3-5″ intervals) and then removed/replaced each morning/night.  This would be an inexpensive way to test this fabric for yourself.

For those who don’t sew, go to a fabric store to look at the fabric for yourself; then ask if the sales staff know of a local person who would make these up for you.  A local fabric shop likely has many, many business cards from local seamstresses who are experienced and looking for work.  Since it’s not obviously ‘prepper’, there’s no loss of OpSec.

Good luck to us all, – Lilia