Blacking out a room


TPF Noob!
Mar 19, 2006
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Nottingham, UK
How do people black out their darkrooms? I was thinking of using the bathroom, but it has two big windows in it, so it's going to be pretty hard to black out, especially during the day.

However, the only other option is a tiny cupboard, which also doubles as a pantry, so would mean removing everything and putting it all back each time.

Anyone any grand ideas?
There are blackout plastic sheets available by the roll. I thought about doing that, as my DR is in a bedroom and (naturally) I have the same problem.

Cheaper solution for me was large black plastic garbage bags. I taped them securely from outside the window frames and have no problems, other than checking the security of the tape every so often.
Go to any photo lab, and see if they will save the bags that their rolls of photo paper come in. They are light proof, and can be cut into sheets, and taped together for putting over windows.

I attached a strip of light-proof black plastic all the way around my door on the inside (the side that is the direction it opens). It bends as the door opens, but blocks light on the sides and top. A rolled up towel blocks light from coming under the door.
Without wanting to sound like a complete idiot....

Is light proof black plastic, just some black plastic that you can't see through? Or a specific product?

Am I getting a bit obsessed with everything being labelled 'light proof' when in fact what i should do is just see if I can see through it?

Does that make any sense?
From previous experience with a need to absolutly black out an area for cheap I found that Tin foil is light proof. Just line anything with tinfoil and it willl become a light proof barrier. You can line a sheet with tinfoil.. assuming you have an old sheet it will only cost a couple bucks for the tinfoil and duct tape. if you sandwich the tinfoil in the middle of two sheet its even better because the tin foil will be protected from tearing.
You can find official darkroom building products. Most of what I used came from my local hardware store, and I'm sure was originally intended for a completely different purpose.

Many things look opaque, but if held up to a bright light may not be as light proof as they seemed. You can get away with darn near light proof if you are only blocking artificial room light, but you'll want something completely opaque to block direct sunlight.
First, go to Lowe's, Home Depot, whatever and get the following items:

1: Foam insulation for the door. This is the stuff that yo use to seal off the house in winter. Do not get it too thick. Just enough to seal off the door.
2: Door sweep. It will keep the light from entering from the bottom.
3: Heavy black cloth. Like heavy cotton. This will help in closing off any windows. (Usually found in Hancock's, or other cloth stores.)
4: Rubber floor mat. The last thing you need to do is slip and fall in the dark. Particularly when you drop the wet stuff on the floor. Or to make it fun for everyone else, get a bunch of those old sandpaper feet things they use to sell for bath tubs.

Go to a photo supply and get a darkl light. It will help out greatly!!!
For blacking out windows you can use that black plastic liner that is used around garden ponds and pools. It's quite a bit heavier than trash bags but will last forever. Available at Home Depot, Lowes, and other garden center places. Foam insulation strips around the door seals and a heavy towel across the bottom of the door will take care of the door.
Always a good idea after sealing off a room to stand in there, turn off the lights, and wait about 5 minutes until your eyes adjust. Look around and see if you detect any light from anywhere. If not, you're good to go.
In some instances, a room can be light-proofed with simple materials if you confine its use as a darkroom to the night hours.
Yeah I thought about that, but it would confine it's use to holidays really, and I'd like to not have to turn nocturnal to use it! I guess it would be easier when winter comes back around

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