Updated on August 18, 2018
Tension Rod Blackout Curtains. Sew blackout curtains that can be installed with a tension rod behind your blinds or curtains.
Imagine yourself, at the end of a long day, drifting peacefully off to sleep in your freshly made bed. You get eight, glorious hours of uninterrupted sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start the day! Now, enter my reality . . .
Spend 30 minutes each night after lights out to tend to my two year old’s never-ending needs – “I need to go to the potty”, “I lost my blanket” after she throws it out of her crib, “I need another drink”, “I need my jammies” even though they were on when she went into her crib. Finally, I spend an hour of time with my husband, drag myself to bed, only to be woken up at least 2 to 4 times per night by the above mentioned two-year-old. I wake up groggy, cranky and definitely NOT ready to start my day.
In my quest to get everyone in this house some more shut-eye, I knew I needed some blackout shades for her window. They are at least $10 per panel plus the cost of a new curtain rod. I didn’t want to spend over $20 on curtains when she already had perfectly good curtains and blinds in her room already!
While I was reading Martha Stewart magazine, I came across an article showing how to make a simple curtain and attach it to the window with tension rods. Brilliant! This would definitely work to make these blackout shades. I wanted to be able to remove them easily during the day.
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Tension Rod Blackout Curtains
- Blackout Lining Fabric
- Scissors or Rotary Trimmer
- Sewing Machine and Matching Thread
- 2 Tension Rods
Measure your window’s length and width inside the frame where the tension rods will go. Add 1 – 2″ to each end’s length (to create a rod pocket).
*I added 1 1/2″ to each end of my length measurement to account for a 7/16″ tension rod. (You may need to add more or less fabric depending on the size of your tension rod.)
Cut your fabric to size. Since we are using blackout curtain fabric, there is no need to stitch or seal the edges. It is a vinyl type material and the edges don’t really fray. One more reason this project is so simple!
Fold your fabric over with wrong sides together at each end and pin. You will fold it over for whatever measurement you added in step one. So for example, I folded each end over 1 1/2″. You do not need to fold under the raw edge – you will see why in the next step.
Set your machine to a zig zag stitch.
Place your fabric in the machine so the unfinished edge of fabric runs right down the middle of your presser foot. Sew down the length of each edge.
This will attach the fabric together and create your rod pocket. You can see in the picture below how the fabric is attached using the zig zag stitch.
Remove pins and add the tension rods.
Hang the curtains in your window! I added my shade between the window and the wooden blinds. This makes the room the darkest and you can’t see the blackout curtain with her blinds and curtains closed.
It is so hard to take pictures of a dark room, but here is a comparison of with and without the shade. The only light is coming from the hall. You can see on the right side how much darker her room is.
This little addition has made it much easier for her to fall asleep at night while it is still light out and for her to sleep in a little in the morning.
To make this project less expensive, I used a coupon for the fabric at JoAnn’s. And now you can skip the shipping – buy online and pick up in-store at JOANN!
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