Jul 27, 2012

Black-Out Curtains & Pelmet Box

In my 4th of July post I mentioned making black-out curtains for London’s room. After having these babies up for a few weeks, Cameron and I are wishing I had made them sooner. And blackout curtains will be my first project for London’s new room, which I just ordered the fabric for. I am quite excited about.

Here’s why we set to making these curtains. London’s room gets the morning sun directly. In the summer months, this means she gets up early, even on weekends, because it is so light in her room and also because it can get pretty warm in there quickly. But the evening light was also disturbing her sleep. We found we had to move her bedtime back farther and farther, but soon she wasn’t getting enough sleep except during her weekend afternoon naps – which is when her room was at its darkest until the sun was actually down. This meant for a cranky girl each morning and evening during the week and all day on weekends sometimes.

Our solution? Make some blackout curtains for her window and a draft catcher for outside her bedroom door. I’d also seen a tutorial online on how to make Pelmet boxes from foam core board, and wanted to attempt it to add a little décor element to the room, to tie in the curtains more and after some thought as to the design, these would also work to combat light coming out the top of the blinds, bouncing off the ceiling and lighting the room any way. You can find that tutorial here.
After briefly looking at the tutorial, I came up with this design for the pelmet box:
I ended up using duct tape to secure the pieces together, which was only the main and the two sides as I accidently bought foam core science project presentation boards with built-in side panels rather than the single, flat foam core boards. While these boards are more expensive, in a way it worked out for the best and it only took one project board to make the pelmet box versus several pieces of single foam core boards and I had less seams to secure.

Wherever there was a 90-degree angle I used a piece of a ½” square wood dowel (usually not longer than 2 inches) to secure the 90-degree angle. I used my good ol’ hot glue gun to secure the wood dowels to the board.

I also used it to secure batting to the outside of the box. When it came to covering and securing fabric to the box, Isimply used a stapler.

Here are the few things I would have done differently (And will be doing next time):
  • Extend the pelmet box 6 inches wider than the actual window to make room for the curtains to part (I only did 4 inches this time)
  • Make the box deeper than 4 inches, again aiming for 6.
  • Have the fabric wrap around all the way to the back of the front panel so you don’t see foam core when looking up from directly below the window
  • Add a decorative trim to the top and bottom to add a finishing touch
All in all, it was a pretty easy project to make once I had all the materials and a clear kitchen island to lay it all out on. The island has become my new craft station – I can get crafts done while still keeping an eye on London so Cameron can work on other things.

The curtains were quite easy. I picked out a different fabric for the back, front and the trim. The trim fabric was also used on the pelmet box. First, I sandwiched a piece of canvas leftover from our wedding in between the front and back. Then I used the edge fabric to line the inside edge of each curtain and the bottom edge. I also used the edge fabric and the backside fabric to make some tiebacks for the curtains for when I want them open as I only folded the top down 3 inches to create a hole for the curtain rod to go through and didn’t secure any pull rod to make opening the curtains easy. They are pretty heavy so they don’t move along the curtain rod all that easily. I’ll probably add some kind of pull rod once I come up with one.

Sorry for the lack of how-to pictures – when I get head down in a project, I don’t think about things like that. I'll try to take some when I do the curtains and pelmet box for London’s new room.

But, ever since we got these curtains up, London has been going to bed at a decent time and getting good rest. She’s even sleeping in on the weekends. One Sunday recently we made it to 9 AM! She’s even asked to go “nite nite” a few times versus us asking/making her go down. And, her room is cooler in the mornings.

These curtains have had enough of an impact that once we complete everything for London’s new room, I’ll be looking at making some for the window that sits above the landing of our stairs. It lets in the sun from the west and can really heat the house up during the long summer days.

Oh yeah, I mentioned the draft catcher as well. It works great to block the evening sun from streaming in under London's door. I made it a little too long so I will be re-doing it when I make another to cover both girls' doors, but here it is for now:

When we get done with blackout curtains and draft catchers, I might actually be running low on the canvas left over from our wedding - and I still want to make some grocery totes for ourselves!

~ Sarah

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