How to Make Heat Blocking Curtains for $6

Curtains covering a window

laernmoer / Instructables

This easy DIY project will save you money and reduce energy consumption by making less work for your air conditioner.

With warm weather comes a lot of people cranking up the air conditioning. But if you're looking to keep your energy consumption and costs down, or if you don't have an AC at all, keeping the heat from getting in your house or apartment in the first place is the best way to do that. Much like the screen my grandmother uses to block her windshield on summer days, these heat blocking curtains reflect sunlight, so whatever is on the other side of them stays cool. Luckily, heat blocking curtains are easy to make and cost near nothing. To help you along, here's a DIY from Nick, known to Instructables users as laernmoer. Next up: The simple materials and easy steps.

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What you'll need

Unfolded emergency blanket

Michael Jones / EyeEm / Getty Images

  • 2 to 3 emergency blankets/foam reflective pads/windshield blockers*
  • Roll of 2" wide tape (I used aluminum tape)
  • Bag of grommets and crimper
  • Bag of curtain hangers

*I don't know about in the US - I've had these before in my camp pack as "emergency blankets" for protecting you in the event of shock or if you have to sleep somewhere in the cold.

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Constructing the curtain

Close up of the grommet and curtain hook

laernmoer / Instructables

Fold the top edge of the curtain over and staple it in several locations to hold it in place. This will give more "meat" for the grommet to grip when you crimp it. Then decide where the curtain will fold and crimp a small grommet into the fold as shown. The grommet should be able to punch through this - I've crimped grommets through fabric and it usually cuts a little hole for you. If not, an X-Acto blade should clean it up nicely. Small tip: I made it so that the folds end up rubbing against the window - this makes it slightly annoying to push open the curtain completely; two hands are needed. See if you can fix my mistake on your design.

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Adding extra length

Extra length taped to the curtain

laernmoer / Instructables

If necessary, make the curtains a little longer. Our windows are bigger than the curtains - I cut up another blanket and turned it into an extender by taping it on. I taped it in the front using aluminum tape (doesn't make much of a difference, but it looked better on the shiny side) and used normal packing tape to secure the back.

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Tips & suggestions

finished curtain

laernmoer / Instructables

Secure one end to the anchor point so you can slide this easily from one side to the next. You can make two curtains, one for each side, but I found that this one curtain is easily hideable behind one of the decorative curtains.

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Ditch the air conditioner, lower your bills

Window air conditioner

TokenPhoto / Getty Images

I think this will save a lot off of our summer electricity bill since I can't feel the heat from this window anymore. The wall next to it heating up is another issue, but I don't see how to really fix that. Whole project cost:
$4 for blankets
$1 for grommets
$1 for tape
~$6 total
Next, tackle the garden: 7 fast-growing shade trees to slash your electric bill