My post on Room Darkening Hacks was largely me wishing for an easier, cheaper way.
My ideas and hacks from others – quilts, art canvases, etc, – weren’t helping me personally. We were using a flannel sheet nailed to the wall and it looked as bad as it sounds.
I finally hit on something using regular curtain panels without hardware. (We rent, so drilling has been off the table.)
Turn Curtains Upside Down. The stitching for the rod is a give away you are not using the panel correctly. The bottom side is normal, put that where your eye goes.
Put a nail 4″ up and 4″ out from the window or trim edge on both sides. Then put a nail 4″ up in the middle of the window. Fill in between with nails every 6 to 10 inches – whatever makes it even all the way across.
Put safety pins in the back of the curtain to match the nails. Put them an inch or 2 below the top so they don’t show when you hang them up. The center nail will have two safety pins on it – one from each curtain. (Assuming you have a wide window and narrow panels – which is common.)
Put the safety pins on the nails. Fluff and shape curtains as needed.
Leave them as alone. Obviously this isn’t as secure as proper hardware. When I want some light I tie a scarf around the middle. Be creative, you don’t need specialty curtain ties or even a scarf. Any cord or tie-able object will do the trick.