View Full Version : Darkroom Door Suggestions

Steve H
28-Dec-2005, 20:01
Well Im drawing ever closer to getting my first 4x5 shots. Being as it seems I'll be needing my 'darkroom' more than I normally do (explaination shortly...), I will need a better solution for my 'door'.
Living in an apartment, I use my kitchen as my darkroom. I've been using marine-grade vinyl to block out the windows and the doorway into the kitchen with great success. However, this is somewhat of a PIA, and uses gobs of gaffer's tape to seal. I usually leave the window sealed off (helps keep the draft out in the winter too)...But the doorway is only closed off while I make my prints.
Being as I've only been shooting 35mm and 120 (Holga) film, a changing bag and peterson daylight tanks have been my standard with great success....However, no matter what now Im going to be needing the darkroom for film development (I intend to use Mr. Singer's method). Unless I am able to acquire a unicolor drum. Regardless, hopefully I have so many wonderful negs that I will be printing more...So either way your ideas are greatly appreciated.

Thanks again,

28-Dec-2005, 20:46
Steve, I coped with the same for some time by using a heavy blanket across the door. The trick is to have it wider and taller than the door, folded over a curtain rod. Then you just put two nails above the door, and hang it. If a little light leaks through, then you can put some buttons on the edges and loop a string over them to small nails beside the door.

It's handy because you can walk back and forth through the 'door' without taking it down.

And if you want to make it really col, use a safelight bulb in the fridge. :)

Ron Marshall
28-Dec-2005, 20:48
Hi Steve H., I am in the same situation as you and so I opted for handrolling a Jobo Expert drum. They are available on Ebay for about 50% of new. The savings in chemistry are substantial. Simple and easy to develop and to achieve even consistent development.

For blocking the door, make a frame from wood or pvc pipe and cover the surface that will mate with the door frame with dense foam.

Good luck

John Kasaian
28-Dec-2005, 21:45
Turning out the lights in te adjoining room works. So does putting a towel down to bloc any light that leaks around the door jamb. If you get a Unicolor, you can load your drum in the bathroom and develop you film in a normally lighted room that has a fridge with beer(like the kitchen)---which, in the parallel universe I come from ---the bathroom is usually a smaller room that the kitchen. Smaller room=less places for the darkness to leak out ;-)

Good luck!

Jim Ewins
29-Dec-2005, 01:58
You may consider overlapping sheets of black visqueen on the opening. You pass thru the overlap.

Richard Boulware
29-Dec-2005, 07:11
Steve H. Arkay makes an excellent sealing kit to turn standard doors into light tight doors for darkrooms. The extruded aluminum/rubber seals are excellent...and easy to install.

Richard Boulware - Denver

29-Dec-2005, 10:50
I'm not quite clear on this. Do you have a door in this doorway or is it just an empty doorway?

In one darkroom I had a normal door around which I put draft excluders. They were aluminium with rubber strips which pin to the door frame. I placed the strips so a reasonable amount of pressure was required to close the door against the rubber strips which worked extremely well for excluding light.

29-Dec-2005, 12:03
For years, my darkroom "door" has been a military-surplus olive-drab wool blanket plus a 45-inch wide sheet of black Oxford cloth. The two layers, one on each side of the doorway, do a much better job of blocking light than one heavier layer would. The easiest way to hang the cloth is to clamp it, with screws, between two pieces of wood, and then hang the assembly (which prevents sagging in the middle).

Ralph Barker
29-Dec-2005, 14:47
When faced with a similar problem in the past, I made a set of overlapping black felt curtains. They were larger than the doorway, as mentioned above, plus longer. The extra length allowed the bottom of the curtains to be straightened to make a light-tight "seal" against the floor. By building a small box, in which the curtain rods were housed, the gap problem at the top of the doorway was solved. Plus, that left only a couple of screw holes to fill when I moved from the apartment. A couple of push pins kept the sides tight enough against the walls. Turning off the lights in the adjoining room helped a lot, of course.

There is also "black-out" material available that might make a better substitute for black felt.