Making bathroom door light tight?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by Leonard Evens, Aug 22, 2003.

  1. I am going to be using one bathroom in our condominium as a darkroom, so
    I need to make the door light tight. I'm sure I can improvise with what
    I can find at my local hardware store, but I wonder if there are any
    products made specifically for such purposes. Or any clever ways to do
    it I might not have thought of.

    I am not completely sure how to handle the bottom where there is a
    substantial gap. I would rather not close it off permanently since with
    the exhasut fan on, there presumably needs to be a source of fresh air.
    I plan to use the room for loading and unloading sheet film and for
    developing film in tanks. I don't need to maintain total darkness for
    the extended periods that would be necessary for printing.
    Leonard Evens, Aug 22, 2003
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  2. Velcro and a large piece of Black Cloth.
    Gregory W. Blank, Aug 22, 2003
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  3. Leonard Evens

    Nick Zentena Guest

    Drapes. Old heavy drapes. Put them up when you need them take them down

    Nick Zentena, Aug 22, 2003
  4. Leonard Evens

    Sherman Guest

    Why not buy a changing tent? I got a Redwing tent from Calumet (I think it
    was about $60 or $70). It holds itself open with fiberglass poles, is made
    of material that I can easily wipe down with a damp cloth for dust control
    and has plenty of room for me to load/unload 4x5 film holders and load my
    developing tanks. When finished it folds to about 1" x 18"x24" (very
    approximate as I haven't folded it in a couple years).

    Even though I have a darkroom I just leave the lights on and do the dark
    work in the changing tent. Easy and cheap. Another advantage is being able
    to work at the kitchen table where you can sit in a chair. It might be
    easier on the back!

    Sherman, Aug 22, 2003
  5. For a "long term" solution to light tight doors, I use a thin adhesive
    backed foam strip (available at any hardward store) to close gaps along the
    edges. For the bottom, I use a rubber insulating strip which drags on the
    floor a bit (also from hardware store). In your case, a rolled towel or two
    alog the bottom edge of the door prbably would work OK. Maybe a strip of
    heavy cardboard leaned up against the bathroom side after closing might work
    too. Just be sure you give your eyes a few minutes to adjust to total
    darkness before deciding there are no light leaks.
    Pieter Litchfield, Aug 22, 2003
  6. Sherman, I do have a changing tent, and it works reasonably well, but I
    find it easier to work in the open.
    Leonard Evens, Aug 22, 2003
  7. Leonard Evens

    Stacey Guest

    Leonard Evens wrote:

    I got a piece of flat black painted plywood about 2 feet tall, the width of
    the door and place it between tha jams on the other side of the door stop
    so it's about 1 inch parallel from the door on the outside. I put a towel
    along the outside bottom of the plywood to block any light going under the
    plywood and air can then go down between the plywood and the door, turn 90
    deg and go under the door. Just turn off any lights outside of the door and
    you'll have darkness and fresh air.
    Stacey, Aug 23, 2003
  8. Leonard Evens

    hogarth Guest

    There's a product called v-seal that 3M makes. I use it on the top and sides of my door.
    It's pretty light tight. I seal the bottom of the door with a towel. Since my room is
    a dedicated dark room, the towel just lays there all the time. Just to be absolutely sure,
    when the sun actually shines on the door (a couple of hours a day in the afternoon) I've
    got a curtain on a rod over the door that I can pull across.

    The easiest and possibly most agreeable for the spouse (this is a bathroom that gets used
    on occasion I assume) is to just use a thick dark velvet curtain. Let the velvet touch the
    ceiling, and extend about 6 inches beyond the door on either side. Let it drag the floor.
    When not in use, restrain it behind a "tie back" on the hinge side.
    hogarth, Aug 24, 2003
  9. Leonard Evens

    Jon Guest

    This is just what I do--it works quite well. One warning about some of the
    'blackout' material--some of it doesn't do so well against full sun. I can
    see a pattern through mine when the sun is directly on it--which isn't often
    as the window faces north.

    Jon, Aug 25, 2003
  10. Leonard Evens

    Dan Quinn Guest

    I keep a WELCOME mat on the floor just outside my DR/WC. Folded
    over and snuged up against the door, I'm safe.
    Adjacent area room lights are kept low.
    Door jam leaks or other small leaks are ignored. When processing
    film I, in a manor of speaking, turn my back on them. It is what the
    film sees not what you see.
    Paper will tolerate very low levels of light. It is a mistake to
    think that paper must be processed in the depths of a coal
    mine at night. Dan
    Dan Quinn, Aug 25, 2003
  11. Leonard Evens

    Rskaug713 Guest

    I had the same problem and used an aluminum door tread with a rubber insert
    across the bottom of the door. Since I didn't want to make it permanent (in
    concrete) I cut the aluminum to fit from side to side and tapped it in place
    with a hammer.
    Ron Skaug
    Rskaug713, Aug 25, 2003
  12. Leonard Evens

    Ralph Barker Guest

    I've used two methods in the past. In one location, I made a light
    trap/cornice frame inside which I had a curtain rod that supported a
    black felt drape. It was wide enough to extend past both sides of the
    door, and long enough to drag on the floor. Tucking it in a bit at the
    bottom edge of the door worked OK. The light-trap/cornice attached to
    the wall above the door, and left only a few easily repaired screw holes.

    In my current setup, I simply painted the inside of the door frame and
    the edges of the door flat black, and added aluminum-backed felt
    weatherstripping along the inside surface edges of the door. This works
    particularly well at the bottom edge by pressing it down a bit while
    tightening the screws. There are commercially available light-tight
    vents for doors, as well. This latter arrangement may be more permanent
    than you want in your situation, though, Leonard.


    Ralph Barker, Aug 26, 2003
  13. Leonard Evens

    Paul W. Ross Guest

    For the seal around sides and top, get the foam tape from a hardware
    store. For the bottom, if the door opens inwards, there is a weather
    seal that cams down into place when you close the door. If the door
    opens into a bedroom that has a carpet, then use a small carpet, roll
    it up, and place it at the bottom of the door from inside the

    A piece of plywood across the tub will give you working surface. Use
    the top of the commode lid for the enlarger. Put a safelight in a
    light fixture -- clamp-clip on type. Store the stuff in the closlet
    when you are done. Set up/tear down time maybe 5 minutes. Solutions,
    etc., stored in bottles in a dishpan under the sink.

    Clips to hang film and a couple of wire loops to go over the shower

    Been there, done that, and am doing it again in a summer condo I have

    You don't even need a darkroom to process film -- just a changing bag,
    which you should have anyway for jammed cameras. A daylight tank, like
    a Nikor does the trick. Bottles at the supermarket for solutions. I
    use Rodinol one-shot for development, though HC-110 is good.
    Paul W. Ross, Aug 29, 2003
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