How To Make MLV Curtains

How To Make MLV Curtains: The Ultimate Guide

MLV curtains are a fantastic invention. They allow you to peacefully sleep and work without hearing unwanted irritating noise transmission from the outside world. You can finally live in peace and quiet.  

MLV stands for Mass Loaded Vinyl, which is a nontoxic vinyl acoustic noise barrier. It is a soundproofing material made from a thin sheet of vinyl, as the name implies, which is a high-density viscoelastic material.

It is unique from other soundproofing products because it doesn't absorb sound waves. Rather, it blocks or reflects these sounds. This vinyl is also known as barium sulfate. 

It is highly effective in blocking out sounds and excessive noise because of the strong sound dampening material present. Although it is not a flexible material, it is easy to use and very effective. This article will further delve into everything you need to know about buying and making MLV curtains.

Things To Know Before Buying MLV Curtains

MLV is used both commercially and industrially.  It can be used in your car, homes, the floor, an office, or any other area where soundproofing is needed.

MLV is also useful for making acoustic curtains that prevent noise leakage. Installing a soundproof curtain doesn't require any special skill, tools, or materials. Although, for a beginner, there are certain things you should know before deciding to put MLV curtains over your windows.

These things include:

Color

MLV comes in only black and cannot be painted. You will have dull black material hanging over the windows in your home if you install MLV curtains.

Non-toxicity

When purchasing MLV, do not only pay attention to the quality. Get one that is non-toxic and doesn't have harmful chemicals so it can safely be used in your home. 

Smell  

Look for an MLV curtain that doesn't have a smell. Normal vinyl may develop a smell when used over a long period of time.

Waterproof

The MLV of your choice should be waterproof. You don’t want to have to constantly worry about your curtains becoming irreversibly damaged if they become wet. 

Cost

MLVs are generally an affordable way to soundproof your home. 

The higher-quality your MLV is, the more it costs. Paying more is completely worth it because a high-quality MLV curtain will block out every sound effectively. 

Do Your Research

Before purchasing an MLV, make sure to read reviews and product guides.

Density and STC 

You rely only on the MLV material for sound insulation when you're using MLV for curtains. This differs from when it is used for walls, where other products such as attenuation, insulation, and decoupling contribute to blocking out sound. 

If you’re using MLV for curtains, the density should be high. Remember to check the capacity of the MLV before purchasing. A normal MLV has one pound per sq ft and an STC rating of 26. 

STC stands for Sound Transmission Class and is used to measure how well the transmission of sound is reduced. Depending on the thickness of the MLV, typically ¼ inch or ⅛ inch, the STC can range from 26-32. 

How To Make Your Own MLV Curtains

How To Make MLV Curtains

First, you need to know that:

  • MLV curtains are heavy and not flexible so you may need someone to help you put them up.
  • Your poles and curtains should not be fragile. They should be able to sustain enough weight to hold heavy MLV.
  • You can make a curtain from scratch or you can line a curtain you already have.
  • If you're making a curtain from scratch, use a heavy and thick material for the best results.

Materials You Will Need

  • A good quality MLV
  • Metal curtain rings
  • Curtains
  • Materials for backing like cotton
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Glue

Steps

  • The first and most obvious step is to measure your windows. If you already have a curtain, you can measure it instead. This step ensures you have the exact amount of MLV you need.
  • The next step is to cut the quantity of MLV you need. This part you might find tricky. It's best to find a large flat surface for you to do this on so you can work better with the material. If your MLV is already precut in small sizes, it's easier to work with but the parts will need to be stitched together later. 
  • Fit your MLV to your curtain. This next step will take a little bit of time. If you're using a premade curtain, fit your MLV to the lining of the curtain to prevent stitch marks from showing. You will need a big needle for this and your hand to stitch. 

Tip: 

A sewing machine will not be able to stitch through material that is this thick. To make sure the stitches don't show, glue the top part of the MLV to the top of the curtain. You will still need to stitch the MLV to the curtain, but don't go all the way through with the sewing so the stitches don't show on the other side of the curtain.

  • If you do not want to see the MLV, you can line the back of the curtain. Again, use a big needle and hand stitch.
  • Finally, add your rings, and then hang your curtain. It is advisable to use a metal curtain ring or something that can handle the weight of the curtain.
  • You can go ahead and add more than one lining of MLV to your curtain. More MLV will be more effective at blocking out sound, but it will also make your curtain heavier. 

Final Thoughts

If you live in a very noisy environment and want to soundproof your rooms, MLV curtains are a must-have. MLV curtains are dense enough to provide sound insulation and are a great way to get rid of irritating background noise.

Making MLV curtains yourself is much cheaper than buying them. Plus, it’s easy to do and only takes a few steps. It also allows you to customize the curtains how you want them. 

Enjoy hours of peace and quiet by making a fun DIY with MLV curtains!

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