Step-by-Step Guide To Creating Your Own Window Covers
One vanlife must-have is a good set of window covers. These serve multiple purposes, and you will not want to hit the road without them. Unfortunately, store-bought window covers can be pretty pricey, and they often don’t even fit well. This is where DIY van window covers come into play.
That’s right, you can make your own van window covers and skip the hefty price tag that comes along with many of the premade versions. Not only that, but they will be custom-made for your windows. Another major bonus? DIY van window covers don’t have to be difficult to make!
Why Your Van NEEDS Window Covers
Before we go any further, let’s take a minute to discuss why you really do need to have van window covers for vanlife.
These covers actually have three important jobs:
- Giving you some privacy no matter where you’re parked.
- Blocking out bright lights when parked in a well-lit lot or a super sunny spot.
- Keeping your van warmer in winter and cooler in summer by better insulating the whole vehicle.
Custom-made window covers will definitely do these jobs better than a “one size fits all” set of window covers, as they won’t leave you with any gaps in coverage—yet another reason to make DIY van window covers for your van conversion.
How To Make DIY Van Window Covers
Now that you know why you need good van window covers, let’s discuss how to go about making them.
- Decorative cotton fabric
- Duct tape
- Thread to match your fabric
- Sewing machine
- 25mm bias binding
- Small strong magnets
- Begin by taping pieces of newspaper together and placing them in each window, then use your marker to trace around the window onto the paper to create a template for your coverings. Be sure to make one for each window, as edges may differ from one window to the next.
- Cut out one template and trace around it onto a piece of Reflectix. Cut out your tracing.
- Using duct tape, stick the Reflectix to the backside of your cotton fabric. Sew a seam along the middle of the cutout to hold the two pieces together (it helps to put the Reflectix on the bottom when sewing).
- With your middle seam in place, use the sewing machine to create a seam around the outside edge of the Relectix to hold it and the fabric together, removing the duct tape as you get to it.
- Trim the edges of the fabric to match the Reflectix.
- Wrap your bias binding so one side is on the decorative side of your cover and the other side is on the Reflectix. Carefully sew the bias binding into place, folding the end under itself and sewing it in place to end the edge.
- Create tiny magnet pockets by cutting bits of bias binding and sewing them shut; place magnets inside the pocket before sewing the last edge.
- Sew the magnet pockets horizontally onto the bias edge of your cover wherever you’d like them to hold the cover in place.
- Repeat this process for each window cover needed.
If you need a visual reference, see the video below:
How To Make No-Sew DIY Van Window Covers
Prefer a simpler method of making DIY van window covers that doesn’t require sewing? There’s an option for that as well! This method of making window covers doesn’t give such pretty results, but they look fine and are perfect for those who need a super simple option on a budget.
- Decorative fabric (polyester preferred)
- Black fabric (polyester preferred)
- Hot glue gun
- Black 2-inch webbing
- Small strong magnets
- Create a template using the newspaper as in the instructions above.
- Cut your template out and trace around it onto the Reflectix. Check that the piece fits into the window. (At this point you can cut the big piece of Reflectix into 3–5 panels if you wish.)
- Cut pieces of each fabric that are a bit bigger than you need. Place your Reflectix piece onto the back side of your black fabric and put the decorative fabric on top.
- Use a bead of hot glue on the black fabric around the outside edge of the Reflectix, which you’ll use to hold the two pieces of fabric together, thus creating a pocket for the Reflectix. In the process, make an effort to pull both sides of the fabric taut. (If you choose to cut the Reflectix into panels, you should also put a bead of glue between each panel.)
- Using your hot glue, stick the black webbing linked above to one side of your cover.
- Turn the cover over, fold the webbing over, and glue the trim piece down on the opposite side, placing a magnet inside the trim every few inches.
For a visual of this process, see the video below:
Save Money and Get Creative: DIY Van Window Covers for a Personalized and Practical Vanlife Experience
As you can see, making your own DIY van window covers is totally doable, and it will definitely save you a good chunk of change. Not only that, you’ll even be able to get creative and customize your window covers to suit your needs and tastes!
Take a look at the two methods above, take what you like, modify what you don’t, and see what kind of awesome window covers you can come up with! We’re betting you’ll love the newfound privacy, insulation, and darkness that follows the installation of your window covers.