Introduction: Make a Custom-fitted Sunshade

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Tired of wrestling with your sunshade? Modify one to fit your car. As a bonus, the better it fits, the more heat it keeps out of your car!

Step 1: Initial Fit Check

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Lay your sunshade out flat across the outside of your windshield to get an idea of what you have to work with.

If you're picking up a new sunshade for this project, get one that covers as much of your windshield as possible when you lay it on the outside. Sunshade manufacturers want to keep their costs down, so they produce the minimum number of models. I have only seen two sizes in the auto parts stores: regular and large. If you read the application notes on the back, you'll see a slew of makes and models allegedly covered. Ignore these suggestions and get the big one: you're going to make it fit, and the extra size will come in handy.

What you see below is my trusty 1987 Toyota Camry (affectionately called "The Death Trap" by coworkers) with a large sunshade. You can see that there's plenty to work with. The sunshade has shiny mylar on top of some sort of bubble-wrap-like material. If you want to keep costs down, and you're willing to do a bit of folding at the end, you can make your own sunshade from a big piece of cardboard.

Windshields tend to curve in at least two dimensions, which makes them tough to size using simple measurements. We need a template to guide our modifications.

Step 2: Start Template

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Our template is just a piece of paper that reproduces the outline of the windshield. Tape some big pieces of paper together until you've got something that covers your whole windshield. I used butcher paper, but newsprint would work fine if you're careful.

Temporarily hold the paper in place, I was able to use the wipers, and use a single-edged razor blade or utility knife to trim the top edge. Follow along the glass next to the trim at the edge of the windshield. You don't need to press hard, all you need to do is cut through the paper. Once you've got the top edge trimmed, use a few pieces of tape to keep the paper in place while you do the other edges.

Step 3: Finish Template

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In general, the idea is to trim the paper so that it follows the edge of the glass all the way around, but there may be areas that need special attention. Examine your windshield and note areas where there is glass, but no space for the sunshade inside the car. Trim the template to follow the border where the sunshade can go.

Step 4: Template Versus Sunshade

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Remove the template from the windshield and lay it out next to the sunshade. Note that the sunshade is mostly rectangular, but the template is not. This is why you end up fighting with the sunshade: it's not the same shape as your windshield.

Step 5: Position Template

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Now place the template on top of the flattened sunshade. Make sure it's centered and the top portion of the template is at the top edge of the sunshade. Move the template around to get the best coverage. Areas where there is paper with no sunshade underneath are going to be gaps in coverage. I favored the bottom edge a little more for two reasons: the sun visors can fill in a bit at the top, and my car has a "lip" at the inside bottom edge that the sunshade can engage for a good fit. Once you've got the template where you want it, pin it down with something heavy to keep it from shifting around.

Step 6: Trace Around Template

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Smoothing the template and sunshade flat, outline the edges with a marker.

Step 7: Trim Sunshade

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Trim along the lines to get rid of excess material. Scissors worked fine on this sunshade.

Step 8: Try It Out

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Check the fit. The template should get you close, I didn't have to do any additional trimming. If it can't be smoothed against the inside of your windshield and still wants to buckle, take the sunshade out, trim a little from the edge, and try again. Don't get aggressive on the trimming, if you remove too much a gap will be left for the sun, so take it slow and easy.

Now you should have a sunshade that: fits your vehicle, requires less wrestling, and does a better job of keeping the sun out. Enjoy!

Comments

Buxton56 (author)2016-04-17

I also made one for my back window. My car has a hard top that I have to take off and store if I want to use my convertible top and the shape of the back window is different on both tops so I had to make 2. Sorry I didn't take pictures but you do the same as for the front. Thanks for a cool idea.

dixonge made it! (author)2015-07-15

Still quite useful after all these years! Even though I bought enough painter's tape and masking paper to make templates for like 15 cars, my total cost was under $10. Thanks!

3366carlos (author)2014-05-24

very nice, i would duct tape around the edges for longer lasting.

notalis1970 (author)2011-12-04

This would be a nice gift for my 19 year old daughter, the girl who has it all. But if I want to decorate it what would be the best medium? I'm afraid paint markers would chip after folding. i think she'd like some metal band logo or maybe a big "bazinga!" from Big Bang Theory on it...what do you suggest?

I would suggest markers such as the various colored Sharpie Markers. They are permanent, wont flake off, come in many colors, and would look great on the mylar.

PAWZ (author)Sooner Aviator2013-08-06

Sharpie ink won't be permanent on this material. I have tried using it for a fancy dress costume, and the ink barely adheres to the material and just smears if touched anyway.

profpat (author)2011-12-08

nice one,

you may also use soft pvc roof insulation sheets, the one with aluminum foil at one side, these comes in many thickness, just buy a 1.5 meter length from your nearest hardware and cut to your size.

Sooner Aviator (author)2011-12-05

For a final touch you could sew a piece of fabric the finish the edge like the original, should be pretty easy with a sewing machine.

DonaldChapman (author)2011-12-04

Do you have to add anything to the cut edging like a hem so it doesn't fray or get pieces of the sunshade get all over the car?

Thanks in advance for your response. I will be making one of these very soon.

ahremsee (author)2008-07-14

All someone needs to do is add eyes to this and you have your own Disney Pixar Car! Kachow!

sdallesasse (author)2008-07-13

Too, cool. I'll have to try it.

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Bio: My name is Carl, I'm an engineer. I like to build things and solve problems. I like learning how other people build things and ... More »
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