Introduction: Velcro Curtains for Your Camper Van

In this instructable we will make some curtains for a camper van.

I wanted to use curtains that didnt require a rail system to support the top and bottom as this can interfere with the space inside the van. I therefore opted for some simple  curtains that are velcro-ed in place when required.


Step 1: Buy the Materials

You will need:

A van
at least 5m of velro with stick hooks and sew loops.  (~$50 in australia!)
Sewable material of your choice (we used a low weight poly cotton blend)
A sewing machine (ours was found on the side of the road).
about 2 hours per curtain (I also learnt to sew in this time)
gf
fabric crayons
tape measure
fabric scissors
pins



Step 2: Mark It Out

You will need some help for this one. Lure your girlfriend into your van. Try using chocolate as bait.

Once inside, get her to help you hold the material in place while you mark the edges. An extra set of hands really helps here so if you can get more chocolate, get as many helpers as possible. 

Hold oversized pieces of fabric to the windows and use your helper to support the pieces while you mark out the edges. The photo attached shows how I used the contours of the body panels to define the edge of the curtains. Mark out the curtains the whole way around.

Step 3: Make the Hem

To make the hem you will need to mark an offset from the edge line. I wanted a 20mm hem so I made the offset 40mm. I marked this all the way around the edge line (in red). This should now be the cut line for the final piece of material before sowing. 

Working around the edge of the curtain, fold over the hem. The cut line (red) should rest on the edge line (blue. The hem should be 20mm back from the edge. Use a pin to hold the layers of cloth together. Move around the cloth (about 200mm down) and repeat. 

Now, lay the cloth on an ironing board and starting at the pinned points and working into the middle, iron a crease to hold the hem line parallel to the edge line. Work all the way around the cloth until the hem is complete.

Fold in the corners as much as is necessary to bring the edge line back to a tangent with the corner of the window. Dont worry about getting this perfect the material will look good even if the cloth doesn't perfectly match the inside of the window cavity.

Remember to take of your shirt and drink lots of beer if sewing makes you feel uncomfortable about your manliness.


Step 4: Attach the Sew Loop Strips

As the velcro was as dear as poison, it is important to use it wisely.  I calculated that 5 windows with 4 corners and 2 strips in each corner and 2 in the middle of the longer side (10 per window) would mean about 50 strips.

As the velcro came in a 5m roll, 50 strips would mean each strip is 100mm long. To be conservative, I made the strips 80mm long allowing for a few extra strips to be used on the back window.

I cut up all the strips before starting.

Pin the hook strips in the corners of the curtains. I offset mine inwards a few millimeters and  out from the corners 30mm so that the strips are clear of the internal radius of the window sills and so the fabric covers those unsightly velcro thingys.

Sew the strips on getting about a 10mm run of stitches in before removing the pin. Taking the pin out earlier helps to get the strip to sit flat with to the curtain. Run the stitches around the inside 1-2 mm from the edge of the strip.
(first time sewer tip: stop the machine when the needle is in the downward stroke and lift the foot to pivot your work 90 to get a neat change in direction).
Go around once more criss-crossing the centre of the strip to reinforce it, double the run at the end of the strip whilst you're at it.

Step 5: Mount the Curtains

Stick the hook strips to the curtains and head out to the van. Use chocolate again to get someone in the van with you.

Get your buddy/ladyfriend to hold the curtain against the sills
unstick the backing paper from the hook strip and press into the corner of the window so it sticks.
Then, moving to the other side an pulling in some healthy tension, stick the other side.
Work around the window until all are complete. 

Step 6: Camp! / Conclusions

Finally, take the finished product camping!

I think you should enjoy this project. I was quite  happy with the results. The curtains give the interior a clean look and provide the all the privacy one needs when camping. By using white cloth, the curtains allow sufficient light in to help give the space a more open feeling which reduces any claustrophobic vibes one may get from a solid panel camper.

To complete the project, we made a small draw string bag to store the curtains when they weren't in use. We also made a curtain with hook straps only which sticks to the roof lining and drapes over the front seats to block out the front window.    

Comments

author
Pumuggel (author)2017-04-07

If you do not yet have a girlfriend (or if she doesn't like chocolate): Wet the fabric and stick it to the window(s) from the outside.

author
Cat00x (author)2015-09-19

I had velcro adhesive strips on my front window to hold my electronic toll paying device and eventually with the heat on the windows the velcro fell off. It may not be a problem since you'll be using the windows at night, but I'm curious if you've had any problems with the velcro not staying attached to the van walls.

author
Cat00x (author)Cat00x2015-09-19

An addendum to this comment: I suppose you could use some kind of heavy-duty glue to make it stick that is impervious to heat. Also, I meant to say "curtains at night" instead of "windows at night" above. Thanks in advance for your reply! And thanks for this instructable. My current curtains that are on a rail (84 Westy) are getting groady, but haven't wanted to go through the hassle of removing the rail to get the curtains off to wash them....

author
MattC2 (author)2015-07-12

great ible

I was wondering how the adhesive has held up to heat?

author
maniacse (author)2015-02-10

Nice idea for any car.. Thank You!

author
mgbales (author)2014-05-03

Do you get much air through the fabrica? ie screens? Thanks for the wonderful post.

Margaret

author
cstewart000 (author)mgbales2015-01-22

Sorry Margret,

Yes there is plenty of air. The weeve is not super tight and there are gaps around the window frames. That said, I would recommend a vent from down low to allow cool air in.

author
jessyratfink (author)2014-01-02

This is a great idea! They look really nice, too. :)

author
cstewart000 (author)jessyratfink2014-02-22

Thanks Jessy. I wanted to use screw in button studs to give a cabin cruiser look but I was worried about damaging the plastic sills for resale.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/150pc-Stainless-Steel-Marine-Canvas-Fabric-Snap-Cover-Button-Socket-Kit-/360723315579

author
Jack Friday (author)2014-01-06

Great job! Cant make it tho. As i have no gf! Lol.

author
cstewart000 (author)Jack Friday2014-02-22

But you have a van? The hard part is done! You dont need to register to have a gf!

author
eddo617 (author)2014-01-10

Shirtless at the table with a Beer sewing can it get any better than that, great job man.

author
cstewart000 (author)eddo6172014-02-22

Thanks mate!

author
eddo617 (author)2014-01-10

Great job and very sexy girlfriend by the way, nice job on both..

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