Inspired by gregmacd1's Magnetic Window Screens for Car Camping, I decided to make a fancier version that kept bugs out more completely and looked better.
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Ingredients
Extra wide double fold bias tape - black. 2 packages. $3.68
Fiberglass window screen 36" x 84" charcoal. $6.78
70 Rare Earth Neodymium Magnets 1/4" X 1/16" Discs. $6.89
Total cost: $17.35
Long piece of white butcher paper
Sewing machine OR hand needle
Step 2: Make a Template
My car is a Prius and does not have a metal strip between the front and rear windows. At first I thought this would be a problem, but it simply meant I have one finished screen to deal with rather than two. My screen covers both the front and rear windows.
Cut a piece of butcher paper longer than your window width.
Fasten it with magnets to the car and roughly draw a line outside of the perimeter where you want the screen to lie.
Cut out the rough dimensions and put it back on the car.
Make a more precise outline just where you will want the magnets to be.
Remember the magnets will be on the outer 1/4" of the screen, so you need to cut it close for the uprights. It is not as important for the upper and lower sections as you have the whole roof and door to attach it to.
Step 3: Cut Out the Pattern
Fasten the paper pattern to the screening with sewing pins.
Cut out the pattern. Attach it to the car to verify the size (I had to trim it down to fit)
Step 4: Add the Bias Tape
THESE SECTIONS HAVE IMAGES THAT WERE DONE TO ILLUSTRATE THE PROCESS. The black-on-black of the actual screen did not have enough contrast to display in photographs.
Open the bias tape. Pin the raw edge to the edge of the screen with the two edges aligned.
Sew it around the perimeter of the screen on the sewing machine or by hand.
I did the actual screen on the sewing machine, but the sample is done by hand, either method works equally well for this step.
Step 5: Add the Magnets
Separate your magnets into individuals - they will jump back together if you get them near each other! Put one magnet about every 2 - 3" along the upper edge of the tape.
Secure with a drop of craft glue. Trust me - they will not stay in place otherwise. These tiny little demons are powerful.
Fold the bias tape over the magnets and match the folded edges of the tape. Pin it in place.
Step 6: Stitch It Closed
Then sewed this closed with a sewing machine or by hand.
My actual screen was sewn with the machine but the sample above is done by hand.
It was only half way through the real screen that I realized the problems I was having with the bobbin were because the magnets were pulling the metal bobbin out of place. I changed to a plastic one and had no more problems.
You can not just sew straight around the bias tape because the magnets will slide along the channel and group together (did I mention these are amazingly powerful magnets for their tiny size?). I made channels for the magnets by stitching across the bias tape every time I came across another magnet.
In retrospect, I might have done better to do the second sewing by hand. Between the bobbin shifting and tangling the thread, the magnets shifting along the tape and having to change sewing direction several times for each magnet, nice quick long hand stitching might have been faster and less frustrating. If you do not have a sewing machine, you could easily stitch it all by hand.
Step 7: Finished Screen
The finished screen works great - it has already been camping. Having fresh air in the car and no bugs is a big improvement.
The magnets keep it rolled up when not in use and it fits easily into the storage bin under the platform in the back of my car.
It looks very nice and with magnets placed so close together, the screen fits snug against the car to work well for bug prevention. There are no rough edges to scratch the car or me. I think this will be durable too with the nicely finished edge.