Do you car/van camp? Magnetically attached screens allow car campers to leave the windows open for ventilation while keeping the bugs out!
Screen material - Your local hardware store should have this or on Amazon
Border material - We used thin cotton fabric found at craft store (keep it as thin as possible)
Step 1: The Quick and Simple Approach...
This is the quickest and easiest way to make a magnetic window screen. Take your screen material and cut it to be somewhat larger than your window, adding at least 6" in all directions.
Start placing some plastic coated magnets, like these, all around the window. Place them every few inches or whatever is necessary to keep the screen taut. These magnets also worked well. (The plastic/rubber coating makes the magnets corrosion resistant and protects your paint from getting scratched.)
Then cut the screen to fit your window better, creating a nicer look.
The good: this is fast and easy. All you need is the screen material, magnets and scissors.
The bad: It takes a few minutes to put this screen up and to take it off. It doesn't look quite as nice as a finished product. Also because the screen material is so flexible, you need to place the magnets every few inches to make sure it's tight!
Step 2: Sew Magnets Into the Border
For a more finished looking screen, we used black cotton material to sew around the screen edges. Then we sewed the magnets into the border.
First we made a paper template of the window to help with the sewing pattern.
Step 3: Cut and Sew
Using the template, we cut the screen and cotton materials to fit.
We cut the cotton fabric in 4" wide strips, so that it folds over about 2" on each edge. We then sewed the two materials together. Sewn with two lines of stitching made for a nice pocket for the magnets to sit in.
Be sure to leave all the corners open, so you can slide the magnets in!
Step 4: Sew the Magnets
We used sewing magnets in our design.
We found the sewing magnets a little nicer for a few reasons:
- Their construction consists of a thin disc magnet sitting in a steel shell. This makes the brittle magnets more durable, and…
- also means that attract more on one side, and very little on the other. This made sliding it across the sewing machine much easier, since the backside didn’t stick very much at all to the sewing machine’s baseplate.
- The plastic sheath protects them from moisture, so corrosion won’t be a concern.
Plain discs magnets like these would also work, but we had to sew a pocket around the entire magnet so they didn't move. They're a bit cheaper but are harder to sew.
We used a total of 14 sewing magnets (they're sold by the pair, so 7 pairs).
Step 5: Go Camping!
The finished product was really nice, we're really happy with it - even though our sewing skills are sub-par.
The added fabric made the screen more rigid, allowing us to use less magnets all around. It also make for a nice, clean look. With the magnets sewn into the material, we can quickly place the screen to the car and quickly take it off. It literally takes just seconds!
Runner Up in the
1 Hour Challenge