Camping out of your jeep, truck, camper van, or RV is not only an excellent and inexpensive way to get around but also provides flexibility that fuels any camper’s adventurous spirit. Many people who also find themselves living out of their truck while on a month or year-long trip will agree that being able to go anywhere without being anchored down is a blessing.

However, regardless of this fluidity and frequent encounters with nature, many campers will agree that there is one very uncomfortable factor that comes with staying in your car, which is a lack of privacy. Without car window curtains or covers, many campers will agree that privacy is not a strong point when in any vehicle. 

Car window curtains can be expensive and seem overpriced. As a solution, we have provided a Do It Yourself guide to saving money and making your very own car window curtains from scratch.

Car rear window side curtain

Car Window Curtains Are A Necessity

Without suitable window covering, you will feel like you are living inside a fishbowl. There is this unshakable malicious feeling that comes with knowing that you have no protection whatsoever to guard yourself against peering eyes. This feeling can get significantly worse in crowded locations like camping parks. It gets very awkward when your window faces another camper directly.

Car curtains increase your sense of privacy and personal space. They provide coverage that not only lets you be at ease in your space but also provides a layer of protection. With the correct type of cover, no one will be able to see what you have inside your vehicle. Car curtains also double as shades. Depending on their opacity, car curtains can reduce light entrance through your windows.

This is especially necessary during the day and in locations brightly lit by streetlights.  While car curtains serve essential purposes, they are sometimes too expensive to fit in a budget. This is especially challenging for vehicles with lots of windows. So what do you do in those instances? You go the DIY path. Window covers might be essential, but they sure do not have to be expensive. With the option to do it yourself, there are different possible options, designs, and car windows to suit your needs on a budget.

DIY Car Window Curtains To The Rescue

DIY car window curtains are cheap solutions to privacy problems you might face while camping or living out of your vehicle. These inexpensive covers shield you from the outside world, protecting your privacy and keeping the light out. Every car has a different window modification. Some vehicles have more, some have less, and most come in different sizes. Whatever it is, making your window curtains makes it easier to adjust to the type of window covering you need quickly.

There is no set rule or formula for making DIY car windows. There are different materials and techniques that vary with how tight your budget is and accessibility to these materials. Regardless, we have provided the best DIY curtain hacks that suit your needs. DIY car window curtains are just as effective as regular industry-standard car window curtains.

These curtains keep prying eyes away and, depending on the material, are perfect for stopping sunlight, moonlight, or any light source, from penetrating your windows. This can solve many inconveniences like helping you sleep better during the day or at night and save you from flashing the rest of the world while you dress up.

Getting Your DIY Car Window Curtain Ready

Various factors come into play when creating the perfect DIY curtains. These factors are:

  • Aesthetics or designs
  • Your budget
  • Availability of a sewing machine and other sewing equipment
  • The function of the window cover you need

Determining what you want will make it easier to achieve your DIY car window curtain. This will also save you from buying unnecessary items that will lead to subsequent wastage. While the design of your curtain is essential, the function is more vital. What is the sole purpose of your curtain? Is it to create a total blackout inside your car for climate control, or simply something fashionable that opens and closes easily?

The function of your window plays a considerable role in the material, technique used, and the installation or hanging of the finished product. When sourcing your window material, there are some things you should look out for. These are:

  • Price: You need to make sure the cost of the material is within your budget. There are lots of designs that vary in quality. The better the quality, the more expensive the fabric. When you make your fabric choice, you can choose to buy by the yard, buy materials already cut to size, or buy a premade curtain along with your material to measure out the dimensions you need.
  • Find materials suitable for the function of your car window curtain: Purchase materials that suit the function of your curtain. For blackout curtains, you want to source blackout fabrics with excellent opacity. These are often hard to come by, so you can settle for a blackout curtain liner and a suitable outer material. 
  • Weight of the fabric: The weight of cloth often determines how you mount it on your car windows. The heavier the curtains, the more difficult it is to use velcro, meaning you will have to mount them differently.
  • Design: Patterned fabric is aesthetically pleasing but to optimize fabric patterns, you need to cut it correctly. The print has to be level and lines up otherwise, it defeats the point of the beautiful material.

Other than these factors affecting the fabric, it would be best if you considered other essential things like:

  • The angle of your window: Many cars have tilting or slanting windows that slope outward at the bottom. With windows like this, it makes no sense to hang your curtains straight down. This will only make light stream in and stop you from optimizing your space. You will need to maneuver your car window curtain to suit your window type.
  • Velcro, glue, and rods: Depending on your design and window type, velcro, industrial-strength glue, and hanging rods come in handy when making DIY car window curtains. Sew-in velcro is perfect for attaching curtains as they are durable and get the work done.

These might sound like a lot of work for a pair of curtains, but we promise they are worth it. DIY car window curtains are a great way to get value while saving some money.

DIY word composed of work and construction tools on a wooden surface top view, hobby and craft concept

DIY Car Windows

There are various methods to make window covers that suit your car. Some of these methods are:

1. Plain Reflectix Design

This DIY car window design option is made using reflectix. Reflectix is a reflective window insulation that looks like a mirror. It is an excellent option for not only keeping the light out but also providing extra insulation from cold and heat.

Reflectix can be bought in roll measurements at pick-friendly prices, making it one of the cheapest DIY car window curtains. It provides a total blackout with no chance to see what is happening inside your home, providing complete privacy.

For this design, you will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Cardboard 
  • Marker
  • Velcro

How to: 

  • Measure your window length and breadth out with the tape measure.
  • Cut the cardboard out in the measurement while leaving an extra inch or two. Having a little extra is a better option than having your cardboard cut too small.
  • We want the cardboard to fit in the window track, so all measurements will be made keeping the track in mind.
  • Hold the cardboard up against the inside of your window. Mark out the exact length and corners of the window with the marker (including the track)
  • Cut it to size. Repeat until the board fits comfortably in the track without bowing in the middle from excess space.
  • Place the cut out on the reflectix and trace it out with the marker. 
  • For rounded sides, cut the top and bottom of the reflectix before wedging it in the window track and cutting to size
  • Fit in your cut-out reflectix in the track wedges.

And voila! You have your very own blackout window cover. It’s that simple.

If you don’t have window track spaces:

  • Cut the reflectix to size using the method above.
  • Fit the reflectix to the screen using Velcro tabs.

Admittedly, this design might not be the prettiest, but it serves its purpose of keeping light out. They are permanent options when compared to other curtains that open and close. Condensation can build up behind your reflectix. Remember to take them out regularly to air the space out. Keep your makeshift reflectix window cover on flat surfaces when not in use.

2. Reflectix Version Two

If the first reflectix window cover design is too basic for your taste, you can spice it up with fabric in any design you want.

For this design, you will need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Cardboard 
  • Marker
  • Velcro
  • Adhesive spray
  • Duct tape

How to: 

  • Cut out the reflectix using the technique above.
  • Place and trace the reflectix on any fabric you choose.
  • Cut out the fabric.
  • Spray adhesive on reflectix and stick the fabric to it properly. Take note of the fabric design as you do so.
  • Stick duct tape around the edges of the cover. Use long pieces for straight lines and shorter pieces for corners or rounded edges.
  • Fit your new window cover in the window.

This version is more aesthetically pleasing and often fits the windows better. 

3. Hanging Fabric With Rod

The hanging fabric curtain is a more common option for straight windows but requires a lot of work depending on how exquisite you want your curtains. It requires more materials and so will need you to spend more money. Basically, you want to fit a rod across your window and hang curtains off the rod.

You will need:

  • Material. You want an opaque material of your chosen design and one that will slide easily on a rod.
  • A curtain rod (or a makeshift one)
  • Equipment to stick your curtain to the sides or wall if it is a tilting window.
  • Sewing machine
  • Hooks
  • Support for your rod like wall hooks

How to:

  • Measure your windows and add about two inches to the height and horizontal length of the window.
  • Cut the fabric according to your measurement. 
  • Make markings for the rod to fit in snugly and easily. This is what the extra measurements were for.
  • Pin and sew the rod tunnel.
  • Fold over the edges and see them in to create a cleaner look.
  • Fit your rod above the window
  • Hang up your curtain

This design is versatile and can be made anyhow you like. You can choose to cut each window curtain in half to create two curtains on one rod. For extra privacy, especially if your windows are tilted, fit the ends of your window with velcro straps. These Velcro straps will secure the curtain ends and keep light from entering.

4. Roll Up Curtains

Roll-up curtains are an excellent type of curtains because they can be rolled up during the day and let down whenever you like. They are equally affordable, easy to make, and serve their purpose. 

Roll-up curtains can be made to optimize your car window design. In this version, the curtain is attached at the top of the window using velcro and magnets are sewn into the bottom to attach the metal screw below the window. Velcros also hold the window bundling straps.

This window curtain type is great for blackout functions, serves aesthetic functions depending on the fabric used, and doesn't need to be removed from the frame.

You’ll need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing equipment 
  • Fabric (fabric type depends on the function of your curtain)
  • Velcro
  • Industrial strength glue
  • Velcro
  • Magnets

How to:

  • Measure your window. If it slants into a trapezoid shape, add a few extra inches to make up for the extra space. If the window also tilts outward, add an extra inch or two for the magnets or velcro.
  • Add ½ inch to your measurements and cut out the fabric.
  • Sew around the frayed edges of the top and sides of the fabric.
  • Place the adhesive velcro above the window frame.
  • Attach two to three bundling straps to the top of the window frame, passing it underneath the adhesive velcro. If you use heavy fabric, attach more straps to support the weight.
  • If you want a more permanent option, see the velcro directly onto the fabric instead of attaching it to the window.
  • Mount the curtain to measure the bottom for magnet attachment.
  • Mark the metal parts on your window and line it up with the bottom of the curtain. Precision is essential at this stage.
  • Sew the magnets in place, so they do not move around in the fabric.
  • Sew the rest of the hem.

Choosing The Best Car Window Curtain Hack For you

No set rule dictates the best way to create your DIY car window curtains. Your choice entirely depends on your budget, resources, car type, and function you want the window curtain to play. DIY car window curtains are as functional as any store-bought car window curtain or cover. The best part is you can create as many car window curtains as you want and in any style while saving a lot of money!

April 18, 2022 — Russ Hennings