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How to make DIY camper curtains on a budget

photo of my DIY camper curtains in a nissan vanette

Wondering how to make DIY camper curtains on a budget? You are in the right place! This article is dedicated to giving you helpful and easy tips on how to make campervan curtains! And no, you don’t have to have a sewing machine or any previous sewing experience! Although, it will fasten the process. Outlined below is everything you need to know including equipment and the step by step process. Let’s get stuck in!


Do I need campervan curtains?

Maybe you are unsure if you really need to bother with adding curtains to your campervan. In my opinion, they are absolutely necessary! They provide a homely feel, add extra warmth and privacy! And the best part is they are not that hard to make!

Speaking of insulation if you are considering avoiding the major insulation process in your van build then padding the curtains is a good idea. Especially if you want to use the van in the winter. I skipped this process but it is something to think about!

What you will need

Making your DIY campervan curtains is a relatively straight forward process with a drill and a sewing machine. If you do not have either of these then the process is still possible however it will be a bit more labour intensive!

Do I need to have a sewing machine?

No, but this will fasten up the process. It is entirely possible to hand sew your curtains with a needle and thread. To learn how to thread a needle check out this Wiki How tutorial! And to learn how to hand sew watch this video from With Wendy!

photo of all the equipment you will need for your DIY camper curtains

Curtain material

This is the most important item in your campervan curtain build!

Finding material for your van curtains can be as expensive or cheap as you like. I went to my local curtain store and went to their bargain bin and found enough material to suit my needs. Another good option is an existing blanket you have in the house or even a towel! Or old duvet. But you can actually pick up mixed and matched pieces of fabric from many fabric stores for as little as $10!

Or you can pick the material you actually like from sewing stores. This can be more expensive. Most fabric is $10+ a metre.

And I should mention here that the best fabric for camper curtains is a thick blackout material to keep the light out!

a photo of one of my finished DIY camper curtains

Curtain cord

The cheapest option for your DIY camper curtains is wire and clips. Pictured below. (Also called curtain rod).

You can grab yourself some of this from most sewing and curtain stores for under $5 a meter! I think I got around 4-5m and it was under $20. It is important to get more curtain cord than you will need and remember to get the clips so you can connect them to the screw in your van!

a photo of DIY camper curtain cord

Tape measure

This is important for measuring your fabric and cutting it to shape as well as measuring the space for your curtains in your campervan.

Drill and drill pieces

This is not absolutely necessary however, it will make the process a lot easier! You will need to connect your curtain cord to something in the van and a drill helps with this! If you do not have a drill and drill piece you can also use a hammer and a nail! (I will discuss how and why you will use this in the steps below).

Screws

These will come in handy inside your van to connect your curtain cord. Any size screw will be fine and I suggest getting 8 or more!

Sewing machine

This is not absolutely necessary but it will fasten the process as I mentioned above. If you do not have or have access to a sewing machine then use the trusty needle and thread!

Thread

For your sewing machine or needle! Depending on the colour of your fabric you might want to get a specific colour to match but as a general rule of thumb I suggest getting black and white thread and you can pick this up very cheap from $2 stores.

Other items

  • Scissors
  • Velcro (if you want to connect two curtains together or stabilise them in the campervan)
  • Needle and thread (if not using a sewing machine, still you will need thread!)
  • Pins, for securing your sewing

How to make DIY camper curtains

Step 1:

To make DIY camper curtains you will need to pop into your campervan and measure the length and width of the to be curtains.

This means you need to decide where you want them. Do you want them all around the van, the entire length or just small ones to cover the windows? This is up to you and your van.

For inspiration: What I did was 4 curtains, two covering my side windows (one set was wider than the other) and two drop-down curtains for the front and back of my van.

photo of one side of my DIY camper curtains

Make sure to write down your measurements for later.

Step 2:

Make the screw holes in the campervan to connect your curtain cord. The number of this will depend on where you are placing the wire. For example, in my van, I placed 5 screws. The first one was around the outside behind the driver’s seat, next behind the passenger seat and then screws connecting them to the back of the van kitchen (I have a random shelf in between the perfect square so I had to include 5 screws instead of 4).

To do this you will need to use your drill bit and drill into the metal. I was worried about this but I don’t know why considering the holes are small and serve a purpose. Then, place the screw in the hole you have drilled and use the drill (with the screw drill piece) to drive the screw into the metal. Make sure the screw has a lip like in the photo below.

If you do not have a drill use a hammer and a nail to make a hole in the van metal and then manually screw the screw in with a screwdriver.

Step 3:

Measure your curtain cord and set it in place. To do this you will need to insert a hook into your curtain cord. Then place the hook around your screw already connected to the van. Make sure to pull the cord tight to get rid of any slack and pull it towards your screw on the opposite side of where you want the curtain. Then snip the cord, place a screw into the other side of the curtain cord and you should be able to clip the line in place!

Step 4:

Repeat the steps above 3 more times or however many curtain lines you want to hang!

Step 5:

Grab your material and measurements from before and cut out the appropriate width and length! Be sure to leave enough room to hem your curtains and enough room at the top for your curtain cord to slip through.

Step 6:

Now for the sewing! If you have a sewing machine your campervan curtains DIY job will be easier. If not, this may take some time! What you want to do is pin where you intend to sew as a guide. Once the pins are in place for guidance you can begin sewing. You don’t have to hem your material but to stop it from fraying I recommend it.

Step 7:

Now you are ready to fit your curtains to the van! Just slip the curtain cord through the space you left at the top of the material and you’re all set to hook them up to your van!

But to make your curtains more secure I suggest the following:

Use velcro dots to connect the curtains to your van. This way they won’t aimlessly flap about in the wind.

I also suggest tying up your curtains with a cord. I did this by grabbing some spare material I used for the curtain and just cut a strip out of it. Ribbon and rope work the same!

Camper curtains DIY job= ALL DONE!


Hopefully, the DIY camper curtains steps above are clear enough for you to begin building your curtains! If you have any questions about the process or would like some advice please let me know! There are many ways to make curtains in your van and this is just one version!

I will mention that for extra privacy we always put our windshield up, this added to the blackout effect and came in handy since our curtains at the front of the van had a space between the rail and the roof!

Loved this post on how to make campervan curtains? Pin the images below for later!

Other articles you will love: 

3 of the best campervan sink ideas for beginners! 

The best places to visit NZ in a campervan!

The ultimate campervan packing list!

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