DIY Curtains for Vans: How to Make Your Own Campervan Curtains

View of the shore inside a campervan with lights and curtains - How to Make Your Own Curtains for Vans

If you’re fitting out your own van on a budget and looking to make your own curtains, then you’ve come to the right place. While it’s often one of the last features that vanlifers think about, curtains or window coverings are a really important part of your van interior. 

Ideal for keeping light out and giving you more privacy, you’ll want to make sure that you have quality, blackout curtains for your van. If you’re trying to do most of your build yourself, then you might be interested in making your own curtains. This guide will take a look at a couple of different options for DIY curtains for your van.

Do You Need Curtains For Your Van?

While they might be one of the last things you think about when doing your van fitout, curtains are one of the most important features of your van. They block out light and provide extra privacy, which is especially needed at night when you’re trying to sleep.

Whether you’re parked in a quiet bush camp or a busy roadside stop, you’ll appreciate having some sort of window coverings for your van. Depending on your personal preference and design of your home on wheels, you’ll first want to think about whether you prefer traditional curtains or insulated window covers.

If you settle on curtains, then they can be really simple and budget-friendly to make yourself. Check out how you can DIY curtains for your van below!

DIY Curtains for Your Van

With some basic sewing skills and blockout fabric, curtains are one of the most satisfying features to DIY for your van. Depending on how simple you want your curtain design to be, there are a couple of options when it comes to making them yourself. 
From simple hanging curtains to hand drawn curtains that sit on a sliding track, your local craft store like Spotlight will have all you need to make your own curtains.

Choosing Curtain Fabrics

One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make for DIY curtains is what fabric to buy. You’ll soon feel overwhelmed with the variety of choices for thicknesses, patterns and materials when looking in store.

However, it’s important to try and stick to blockout curtain fabric, as this is what will provide the best privacy and keep more light out. While it’s generally more expensive than cotton or linen, you’ll be thankful when you’re able to sleep in well-lit streets or bustling campgrounds. 

Blockout curtain fabric still comes in an array of colours and patterns so you don’t have to worry about choice when it comes to picking your curtains.

How to Make Simple Hanging Curtains

Hanging curtains

If you want curtains that are simple to make and cheap, then hanging curtains are definitely what you’ll be looking at. This style of curtain is hanging on plastic coated wiring which allows the fabric to drape over the window and can be drawn back when not in use.

It’s definitely the quickest option to make and is easy to find the supplies at most craft stores or even some hardware stores.

Things You’ll Need

Step 1: Measure Your Windows

The first thing you want to do is measure all your windows. You’ll then want to add a few centimetres to each side to allow for the folds and seams. Write the measurements down so you can head to the shops.

Step 2: Source Your Materials

Head to a craft shop to purchase your fabric and hanging wire, plus any other things you’ll need such as thread for the sewing machine.

Step 3: Cut and Sew Your Curtains

Use your measurements from step 1 to cut your curtains to size. Then, sew a seam on all four sides of the curtain for a neater finish. 

You’ll then need to sew a “tunnel” at the top of your curtain for the wire to thread through for hanging. This can easily be done by folding over the top seam and sewing it down so it creates a tunnel.

Step 4: Thread Your Curtain on the Hanging Wire

Thread the hanging wire through the curtain’s tunnel and bunch up the curtains in the middle so you can hang them more easily. Then, screw in the small hooks (usually comes with the wire) to the ends of the wire for hanging purposes.

Step 5: Secure the Wire in Place

Screw in the eyes above the window to where you want the curtain to hang, you may need to pre-drill a couple of small holes first. Depending on how big the window is you will probably only need an eye at each end or corner of the window.

Step 6: Hang the Wire and Your Curtains in Place

Now, you can hook the wire onto the eyes and your curtains should drape down over the window.

How to Make Hand Drawn Track Curtains

For something more sophisticated, you can also use hand drawn curtain tracks which are a more heavy duty option. These tracks are secured above the window and have hooks which are used to hang your curtains on. This way your curtains slide across the window smoothly.

This option will cost a bit more than the hanging curtains, but tend to have a more professional finish.

Things You’ll Need

Steps 1 and 2: As Above

Measure your windows and source your materials as described above.

Step 3: Cut and Sew Your Curtains and the Curtain Tape

Cut your curtains according to the measurements you got in step 1 and sew a seam across all four sides of the curtains. Just at the top of each curtain, you’ll then want to sew on the curtain tape along the full length of the fabric.

Step 4: Secure the Track Above the Window

Drill the track into place with screws above your window. You’ll want to have the tracks a little bit longer than each window width to allow for complete coverage. The tracks should come with sliding eyes already in the track ready for your curtains to be hung.

Step 5: Thread Through the Curtain Hooks

At frequent intervals across your curtain tape, thread the plastic curtain hooks into your curtains. You’ll want enough hooks along the top of your curtain that they sit firmly across your window without letting in too much light.

Step 6: Hang Your Curtains

Finally, you can hang the curtains on the track by hooking the plastic fittings into each other. This will mean your curtains can easily be hand drawn across along the track as needed.

Don’t Want to DIY?

If this all seems a little too hard or perhaps you don’t have access to a sewing machine, then there are options for purchasing ready-made curtains or even window covers for your van. 

If you prefer window covers for your van instead of curtains, it’s often a lot easier to purchase these ready-made as they’re more complicated to DIY. Byron Bay-based company, Vanketo, are now selling window covers for Mercedes Sprinter vans

These are custom made for each window, so you can be sure that they fit no matter whether it’s your windscreen or rear window. These insulated covers are the perfect addition to your van, with temperature control, noise cancellation and full block out features.

Cristina holding the insulated window cover

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