No Sew! Upgrading RV Windshield Curtains
I was being pretty lax on my RV modifications lately, having little time to do anything but cleaning and maintenance during the football season. But with the road game this weekend, I took the opportunity to do some upgrades. These are relatively minor but hopefully big impact items for my enjoyment of the RV. The first one up: the RV windshield curtains.
I have a few “rules” about my upgrades:
- Inexpensive, DIY – This is my “Starter” RV and I fully expect to upgrade in the next 1-2 years. I’ve already started looking at “RV Porn” as one fellow tailgating family calls it. You know, those nights you spend looking at all the new and used RVs on the market, going that could be in my budget and features I like. Oooh, that one is really nice but way more than I need. Etc. So when I am doing work, particularly upgrades and modifications, I’m looking for things I can do myself and relatively inexpensive. I am not looking to sink a lot of money into this RV knowing that I’ll likely be getting a new one soon.
- Weekend or Less Project – I have a full-time job, an in-season team to follow and tailgate for, and friends and family to do other things with. In other words, my time, like that of everyone I know, is limited. I want to get in and get it done.
- High Impact – what work will have a high impact on my enjoyment of the RV? Will this make it better living, like the TV upgrade? Will it make it better tailgating? Or maybe a better driving experience? Is this something I can take with me to the new RV and make life there great as well?
Know Thy Measurements!
With the Rules in mind, I stumbled across a project this weekend. I had time to kill on Friday afternoon before meeting some friends for dinner. So, I spent some time wandering every RVers favorite all-purpose store, Wal-Mart. And ended up in their housewares department, in particular the curtains. I’ve wanted to do a project on the curtains in the RV, but the sizes have always been off from the standard sizes they sell. And a friend has offered to help sew (not a talent in my wheelhouse), but we haven’t been able to spend some actual time on this project. For whatever reason, I decided that I could try out the pre-made ones.
At first, I tried the Eclipse Samara Blackout Drapes that were 54 inches long. I was thinking four panels should do it. But once I got them back to the RV on Saturday, I knew pretty quick that 54 inches would be way too long. But if I turned them sideways… wait, that’s not too bad. And if I went with the 84 inch panels, I’d only need one per side!
So back to Wal-Mart to return the 54 inch panels and get 84 inch panels. Of course, the first Wal-Mart didn’t have them in my desired color, so off to another nearby Wal-Mart which had them at less than $10 per panel. So yes, that’s three trips to Wal-Mart in one weekend! I really should have put all those measurements I took earlier in my phone so I’d have them on my random Wal-Mart trips. It would have saved two trips and a bunch of hassle!
Installing the new RV Windshield Curtains
The old curtains were held up by the heavy drape hooks – similar to these sharp, pointy things from Amazon. The good news is that I didn’t have to worry about rod pockets or grommets getting in the way. With the rod pocket curtains, it is a nice, clean look. But also no sewing which is still not a talent of mine.
So it was just a matter of undoing the hooks from the old drapes and putting them in the new ones. Really, no big deal. Of course, I did all of this with the drapes straight out of the packing, so ignore the wrinkles in the pictures. Hopefully, the wrinkles will fall out soon. Or maybe I’ll take them down and iron throw them in the dryer to get the wrinkles out. Or I’ll just live with the wrinkles until they eventually go away on their own.
Apply the Rules
So, how did this upgrade work with my rules: It was definitely inexpensive and DIY. Each panel was $9.87 (plus tax) each. So for $20 and change, with tax, I had new drapes. No other costs as I used the pee-existing hooks. And it took about 10 minutes to hand the new ones up, including taking pictures for all of you. I’ve probably spent more time writing about it than I did actually doing it.
And for high impact: well, I went from thin, stained drapes that were OK for privacy but horrible for actually blocking light out. Now, you can tell a noticeable difference inside just from the light at my house. It also looks better, with the unstained white on the outside when it is parked or in-use. Even on the inside, with the gray color that goes with the slowly changing interior color scheme (out with the 80s blues, beiges, and creams; in with gray, white, black, and yellow). I’m also hoping that the blackout drapes provide the promised features of less heating/cooling costs and noise reduction as well. I’m not sure how well I can test the heating/cooling since it is now officially fall. Or the noise reduction since I only did the windsheild and not the other RV windows. But hey, I had to start somewhere, right?
More RV Window Curtains?
Now, I’m wondering if I can do something similar for the other RV windows. I’ve got two large living area windows, two large bedroom windows, plus the small kitchen, door, and extra living area windows. The two larger bedroom windows have some temporary “solutions” with some blackout drapes thumbtacked up. (Why I didn’t think to use these on the other windows is beyond me) But I still haven’t figured out how to get them usable in the living area. I like driving with these blinds up for better visability purposes, so I need to be able to open/close the drapes as well. Maybe my friend can sew long rod pockets down the side for the other windows and maybe a hemline if we split them down the middle. I could easily add a rod under the cabinets/where the blinds are attached. (Remember, I do not sew, not even a hemline!) Or I’ll just keep using the blinds.
Join the conversation below! Let us know how you have dealt with covering odd sized RV windows!