DIY Project: Window Curtains

by Yvonne Johnson

Windows are standard equipment in all our camper side doors. Additionally, most of our campers have a window in one side wall if not both. Side windows and door windows in PeeWee Campers both measure 15" by 22". Windows are wonderful for letting in the light and the air. Of course, they also allow anyone to look inside your camper if you don't have a window covering.

In this blog, I have several ideas for you on how to make and hang your own window coverings. The best part is, you don't have to run around at the mall to find everything you need. It's all available on Amazon.com, and I have put links to the different materials you might need to purchase for each idea.  For those who don't sew, I also have some no-sew ideas for you.

Sewing Your Own Curtains

If you like to sew, you may have material on hand that you can use to make your curtains. But why not use a "cute" print with a camping-related theme instead? You can purchase any of the fabrics below on Amazon.com. Just click on a photo to order. 

Camper Prints

Amazon Purchasecamper print 1 Amazon Purchasecamper print black and pink Amazon Purchasecamper print multicolor Amazon Purchasecamper print multi-color on white Amazon Purchasecamper print 5 Amazon Purchasecamper print 6

Animal Prints

Amazon Purchasemoose-elk print Amazon Purchaselive-love-lodge Amazon Purchasemoose-lodge print Amazon Purchasebear-canoes print Amazon Purchasedog bone print Amazon Purchasecat print

Theme Prints for Fishing, Hunting, Kayaking, the Beach 

Amazon Purchaseboating-fishing theme print 4 Amazon Purchasefish print Amazon Purchasedeer print Amazon Purchasehunting print Amazon Purchasecanoe kayak print Amazon Purchasebeach print

Assorted Prints

Amazon Purchasepink and white print Amazon Purchasebeach print Amazon Purchasemustard stripe print Amazon Purchasegingham print Amazon Purchasegreen and white Amazon Purchasecowhide print Amazon Purchase Bandanabandana print Amazon Purchasemulti-color print Amazon Purchasecamo print

Making a Flat Panel

The simplest curtain you can make is a flat panel that "sticks" to the wall (or door) with a Velcro® type hook and loop tape. For side windows, I suggest a finished size of 24" wide (which gives you coverage 1" beyond the window on either) by 17" long (which gives you coverage 1" above and below the window). For a door window, I recommend a finished size of 17" wide by 24" long. 

So to make the panel, follow these steps:

  1. Cut a rectangle from your "cute" material that is 25" wide by 18" long. This allows for a half-inch seam all the way around.
  2. Cut a second rectangle the same size. You can use a less expensive fabric for this second panel, and I would use white because this is the side that shows from outside the window. (Tip: old pillow cases or an old sheet would work.)
  3. Put the right sides of the two pieces of material together and sew a half-inch seam around the edges. But leave an inch or two open so you can turn the panel inside out.
  4. Turn the panel inside out so that the right sides of the material are now on the outside.
  5. Close the opening with a hand stitch.
  6. Press the panel so the seams lie flat.
Amazon Purchase

Hanging the Flat Panel

To hang the panel, follow these steps:

  1. Cut a piece of the hook tape and a piece of the loop tape making them both the same as the width of the panel. I recommend the hook and loop product from Amazon pictured here. It's .75" wide, the adhesive backing is long lasting, and it's also strong enough to hold 6 pounds. Click the photo to order.
  2. Attach one strip to the back side of the panel at the top. It doesn't matter which one.
  3. Attach the other strip to the wall or door above the window.
  4. To hang the curtain, just press the panel's strip into the strip on the wall or door. You can easily take the curtain off when you want an open view by pulling the panel away from the wall.


Making a Gathered Curtain

Cafe Curtain Rod and Command Hooks

Another simple curtain, is a "cafe curtain." This is a gathered curtain that either hangs on rings from a cafe rod or is gathered on the rod. The curtain must have a rod pocket at the top through which the rod is inserted. For a camper, it's probably better to gather the curtain on the rod than to use curtain rings. The photo to the right shows a PeeWee camper that has a slightly gathered cafe curtain.

To make the cafe curtain that will fit on a 5/8" or 1/2" diameter rod, follow these steps:

  1. For a side window, cut your material between 26" and 35" wide to allow for the fullness you want and for hemming both sides of the curtain.
  2. Cut the length about 20" to allow for the rod pocket at the top and a hem at the bottom of the curtain. If you want a little edge at the top of the curtain, make the length 21"
  3. Hem the sides of the curtains by hand or with the machine.
  4. At the top of the curtain, fold the raw edge under about 1/4" and iron it so it lies flat. There no need to sew this down because it will be held by the top stitching in step 6.
  5. Fold the top of the curtain under about 2" and iron it flat. This will be the rod pocket. If you want a ruffled look above the rod pocket, fold the curtain under about 3".
  6. On the back side of the curtain, using your machine, top stitch along the edge of the material that was folded under in step 4. Be careful to stitch very close to the edge.
  7. For the ruffled look, sew a second top stitch 1" above the top stitch in step 6. This will form the rod pocket and create the ruffled effect above the top stitching when the curtain is gathered on the rod.
  8. Top stitch or hand stitch a hem at the bottom of the curtain making sure it is long enough to cover the window when the curtain is on the rod.

Note: To cut the material for the door window, the top should be cut 17"-25" to allow for hemming both sides and the extra fullness you want. The length should be cut to about 26" or 27" if you want the ruffled effect.

Hanging the Cafe Curtain

To hang the cafe curtain, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the rod in the rod pocket of the curtain. Click this link to order your rods from Amazon: 2-Pack of Cafe Curtain Rods.
  2. Extend the rod to the proper width. Hold the rod above the window and mark (with a pencil) where you need to put the hooks that will hold the rod.
  3. Following the manufacturer's directions, place a 3M Command hook at each mark. (See circled area in the camper photo above.) Click this link to order your hooks: 9-Pack of 3M Command Hooks.

No Sew Cafe Curtains

Here is the easiest option of all - a ready-made panel that is 20" by 27.5". It's a tea towel! The tea towels (below), available from Amazon, come in packs of three. Except for the first one shown below, each towel in the set is slightly different. So if you want the curtains to match, you might need to order two packs. However, I like the idea of having the slight differences. To order tea towels, just click on the photo of the set you want.

Amazon Purchase Amazon Purchase Amazon Purchase Amazon Purchase Amazon Purchase

To turn the tea towel into a curtain panel with a rod pocket, follow these steps:

  1. Fold over 2.5" - 3" of the towel along the 27.5" side and iron it so that there is a good crease in the towel.
  2. Turn the towel over so the back side is up and the towel is lying flat.
  3. Using fabric glue, run a straight bead of glue about 1.5" from the crease (on the back side of the towel). If you want a ruffled effect above the rod when the curtain is gathered on the rod, run a second bead of glue 1" below the first bead. I recommend Dritz Original Liquid Stitch because it's washable and permanent. Click this link to order: Dritz Fabric Glue
  4. Fold the towel at the crease and press along the line(s) of glue with your finger to make sure the two parts of the towel are stuck together.
  5. To hang the curtain, follow the steps above in the section called "Hanging the Cafe Curtain."

Additional Tips

Here are some additional ways to make your window coverings:

Send Photos!

We would love to see your creations. Please email photos of your curtains, along with any comments, and we will post them in a follow-up blog.

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