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Van Camping 101: Easy to Make Privacy Curtains

The second post in the series about van camping, I show you how to create easy DIY privacy curtains for your vehicle using few materials.
Improve your van camping experience with these easy, DIY privacy curtains.

You can learn more about van camping in our post Van Camping 101

Let’s face it, if you’re van camping, the last thing you want to do is to wake up to see someone’s face pressed up against your window. I’m not sure why someone would feel compelled to do that, but that is one of my fears while trying to sleep in the van. That someone will see me sleeping. Weird. I know, but it does keep me up at night. The things I ponder.

Privacy curtains are also helpful to block out the lights if you happen to pull into a rest stop or Walmart parking lot for the night. When I was researching van curtains I found several options. Most involved attaching a piece of wire or heavy-duty string or something similar across the windows to create something very much like curtains. My husband and I wanted something different.

Since I use my van on a daily basis and I don’t always want it to look like a van camper, but I want it to be easy to transform in a moment’s notice, it was important that the curtains be extremely easy to affix. I think we came up with the perfect solution.

Getting Ready for Van Camping 101: Easy to Make Curtains

Gather the Supplies You’ll Need

Gathering supplies for easy DIY privacy curtains for van camping

About 2- 2 ½ yards of black felt
3-4 packages of black dot Velcro, depending on how closely you want them spaced
a pair of scissors that cut fabric
a piece of chalk like this or a Tailor’s chalk pencil

How to Make Your Van Camping Curtains

Cut a piece of felt to the approximate size of your van window.

Easy to make privacy curtains for van camping.

Hold the felt to the window and with the chalk, outline the shape of the window. The chalk easily rubs off.

Making DIY privacy curtains for van camping.

Cut the felt to fit the window.

Van Camping DIY Privacy curtains.

Add the Velcro hook & loop dots to the window in 2-3 inch intervals around the entire window.

Next step in making the DIY Privacy curtains for van camping.

Affix the felt “curtain” to the Velcro.

Affixing the DIY privacy curtains to the minivan window.

Carefully separate the Velcro pieces to remove the felt curtain, leaving one piece (the hook or loop, it doesn’t’ matter) on the window.

Making DIY van camping curtains.
The Velcro doesn’t stick well to the felt. I was going to hot glue the felt but my husband suggested that we staple the Velcro dot to the felt which was much quicker and worked perfectly.

One side of the dot remains on the window at all times which allows the curtains to be adhered and removed from the windows in minutes.

The van camping curtains aren't even visible from the outside.

Since our van windows are slightly tinted the felt isn’t even visible from the outside of the van when it’s in place.

We’re now one step closer to van camping.

Did you miss it?

Van Camping 101: The Mattress

Van Camping with Thirty-One Gifts

Restocking a First Aid Kit for Camping

Simple Camping Tips for a Better Outdoor Experience

My husband and I started van camping in our minivan and have now upgraded to a Dodge Promaster. It doubles as my husband’s work vehicle so we haven’t made any permanent modifications and it does take a bit more work but we love the space it gives us. You can learn more about our experiences in the Promaster in the following posts: 

Used Camper Vans: Everything You Need to Know Before Buying

Top Ten Van Camping Hacks

Tips for Van Camping in Winter

7 Reasons to Rent a Camper Van or other RV this Summer

70+ Things to do in Seattle with Teens
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David Leung

Sunday 19th of April 2020

I used craft paper cut to the shape of the windows. Because the craft paper keeps its shape, I am able to slip it under the rubber seal around the windows. Nothing fancy, it works great in providing privacy and block out some light. Also, front windows need to be covered with fabric screen to provide air circulation and to keep the bugs out.

Tonya Prater

Tuesday 28th of April 2020

Great idea, David! We normally camp in our Dodge Grand Caravan in cooler weather so we don't really need the screening material but we do camp in our Promaster during warmer weather and have made screens with screening material and magnets for our back door. It works really well. Happy van camping!

Tom

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

I used Coro for my black out shades. Coro is that plastic corrugated material that they use to make those side of the road small signs on the wire H stands. They work great except I eyeballed the cut and since my dodge minivan windows are not perfectly rectangular their are small gaps. I paid $37 for a 4 foot x8 food sheet of Coro. Does anyone have any ideas in how to get it cut perfectly to size ?

Carrie Stuart

Tuesday 2nd of June 2020

Parchment paper works great. I trued cardboard and it was too bulky, then one morning I was lining my cake pans for cinnamon rolls, and the lightbulb went off.

Tonya Prater

Sunday 15th of September 2019

You could create a template with newspaper similar to how we did with the felt and use it as a pattern to cut the Coro.

Mark L

Sunday 7th of July 2019

Do you have any layout plans or interior photos of hte grand caravan? I am starting my own, and am looking for ideas.

Tonya Prater

Monday 16th of September 2019

Okay, so I had intended to create something but I've not done that. :( This is a short video that shows most of our setup for our first extended van camping trip: https://www.facebook.com/TravelInspiredLiving/videos/1866130886736206/?__xts__[0]=68.ARCFyESla-FvvmYFhu4YDUcp2lam79N-PFGEXaYJNdkJvW8KQ5Eg0D5rl3bnf-eqcyJyerQiXwBaFJpKf21By_5ualeCwCXgIB2OoB3TtK9yud_teCf8FnjZ95CMpA3yTNvuHyshCfwyJzaazND9Je7Yu49RClFsb1fCsl2z-9evJ-5mqjmShywRt3p3hl3FSpTRVfzEQiIwBDAdW3-M7By3TGRbUZ7O5pSZQNeAD1hawJUdJMTWVIpRkXuDXzZz7MbSVARuFaQBk29G_2wtzQfqz_j5JnoAIAcIlA8qnJUJxU9lK0wFKXD4r7_L0qCOGl5iOIrFL9-DVZtl&__tn__=-R The sound cuts out a little bit at the end but you will be able to see how things are set up.

Ditra

Friday 5th of July 2019

Thanks for this great idea, I’m inspired. I just got back from a road trip with my two Corgis. We stayed in Yellowstone. While I layed awake at night I was staring at my van windows trying to figure out how to do this without screwing anything into my van walls. I can’t wait to get started on this.THANKS FOR SHARING THIS

Tonya Prater

Friday 5th of July 2019

I'm so glad that I could help you solve your problem with van curtains! One issue I had with van camping is that I wanted to make sure no one could see me and these easy to make curtains definitely solved that problem. Our windows are slightly tinted so when the curtains are up you can't even tell from the outside. They work perfectly. Good luck making yours! Let me know if you have any questions.

Tina

Monday 24th of June 2019

Where did you get the felt and what type of felt did you get?

Tonya Prater

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

Hi Tina,

I used regular craft felt that I purchased by the yard at Hobby Lobby.

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