Friday, August 30, 2019

How I Beat the Heat with DIY Magnetic Solar Screens on My RV / Camper / Trailer

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

Beat the heat! How I built solar screens on my RV windows.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Tons of Ideas and Projects Pin it for later

We've been in cooler regions of the United States this summer, so heat wasn't a problem -- but we had to come back to central Texas this month! Heat over 100 degrees! 

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

I made really nice adjustable, removable fabric awnings for my previous camper.
(If you want to know how, click here) 

Adjustable removable awnings for any camper from pvc

I liked them a lot, and they are super cute, but they have a couple drawbacks. If it gets really windy in the middle of the night, they will bang on the camper. Sometimes loudly enough that you have to get out of your cozy bed and put them away.  It took a lot of time to make the awnings - making the solar shades take almost no time at all!

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

So, I came up with the idea of solar screen covers for the windows. There are a lot of advantages.  There is a video at the end of this article that shows how stable they are in a windstorm.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later


  • They block up to 90% of the sun's heat.  
  • Unlike the silver stuff, you can see through your windows and don't feel like you're living in a cave.  
  • They are easy to put up and take down. 
  • You don't have to remove them if it rains or is windy. 
  • You can open and close all your windows, including the emergency window without removing them.
  • You can have airflow through the trailer and still block the heat
Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

Best of all YOU CAN SEE OUTSIDE!

The screens are held up with magnets and are easy to install and remove without a ladder. Interested? Read on to see how I did it!


To hold up the screens, I glued one magnet to the RV and sewed a matching magnet into the screen. There has been discussion about using snaps, but I didn't want to make holes in my camper. I can remove the magnets if I ever want to.  

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

This is what I used:

Solar Screen (obviously)




These are the magnets I used. There are cheaper ones, but I liked the black epoxy coating. I thought it might make them a little sturdier. Not sure if they did though.


Plan on using a magnet about every 1-2 feet. My windows are small. The largest two are only about 48"'w x 24"h. If I had larger windows, I would have used larger magnets or more magnets closer together. On the 48-in windows I used 4 magnets across the top. On 36" windows I used 3 magnets across the top. On 24" windows I just put a magnet on each corner. Mostly your concerned about the weight of the screen fabric.

If I had larger windows, these magnets would have worked better.


Be VERY CAREFUL with the magnets, be VERY careful with them, they are extremely brittle. They will also give you a blood blister if they catch your finger between them.

Once they are mounted on the RV wall, or sewn into a pocket they are pretty sturdy. It's just slamming together with no cushion that causes them to break.

I cleaned the area around the windows with rubbing alcohol and stuck the magnets to the camper wall using the adhesive that was included with them.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

I measured the windows I wanted to cover, including the frame. Then I planned out how I was going to do it and how much screen I needed to buy. Yes, I admit I'm a bit detail-oriented about drawing out my plans and knowing exactly what I'm going to do before I start.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

This is the solar screen I used.  I got mine at Lowe's for about $15 per roll. It took about 2 1/2 rolls. It blocks 90% of the radiant heat. It seems to work even if it's not in direct sun.  If I bought the screen that blocks only 75% I could have cut my price in half. Amazon has some here.


Cut pieces of solar screen about 1"-2" wider than the windows and 6-7" taller.  It needs to have enough to fold over 2-3" and be long enough to cover from the magnets at the top to the bottom of the window, even longer if I was going to put magnets along the bottom of the window instead of just at each lower corner.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

Plain ol' school chalk marks the screens, it works great!

Fold over and pin the top. I allowed 2" for the top hem/pockets.  

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

Fold and pin the 2" top hem/pockets.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

I sewed very close to the top edge to form a crease. I used a long straight stitch. I marked the approximate locations of the magnets and sewed a pocket about 3-5" wide for each magnet. Around each magnet pocket, I used a zig-zag stitch. Make sure to insert the magnets before sewing the final side :)

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

This is similar to the sewing machine I have, which I bought at Sam's Club for $135 


I DID NOT SEW THE WHOLE TOP FLAT - I left it open between the pockets. This is the trick to making them easy to install!

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

I did not sew the bottom corner magnets until I test fit it to the window to mark exactly where they needed to be.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

I mounted the screen to the top magnets, pulled to make it even, used chalk to mark where the bottom edge of the window is, and where the magnets are.  Remove the screen. Cut the screen about 1/2" - 1" below where I marked the bottom of the window.  If I was putting magnets under the window, the screen would have needed to be longer.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

I can use my awning hook or WDH bar to push the screen up to attach to the magnets. This is why I made the magnet pockets large - so that I don't have to line it up perfectly when I am trying to install the screens.  Also, if I mistakenly put one of my magnets on with the wrong polarity, I can turn the magnet inside the screen over without having to remove it from the pocket. 

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

Then I cut out the bottom magnet pockets. I only put one on each lower corner. We've had pretty good windstorms and rain and the covers haven't budged on our camper.

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

Lastly I sewed the bottom pockets on - remembering to insert the magnet. 

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

I insert my awning pole or similar into the pocket and use it to lift my screens into place.  The magnets snap together instantly all the way around the window. Then I pull it a bit to adjust it evenly. TA-DAH!

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

Enjoy my view without the heat!!

UPDATE: We had a strong windstorm and the screens stayed on perfectly!



 If you enjoy this blog or learn something from the article, I would appreciate it if you went to Amazon from one of my links, I get credit for your visit. Otherwise someone else will get credit for your visit lol.

For those wondering how you would remove glued on magnets - Use fishing line to separate them from the fiberglass, Goo Gone to remove adhesive.

Now Go Play Outside!

Beat The Heat With Diy Homemade Solar Shades For Your Rv Or Camper - Tutorial Here - Pin it for later

5 comments:

Unknown said...

Nice work. How many pockets did you sew shut without magnets?

Wacky Pup said...

Hi, thanks for visiting! Oddly, I didn't miss any pockets! But I did manage to glue a magnet to the camper wrong side out!

:D

Liz

Unknown said...

Great instructions! I've looked all over for this - I knew there had to be a way to do this. Thank you for writing all the instructions and which magnets to get.

Fay Kelley said...

Awesome ��������. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Ilіke what you guys are usualⅼy up too. Such clever work and exposure!
Keep uup the very good worқs guys I've incorporated you guys to my own Ьlοgroll.

Have more in your budget for CAMPING!

CHECK OUT WALMART BEFORE YOU GO TO AMAZON THEY EMPLOY MORE PEOPLE & PAY MORE TAXES AND THEIR PRICES ARE USUALLY THE SAME YOU CAN RETURN THINGS TO ANY STORE IN THE NATION Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC

Join Passport America! Save Money!


PLEASE USE REFERRAL MEMBER GS-671013
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Visit My Etsy Shop