DIY roll-up curtains are an easy and cost-effective way to add privacy and style to your home on wheels. With a few simple materials and tools, you can create custom curtains that perfectly fit your windows and match your decor. Whether you’re looking for a temporary solution or a more permanent upgrade, making your own DIY roll-up curtains for your skoolie or RV, is a fun and rewarding project.
Benefits of DIY roll-up curtains
Making your own DIY roll-up curtains for your RV or skoolie can offer numerous advantages. Firstly, it can help you save money as you can make use of materials that you already have or find at a more affordable price compared to buying ready-made curtains. Secondly, it provides you with the opportunity to tailor the curtains to your unique needs and preferences, including the color, fabric, and size. These customizations are particularly beneficial in an RV or skoolie, as they can enhance the functionality of your curtains. Thirdly, by making your own curtains, you can create a practical yet stylish solution for your privacy and light control needs, and ensure a cohesive interior design. Lastly, as you have control over the curtains, you can easily replace or repair them as needed.
Combined, the benefits of creating your own roll-up curtains for your RV or skoolie can offer a cost-efficient and personalized option for privacy, light control, and aesthetic appeal.
DIY roll-up curtains for your RV or skoolie are designed to meet the specific needs of mobile living. They are designed to be removable for easy washing, ensuring that they stay clean and hygienic for a comfortable living environment. Also, these curtains are also made to easily roll up and down, allowing for quick access to the windows and easy control of light and privacy. Furthermore, the construction of these curtains allows them to stay in place while driving, preventing them from flying around and causing a distraction or safety hazard. The design of these DIY roll-up curtains balances practicality and aesthetics, providing a functional solution for your mobile living space.
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What you need:
- sewing machine
- thread & wound bobbins
- rotary cutter
- fabric scissors
- seam ripper
- clear ruler
- cutting mat
- flexible measuring tape
- straight Pins
- 1/8″ Drill Bit
- saw (to cut dowels)
- 1/4″ drill bit
- snap fastener pliers
- leather strips
- Drop Cloth
- front curtain fabric
- Snap kit
- leather straps
- 5/8″ dowels (for each curtain)
DIY roll-up curtain math:
Accurate measurement is key to the success of your DIY roll-up curtain project. Therefore, to avoid mistakes, invest time in measuring twice, and even triple-checking your measurements. This extra effort will save you from the frustration of ill-fitting curtains and will pay off in the end.
Before starting, take precise measurements of the width and height of the area you want the curtain to cover, considering the type of window. Then, measure the total width and height of the area you want your curtain to cover, taking into account the type of window you are working with.
When making curtains, you have two main options. You can either make curtains that cover a single window with plenty of overhang or curtains for windows placed directly next to one another. With curtains placed directly next to one another, exact measurements are crucial to ensure a seamless transition between curtains.
For skoolie windows positioned adjacent to each other, I measured the width from the outermost part of the metal ribbed frame and the height from the top trim down to the windowsill, ensuring some overhang for a smooth transition between the curtains.
However, for emergency exit door windows or RV windows, keep in mind that overhang is necessary to ensure the curtain fully covers the window.
In conclusion, tailor this tutorial to suit your needs, whether for skoolie or RV windows, by taking precise measurements and making the necessary calculations.
Step 1: Take measurements
Measure and take note of the height (H) and width (W) of the window(s) you will be making curtains for. This is the most important step in ensuring a proper fit for your curtains. Be sure to measure carefully and double-check your measurements before moving on to the next step.
Measuring correctly- Again, to ensure an accurate fit, your measurements of Height and Width should be what you want your final curtain size to be! Note these measurements as your Height (H) and Width (W).
If you want an overhang, make sure to add that into your measurement now to account for it in your final curtain size.
Each curtain will consist of 2 cut pieces of fabric; the front and back.
1. Top & Bottom (2 pcs): Take your width (W) and height (H) measurements and add them to this equation for what size to cut your fabric. Add 1.5” seam allowance + overhang (optional) to the Width and 4″ to the Height.
(W + 1.5″ + Optional Overhang) x (H + 4″)
Sewing your DIY roll-up curtains:
Make sure you pre-wash / iron your fabric for the best results!
Step 1: Measure your window
Reference the paragraph above if you have any questions regarding measurement.
Remember to measure the final width and height of the area you want your curtain to cover, not just the glass window. This ensures complete coverage, regardless of the window type.
Step 2: Cut your fabric
To achieve the most precise cuts and straight lines when cutting your fabric, it’s recommended to use a cutting mat, clear ruler, and rotary cutter. These tools will allow you to make accurate cuts and maintain a straight line, making the process more efficient.
Additionally, it’s important to take your time and double-check your fabric measurements before cutting to avoid any mistakes. Make sure to measure your fabric twice to ensure that you have the correct measurements.
Step 3: Hem the top of the curtain
To begin, take the front piece of fabric and place it right-side down on your workspace, so you are looking at the backside of the fabric. Next, fold the fabric down 1/2 inch along the top, ensuring that the fold is even across the entire fabric. Then, using a sewing machine, topstitch across the top, maintaining the 1/2-inch fold.
Repeat this step with the back curtain piece of fabric, making sure that the side of the fabric that will be visible is facedown on the table. This will create a finished edge on the top of both the front and back pieces of fabric.
Note that the dropcloth serves as the back of the curtains in my design, with the linen-like fabric forming the front.
Step 4: Clip front and back pieces together
To join the front and back pieces, align the right sides of the fabric so that their orientation is the same and their top hems match. Ensure that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.
Then, use clips or straight pins to hold the fabric in place while you sew.
I like using these clips instead of pins! I recently came across these when I was sewing DIY zippered bedding for the bed and bunk beds in our school bus conversion and they are awesome! Inexpensive, easy to work with, and they securely hold the fabric! Check them out here!
Step 5: Sew sides and bottom together
Begin by double-checking that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other.
You should be looking at what will be the inside of the finished curtain!
Next, lay the fabric on your workspace with the folded-down top hems at the top of your table.
Then, beginning in the upper right-hand corner of the fabric, begin sewing the back and front pieces together using a 1/2″ seam allowance.
Take your time to make sure you are maintaining that 1/2″ seam allowance and that your edges are lining up.
Continue sewing around the curtain until you reach the top again.
Make sure not to sew the top closed!
Step 6: Cut the bottom corners
Using a pair of fabric scissors, carefully cut a small triangle shape on the bottom right and left corners of the fabric, ensuring that the cuts are made just below the stitching line and not through the thread. This will help the curtain lay smoothly when turned inside out by removing any excess fabric in the bottom corners that would otherwise create bunches.
Step 7: Zig Zag stitch sides and bottom
Before proceeding, sew a zig-zag stitch along the edges and bottom of the fabric using either a sewing machine or a serger. This step is crucial in preventing the fabric from unraveling over time and during washing. It may be tempting to skip this step, but it is important to ensure that your hard work lasts for a longer period of time.
Step 8: Turn inside out and iron seams
After serging the edges and bottom of your curtain, carefully turn it right side out. Use an iron to smooth out the seams, making sure they lay flat. This will make it easier to topstitch your curtain neatly and cleanly.
Step 9: Top stitch sides and bottom
Now that your seams are ironed flat, it’s time to topstitch both sides and the bottom of the curtain. As you are topstitching, remember to leave the top edge of the curtain open.
Start by topstitching in the upper right corner of the curtain with the front side facing up, working your way down the right side, across the bottom, and then back up the left side.
I chose to topstitch 1/2″ in from each edge.
Step 10: Top stitch the top
It’s time to bring your curtain to completion by sewing the top closed. To add a polished touch, I topstitched approximately 5/16″ from the top edge, hiding the interior stitching from step 3.
This gives a clean and professional look to your curtain.
Sewing the rod pocket
Step 1: Fold the bottom up and pin
At this point, you should have a curtain with all 4 sides topstitched. The curtain should be right side out. With the front of the curtain facing down, carefully fold up the bottom edge of the curtain by 1 1/2″ and pin it in place, being mindful to keep the fold even and consistent.
Before continuing, it’s important to double-check the following:
- The wooden rod will fit in the rod pocket that you are about to sew.
- The curtain covers the window correctly with the rod pocket pinned in place. If you need to adjust the size of this pocket to adjust to your window you can.
- After confirming that the curtain fits your window and wooden rod correctly, it’s time to finish sewing.
Step 2: Topstitch rod pocket
Use a sewing foot and line it up with the edge of the fold that is pinned up.
I choose to lay the curtain front side facing down on my sewing machine and the folded rod pocket visible to me. I then lined up my presser foot with the left side of the rod pocket.
Then, sew at a distance of 5/16″ inches from the edge.
Congratulations, your curtain is now complete!
Step 3: Insert dowel
Before moving on to the next step, it’s important to double-check that your wooden rod fits comfortably and securely in the newly sewn rod pocket. This will ensure that your curtains will hang properly and not be too tight or too loose.
To do this, slide the wooden rod into the rod pocket and adjust the fit as needed. Keep in mind that you may need to make small adjustments to the rod pocket to ensure a perfect fit.
Once you are satisfied with the fit, you can move on to the next step of attaching snaps to the curtain for easy installation and removal.
Adding the snaps:
In order to make your curtains easily removable and washable, we will be using snaps as a method of hanging them. This method is simple, easy to use, and will save you time and energy in the long run.
You will need a snap kit and some basic tools to install the snaps. These snaps are versatile and can be used in multiple areas of your skoolie or RV.
For detailed instructions on how to install snaps, please refer to this link for a step-by-step guide.
The number of snaps and their placement will depend on the size of your curtain. However, as a general rule of thumb, 4 snaps across the top work well for standard school bus windows. This allows for secure attachment of the curtains to the window frame while keeping the curtains taut and eliminating drooping.
When determining the number of snaps and their placement, use your best judgment based on the size of your curtain. Keep in mind that you want to ensure that the curtain is securely attached to the window frame and does not droop.
When installing the snaps, make sure to follow the instructions provided with the snap kit, and ensure that the snaps are securely fastened to both the curtain and window frame.
Mark your snap placement
Ensure the back of your curtain is facing downwards on your workspace before attaching the snaps. Refer to the accompanying photos to determine the correct snap direction. The button should be on the back of the curtain and the socket should face frontwards towards you.
To ensure proper and secure placement, mark the location of your snaps on your curtain. Use a ballpoint pen to make these small marks, as they will be covered by the snaps after installation.
Start by measuring and marking 1.5 inches down from the top edge of the curtain. Place your first and last snaps 1.5 inches in from the side edges of the curtain. Then, divide the remaining space evenly between these outer snaps. This will ensure your snaps are spaced out evenly and will hold the curtain securely in place.
Click on this link for thorough instructions on how to install snaps on your DIY roll-up curtains.
Making the leather straps:
There are a variety of ways to hang/secure your curtains.
I spent a ridiculous amount of time searching for the look I wanted in regard to the straps and hardware. I landed on these leather strips that I found online paired with the same snaps I used for securing my curtains to the window frame. The result was attractive and functional straps for rolling up my curtains!
For us, these leather straps were the perfect option for these three reasons:
- Easy to clean- Again, I am living on this bus with 4 kids and five pets. I needed something that I could easily wipe clean if needed and that would also look good without much upkeep! Two years in, and these are still working great!
- Easy to replace- Along with ease of cleaning, I wanted something that I could easily replace if anything ever happened to it without having to mess with the curtains. By not attaching the straps directly to the curtain, I was able to make a couple of extra straps to keep on the bus just in case.
- Look good- I love the fact that these straps still look as the day I installed them! We are now over two years of heavy use and they still look amazing!
How many straps?
You will want two straps per curtain. The length will be exactly the same for each strap/window.
To replicate the look that I achieved for my DIY roll-up curtains in my skoolie, you want to cut 2, 8-inch straps per curtain.
Customizing your strap length
To customize the straps of your curtains, follow these simple steps. Roll up the finished curtain and have someone hold it in place at the desired hanging location. Then, use a flexible sewing tape measure to measure the needed strap length, taking into consideration the desired height of the curtain and the placement of snaps on both the strap and the window frame.
You will want to make sure to leave enough room on each end to place a snap and attach the straps to your frame.
For a more thorough explanation of how I made my curtain straps check out this post!
Hanging your curtains
I successfully hung over 15 curtains in our converted school bus using this method. However, please note that I am not a builder or contractor, so this may not be the conventional way to hang curtains.
Nevertheless, it is easy enough for anyone to do, including a stay-at-home mom like myself. If you have a more efficient method, I’d love to hear about it:)
Click on this link for thorough instructions on how to hang your DIY roll-up curtains.
In conclusion, making your own roll-up curtains for your skoolie or RV is a great DIY project that can help you save money and customize your living space. With this guide, you should now have all the information and tools you need to create high-quality roll-up curtains that are both functional and stylish. So go ahead and put your sewing skills to the test, and enjoy the satisfaction of completing a new and improved interior for your skoolie or RV.
Looking for more inspiration? Make sure to check out the rest of our school bus conversion below!
- Get the look: Flying Circus Bus design guide
- School Bus Conversion
- School Bus Conversion- 6 month update
- School Bus Conversion- 9 month update