They say necessity is the mother of invention, right? Such was the case for our DIY Van Screens. We spent about 15 minutes with the windows down one evening at a farm in central Florida and realized the mosquitos had waged an all-out war on us. Which left us having to roll the windows up. Let’s just say between the heat and humidity and lack of air flow it was a VERY long night. We started brainstorming and came up with the solution to create temporary screens for both the drivers side and passenger side windows. On our van, there is enough metal on both the inside and outside, to hold the fiberglass screen in place with magnets. It’s a solution that we can put up and take down every day easily and quickly. If you are looking for a way to keep cool in your van, give this one a shot. Here’s how you can make some van life screens of your own!
Caroline chose the ADFORS Standard Window Screen, 36 ” x 84″, Charcoal for us. She chose this over an aluminum screen because it can handle more wear and tear. It’s something that we’ll be putting up frequently and so we needed something with a little more stretch and flexibility to it. There are more heavy duty fiberglass screens out there but we didn’t think we needed the really thick kind. So far, so good. The bugs are out and the air flow is good!
Ceramic Block Magnet, 3/16″ Thick, 1/4″ Wide, 7/8″ Length (Pack of 8) The magnets came in an 8 pack. We bought two packs. We don’t recommend getting the really strong magnets because they’ll be hard to get off the vehicle. They might also take some of your paint off. The kind we picked are easy to take off the van when we’re done with them.
Scotch Precision Scissors – regular scissors to cut the fiberglass
Steps to making your own van window screens
Measure the size of your windows. Make sure there is enough fabric to at least cover the outside. Two to four inches of extra fabric on all sides seems ideal but as you can from our photo, we have barely enough on some sides.
Then, order or buy your screen.
Next, unroll the screen so that it covers the window. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the screen didn’t want to roll back up on itself. Be sure to give yourself, again, at least enough so that it covers all four sides of your window. If you want to mark it to be sure where to cut, now is the time. Caroline just eyeballed it and then trimmed it up later.
Cut the screen.
Hold it in place and put the magnets in place (2 at the top and 3 on each side).
Feel free to trim up the bottom to make it a little neater.
Putting the magnets on the inside of the window makes it look a little neater from the outside. The only trick there is making sure the magnets don’t get slammed in the door. We’ve actually found that when there’s a strong breeze blowing into your window, it’s a little stronger affixing the magnets to the outside of the window and not the inside.
Obviously screens aren’t going to keep out rain. They offer a little bit of protection but if it starts pouring down in the middle of the night you’ll most likely need to get up and roll them up. The good thing is that the screens don’t have to be taken down in order for the window to go up.
Also, safety is another thing to consider when using these screens. Be sure you’re in a place where it’s okay to leave your windows down. Though someone could easily break the glass and get into your vehicle, a window is a much better barrier and defense against crime than screens. Camp and park wisely and you should be good to go!
Hope you liked our DIY Van Life Screen Hack. It’s so far been a great way for us to keep cool. Have you made any of your own? If so, what things did you do similarly or differently? Interested in learning more about our van? Click here! We’d love to hear from you, please leave your comments below!
You can purchase all of these items online at Amazon.
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