2 Ways to Make Outdoor Window Shades

Item # X-HT-300579

Making your own window sun shades is easy with help from Sailrite. These window coverings provide privacy while still letting some light in. They are a smart addition to your RV, camper, boat or home. These mesh shades help block the sun, which helps to keep your interior cooler as well as provide needed privacy during the daytime. Learn two ways to make your own window screens with our step-by-step video tutorials.

Each window screen takes just a couple of hours to DIY.

These DIY screens cover the entire window with no gaps.

We made window screens with two different types of fasteners to show you the available options for your shades. In one version, we sewed magnets into the shade and matched them with magnets adhered inside the RV windows. In the second version, we installed snaps in the shade and paired them with adhesive SNADs on the outside of the RV windows.

Snaps and magnets make these window shades quick to put up and take down.

Magnets and snaps both work great on these window shades!

Both of these options provide a strong hold. If you use these exterior window shades on an RV, they will not move while your RV is parked — but we do suggest removing the shade screens when you are driving or trailering your camper.

We used a vinyl mesh fabric called Textilene for these RV window screens. Textilene has a 46.8% shade factor, which means it will block some sunlight while still letting light shine through. If you want to block even more sunlight, Phifertex Standard has a 70% shade factor. Both of these mesh vinyl shade fabrics are very easy to work with and to sew. You can order samples of any shade fabric to see the mesh’s opacity for yourself and decide how much shade factor you’re looking for in a privacy window screen.

How to Make Magnetic Window Shades on an RV

Video Chapters:

  • Intro — 0:00 min.
  • Patterning Window — 0:54 min.
  • Patterning Vinyl Mesh Fabric — 3:46 min.
  • Creating Pockets — 5:16 min.
  • Sewing Pockets on Screen — 7:41 min.
  • Sewing Binding on Edge — 10:34 min.
  • Protecting Magnets — 14:15 min.
  • Sewing Magnets in Pockets — 18:30 min.
  • Preparing Inside Magnets — 22:03 min.
  • Mounting Inside Magnets — 24:52 min.
  • Materials & Tools List — 27:09 min.

Materials List:

  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material 74" (#103134)
  • Filament Strapping Tape 3/4" (#5643)
  • Textilene® Sunsure Vinyl Mesh Black 54" Fabric (#123359)
  • Sunbrella® Centerfold Binding Black 7/8" (#503915)
  • 3M VHB 1" Diameter Circles or Mounting Tape (not available from Sailrite)
  • Neodymium Iron Boron (NdFeB) Magnets / Grade: N42 / Diameter: 7/8" to 1" / Thickness: 1/4" / Power: 40 lbs / Plating: Nickel (Ni-Cu-NI ) (not available from Sailrite)

Tools List:

  • Gingher® 8" Scissors Right Handed (#19104)
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" (#102400)
  • Scribe-All® Water Soluble White Marking Pencil (#120681)
  • Sailrite® Edge Cordless Hotknife 18V Package (#122177)
  • Tempered Cutting Glass for Hotknife (#121915)
  • Sailrite® 3/4" Swing-Away Binder (#100102)
  • Marker, Straightedge, Tape Measure

How to Make Snap-On Mesh Window Shades

Video Chapters:

  • Intro — 0:00 min.
  • Patterning Window — 0:57 min.
  • Patterning Vinyl Mesh Fabric — 2:59 min.
  • Creating Snap Reinforcement Patches — 3:51 min.
  • Sewing Patches on Shade — 5:49 min.
  • Sewing Binding on Edge — 12:13 min.
  • Installing Snaps on Shade — 17:01 min.
  • Mounting SNADs on RV — 20:30 min.
  • Materials & Tools List — 23:57 min.

Materials List:

  • Dura-Skrim® Patterning Material 74" (#103134)
  • Textilene® Sunsure Vinyl Mesh Black 54" Fabric (#123359)
  • V-92 Polyester Thread from Sailrite
  • Sunbrella® Centerfold Binding Black 7/8" (#503915)
  • DOT® Snap Fastener Button 11/64" (Nickel-Plated Brass) (#333777)
  • DOT® Snap Fastener Normal Action Socket (Nickel-Plated Brass) (#333050)
  • YKK® SNAD® Fastener Adhesive-Backed Flexible Base Stud Clear 25mm (#104451)

Tools List:

  • Professional Stainless Steel 10" Scissors (#123615)
  • Clear Acrylic Ruler 6" x 24" (#102400)
  • Scribe-All® Water Soluble White Marking Pencil (#120681)
  • Sailrite® Tempered Cutting Glass (#121915)
  • Sailrite® Edge Cordless Hotknife 18V Package (#122177)
  • Sailrite® Deluxe Fabricator® Sewing Machine Package (110V) (#400600)
  • Sailrite® 3/4" Swing-Away Binder (#100102)
  • Sailrite® Drill Hole Cutter 1/8" (#121817)
  • Sailrite® Cutting Block & Die Holder (#121597)
  • Snap Fastener Installation Tool (#25204)
  • Rawhide Mallet 2# (#121546)
  • Sailrite® Snap Fastener Deluxe Installation Tool (#100949)
  • 3M™ Silane Glass Treatment AP115 4 oz. (#120678)
  • 3M™ Tape Primer 94 Adhesive Promoter — Ampule (#120671) or 8 oz. (#104166)
  • Masking Tape, Marker, Straightedge, Drill, Rags, Window Cleaner, Isopropyl Alcohol

We hope you enjoyed our how-to videos on making your own outdoor window screens. If you’re looking for more RV projects, check out our entire RV Renovation Series. We have tutorials on how to sew an RV awning, how to sew new tire covers, how to make roller shades and so much more. We’re redoing an entire RV from top to bottom, inside and out. Follow along with this exciting project series.