Although I already have a curtain in the van, the purpose of these will be to keep condensation to a minimum when sleeping in the van, keep heat out on sunny days and darken the van whilst I’m sleeping.
Thermal suction cups: o
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0:00 – Intro
0:16 – Measuring the windows and making templates
1:13 – Making a prototype
1:27 – Making the windows covers
1:47 – Checking the fit and adjusting
2:28 – Cutting out a second layer of reflectix
3:44 – Carpeting the window covers
5:17 – Adding edges to the window covers
8:40 – Adding suction cups
9:36 – Testing the covers out!
I started this project by measuring the van windscreen, the two large side windows and the two small side windows, to make sure that I had enough materials. These are the only windows in my van, so I would be making two sets of identical side window covers and one large cover for the windscreen. With the windows measured, I made templates to work from. Sliding pieces of paper into the edge of the window, I worked my way round the window and, once I had covered all of it, drew the edge of the window onto the paper.
I then trimmed the edges of the paper to leave an accurate outline of the side windows and the windscreen. I temporarily stuck the small side window template to the foil insulation with some masking tape, so I could cut round the edge. I then did the same for the windscreen. Because the Thermawrap insulation is only 60cm wide, and the NV200 windscreen is 79cm from top to bottom, I had to compromise and make up the difference with another piece of insulation. I taped along the side which would face the window with some aluminium foil tape to hide where the pieces join together.
After lining them up in the van again I was finally happy with the fit. I could now cut out the second side window cover, copying it from the first one, in the knowledge that they would both fit perfectly. My next step was to double up the insulation by gluing a second layer to each piece. This will help improve their insulation properties as well as strengthening the covers.I stuck the pieces together using Trimfix high temperature contact adhesive and then trimmed them down to match the first layer after I had applied the glue. This left a really nice edge.
With the insulation finished, I began carpeting the opposite side that would face inside the van. Whilst carpeting isn’t necessary, I thought I would as I had some leftovers. If I got any contact adhesive on the carpet, I used a bit of white spirit to wipe it off. Having done the large side windows and the windscreen, I completed the small side windows, also known as the quarter glass, in the same way. I would be using 25 mm wide fabric to create a neat edge along the covers and whilst I considered sewing this edge on, as I don’t have a sewing machine it would have been a lot of work so I opted to use contact adhesive again. I sprayed contact adhesive onto both the cover edge and the fabric edge and, once the solvent had evaporated, worked my way round carefully pressing them together for a neat finish.
At the corners, I made cuts to get rid of the excess fabric and it worked out quite neatly. I could then turn the cover over and repeat the process to complete the edge.
I could now think about attaching them to the van windows. I purchased a set of really good suction cups online, and these push through the covers leaving the cup on the foil side and a small yet practical handle on the carpet side. They have a collar on the middle of the handle which covers the hole, leaving a neat look to the covers.
I took the cover to the van and it fitted and stuck really well. Whilst there, I realised that the side windows were rigid and a tight enough fit to stay in place by themselves, so I haven’t added any suction cups to them at this point. The small quarter glass covers stay in place on their own too.
For a homemade DIY attempt at making thermal blackout camper van window covers, I’m thrilled with the results and I’ve no doubt that the covers will do a great job at keeping the condensation to a minimum at night and keeping the sun out during the day.
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#Vanlife #NissanNV200 #LensOfJames
DISCLAIMER: In this video, I am in no way stating that this is the proper way to undertake the conversion of a van, however after research and experience using the van, I believe this to be the way that is best suited to my van and the way I intend to use it.