No-Sew DIY RV Curtains For Under $100

RV blinds suck.  They will break - it’s just a question of when.

Most of our original shades were broken by year two of ownership.

Fix?

The internet is littered with advice for how to fix RV blinds. There are:

But is fixing them worth it? I didn’t want to fix our blinds for three reasons:

  1. The design is inherently poor - they rely on thin strings and tension to work properly. Any fix is temporary.
  2. Having blinds that go up and down over windows that open side to side is silly.
  3. They are ugly. RV window treatments are the main cause of RV interiors looking like assisted living facility living rooms.

Replace?

But how easy is it to replace them? Especially if you don’t have a sewing maching?

Some Googling around (and yes, searching on Pinterest) found us “no-sew” options that use fabric tape and clip-on curtain rings. All we needed to do was figure out fabric.

Most of our windows already have curtain rods. They are tucked behind the box cornices and hold the fakey curtains at the sides of the window.

I’ve never minded our cornices - they are covered in a not-too-ugly plaid material and trimmed dark gray vinyl (not brown!).

Our general plan of attack became:

  • Remove the blinds
  • Use the existing curtain rods
  • Cut fabric to fit
  • Use fabric tape on cut edges
  • Clip on to curtain rings
  • Reinstall cornices

Finding Fabric

With an installation approach roughed in, the question became where to find suitable fabric.

Ditching Suburbia Sticker

Ditching Suburbia Sticker Sticker up your RV, boat, or water bottle with these Ditching Suburbia stickers from StickerMule.

They're approximately 3" x 3" and made from premium vinyl designed for outdoor use. They can even be run through a dishwasher.

We considered:

  • Drop cloth from Lowes
  • Tablecloths
  • Office furniture company upholstery fabric

In the end it came down to the most cliched suburban house decoration approach possible - a visit to Walmart.

Living Room

For our living room we found these room darkening curtains in a color that looked like it would work with our cornices.

We did some quick window measurements and found that the width of one curtain would cover our smaller slide windows and kitchen window.

The bigger windows in the slide needed two pieces.

All in all we estimated two sets of curtains would cover all our living room windows with a bit leftover.

Once we had the actual curtains home we used our Reflectix panels to make a cutting plan.

To make our shorter curtains we cut off the tops and bottoms of the curtain sets, flipping them around so that the cut edge ended up on top. This gets hidden behind the cornice so everything that shows is a factory edge.

The fabric was a bit slippery to work with. All the factory edges weren’t straight - which was a bit freeing because our work wasn’t 100% straight either.

The fabric tape worked well on this thinner fabric. We’ll see how it holds up over time.

We used 5 clip-on curtain rings per curtain section. Any fewer and the curtain would sag too much when open.

Bedrooms

For the bedrooms we went with these thicker blackout curtains. We often end up camping or boondocking where there are bright lights outside and we wanted to block that out.

We bought two sets of these curtains as well. These were wider than the living room curtains so we ended up with more left over fabric.

Our basic approach was the same - although with the wider fabric we did cut some down and ended up with non-factory-edges showing. No big deal though.

Bunkhouse Puzzles

We had three puzzles in the bunkhouse:

  • Tall kids in skinny bunks means any curtains hanging on curtain rods get knocked off while they sleep
  • The original pleated blinds on the small bunkhouse windows still work
  • There were no cornices back here to hide our work under
Using our Reflectix plugs to make a cutting plan.

Using our Reflectix plugs to make a cutting plan.

Cornice and hardware removed. Curtain rod was there already - for the fake curtains.

Cornice and hardware removed. Curtain rod was there already - for the fake curtains.

Measuring length starting from the curtain ring.

Measuring length starting from the curtain ring.

Cutting fabric.

Cutting fabric.

Peel and stick tape for cut edges.

Peel and stick tape for cut edges.

Putting peel and stick tape on.

Putting peel and stick tape on.

Fabric tape holding down thicker blackout fabric.

Fabric tape holding down thicker blackout fabric.

Clip-on curtain rings means you don't have to sew sleeves.

Clip-on curtain rings means you don't have to sew sleeves.

Finished product closed.

Finished product closed.

Finished product open.

Finished product open.

Master bedroom blackout curtain completed.

Master bedroom blackout curtain completed.

Bunkhouse - where no one sleeps so a regular curtain will work fine.

Bunkhouse - where no one sleeps so a regular curtain will work fine.

Cutting excess fabric from Reflectix plugs.

Cutting excess fabric from Reflectix plugs.

Plugs all cut out.

Plugs all cut out.

Fabric-covered Reflectix plug in tiny bunkhouse window.

Fabric-covered Reflectix plug in tiny bunkhouse window.

Fabric-covered Reflectix plug in bunk where adult-sized boy slept.

Fabric-covered Reflectix plug in bunk where adult-sized boy slept.

Bye bye ugly blinds!

Bye bye ugly blinds!

The living room as it came from the factory.

The living room as it came from the factory.

Furniture swapped out, tree decal up on the wall, but original blinds.

Furniture swapped out, tree decal up on the wall, but original blinds.

Living room with new, no-sew DIY curtains installed.

Living room with new, no-sew DIY curtains installed.

Nicer Plugs

In the end I made a standard shade for the window by the keyboard shelf - since no one sleeps there it works fine.

For the other windows we bought some spray-glue and glued curtain fabric to the Reflectix plugs the kids were using as curtains. These sit flush against the wall so they don’t get knocked down, and with the fabric on they at least look a little nicer.

I also glued fabric to the plugs on the smallest windows - just in case those RV blinds fail.

How’s It Look To You?

We love it.

The difference from how it looked when we took delivery from the dealer is pretty drastic. Much more livable now and less “generic RV” feeling.

Total Costs

Here’s what we paid for the supplies to do our curtains:

QtyItemSubtotal
2Sets of 60” x 84” room darkening curtains$19.88
2Sets of 42” x 84” blackout curtains$19.74
6Packs of Curtain Rings$28.44
2Rolls of Fabric Fuse Tape$7.84
1Curtain Rod$.94
1Can Spray Glue$5.47
Total Project Cost (incl. 6% tax)$87.25

Other Mods

Be sure to check out the other RV modifications we’ve done.

Curious About the Costs?

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9 Comments No-Sew DIY RV Curtains For Under $100

  1. Picture of SusanneSusanneSeptember 05, 2016

    This is fantastic. Thank you. Our RV blinds are still mostly operational, but man, they’re so ugly! And dark! I think I will try this on one window and see how it goes, then move on to the rest.

  2. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkSeptember 05, 2016

    Thanks Susanne!

    One curtain should take you an hour or so all told - including pulling the existing blinds down. All in all we spent a couple hours on two different days on this project.

    It’s been so nice to get up and just push curtains aside rather than deal with blinds.

  3. Picture of John k.John k.September 10, 2016

    Thought I signed up for your email blog but haven’t received it yet.  Please accept this as a resubmit.  My wife is from paw paw, MI btw.

  4. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkSeptember 10, 2016

    Hey John -

    I can’t really add you manually. You’ll have to use the subscription form and make sure to look for the confirmation email - sometimes those go to a spam folder. Actually the newsletter might be doing the same.

  5. Picture of AmiAmiApril 11, 2017

    Hi! Thanks for sharing - looks great! I am looking to put some curtains in our 2010 Class C. There are no existing curtain rods and I’m wondering if I can get tension rods to work, instead. Not ready to take the blinds down yet, although they have suffered a bit since kids entered the picture :-)

  6. Picture of Michael BoyinkMichael BoyinkApril 12, 2017

    Thanks Ami!

    We’ve seen a number of ways to attach curtain rods so you’re sure to figure something out.

  7. Picture of Mary BarrowMary BarrowAugust 13, 2017

    We still have functional day/night curtains in our motorhome but once they fail I want to do something different. Thanks for the great and easy ideas. I was looking for inexpensive blackout curtains for my bedroom at home and couldn’t find any. You found some at Walmart that would have worked great. I didn’t pay too much more but yours are great. I will definitely be saving your suggestions.

  8. Picture of KarenKarenSeptember 22, 2017

    New to RVing and the first thing I needed to do was replace the curtains. I like your take on it, not too different from the method I chose. 

    I did sew mine from scratch and have some specialty fabric as we use the Route 66 theme in our RV. Part timers but loving it.

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