The quick and easy method for a DIY Mosquito Screen Doors solution for our Prairie Schooner. While the $100 price tag is not necessarily cheaper than the people who are using the single-garage bay door screens, this made an exact fit and covered both door openings with material to spare. (Pending: We will use the scraps to make two screens for the driver’s and passenger’s front windows! I think we have enough of everything to make these two items – I know we can make at least ONE! Link to Window Screen)
Materials and Costs:
- $60 for a big roll of SOLAR SHADE window screen at Home Depot. The thicker screen appears to be less expensive than the thinner (non-solar blocking) screen. The screen we bought claims to be an 80% sunshine blocking screen. Linkie:Phifer 36″ by 25′ roll of 80% at Home Depot
- $40 in Velcro (30′ of both white loop and black hook, bought separately. Our Transit is white, so I wanted white loop to stick to it.) Links listed below:
- Sewing Machine (Although, I have read where folks have success using a desk stapler and stapling the hooks onto the screen.)
Method: (This Fit OUR 2016 Ford Transit Cargo – YMMV)
Warning: I love magnets and have many of them. I have very strong magnets, too. You might need to invent some alternate way of holding your screen in place while you measure and adjust. Duct Tape might work, but it is not a long-term installation product – it won’t hold the screen up for very long.
Purchase screen. Our doors are 60 inches wide on the side slider and 69 inches wide on the back barn style doors. I chose a roll of screen that was 36″ wide so I could simply cut to length and leave a couple inches to overlap in the center (for the pass-through slit) and still have a couple inches of slack for more flexible choices on where to secure the mosquito netting to the van door frame. It was a roll of 25′ (feet) long.
Cut to 75″ lengths leaves enough surplus at the top to attach where ever you choose to secure the top, and enough spare at the bottom to drop below the door frame and drape without needing secured at the bottom. You can Velcro the bottom, or leave it loose, or use magnets to hold it down like I will be doing. (Caveat: Pay attention to the length at the bottom on the slider door. Its not funny when you’re closing the door and it yanks your test fit down an balls it up on the ground… there is a live track that the door travels IN just under the step.)
Installation Note: A 25′ roll, cut exactly into quarters, makes four 75″ curtains, which is plenty long enough for all sorts of adjustments, OR you can measure yours more precisely and have enough spare to cover the front windows!
Magnet up over doors and align the two pieces with the pass-through slit where you want it.
Cut to fit. Be careful when cutting things to fit – I left as much excess as I could, and only cut the extra stuff off after everything was installed and completed. Measure twice, cut once.
Pin black hook Velcro on screen with hooks facing the metal door frame. I did the pinning with big sewing pins and did it while the screen was held in place against the door frame. You just need to hold the Velcro in place on the screen until you get it secured permanently…
Affix Velcro to screen. I used a sewing machine. I happened to still have mine handy, even though I had gotten rid of most of my thread already in the Minimalism Purge.
Attach white loop Velcro to the sewn-on hooks of the screen, leaving a 1/4″ overhang at each end, if possible. This allows for a smidge of “Fudge Factor” if your sewing skills are suspect or you later wish you had adjusted things a bit differently. 😉
Clean the van door frame area with alcohol to ensure a good adhesion! I used just plain ol’ 90% rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to clean the area.
Place assembled screen-and-Velcro-sandwich back over the door hole and adjust to preferred placement, using magnets, BEFORE removing the plastic cover from the adhesive of the white loop Velcro.
Once you are positive that you have the positioning correct, remove the cover from the adhesive and secure the white loops to the van door frame. Leave it stuck to the black hooks, and you’ll be almost guaranteed that you’re getting the white loops in the correct location!
Step back and admire your handiwork. (Trim any excess screen that you left behind.)
Tip up a cold Shiner Black in celebration! You have successfully completed the DIY Mosquito Screen Doors project!
Allow the white Velcro’s adhesive backing to fully adhere for a day or two before pulling the Velcros apart the first time.
Optional: Insert a small wisp of spare Velcro into the headline, to allow for rolling the door up and out of the way! We want to “store” our mosquito screen on the top of the door frame, instead of removing it entirely and trying to invent some place to store it. (I had a couple cable management straps of Velcro that we recycled into screen door storage.)
Optional: We will be putting some magnet tape in the center slit so it will self-seal. We find that it tends to billow in the breeze and remain ajar for mosquito entry.
Note: With one of the bedside outlets being so close to the back door, I reversed the direction on that little flap of screen and put the Velcro on the outside of the door frame. Not so much for easy access to the outlet, but because it created a better “seal” against the door frame – I envisioned a stampede of mosquitoes directly onto my face as I slept… LOL!
Note: The sun blocking aspect works well and the screen does indeed reduce the sunshine streaming into the open doors; however, the thicker screen seems to also reduce the amount of airflow passing through… you’ll need to weigh which fits your needs best – more sunshine AND more air with a regular screen OR less sunshine and less air with the solar screen.
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