After spending a three-day/two-night camping trip in 100+ degree weather with blazing sunshine, we realized that we truly DID need a DIY Window Sun Shade for the front windshield and two side windows! It got unbearably hot in the Prairie Schooner!
Luckily, it was something for which we had kinda-sorta planned, and we picked up a 10′ roll of Reflectix before we left for our camping trip! (Yayyy for foresight!) I think we paid just under $35, which is a price-gouge, but we bought it at the RV Supply in town instead of at Home Depot. I guess I didn’t use quite enough foresight… (I find it on amazon for about $10 less. Linkie: Reflectix 48-Inch by 10-Feet Bubble Insulation )
Much in the manner that we did the DIY Mosquito Screen Doors , I am a free-hander and not a measurer! I stick the material up where I want it, and cut from there! 🙂
While we were camping, we just taped the whole roll across the front windshield (which was aimed East) on the outside of the glass and made sure that it performed as we were expecting. It cut the interior temperature significantly, so when we got home, I made the sun shades the next morning!
Windshield Sun Shade
The 48″ roll was a bit too wide, and we could have made-do with a 36″ roll most likely… but we had grabbed a 48″ roll so that is what we used. We used a 10′ roll and had enough spare that I am wondering what I can do with all the scraps! (Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose)
Our windshield is about 64″ wide by about 36″ tall, so I began by getting the material close to that size… the less excess you have to work around in those tight angles, the better! (Note: Measure your windshield and then ADD an extra inch so you end up with two 1/2 inch portions in each direction to stuff under the trim.)
I used blue painter’s masking tape to hold it in place while I snipped and trimmed the sheet to a very snug custom-fit. Using the wrong end of the Sharpie, I stuffed and bent the Reflectix to an approximate fit, then using the ink-end of the Sharpie I drew a line, and then cut about one bubble’s width wider than my Sharpie marking.I could have cut a bit further past the marking, as most of the front windshield has about half an inch of space under the edge of the trim with which you’ll use to hold the sun shade in place.
I started at the bottom and got it all cut and stuffed in place, and then the top was easy to snip and trim to fit.
For the rearview mirror and camera blob in the center of the windshield, I simply cut a straight slit down the middle, with a left-to-right slit not quite as wide as the mirror. (Think: of a plus sign.) Barely wide enough to noodle the mirror through, but big enough that you can then fold back the side flaps and tuck them around the camera blob. Clear as mud? Pictures below…
The side windows were even easier!
If you use your fingertips and eyes, you can tell the places where you can stuff the Reflectix under the trim, the active window (that goes up and down) does NOT have a place to stuff it under. The gaskets around the active window are too tight to use as shade retention.
Again, start at the bottom and get everything trimmed and stuffed under the edges. Then almost-close the door and run your Sharpie along the edge of the door frame, marking the leading edge (front), top, and trailing edge (back). Work your way up the leading edge, make any final adjustments to make sure you’re not interfering with the weather stripping and rain gasket – trim the top, and then trim the trailing edge last.
I found that I still needed to put one good magnet along the top of center post between the active and inactive windows. It tends to sag when the heat is in excess of 110… 8-\
Pictorial for a DIY Window Sun Shade
Thanks for following our blog! Subscribe to be kept up-to-date on the Prairie Schooner and our frugal van-dwelling adventure.
We would love to hear from you – drop us a comment below.