Pop Up Camper Curtains With Air Flow Vents

Bunk end curtains for a pop up camper with mesh for ventilation.

When I made the curtains for our pop up camper, I made traditional curtains for privacy that I could open and class as needed.  However, if you want to up your game, make your curtains with air flow vents at the top of your bunk ends.  You can close your curtains at night for privacy but still have air flow throughout.

This spring, I made a set of curtains for a friend's Apache Pop Up Camper.  I decided to add mesh a the top of the bunk end curtains for ventilation.  It is a simple modification that yields functional results for a small space.  In a camper, every detail does matter.

Before you start this project or order anything, measure for your curtains.  See how to measure for your curtains below.  You are going to measure for the width of the bunk end and for the height starting at the ceiling and working to the bottom of the bunk end.

How to measure for your curtains.
These curtains have a top and side casing that holds the mesh in place with a large solid piece on the bottom.  You are cutting a top long strip and two side strips that make this casing.  This extra step will make your mesh fabric more sturdy and durable.

Pattern for vented pop up camper bunk end curtains.
To help you determine what size piece you need to cut for each section based on the measurements, I have created a spreadsheet that you can use.  The Curtain Calculator spreadsheet is built for you to enter the width and height of your measurements.  To use this spreadsheet, select File at the top of the Google Sheet that I have created and Add to My Drive so that you will have a clean copy to work with.  If you have questions or need help, reach out to me and I'll be glad to help.  The spreadsheet has all of the formulas added in.  It will do the work for you.  Just add the height you measure and the width, and you are on your way!

First, start with a fabric of your choice.  I used a sunbrella fabric for this project that my friend selected.  Sunbrella Canvas Aruba Fabric By The Yard  This fabric has a nice weight and does not necessarily need to be lined.  Also, This fabric doesn't wrinkle and works well.

The sunbrella fabric is 54 inches in width.  
You will also need some utility mesh for the vented tops.  Depending on the width of the mesh, you may need to cut two sections and sew them together.  I had to do this.  I cut two mesh pieces that were 9 inches tall.  I put them right sides together.  I sewed a straight stitch close to the edge.  I opened the fabric up and sewed the seam flat with a zig zag stitch to ensure it held well.

Once you have the fabric cut, start by attaching your mesh to the top casing and the bottom piece.  Place your mesh right sides together (mesh and top casing piece) and sew a straight stitch along the edge.  Next, fold the mesh back with the bottom piece laying down flat.  Topstitch along this edge to make the raw edges lay flat on what will be the backside.

Sew the bottom panel down to the mesh with a topstitch to make it lay flat.
Take your top casing piece that is 5 inches wide and lay it right side to the right side of the mesh at the very top.  Sew a straight stitch sewing this down.  Fold the top casing over that you have attached to meet the top of the casing on the other side.  Turn the raw edge under and pin down.  You are creating a folded over top piece that seals the mesh top.  The ends of the top casing will be open but you will seal this off with a side casing

The curtain with the mesh top attached showing the top casing.
If this seems complicated, you could fold over one edge of the casing and sew a straight stitch all the way down the width of the fabric.  Then, you could attach the raw edge of the fabric to the raw edge of the mesh before folding over and top stitching to close the top.

You can hem your casing pieces ahead of time by folding over and using the presser foot as a guide.

Once you have attached the casing, top stitch along the top edge of the curtain to make it lay completely flat.
Top stitch the very top of the top casing to make it lay flat for hanging.

Last, you will attach the side casings.  Fold-down the top of the narrow side of one of the side casing. Sew along this narrow edge to hem to the top.

Place the right sides together with the hemmed piece at the top.  Sew all the way down the long side.

Place the right sides together and sew all the way down before folding over to close.  You will want to topstich this closed edge as well.

Fold-over and pin down with the raw edge turned inward to hide the raw edge.  Carefully topstitch the entire length of the panel.

Now, take a measurement of the length of the panel you have constructed.  Based on the panel length, either trim or fold under to hem the bottom of the panel.

Attach the necessary hardware at the top of the curtains for each bunk end.  The type of curtain hardware will depend on the track system in your camper.  This was the most stressful part of the job for both my curtains and my friend's.  If you want to see the RV Curtain Hardware that I used in my camper, you can visit my Pop Up Camper Remodel Page.  For this project, I used snap tape.  Every camper is a little different.  Amazon provides lots of different options.  If you have a vintage camper, it might we wise to contact a specific parts dealer.  I contacted an Apache pop up parts house to ask questions about parts to help in this decision-making process.

Snap tape that attached to the curtain track in the camper.  Attach your track tape or pieces to the top peice of the casing.  

I'll come back and add some photos of the finished project in her Apache Camper at a later date.  Since this camper is several states away in Texas, I don't have access like I do for my own camper.

You can see the curtains that I made for our pop up camper in a two part post.  How to Make Pop-Up Camper Curtains Part 1 and How to Hanging Your Pop Up Camper Curtains feature the curtains in my own camper.

The hardest part about making curtains for any space is the measurements.  Remember these rules.
  1. Measure twice - cut once.
  2. You can cut larger and reduce the size or hem but you can't enlarge something if you cut it too small or short.  
  3. It is better to have more fabric than too little.
You will also need far more thread than you think for any project like this.  I would suggest starting with at least 4 spools of thread and it might take five.  The length of each of these pieces really uses a lot of thread.  It is amazing how quickly it goes.  You can always return what you haven't used if you end up with too much.

Also, curtains can be a pricey project.  Depending on the cost of fabric per yard, the price can really add up.  Also, the curtain hardware can really tack onto the price.  I can say from experience that having RV Curtain tracks and hardware makes it so much easier to hang.  My bunk and curtains are hung with curtain hardware for an RV.  The valances are too.  My privacy curtains are rigged with cafe rings and a traditional rod.  It is fine but the RV hardware holds up the best over time.  It is worth the money in my opinion.

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  1. I truly loved the simple explanations with your step by step pictures. I have not done a lot of sewing projects in a number of years. (Like 20+) Many thanks - Julie

    1. Thank you! I think that curtains are the easiest to sew. You can totally do it. The one thing that I recommend when working on RV curtains is using the right hardware to hang them. I think this is the mistake some people make when redoing an RV.

  2. OMG, girl, you have mad skills! I started sewing 55 years ago, and haven't been able to see a needle for way too long because of a genetic eye disorder.
    I just had corneal transplants, and it has changed my life. I can see again, and I'm hitting the road again, for the first time in 18 years.
    I can see enough to sew again, and I'm so grateful I didn't give my Featherweight, Spartan, and my White Lightweight away, because I'm about to sew up a storm for my tiny teardrop, tiny house on wheels, and the car. lol
    You inspired me right here and now.
    Thank you so much!
    Happy Trails to you, until we meet again!

    1. Hi! I'm so glad you found this to be inspiring! I do really love sewing. I hope your project goes well. And, I'm glad that you are able to hit the road again and enjoy some hobbies that you find fun. Happy camping and sewing!

  3. I'm so glad I found your blog! I am in the final stages of our pop up camper remodel and curtains are one of the last things on my list. I am curious as to how wrinkle resistant the Sunbrella Canvas fabric is. If I gonna spend my time and money on new curtains I don't want to look at wrinkled curtains every time we camp! Thanks!


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