How to Make Pleated Shades for RV Windows

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RV owners would like to treat their RVs as if they were living in it, like they are in their own home. Who can blame them, after all, while on the road, the RV is their home away from home? With all the amenities an RV can offer, it is a great place to relax while traveling. There are a few things, however, that an RV owner needs to add to give the RV that homey feeling. One of those is putting window coverings that can offer privacy and protection from harsh sunlight. A pleated window shade can do just that. This project uses materials that are readily available in craft and home improvement stores. Follow these steps to add a decorative touch to your RV.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Poster paper board
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Velcro tape (hook and loop)
  • Clothespin (wooden or plastic)
  • Measure the RV windows that you want to cover.

  • Cut your poster board paper to size. In this example, you will make a pleated window shade for a small window, measuring 12 inches high by 24 inches wide. Cut the paper with an extra 1 inch on each side (left and right, top and bottom) for folding allowance to give it sturdy ends and corner. Therefore, your cut should measure 14 inches high by 26 inches wide.

  • Fold all sides along the extra 1-inch allowance. Use a ruler and your thumb to give it a crease. Apply glue on the inside of each 1-inch flap and then run your hand across to ensure that the glue sticks to the poster paper.

  • Mark every 1 inch along the side for the height using a pencil. You should end up with 11 lines. These will be your marks for your folds to create the pleats.

  • Fold the poster paper horizontally using the marks as your guide. Make sure that the folds are straight. Use a ruler and your fingers to guide and make the crease and pleats. Fold until the last mark, use two or three heavy books, and lay them down the folded poster board paper. Leave them on the paper for about 10 minutes. By doing so, you are ensuring that the pleats will fold flat and the glue you place on the folded allowance will dry faster. Remove the books after 10 minutes.

  • Cut two pieces of Velcro tape (hook and loop) about 22 inches in length each. Place the Velcro's sticky side on the top frame of the window, and then the matching Velcro you can stick or glue on the top folded allowance. Make sure to leave 1 inch on each side without the Velcro, to give room for the clothespin. You can accomplish this by marking 1 inch on each side of the top fold, and then place the Velcro right after the 1 inch on the left and before the 1 inch on the right, making it evenly centered. Do the same for the bottom part, stick one side to the bottom part of the window frame and the matching Velcro to the bottom folded allowance. By placing Velcro on the top and at the bottom, the pleated window shade will stay in place.

  • Stick the matching Velcro's hoop to the loop, first on the top and then at the bottom. When you need to get more light in, you can lift the bottom part of the shade carefully so that it will disconnect from the Velcro, and then fold up the pleats all the way to the top part. Place a clothespin on each side to hold them into place.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use fabric. Choose fabrics that can hold a fold and pleats easily, for example, use denim fabric. You can sew on a linen backing to the fabric, and then spray with starch before folding. The starch will make the fabric crisp so that it will take the fold and pleats. Poster papers come in different colors and sizes. There are also fade-less poster papers available in craft stores. For bigger windows, you can use two or more pieces for easier handling. Clean with a dry cloth or feather duster.
  • For windows close to your stove, make sure to draw up the pleated window shade before cooking to prevent fires.

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  • Photo Credit JBorlongan, xandert/Morguefile, 1stqualityschoolsupplies, wikimedia, Eloquence/publicDomain
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