School bus windows are really drafty. They can make living in a school bus conversion during colder nights rough even for the skoolies with good insulation.
Also, the windows can be a big source of heat during the summer, especially if your skoolie’s windows are tinted like ours.
We found this Insul-Shine insulated fabric. We thought it might be a good idea to back our curtains with it to go against the windows.
We couldn’t have made a better decision!
The Insul Shine material adds a good layer of insulation to the back of the curtains and acts just like hanging a good blanket over the window would
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Benefits of Skoolie Insulated Curtains
1) Stay Cool in Summer
In the summer, it stops nearly all the heat from the sun from coming into the bus. The windows can be scolding to the touch, but with the insulated skoolie window curtains closed – you can’t feel the heat even if you push hard against the curtain!
2) Stay Warm in Winter
In the winter, it blocks the the cold from radiatiating off the windows and into the bus. Again, room temperature to the touch on the side of the curtain facing the inside of the bus. We lived our first winter in the skoolie in Wisconsin. We had 6 months of cold temperatures requiring us to fire up our Cubic Mini wood stove and without the insulated curtains, I don’t think we would have survived.
3) Block Drafty Winds
Let’s face it, school bus windows are more drafty than a those you can find in an old 1800’s Victorian house that’s been neglected for the past 30 years. You might not notice it too much in the spring, summer, and fall, but if you ever get to experience freezing temperatures in a skoolie – you will know how drafty they can be! That’s where making insulated curtains was one of the smartest things we’ve done. Although we did several things to winterize the skoolie and get ready to survive the Wisconsin snowy winter months, the insulated curtains helped block a lot of colder drafts!
4) Added Privacy
The fourth benefit was privacy. When our skoolie window curtains are all completely closed, you cannot see that we have all the lights on in the bus unless you look up at the skylights. When we put up our skylight insulated curtains, it looks like a deserted bus. It blocks all views into the bus, which is nice to know that somebody can’t sit outside and watch our every movement. We also found noises were reduced from both from outside-in and from inside-out, further adding to the privacy.
How to Make Insulated Curtains for a School Bus Conversion
Here is what you need and how to make custom insulated curtains for a school bus conversion.
1) Measuring & Cutting Your Fabric
Measure your windows & cut your fabric. Add your desired extra width inches.
The normal amount of fabric to add to the width is 2 1/2 times the measurement… but, we live in a bus so we added 6″ to give a smidge of a drapey feel and to save fabric. Also, make sure to add in another 2 inches to the width on top of the number above to make your folds.
For the length, add an inch for the bottom fold and at least an 1 1/2″ to the top, depending on what you are using to hang your curtains.
Just cut the curtain material for now, we will cut the Insul Shine later.
2) Folding & Pressing
Fold in your sides and bottom 1/2″ then another 1/2″. Use the iron to press this down. Fold your top 1/2″ then another 1″ and press this down.
3) Measure & Cut Insul Shine Insulated Fabric
Measure the length and width on the inside of your fabric, as the Insul Shine insulated fabric will be sewn to the fabric on the fold. Then, cut your Insul Shine fabric to those dimensions. When I was making our curtains, I added a few inches onto the sides when cutting the insulated fabric so I made sure the Insul Shine was going to fit inside the fabric. If there was extra fabric that didn’t fit inside, I would simply cut off the excess.
4) Pin Insul Shine to Fabric & Start Sewing
Take your sewing pins and start pinning the curtain fabric to the insulated fabric. Make sure you leave enough room on the top of the curtain to fit your fishing line or your curtain rod through. Start sewing!
5) How to Hang Skoolie Curtains
We drilled into the metal right next to the window, tied our fishing line around the eye hook, and put the eye hook into the metal. We drilled a hole and hung eye hooks in between every window to give it extra support so the curtain didn’t sag. Then, we strung the fishing line through the top of the curtain, through the eye hook, and through the next curtain.
As we were finishing up a row of windows, we measured how much more fishing line we needed (the more, the better. You can always shorten it later). Then, we tied the fishing line to the eye end of the turnbuckle. Make sure the turnbuckle is all the way loose, so when you hook the end of the turnbuckle to the final eye hook of the string of curtains, you can tighten it so the curtains do not sag.
That’s it! Here are our finished insulated skoolie curtains! Let us know if you made it like us or a different way down and how it went in the comments below!