Ok… I know what you’re thinking… “Another post about the curtains???” 😉 Here’s the thing… when I started blogging last year, I had no idea that my curtain tutorial would be my most popular post. I honestly get so many comments and e-mail questions about my curtains, and it occurred to me that maybe I didn’t do a very good job the first time around explaining just how I made our camper curtains and valances. If you missed that post, you can find it here, and if you’re already familiar with that post, I hope this one will clear up any questions you might have about just how we made (and hung) the curtains and valances in our pop up camper.
Let’s talk about the curtains first. Curtain fabric can get pretty expensive. I ended up purchasing 15 yards of cotton duck cloth fabric to make my panels. It’s pretty heavy stuff and it does a great job insulating the camper. I was lucky enough to happen across a local home fabric store when they were going out of business, so I only paid $2.50 for my first 7 yards. When I went back to purchase additional material, my fabric was clearanced even more, so I got my last 8 yards for $1.50 each. The cost of the curtain fabric was under $30! If you aren’t lucky enough to come across a deal like that, check closeout stores for curtain (or shower curtain) panels. They can often be a cost effective way to get fantastic looking pop up camper curtains. When it came to making the actual curtains, I didn’t use the original panels as a pattern because I wanted mine to be longer and wider than the old ones. I added several inches of length and width to my new panels, and the new ones are fuller and longer. I’d highly recommend doing that if you can, as it gives your drapes a custom look, but it also means they’ll close easily in the middle without any gaps. You can check Part One for more details on how I made our panels.
The new curtains are also fully lined with blackout material. I love how this keeps the camper darker in the mornings, helps keep the heat at bay, and gives us a little more privacy at night than thinner curtains do–but it is an added cost. I purchased my blackout liner at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. It was originally $4.99/yard, but I got it for $2.99/yard. I did have to purchase 15 yards of this as well, but I think it was money well spent. If your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase blackout liner, look for a heavier curtain fabric. You’ll thank me later!
I chose to go with a solid color on my curtain panels, but I really wanted to incorporate some color and pattern into the valances. I purchased Waverly Paisley Prism Twill in Latte from my local JoAnn Fabrics. I haven’t been able to find it on JoAnn online anymore, but some stores still carry it. I’ve also seen it on Amazon and Fabric.com, so if you are looking for the same fabric–check there!
I honestly cannot remember how much fabric I purchased for the valances, but I can give you the measurements and a rough outline of how I made them. First, I cut strips of fabric 13 inches high. To determine the length of each panel, I took the measurement of the sections of my valance track and multiplied it by 1.5–so for my 10 foot sections, I cut a 15 foot long by 13 inch high panel. Then I added a 1/2″ double fold hem to the bottom and sides and a 2 inch hem to the top.
To gather the valance panels, I made a 1″ casing about an inch from the top of the panel. Then I took 3/4″ elastic and cut it to the desired length–for this panel, it was 10 feet, the same as the length of the track. I threaded the elastic through the casing and secured it at both ends. Then I had a finished valance panel that was 10 inches high by 10 feet long.
Our camper has a track for the curtains and a separate track for the valances. The valance track is smaller than the curtain track, and it requires smaller glide clips. We were not able to save the tabs from the old valances, but we did find this glide tape, which worked perfectly. I simply sewed the glide tape to the back of the panels, right over the casing. Although this flattens the gathers a bit, it also helps the valance keep its shape. When the elastic starts to wear and stretch out after a few years, the valances won’t sag because the gathers are basically sewn into place and not depending on the stretch of the elastic to hold their shape. To finish it off, I added a small elastic loop at the each end of the valance. This helps secure the valance at each end when it is hung in the camper.
Here’s a closeup shot of the curtain track piece in our Santa Fe. You can see the piece has an upper track for the valances and a lower track for the curtains. For the lower track, we use a hook and ring method, which I detailed in Part One. There were c-clips attached to the original curtain panels, and they slid along the curtain track. I removed those c-clips from the old curtain panels and attached a small clear Command Hook to each one with plastic epoxy. To do that, we first sanded each c-clip on our belt sander to rough it up a bit.
UPDATE: I’ve found that these carrier clips match the original Coleman track pretty well. You can snap them in to RV curtain glide tape, which you can sew on the back of your curtains. If you’ve been looking for those pricey and hard-to-find Coleman c-clips, this may be your answer. They are available on Amazon here or through Canvas Replacements.
If you don’t have a belt sander, regular old sandpaper works just fine. You basically want a rough surface so your plastic epoxy will adhere well.
Then we took some plastic epoxy–we like this Devcon Plastic Welder–and attached the Command hooks. We used one c-clip at each end of the track to serve as a stopper. On those clips, we offset the hook a bit so that we could staple the c-clip to the curtain track. Once your epoxy is set, you can thread all your clips onto the curtain track and staple a stopper at each end. All but the stopper clips should slide freely on the track. As a side note, we originally used the adhesive tabs that came with the Command hooks, but they were an epic fail. The adhesive didn’t hold up well, and I would find little plastic hooks all over the camper. The epoxy does a much better job! 🙂
To hang the curtains, I sewed small drapery rings across the tops of the panels. You can find these little drapery rings at any fabric store in the drapery department. They were fairly cheap, and they fit the Command hooks perfectly.
Now all you have to do is loop a drapery ring over each hook, and you’re set! You can remove your curtains for cleaning, and they will still slide open and closed easily. They stay in place perfectly while we are camping, too. I love this system!
Now, to hang the valance, just slide the glide tape clips along the valance track and secure the elastic loops on a hook at each end of the track. Over the bunkends, we don’t have a valance track. The original valances were attached to the ceiling with Velcro, so we stuck with that same system.
There is hook Velcro on the camper, and I sewed loop Velcro on the valances. We just attach the valance to the ceiling with the Velcro and secure the elastic loops at each end. Easy-peasy! 🙂
I made a few curtain tie-backs with my leftover valance fabric to “tie” it all together. Hahaha! 😛 Sorry, that was bad… but seriously, isn’t it amazing how much difference changing out the curtains makes? With just a few yards of fabric, we added some much needed color to our little pop up. It’s a pretty easy thing to do and really makes a big impact.
I hope that answers any lingering questions you might have had after my first post. Have you changed the curtains in your pop up camper? I’d love to see what you’ve done! You can e-mail me pictures or post them on our Facebook page.
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. The Pop Up Princess is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means that if you choose to purchase an item from a link in this post, The Pop Up Princess earns a small advertising fee to help pay for future projects and posts… so thank you! 🙂