Homemade Thermal Window Shades

Simple, money-saving thermal window shades made from insulated fabric with Velcro edging keeps temperatures moderate and eliminates window heat waste.

  • Thermal Window Shades
    Homemade thermal window shades can be as decorative as they are functional. When Velcro strips are used as fasteners, the quilted shades can be placed on the windows without interfering with existing drapes or shutters.
    Photo by Mike Westbrook and MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
  • Velcro Straps
    A close-up view demonstrates how the Velcro strips are placed on the window frame.
    Photo by Mike Westbrook and MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
  • Sleeping Bag
    When not needed as a window treatment, this shade becomes a snuggly quilted sleeping bag for the baby.
    Photo by Mike Westbrook and MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff
  • Design Variations
    The design variations are limited only by your imagination. Here, a cattail appliqué dresses up the Westbrooks' bedroom window shade.
    Photo by Mike Westbrook and MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff

  • Thermal Window Shades
  • Velcro Straps
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Design Variations
Are valuable Btu seeping out through your windows? Well, you can keep them in with money-saving thermal shades . . . and you can do so at one-tenth the cost of buying ready-mades!

When MOTHER EARTH NEWS-reader Mike Westbrook of Kirkwood, Missouri wrote to tell us about the homemade thermal window shades that he and his wife whipped up after seeing costly commercial models at an energy show, we were intrigued . . . and decided to come up with an easy-to make, inexpensive window blanket that our other readers could duplicate.

The Westbrooks' window cover (see Image Gallery) consists of two layers of fabric surrounding another two layers of polyester quilt batting. (The whole affair was tie-quilted to keep the filling from shifting.) Mike attached the shade to the window using Velcro brand fastening tape, which was stapled to the frame and affixed along the back edges of the quilt . . . and, as a result, Mike's thermal covering is versatile as well as attractive: He and his wife sewed the Velcro onto the shade in such a way that it could be folded to serve as either a child-sized sleeping bag or a puffy pillow cover when it wasn't screening out gusts of wind.

What's more, Mike claims that his thermal shades moderate room temperature — in 30 degree Fahrenheit weather — by as much as 15 degrees. And a window quilt for a fair-sized single unit cost the Westbrooks only $23.16, a price that included all of the fabric and batting.

Well, we liked Mike's idea so much that we set out to see if we could 

10/29/2018 12:37:48 PM

Would these be good keeping the sun and heat out of my Florida Room?n

George Lampke
1/20/2009 9:49:15 PM

Thank you! I used the Refectix with muslin on the inside. I added a 5" wooden pullley for tension which uses less pressure when pulling down on the cord. I was also able to eleminate the metal pipe (which helps feed the shade into the tracks) by cutting a 45 degree taper at the bottom of the top trim piece. Works nicely AND my wife likes it too! George

12/2/2008 7:10:56 PM

I've just made a few of these and have found using felt backed vinyl table cloths works well. You can get really large ones at Walmart for $5. I use the felt side as the right side out, and the vinyl as the vapor lining, reducing the bulk.



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