by Jim and Melanie
We have a car that will fit a 3″ thick foam mattress in the back with the passenger seats down. When we drive to Yellowstone National Park this summer, we’ll use that mattress for sleeping if a motel isn’t available. We aren’t campers and won’t likely do that often.
If we do sleep in the back, we will want windows open a few inches for ventilation without letting mosquitoes and other insects into the car. Ready made screens for car windows are available. We thought it would be easy to make our own the way many other people have done. Here is how we did it.
Newsprint paper was placed over the driver side window. With a marker we traced the window outline and marked where the metal of the car body met the glass. Some fiberglass screen mesh placed over the outline let us cut the mesh to size as seen here on our kitchen counter. Two mesh screens were cut. One for the driver side. The other for the passenger side.
We ordered 50 small very strong neodymium magnets to tape every few inches around the perimeter of the mesh. The magnets cost $12 from here and measured 1/4″ by 1/8″ seen here next to a coin. They are very strong. Keep them away from valuables.
We used Gaffer tape to attach the magnets to the mesh. Gaffer tape has a cloth backing and good adhesive. The cloth backing will avoid scratching the paint finish on the car.
Pieces of tape about 1.5″ long were cut from the roll then turned over. The magnet was placed one quarter of the way along the adhesive backing. The tape was placed halfway under the mesh and folded over on itself. Firm pressure was applied to assure a very good bond. This short video shows the technique.
Here is a completed screen with all the magnets around the perimeter. It is attached to the metal door to the garage to make it more visible. Notice the firm click of the magnet at the end.
Attachment to the car is quite easy as demonstrated below. Small adjustments of the magnets help to make a tight fit to the car surface so insects can’t get in. Removal is easy.
Arrange the magnet, tape, and mesh layers so the tape is the only layer between the car metal and the magnet. That gets the magnet as close as possible to the metal for a stronger grip.
Don’t roll the window down all the way. The screen is not bear, raccoon, crow, or squirrel proof.