How to make solar shades with mesh window screens

Written by nathan mcginty
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If you notice that some of your rooms are becoming uncomfortably warm during the summer, installing solar shades can sometimes help. These screens are constructed of a tough, UV-resistant mesh that blocks out the sun's rays, keeping your house cooler and reducing your heating bills. Make your own solar shades by installing the mesh window screens that come in a solar shade kit.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Solar screen kit
  • Hacksaw
  • File
  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Spline roller
  • Utility knife

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Measure the window frame that will be holding the solar shades, using a tape measure. Measure both the length and the height of the window. Write these numbers down.

  2. 2

    Measure the width of the corner clips for the solar screens. Typical sizes on these clips are 1/2 and 3/4 inch. Double this number and subtract it from the window frame measurement. This will give you the length you need to cut for the frame, taking the corner clips into account. So, for example, if your window clips are 1/2 inch and your window is 30 inches, cut the frame size for 29 inches (1/2 inch x 2 = 1 inch; 30 inches - 1 inch = 29).

  3. 3

    Cut the sides of the solar screen frame down to the proper size. There will be four pieces in all: left and right sides and top and bottom. Use a hacksaw with a metal cutting blade for the best cut. Sand down the edges of the frame with a file to eliminate burrs.

  4. 4

    Assemble the frame by connecting the pieces together with the corner clips. Place the frame in the window and ensure that it fits properly.

  5. 5

    Lay the solar screen frame on a flat surface, with the channel on the back of the frame pointing upwards. Unroll the mesh window screen over the frame, ensuring that it overlaps each frame side by about an inch.

  6. 6

    Press the rounded spline into the channel at the corner of the screen with a flat-blade screwdriver or needle-nose pliers. Continue pressing the spline into place around the edge of the frame with a spline roller.

  7. 7

    Trim off any excess spline and mesh with a sharp utility knife.

Tips and warnings

  • Use caution when cutting with utility blades.

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