How to make port window screens

The one thing that drives me absolutely insane about liveaboard life is mosquitoes. After three years of living on our sailboat and over 18,500 miles of sailing my toleration for bug bites is extremely low. Learning how to make port window screens helps reduce the problem.

For boaters to avoid getting eaten alive, the first line of defense is to ensure that the boat has screens. Within this article I offer step-by-step instructions in written and video format.

Learn how to save over $83 making your own port window screens!

On Britican we have professionally made screens for some of our port windows but not all of them.

Make Port Window Screens

Make Port Window Screens

Our professionally made screens cost around $85 a pop. Being fed up with watching our savings drain down I decided to find an alternative solution – a Do It Yourself (DIY) option.

Each DIY port window screen came out to around $2.00!

Watch the video and below you’ll find the list of products used, step by step instructions and some helpful tips that are not included in the video.

How to make port window screens VIDEO

DIY port window screen materials

Note: that the links open in a new screen and are the exact products I used to make the port window screens.

  • Paper towel or paper (to make a template)
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sharpie or marker
  • Glue (I used a glue that had a permanent bond, washer dryer safe (in case they got wet) and flexible).
  • Foam sheets
  • Screen

How to make port window screens

Step 1: Make a template

Use either paper towel or a paper thin enough to see through. I use paper towel because a single sheet of paper isn’t large enough. With paper towel, I taped the towel to the widow, folded to size and where I couldn’t fold (around curved corners), I used a maker to sketch the curve.

Once the paper towel is ready, take it down and cut out any pieces to make the master template.

Check that the template works. You’ll want to make sure that the template is larger than the screen area.

The aim is to have the finished screen fit in between the port window frame. There’s a gap and we want to get the screen to squeeze into the gap allowing it to stay in place.

Trim template to get as close as possible. Make sure to make the template too big rather than too small!

Make Port Window Screen

Make Port Window Screen

Step 2: Use the template to cut out the first foam piece.

Once the foam piece is cut out, check that it fits into the window. Trim the foam until you get a good snug fit.

Make Port Window Screens

Make Port Window Screens

Step 3: Use the first foam piece to outline and cut a second foam piece.

Tip: Make sure to keep the foam pieces in line. You might want to put a TL for ‘top left’ on both of them. If they flip over the pieces might not fit perfectly.

Step 4: Cut out the middle section on the first foam piece.

Using a rule, make dots ½” from the edge towards the body of the foam piece all the way around. Connect the dots with a ruler to ensure a nice smooth line.

Cut the middle section out.

Make Port Window Screens

Make Port Window Screens

Step 5: Use the first foam piece as a template for the second foam piece

Draw a line using the first foam piece as a template. Make sure to take your time on this – the foam will move around. You want both foam pieces to match as best as possible. Cut out the second foam piece.

Step 6: Cut out a piece of screen

Tip: I suggest you cut out a piece of screen that’s larger than the foam pieces. When I first tried making a screen I cut the screen using the template. When I laid the screen on the glue it didn’t match correctly, I couldn’t move it easily and I managed to get glue all over the screen!

Make Port Window Screens

Make Port Window Screens

Step 7: Glue both foam pieces to the screen

Before gluing make sure everything lines up. Glue the bottom foam, place the screen on top and then glue the top foam and make a sandwich.

Place a heavy book over the screen and allow to dry. Once dried, cut the excess screen away and discard.

Step 8: Fit screen to port window

Once the screen is dry, fit it into the window. If it doesn’t fit well and/or bubbles towards you, you might need to trip the sides down. Cut tiny pieces away until the screen fits snuggly.

Make Port Window Screens

Make Port Window Screens

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please leave a comment below 🙂