Van Conversion: How to Install your Windows DIY

mount windows camper van DIY

Do you have a Van you’d like to convert but it doesn’t have the windows you’d like?

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about installing totally DIY windows for your future RV!



Do-It-Yourself Windows: Where to Start?

One of the first steps in truck camouflaging is definitely making sure we have the windows we need for the intended use of our vehicle. In fact, every self-respecting home, even on wheels, has windows that help us ventilate the rooms and let in the sunlight.

If you have or have purchased a vehicle with the windows already set up in the right places, perfect, one less job! If, on the contrary, you end up with a vehicle without windows, as happened to me, don’t worry: as you will understand well on your own during the conversion route, it is always possible to make a few more holes ?

In this article, I’ll walk you through step-by-step how I added three windows to my VW Crafter and how you can do it on your vehicle too!

Happy reading ?


1. Tools you’ll need

Below you’ll find all the products and tools you’ll presumably need to mount Do-It-Yourself Windows on your future RV.

For your convenience, clicking the image of any product, it will directly open the Amazon page ,if you should also be interested in buying it or just interested in understanding the qualities of the products you need.

For the sake of transparency, I would like to point out that I participate in the Amazon Associate program and that ,for any purchase made through the links on this site, I receive a small commission that I use to support the costs of this blog, obviously at no extra-cost to you 🙂 )


Adhesive Sealant for Crystal

From my experience, one tube of window glue is sufficient.

Primer for Glass/Sheet Metal

Primer is used to prepare surfaces for better adhesion.

convert a van windows DIY

I recommend more than one steel/iron blade, they are easy to break.

Parallel Flat File

The faithful friend always useful whenever you’re cutting metal.

vanlife DIY angle grinder
Angle Grinder

To cut thicker metal bars (depends on your vehicle)

sheet metal scissors windows van camper DIY
Sheet Metal Scissors

Useful for finishing the cut of the hole after the jigsaw

camperglass windows for DIY camper projects
CE windows suitable for your vehicle

CE certification is mandatory if you are aiming for a homologation

U-Trim Rubber Protection

To cover the cutting area and elegantly finish the interior

car canvas tape
Car Adhesive Tape

To hold the windows steady long enough for the glue to pull.

Metal bucket saw

To keep drill holes in the sheet metal before cutting with the hacksaw.

silicone gun
Gun for Silicones and Glues

To Apply the Adhesive Glue Needed to Stick the Windows Together

2. Buying the Right Windows for Your Vehicle

Italian bureaucracy to homologate a van


Before you start with the installation, you will obviously need to get the right windows for your vehicle model. Ask yourself what windows are available for the van you want to convert, what position you prefer them in (depending on how you plan your conversion), and how many you need.

To find the right windows alas, you will have to spend some time for a good research: in Italy the ecosystem for DIY campers is only at the beginning of its development and often it is not as easy as elsewhere to find the materials we need.

If your vehicle is not a Fiat Ducato, from my experience I can tell you that it is not easy to find the right windows, but not impossible either.

After much searching through dealers and prices, I found this English dealer CamperGlass. I contacted them and they confirmed that they do international mailings. Seeing the very competitive prices and that in addition to the windows they also sold kits for DIY assembly, I decided to trust them and order the windows for my van from them.

The windows arrived in two weeks, perfectly packaged, CE marked and ready to be installed, I personally found the quality of the windows excellent.

Therefore, if you are also looking for windows for your van, I can recommend Camperglass, they are very serious and have windows for almost any van model (Ford, VW, Ducato, Sprinter etc.). The only downside, is that if you don’t speak English you may have to use Google Translator to answer some emails to arrange shipping 😉

Me I bought two rear windows and a side window for my VW Crafter. I’ll leave you with the photos below to give you an idea of what I received. In addition to the windows I also ordered: U-Trims (the rubbers to put around the windows), Specific Glue for Windshields/Windows and a specific Primer to prepare the surfaces before applying the windows.

If you do not find what you need with Camperglass or you prefer to buy from Italy (saving you the practice of having to pay VAT in the UK and then ask for a refund), I can recommend to have a look onEbay, Subito o CamperFaidaTe.

Once you’ve found your windows, you’ll be ready for the fun part…assembly! 😀

3. Cut the Hole for the Windows of Your Van

Cutting the hole for the windows in the sheet metal, is definitely one of the most fun yet stressful moments in all of camperization.

The thought of cutting up a newly purchased vehicle, even a second-hand one, alone puts a bit of a damper on things. After all, once pierced there’ s no going back!

That said, from my experience I can say that not only is it possible to assemble your own windows, but it’s also possible to do it well being a novice! So, take a deep breath, and read on to find out all the tricks you need to take and tips for doing a bang-up job!


Warnings, meditation, prayers … prepare yourself with what you think is best, but finally the big day has arrived and a hole is to do!

Having some anxiety is normal, but don’t freak out – put things in perspective!

All you’re going to do is add a window to your van and I swear, if I could do it without any prior knowledge you can certainly do it too!

That said, before you start cutting, it’s important to take a few precautions.


3.2 identify the area to be cut, and protect the rest

Usually most vans already have the shape of the windows pre-installed in the sheet metal, and from inside the vehicle you can perfectly distinguish the area to be cut.

In the case of my VW Crafter, all I had to do was cut following the line already on the doors of my van.

cutting windows retro vw crafter camper van

Before starting to cut it is very important to check over and over again that the cutting area is correct for the windows in our possession (after all ,a hole is forever, like a diamond 😉 ).

To verify the correct hole size just do a quick Google or Youtube search on your van model. Similarly, leaning the crystal you bought against the wall of the van, it will immediately jump out at you what the correct area to cut is.

Once you have identified and marked the cutting area, I recommend that you protect the surrounding areas with a simple painter’s cloth to prevent splinters or sparks from scratching or ruining the rest of the vehicle.

As a general advice, useful throughout the conversion of your van, I want to advise you to prevent any mess and always protect the parts you are not working on (spread a little glue, take in with a tool, scratch something by accident etc.. It happens and will always happen, but trying to predict possible damage it can be done ?

3.3 Perform Cutting: grinder, hole saw and hacksaw

Depending on the vehicle you’re planning to convert, the sheet metal will be easier to cut and you may find structural aluminum supports in your cutting area (as was the case with my Crafter, photo below). To get rid of thicker supports, what I have found to be most suitable is the use of a angle grinder. If you don’t already have one, I recommend getting one because it’s a tool you’ll find yourself using over and over again throughout your build.

I found it easy to cut the metal brackets in 4 different places (marked with scotch tape) and then simply pry with a flat fileto pull them away from the wall. If this is your first time using a grinder, I recommend this video tutorials to learn how to assemble and use them safely. Also, don’t forget to use safety glasses.

cutting with angle grinder camperization
remove vanlife window supports

Once the thicker supports are removed, the outer sheet metal can be cut fairly easily with a jigsaw metal saw blade. Before cutting with a jigsaw though, there are some precautions to take.

For start cutting, you’ll need a large enough hole in which to insert the hacksaw blade. These holes are very easy to make using a wide-tip drill, or better yet, a holesaw for metals. The hole saw I’ve noticed makes it much easier to get to the corners or at any rate those non-linear parts of the windows.

Take a deep breath, and let’s go – it’s time for your first hole!

cutting with angle grinder camperization
f aaa isa saw cup vanlife italy
window hole van van with hole saw
hole isa and dani vanlife

Once you’ve done the first hole, you’ll see how much easier it will be to do the next ones lightly, it will even be fun 😉

Once you have the holes you need to insert the hacksaw blade, before cutting, cover the base of the hacksaw and all sharp corners of the tool with a soft material and scotch tape to make it easier tocut. avoid unintentional scratches to the sheet metal: it is easy for the blade to jump out of the guide from time to time and hit the sheet metal.

At the same time, having to cut curved and irregular areas, sometimes the body of the hacksaw will bump and vibrate against the sheet metal. By wrapping the metal parts of the hacksaw with softer materials, you will be able to avoid unnecessary scratches to the sheet metal (I discovered this late unfortunately…. 🙁 ).

Again, use safety goggles! The grinder produces sparks, while with the hacksaw chunks of metal can go off in all directions. Personally, I recommend that you wear glasses whenever you use these tools to cut metal.

Once you’ve taken the appropriate precautions, it’s time to cut! Steady hand, calm and have fun!


cutting windows
hole isa and dani vanlife
remove the window camper van
diy camper van window

4. Cut the Hole for the Windows of Your Van

If you have done everything correct so far, your van will already look much more ventilated than before 😉

Now it’s time to prepare the newly made hole before applying the windows.



4.1 A smooth, linear edge

If you have done everything correct so far, your van will already look much more ventilated than before 😉

Now it’s time to prepare the newly made hole before applying the windows.

First, it is important to make the walls of the hole as smooth and linear as possible, without waves. This can be done by touching up the edges with the jigsaw, or for minor differences in height with sheet metal scissors or simply with our faithful flat file.

Once the shape of the window is sufficiently straight, it’s important to make all the edges flatter with the file, so that they are rounded and not extremely sharp. It takes a little elbow grease but it’s important to file the edges so the primer adheres well in the next step and to avoid rust in the future.


window file camper van
diy camper van window

4.2 Applying Primer or Rust Remover

Whenever you cut a metal part of your van, it’s important to file it down and treat it with rust inhibitor and paint.

This process is done to prevent the live metal from being affected by rust in the future (one of the most common problems in DIY camper vans).

In our case, we applied the same black primer to the edge of the hole that we later used to prepare the bonding area, as recommended by the manufacturer (Camperglass).

If you don’t have a suitable anti-rust primer, you can always use an anti-rust for sheet metal and once dry, a metal paint.


window file camper van
anti-rust primer camperize

4.3 Apply U-Trim to finish the edge

Once the rustproofing is dry and the edge nice and straight, it will be time to cover the entire cutting area with the U-Trim, a U-shaped piece of rubber made specifically for finishing the window outline.

Depending on your van you will need a slightly wider or narrower piece of U-Trim. In the case of my VW Crafter, a 1.2cm diameter piece worked great.


u trim windows camper DIY
u trim windows camper DIY

To ensure good adhesion, bend the rubber piece back slightly as you thread it over the metal edges, this will make spreading much easier and also quicker. Once you’ve covered the entire edge of the window, use your fists to make sure all the perimeter is firmly in place.


5. Glueing the Windows: Primer, Crystal Glue and Suitable Scotch

5.1 Apply Primer to Bonding Area

At this point we’re almost at the end of the first step to convert our van: the windows!

Before applying the glue however, it is good to clean well the surfaces of our vehicle with alcohol, and use a primer to prepare the surfaces so that the glue will have a stronger grip.

To do a painstaking job, I recommend applying primer to both the sheet metal of the vehicle and the window surface that will be in contact with the glue. Once the primer is dry (it takes a few minutes to dry), we’ll be ready to put on the glue.


u trim windows camper DIY
black primer for camper windows

5.2 Paste Windows

The windshield glue is very strong, and you do not need to put a lot to hold the windows (we have more than exaggerated, a coachman seeing the photos told us that it was not necessary), a continuous line is more than enough.

Putting the glue is definitely the most delicate step of the whole process of installing windows and must be done well to avoid water infiltration. These are some tips I can leave from my experience:

  • The line of glue should be continuous around the entire perimeter of the window (if there are holes, water will seep in)
  • No need to make double or parallel lines, one done well is more than enough
  • Spread the glue so that it is all at the same level, without lumps or raised “piles”.
  • the glue does not dry immediately, so it is good to take the time to spread it well


f glue dani 2
continuous line glue

Once the glue is well spread, it will be time to “glue the windows”. Depending on the size of the window you are going to install, I can recommend having one or two people help you.

Window dressing is an extremely delicate moment, and four eyes (or six!) are better than two. Once you are sure of the location, lean the window against the wall of the vehicle and press down hard.


support the windows
f holding DIY camper windows

At this point it is FUNDAMENTAL to have some tape for vehicles with which to lock the windows in place until the glue is completely dry.

A dispassionate advice is not to skimp on the tape, the windows must be totally blocked because you have to avoid that their weight drags the glue: they must not move even a few millimeters!

Once the window and tape are applied, all that’s left to do is wait 12-24 hours.


windows and scotch

After the wait, you can finally take off the scotch and pop open a beer!

If you have done all the steps properly, you can finally admire your new windows! Personally, for a neophyte, seeing the first windows assembled do-it-yourself is a great thrill.


finished windows
side door window crafter sprinter

6. Conclusion and Practical Advice

This was the entire process by which I added three windows to my VW Crafter.

Three practical tipsI can give you before you start are:

  • Get someone to help you: a friend, a neighbor, a family member… installing new windows is one of the few jobs during a van conversion that is very difficult, if not impossible, to do totally alone. The windows are heavy, the pieces of sheet metal are heavy and falling can risk scratching and damaging the bodywork.
  • Be sure of what you’re doing: before you start cutting and drilling get informed, one, five, ten times! If you didn’t find all the information you need in this article write questions or look for more information elsewhere. If you don’t feel like doing this Do-It-Yourself job, there’s nothing wrong with enlisting the help of a professional, the important thing is to do it right.
  • Be prepared to spend 2-3 hours per window: drilling, cutting, filing, prepping and gluing windows takes a lot of time, especially if it’s your first time. It took us a full day to fit three windows with 4 people.

Below I leave you a video in English of Camperglass that shows the entire assembly of a window from start to finish.




If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me in the comments. Have a great time working on your project!

Thanks for reading and see you at the next guide🙂





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