Design Dilemma: Window Film DIY


 With summer guests as a pending concern, a friend reached out to me with a common woe.  She has a guest bathroom that needs freshening.  What window covering should she use?  There was some discussion about roman shades vs. small panels, but one thing was clear... the vinyl mini blinds had to come down.

Although a full bathroom, it is a relatively small space (roughly 45 sq ft).  The tiny window provides the only natural light in the room.  Covering it up would be a shame and window treatment would only serve as embellishment if always in the open position. 

Upon removal of the blinds we discovered a common suburban problem.  There was a very clear view of the neighbor's dining room.  It was evident at this point that the window would have to be shielded in some way for privacy.  Covering it up was not an option.  We headed to the nearby home improvement center and returned with our solution... window film.

Window film is simple to apply and very inexpensive. Our package was big enough for our project and several more of the same size and cost $18.  There were some handy tools for sale near the film, but you probably have what you need at home already.

It comes in many variations.  In the most accessible form you will find it in several textures and shades.  There were no less than 8 options at the store we visited.  There were some intended for privacy, decoration, and tint. Some of the textures were very nice, but some bordered on silly.  

This project took very little time.  The result is a modern looking window in a not too modern (yet) bathroom.  We created a spot for a little merchandising and blocked out the neighbor's view while shedding a little light on the subject.  Next is the wall color...

savour... mission accomplished

Get the rest after the jump...

Window Film DIY


Before you start:

Now is a good time to make sure the window is in working order.  

Clean, scrape, and sand as necessary to prep window.  Wash inside and out.

Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions.  I found this tutorial will cover the basic instructions for most.

Most manufacturers will recommend that you purchase their spray to complete the project.  I find it completely unnecessary.  I have done this project many times... always with water.

Adding overlap to your measurements is critical.

Take extra care in cutting away the excess.  This is no time to be hasty.

Do not worry if your lines go astray.  That is part of the organic charm of this project. 

What you will need:

window cleaner

paper towels

tape measure

scissors or rotary cutter and cutting mat


window film

water bottle with mister

rigid straight edge (cannot be sharp... I used a credit card)


razor blade or utility knife

white paint pen

The instructions:

  1. Clean window (don't forget frame and sill).
  2. Measure window... twice.
  3. Add at least 1/2 inch to each measurement (I recommend 1 inch if you are cutting with scissors).
  4. Cut your piece from the roll of film and lay on it on a flat surface.
  5. Spray the window with water liberally (the entire surface should be wet).
  6. At a corner attach a small piece of tape.  Attach one to the other side, but keep them separated.
  7. Carefully pull the two pieces of tape removing the film from its backer.
  8. Apply your cut of film to the wet window making sure to overlap edges on all sides.
  9. Spray the window again directly on the film.
  10. Using your straight edge and starting from the center, scrape your way to the top of the window pressing out any air bubbles.
  11. Continue to your right all the way to the right side.
  12. Repeat from the center to the left side.
  13. Repeat the process again on the vertical scraping from the center to the right side (top to bottom).
  14. Repeat once more on the vertical toward the left side (top to bottom).
  15. After all of the bubbles should be gone.
  16. Using a ruler or other straight edge and window frame as your guide, carefully cut away excess film with your blade.
  17. Wipe away any excess water.
  18. Allow film to dry.
  19. Starting at the top of the window draw a free form line with your white paint pen right down the center.  Make it as plumb overall as possible.  This will be your guide for the rest of the lines.
  20. Draw in the rest of the lines spacing each about 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart.
  21. Allow to dry completely.
  22. Be sure to check the window film periodically over the next few days.  It may settle and need to be smoothed out again.