Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Custom Window Films

I’ve been looking for a window solution for my kitchen for almost six years!! I’ve got a wall of windows overlooking our backyard and unfortunately my neighbor’s backyard as well.

This is not always such a bad thing because they have lots of trees that provide great screening in the spring and summer, and beautiful colors in autumn… but during the winter months it’s pretty stark.  I feel like I’m starring in my own reality show when standing at the kitchen sink or sitting down to a meal with my family.

The view from my kitchen sink

I just hadn't been able to find a solution that would continue to let the light in, but not block the pretty view of the trees. I considered both full and half shutters, cafe curtains, and roman shades. But I felt these options would either make the room too dark or would block the view from the upper window panes.

View from the kitchen to the family room

I have been playing with the idea of window films in my head for a little while now, but just couldn’t wrap my head around a design.  I found a couple of great ideas over at design*sponge and at not martha, but I didn’t want to completely block out the view from the lower window panes because my children love to look out the window and watch the birds, squirrels, and occasional bunny in our trees and yard.

When I came across a post over at Skip to my Lou on how to make your own window clings with your kids, it made me think… what if I did this in reverse? Cover the window with shelf lining and cut out a design in the center? But what design to use? I love the classic look of a fleur-de-lis, so I decided to run with it.

So here are are my step-by step instructions…

1.      My first step was to clean the windows! You may want to take a razor over the glass to remove any teeny little bit of debris that could be on the window, because it may make a little bubble in the film later. I learned this the hard way, but then it doesn’t really bother me enough to remove and redo!

2.      Then I printed off a copy of a fleur-de-lis in a size/scale that I liked.

3.      Then I cut a piece of film to the size of my window.

4.      Then I centered the fleur-de-lis onto the back of the cut piece of window film.

6.      Then I flipped the film over, and taking a pencil, traced the outside of the image onto the film. I removed the paper image from the back of the film when I was done so I can repeat on another window.

7.      So here’s where it gets a little tricky… Starting at the top corner, pull the film away from the backing about half way. Line up the film with the top of the window and adhere it to the window by rubbing with the pads of your fingers.  Work your way down the window, rubbing out the bubbles with your fingers, pulling the film back and re-rubbing the bubbles if necessary, back and forth until you have removed all of the backing and the entire film is adhered to your window.  You can also use a special plastic “burner” you can buy at most home improvement stores or even a credit card or spatula, but I found that my fingertips worked the best for me.

8.      Then I took my Exacto knife and cut along the pencil marks that I traced on to the front of the film. Be careful to press hard enough to cut through the film, but not so hard that you scratch the image onto your window!

9.      When I was done cutting, I just peeled the image away from the window.

10.  Then I took my metal ruler and butted it up against the inside edge of my window, cutting a line with my Exacto knife. I did this all around the inside of my window and peeled away to reveal a frame to the window film.

All in all I applied the film to six windows, but only used the fleur-de-lis image on the two center windows. I didn’t want it to look to busy, having had nothing on the windows for so long.

The new view from my kitchen sink
I love that I can still see the trees that will be
green and lush soon
No more diner time episodes of our reality
 show for our neighbors

I am planning on making upholstered pelmet boxes I saw over at little green notebook to finish off the project, but for now I am very pleased with how it looks! I hope you are too!!


  1. Hi there,

    I'm the editorial assistant for, a site published by the National Association of Realtors® covering home ownership-related topics.

    Would you be interested in granting us permission to feature this photo from your window film project in an upcoming slideshow "Fixing a View"? Email me at for the details. Thanks!

    Libby Walker

  2. Hello again!

    This is a followup to my comment from last Thursday requesting permission to feature your image in an upcoming HouseLogic slideshow called “Fixing a View.” I was hoping you could let me know whether or not you're interested in granting permission.

    If you are interested, please email me at and I’ll be happy to send along the full details of our request.

    I look forward to hearing from you.