Friday, April 26, 2013

A Window Saga....or How to Make Your Own Decorative Window Privacy Film Out of Contact Paper and Patience...

It's a very long tale...I won't bore you with it. Suffice it to say, there are lots of kinds of window film...in several categories:

1. Expensive Ugly Sh*%
2. Cheap Ugly Sh*%
3. Pretty, custom stuff that is so expensive you can't buy it knowing how many starving children that same amount of  money could buy food for for several years not to mention for the fear of ripping or wrinkling it while installing it.
4. Pretty, relatively inexpensive stuff that would be perfect except for the fact that it is 1 1/2" too narrow for your windows and even hanging it sideways won't help.
5. A $5 roll of contact paper.  BAM.

DONE.

Welll, not quite. One out of four windows done. I get bored. Taking templates and scissors to grandma's house this weekend to try to knock the rest of it out!

Before: Beautiful view..but the blinds blocked a lot of  light, even when open all the way...and *duh* especially when they had to be closed to get nekked.
 During:


 Good thing I'm not a perfectionist!

After: (Well, one out of four windows...so glad I only have to do the bottom halves!)

 And from outside:

How to:
*Pick a SIMPLE design that repeats. Find something online...or make your brain explode a little trying to remember geometry and figure out how to make curves match, etc. etc. Let's just say there were a lot of scrapped templates. Seriously, be smart and find something online that you can print, blow up on a copy machine, trace.  Be sure that whatever you pick is large enough for the window, but not so large that the pattern doesn't have a "pattern-y" effect.  I was going to go smaller, which would have meant cutting and applying WAY more pieces...and would have left more room for slight errors that would add up to big gaps as I got to the end...but any larger than this and it would've looked goofy as there wouldn't even be a complete "row" of pattern between the edges of the frame.

*Make a template out of something sturdy (cardstock, etc.)

*Cut out a bunch of pieces.

*Clean and reclean your window. Scrape off any stray paint with a razorblade before you start.

*Position a center top piece by measuring from edge to edge to make it exact...then just place all the other pieces around it like a puzzle, leaving a gap small enough for privacy, but large enough to be visible from a distance, creating a pattern on your glass. Use a credit card or similar to smooth out bubbles, starting in the center.  Contact paper is forgiving, so you can re-position it as needed. Creases, however don't really go away.

*Don't be a spaz about a perfectly smooth finish or tiny bubbles/imperfections.  Once you stand back and look at the whole window, you won't really see these.  If you do, go look at the pretty UK-based company window films, translate the pounds into dollars, choke, go back and look at your handiwork again--now, it isn't so bad, right?!?

*Trim edges with razorblade. Avoid wrists after counting how many more shapes you have to trace and cut out.

*Leave a mess on the floor and go blog about a 25% done project instead of finishing it.

*Eventually finish your project. You'll love it!