Mirror, Mirror on the Window? Daylight Privacy Mirror Film Tutorial

7 Materials
$25
1 Hour
Medium

**Update** I had some questions regarding using this on double pane windows so after a lot of research. I went to www.buydecorativefilm.com and found a quote that said it was safe for dual paned glass. There were a lot of reviews on Amazon and I couldn't find one that said it was a problem for their double pane windows but if in doubt, contact a professional window tint installer. **
When we bought this house a year ago, it was the house of many firsts. One first, was the fact that this house had windows on the garage. We had never had a garage with windows before. And you know what they say about first impressions. Every time someone walked to our front door, they would pass these windows first. When I set up the garage, I put a shelf in front of the window, because almost most of the other wall space had pegboards already on them. I put it in front of the window and I proceeded to load it with just about every paint can that I had. Every time I walked by the garage, I groaned but was too lazy to move the shelf and ALL THOSE cans of paint. So, I sent my husband to buy blinds. Either he bought the wrong size or I measured wrong and it was probably the latter. But, I hated seeing the inside of the garage so much, I attempted to put them up anyway. I don't know why we didn't take them back and get the right size. I think I just wasn't happy with how the blinds looked so it didn't matter. I am not sure how I came across this mirror window film but it looked like it might be the perfect solution for me.
Here are my garage windows as they look when you come up the sidewalk to my front door. They are super close to the side walk and anyone can look in them. On the right, is a set of wood blinds that we bought on clearance. Wrong color, wrong size in both directions and I just have not been happy with the look. I never even installed the other set of blinds on the other window. Every single time I walked by, it was a constant reminder of how much I hated it yet I hadn't decided on what to do instead. Until now.
I ordered this mirror window film from Amazon. BDF S05 Window Film (36in X 12ft) It was about $24. This would do my two garage windows without a problem. **After I put it on the bottom half, I decided to wait on the top half. There were a couple of windows on my porch that I decided to do instead of the top of the garage windows.**
My windows were very cobwebby.  I used a soft broom to brush away all the webs.
I used glass cleaner to clean the glass. You don't want any flecks of anything on the glass or it will mess with your film.
OK, this is where I failed to read the directions. Per the directions, cut one inch larger than the glass in both directions. I cut my piece to the exact measurements. OOPS  I dodged a bullet and it worked out any way.
When you open your box the squeegee and utility knife are inside the roll of mirror film. You will also need a spray bottle with 16 oz of water and about 6 drops of liquid soap.
I used my rotary cutter because I am more familiar with it than a utility knife.
This is kind of hard to see but there is a backing on the film that you remove and then it is adhesive backed. To remove the backing, starting at a corner, put two pieces of tape with adhesive sides facing in but not touching each other. Pull each piece of tape in different directions. Apply soapy spray mixture to this sticky back and spray mixture to window as well.
I started in one corner and applied the film to the soapy window. Since I was working alone, I didn't follow the directions. With this corner in the window I slowly removed the rest of the backing and pressed it to the window.
Before the squeegee, it looked like this.
Half squeegeed and half not squeegeed. What a difference? Right?
I am super happy with how it came out.

On the left is what is on the other side of the window. On the right, you would never know.
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Satisfying squeegee action and don’t stress the bubble, I did see it and it was taken care of.
I could not be happier with the end results. Much, MUCH better... and for around $25... this works well for us.
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Have a question about this project?

26 questions
  • Tom
    on Sep 16, 2018

    does the mirror effect work as well if there is a light on in the garage?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 16, 2018

      I just went outside at 2:45 pm to test this. The mirror film was appearing as a mirror and so I went and turned on a light in my garage to gauge the difference. There wasn't a change during daylight hours but nighttime would probably be different according to the box. This is what the box says, "How come I don't have privacy at night? Privacy effect works when there is a difference in lighting. At night, if it is brighter inside than it is outside, the privacy will be reversed. This is why our privacy films are known as day time privacy films. True 24 hour privacy is only possible with opaque films." I hope that helps.

  • Hic22440281
    on Sep 17, 2018

    Did it decrease the amount of light coming into the garage through the filmed windows? If so, how much?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      It is a rainy day in Virginia but I think you can tell there is a difference in light coming in. The top of my window does not have the film, but the bottom does.

  • Natasha
    on Sep 17, 2018

    How does the film work at night, when the garage light is on inside?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      I don't know. I've only had it up a couple of days and we do not often have to go in the garage at night. I will try to check tonight and take a picture.

    • Natasha
      on Sep 17, 2018

      Thank you Stacy! It really is an awesome idea and I'd love to try it for my living room windows if it works well at night. 🌠🌛🍁🍃🌾🌰🌜🌠🎑

  • Winston Davis
    on Sep 17, 2018

    does it feel in direct sun light..

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      I would say not really. I think that side of my garage gets a lot of shade. We have big trees and by the way our house is situated, those windows aren’t in full sun most of the day.

  • Karen
    on Sep 17, 2018

    Does condensation cause film to release?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      I wouldn’t think so, the adhesive is super powerful. But haven’t noticed any condensation yet.

  • Anthony
    on Sep 17, 2018

    When you realized you had this problem, how did you know about this 'remedy"?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      I don’t remember.. truth be told, I bought it off Amazon a long time ago. The hurricane was coming and I began cleaning out my garage and I figured now was a good time to tackle this project.

  • Patty Smith
    on Sep 17, 2018

    Are those double pane windows? I can’t find any film for double pane window and the manufacturer say not to use the regular stuff because the gas builds up between the panes and it can cause damage including blowing up the glass, he also said the warranty becomes null and void. I really would like to do this. Thanks in advance!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      Check out a professional window tint installer. Such as Solar guys... from what I read on their website, there are types of window film that are safe for double paned glass windows and some installers will cover the warranty if there is a problem. I did go through a lot of the negative reviews for the film that I used on Amazon and I couldn't find one that complained that their double paned windows had been ruined by it so I feel pretty safe with mine. I figure with all the comments that I am getting on it, someone would have negatively reviewed it on Amazon if it caused a problem with their windows. Good luck with it!

    • Patty Smith
      on Sep 18, 2018

      Thanks for the info, greatly appreciate it.

  • Ilene
    on Sep 17, 2018

    37 story office building going up across the street from my bldg. Need a way I can see out and they can't see in. If I have to keep my blinds closed, I might as well live in a cave. Will this film work for me? Can it be removed?

  • Mary Oliveti
    on Sep 17, 2018

    Are you able to see out clearly?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      I would say so. Here is a picture... items that are close to the window are reflected back, such as my miter box saw and my hand but otherwise I think I see out fairly well.

  • Max
    on Sep 17, 2018

    I live in a rented apartment. When it's time for me to leave how do you remove the film?

    • Kim
      on Sep 17, 2018

      Peel it off, and wash the window.

  • Candyhd84
    on Sep 17, 2018

    Does this film stand up to the heat of the Florida sun? I have a glass front door and the inside door is painted metal. The paint has peeled off because of the heat from the sun. I keep my door open because of it but would love to have this on my glass door.

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2018

      On buydecorativefilm.com, I believe it says that this particular film which is Silver 05 has UV rejected of 99%. Visible Light Transmittance is 12%. I think that means that you should have a lot less heat going through your window. I know a lot of the reviews said the reduction in heat to a room was quite shocking. From the way the reviews read, I don't think they were in Florida so I think you should be good.

    • Candyhd84
      on Sep 17, 2018

      Thank you so much. I think I will try it.

  • Vickie
    on Sep 18, 2018

    Can you see out it from inside and when you're inside with a light on can people see inside?

    • Kathy
      on Sep 18, 2018

      Hi Vickie,

      I don't know what brand we bought, but we put privacy film up on our bedroom windows, as people can see straight in with a light from the computer only and front windows to keep the sun down , but we can see out.

      Hope this helps

      Kathy

    • Vickie
      on Sep 18, 2018

      Thanks, but I would love to know what brand it is so I can get some. Where did you get it at? Maybe that would help. Vickie

  • Lyndee
    on Sep 18, 2018

    Hi, I love the results of your project, I am planning to do the very same project to a window of my own. My question is about the tape and the technique used removing the backing. You stated, “To remove the backing, starting at a corner, put two pieces of tape with adhesive sides facing in but not touching each other. Pull each piece of tape in different directions.” I get the water and soap bottle part. It’s the tape part I don’t get, how long is the tape, where do I put the tape, do I put it on the corners? It’s a little confusing to me, please clarify this for me, thanks.

    Lyndee


    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 18, 2018

      This process is how you remove the plastic backing from the mirror film. You do it on one corner just to get the process started. You know how sometimes it is hard to get the backing off of stickers or contact paper. You can not bend a corner to get it started or that crease will forever be on your mirror film. It is hard to understand but once you are at a corner, I just used a, maybe 2 two inch piece, one for the mirror film side and one for the backing side. As you pull in different directions the clear backing separates from the film revealing the adhesive. I circled the clear area. Not sticky side, was written on the tape to try to help explain it but from this angle you see the sticky side of the tape. I hope that helps!

  • Lisa
    on Sep 19, 2018

    If you decide you don't like it, is it removable?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 19, 2018

      Yes, just peel it off and clean any residue off the window.

    • Rene warren
      on Sep 24, 2018

      Not so easy! they do make a film that is not adhesive backed that can be removed with ease. However, this film will be near impossible to remove later.

    • Lisa
      on Sep 24, 2018

      Rene...do you know what the easy to remove film is called?


  • D An R Gortney
    on Sep 24, 2018

    How many Windows can you do with one roll if standard size Windows

  • Rhonda
    on Sep 24, 2018

    so is the mirrored part facing in or out

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 24, 2018

      Facing out during the day but reversed at night if lights are on. On Amazon, it said if you want night time privacy also then you want to buy opaque film, this is not opaque. I am using in my foyer and garage so it works fine for my situation.

  • Lev29264996
    on Sep 24, 2018

    Can I use it im my car windows too?

    • Dorinda Rodriguez
      on Sep 24, 2018

      Depending on the state you're in, that might be illegal. Where I'm from we had a Professionalput darkened film on our car windows. 20% visibility can get you pulled over by the police here! (I think that makes total sense)

  • Kathy Wilderman
    on Sep 24, 2018

    If I’m inside can I see out through the window after this is applied?

    • Dorinda Rodriguez
      on Sep 24, 2018

      Yes, hence sunlight can still come through as well. :)

    • 34190980
      on Oct 5, 2018

      Aloha Kathy, Dorinda...

      Yes, it does come through with decreased intensity and lower transfer of heat.

      * * *

      The film works on the amount of light and direction of the light.

      The brighter side is where the mirror effect works best...

      When it is brighter outside during the day, the inside (darker side) cannot be seen from the outside (brighter side)...

      At night, with the lights on inside, the outside (darker side) cannot be seen from the inside (lighter side)... someone on the outside can see clearly through the window to the inside.

      The way to combat that night problem is to put a small security light, sidewalk light, or short string of decorative lights over each window (attached to the eave) that come on at dusk... easy peasy... just remember, when you're out there at night, and the indoor lighting is brighter than the outdoor, close the blinds/curtains until you leave and turn off the interior lights.


      Until that time. . .

  • Barbara Radley
    on Sep 24, 2018

    I have A LOT of plants in my windows. Will this affect my plants? I live next to a parking lot. Can’t stand people looking in my windows so I fill them with plants.

    • June Halladay
      on Sep 24, 2018

      They will not get the same type light. I have a solar light inside one of my Windows. After I put film up, it no longer worked! I can see out fine. Daytime, nobody can see in. Nights, they can see in just fine unless you have bright outside lights. Be forewarned.

    • Adalynn Marie Vargas
      on Sep 24, 2018

      It will block out most uv rays. Solar lights and plants will suffer.

    • Leta
      on Nov 5, 2018

      A lot depends on what is on the film you apply. There is also a large variety at Lowes. I have covered two windows. Love it. My low light plants thrive. If a window is opposite a mirror,and it is inline with strong sun rays, talk to your local fire department, as I think it will cut the rays reflecting off of the mirror from the sun coming through the window to start a fire. I went with a soft frosted look and a few clear cut outs lines.

  • Pennie Greene
    on Sep 25, 2018

    Can you put this on vinyl windows and will it prevent heat from the sun?

    • 34190980
      on Oct 5, 2018

      * * *

      Aloha Pennie,

      Yes, most of these films do cut down on the heat; it is reflecting the light from the brightest side back to the same side from whence it comes...

      So, the sunlight is reflected during the day, and the interior light is reflected back inside at night.

      * * *

      The film works on the amount of light and direction of the light.

      The brighter side is where the mirror effect works best...

      When it is brighter outside during the day, the inside (darker side) cannot be seen from the outside (brighter side)... the light is reflected back to the outside, reducing the intensity of the light coming through to the inside and also reducing the UV and heat transfer coming through to the inside.

      At night, with the lights on inside, the outside (darker side) cannot be seen from the inside (lighter side)... someone on the outside can see clearly through the window to the inside.

      The way to combat that night problem is to put a small security light, sidewalk light, or short string of decorative eave lights over each window that come on at dusk... easy peasy... just remember, when you're out there at night, and the indoor lighting is brighter than the outdoor, close the blinds/curtains until you leave and turn off the interior lights as you leave.


      Until that time. . .

  • Tan24519744
    on Nov 19, 2018

    Do you think it could be used on an aquarium to help prevent algae growth from sunlight getting in I rent and unable to put on window.

    • Penny Gingerich Wright
      on Feb 10, 2019

      You can put this on your windows as it is not permanent. If you move take it down and take it with you or throw it away! I did this to my entire house with regular film and now I’m replacing it with the mirrored backing! It also has helped with keeping the heat in and the cold out!

  • Laura
    on Feb 9, 2019

    Aren’t you worried that birds will fly into them?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 9, 2019

      I live on a large farm with birds everywhere. I have 5 large feeders filled with black oil sunflower seeds and I see birds visit those frequently. I have never seen any of them fly into the window, ever. There is a tree in front of one of these windows and my porch is right next to one of these windows. On my porch not 5 feet from the window, a bird built a nest on some crates by my front door. When I went to get rid of the nest, it had eggs in it. These cuties were born not far from these windows, I would guess just a few feet away. I am not saying that birds don’t ever fly into other people’s windows but I haven’t had any birds do that to my windows. Maybe having a tree in front of the window helps...

  • Barb Stacy
    on Feb 9, 2019

    Does it still work if it's dark outside and there are lights on inside?

    • Alyssia
      on Feb 9, 2019

      Good question!

    • Stacy Davis
      on Feb 10, 2019

      No, that is why it is called daytime privacy. Since it is on my garage, that is fine for us. No one is usually in the garage for long at night. They do have options that will work at night too, the opaque film is one option.

    • Tracey Jackson
      on Feb 10, 2019

      I have used a type of this a few times. At night you if there are lights on inside and dark outside, ftom outside its like looking through sheer curtains. But, if you have a light outside it isn't viewable at all. We used them in living room windows which were close to the walkway and front door. There was a light at the door, so as long as it was on, you couldn't see in at all.


      Also, used in my kitchen window. The sun hit the windows and put high heat inside...this film stopped the sun glare & it felt cooler all summer!

    • Eag27369459
      on Mar 10, 2019

      I live in a patio home with all houses close together. I have put the mirror film on all my windows. No one can see in during the day and I can see out but on the windows on each side of the door I painted on the film (installed on the inside) pictures keeping with my nautical décor so that at night I can see out between the scene but someone would have to be up with their head against the window to see in and then not very well. The film is easily removed if I desired. It is great for stopping damaging sun but lets in the light.

  • Stuart A Warren
    on Feb 10, 2019

    Does it keep the sun out ?

  • Kris
    on Jun 8, 2019

    I’ve got the double pane windows that most of the seals are broken so they are cloudy and ugly. Do you think this product would hide that?

  • Barbara Riccio
    on Sep 17, 2019

    With the Opaque film, will it block street view for both day and night?

    • Stacy Davis
      on Sep 17, 2019

      It is my understanding that if you want day and night privacy, opaque film is what you want.

Join the conversation

2 of 55 comments
  • Wendy
    on Dec 12, 2018

    Thanks for the update, Stacy!! The video is so mesmerizing!

  • Franb
    on Jul 9, 2019

    These mirrored windows are the ones birds fly into. I've seen it for myself. Just saying!

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