It was time to do something about these windows. We live at the top of a busy neighborhood and my bay windows offer a front row seat to everything going on inside my house. No more eye contact with the joggers, dog walkers, and school kids.
How to Use Contact Paper to Make a Beautiful Privacy Window!
I have three of these bay windows on the front of my house! THREE!
With time and patience, you can create an awesome privacy window with contact paper and a stencil.
This project is very time consuming! My wife Mariko and I do everything custom. We have all sorts of the precut, easy to install cling films available over here in Japan too. They look great!
This is an art project and we have all the time and patience in the world for art.
EDIT: This is adhesive contact paper
Adhesive contact paper: extremely difficult to get off of a window. It feels almost impossible! I wouldn't do this to a window still under warranty either. The stickers might void that warranty. The window cleans the same too. Just spray and wipe.
Self-adhesive (cling film): pulls off effortlessly and is reusable. Cleans effortlessly. Some cling films have lovely designs on them, so you don't need to cut out shapes. I don't recommend cutting shapes out of cling film, because they will move or fall off. Static holds cling film to the window where adhesive is help up by glue.
- A spray bottle full of water and one drop of dish soap
- A small squeegee
- Paper towels. (I used newspaper as paper towels. It's actually common here in Japan on windows. No, the ink doesn't come off )
- Boxcutter or exacto knife
- Did I mention patience..?
My wife did this entire project by herself. Here's what she did:
First decide on a pattern. I made this pattern in Photoshop and created my stencil on cardboard. The worst part of this job is tracing and cutting. Figure out how many stickers you'll need and get them all cutout before you start. It'll make this job easier.
Spray the window well with the spray bottle and then put up your sticker. They're easy to move around on top of the water and dish soap solution. Adjust them into position and then squeegee out the water and bubbles. The stickers might still move a little, but will adhere stronger after a couple minutes. Keep wiping the window down and keep extra towels on hand for the mess. It's easier to see air bubbles when it's dark outside too.
Some of the stickers you'll need to cut. Use a good ruler and boxcutter for this. Be careful not to scratch the window or window seal/caulking.
If you get a stubborn air bubble that you can't get out, make a little cut on it. This should work and be unnoticeable most of the time.
*In my experience, contact paper is extremely difficult to get off of windows when its dry. We did this on a window as practice and spent a lot of time getting them off. Don't use a heat gun on a window, because it might crack the glass. Hair dryers work well though. You can also use sticker remover spray for the stubborn sticker residue.
Try to squeegee out every single little bubble. There will be a lot!
Here are those pesky bubbles! We put down newspaper to catch all of the run off.
We went with this pattern. We made this in illustrator to fit our window.
Finished picture from the inside!
Finished picture from the outside!
Here's a shot from the inside in the morning.
We love this window and would love to see your privacy window creations!
If you're interested in crafting, building, antiques and themed parties stop by Bryan's Workshop Facebook and Instagram page!
Resources for this project:See all materials
Maggie on Mar 11, 2021
This whole concept of using translucent window covering for privacy is wonderful. I am a renter, so I could never use a permanent method. I have had an "Artscapes" window cling on my bedroom window for privacy for nearly 3 years. I purchased another online, and I switched out the design. I love both designs, and I love how easy it was to press it on. There is no adhesive, so I can lift it off and change it if I want; if I don't want to change it, it stays put! I placed the cling 2/3 up my window, so I get diffused light where the cling is, and bright light above the cling.