DIYdiy projects

diy project: window films

by Grace Bonney

this month’s material is a simple one…paint! obviously paint comes in many forms, and one of my favorite craft tools is the paint pen. they have come a long way over the years, and the newest paint pens provide a really clean, fluid line of paint and are great for drawing with. in our home we needed some window films to provide privacy, but we also wanted them to let light through. using contact paper and a white paint pen, i’ve created some decorative window films that are easy to change, replace, move, etc. if you don’t feel super comfortable with your drawing skills, you can easily print out images or text and trace them onto the contact paper. happy crafting! –kate

CLICK HERE for the full project after the jump!

What You’ll Need:
1. contact paper, clear (this is for lining drawers, you can find it at hardware or drug stores)
2. ruler
3. scissors or exacto
4. paint pen
5. tape


1. measure your window panes.

2. mark your dimensions on the contact paper and cut out your rectangles. i recommend using a ruler and an exacto blade, but if you draw a clean line and cut neatly with scissors that works as well.

3. tape down the edges of your rectangle with the white paper side down. this ensures you are painting on the non-sticky side of the contact paper.

4. using your paint pens, draw out your design on the contact paper.

5. let dry at least ten minutes.

6. carefully peel the paper back from the top of the film and place on the window pane. slowly pull the paper down and smooth down the contact paper with a piece of paper.



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  • Kate, you have provided the inspiration I needed for my front french door that I have literally been considering all week- thank you!

    Like ‘Á’, I too love your pattern and if you are able to email it, woud love a copy. Perhaps a new business venture for you..?!

  • For months, I’ve been wondering what to do with the 6 windows in my first-floor study that offer me lots of light but no privacy…this is perfect!

    Like A and SJ, I too love your patterns – especially the one of the ‘dandelions’. If you wouldn’t mind emailing them to me, I would be so grateful!

  • Kate, like everyone else I LOVE your project. Are you willing to post design template for those of us who are lacking in drawing skills? Thanks so much!

  • This is perfect for the bedroom windows. I’d ask for a copy of the flower as well, but he’s holding out for a dragon :) Thanks so much for sharing

  • How did you end up with no bubbles? I’m having trouble getting the contact paper on with out bubbles underneath.

  • love the idea! i have been wanting to cover my bathroom window for the longest time. though, instead of painting, which i played around with, i decided to cut out a small design on the contact paper with an exacto knife. so not only do i have privacy, but a peek of sunlight as well.

    i also had problems with bubbles…what’s the secret?

  • I too, can’t find what I have in mind on line. I’d like to see what some of you have done with colored paint pens. I’m trying to match the paint on my sunroom walls with some floral sunset tones. I’m needing privacy on two double hung windows. Any ideas?

  • Oh WOW WOW WOW ! This is fabulous and I can draw so using paint-pens is very doable for me
    LOVE this idea -LOVE this site – so full of inspiration !

  • OMG!!!!! i just secured a brand new duplex and of course the windows are HUGE!!!!! 75 x48, 74 x 48 needless to say i am having such a hard time finding bllinds im a big fanof the wood blinds or bamboo i lov ehard wood floor and try to stay in that color family. I was goign to be courageous and get window films if i could only find some that was pretty and i didnt have to spend 150 for just one wondow. You have buy atleast 6-8 rools for one window. I have 8 at that size. I am on my way to walmart right now this is the best idead ever. I can let the kids draw their own designs i can personlizes the porch window with our name. The possibilities are endless
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I did this on an exterior window so my dogs would stop barking at my neighbors. I added some gold to my design to make it a little more interesting.

  • I did this with an agapanthus gorgeous stencil I had, then etched it in the window as I wanted it to be permanent and diffused lighting through a portion of door that was visible. Looks great. This is a great idea as well and easier.

  • Do you think that using this in a bathroom will be ok? For both the contact paper and the paint pens. Not sure if they’ll hold up, but it’s sure cheaper than the ready made appealing ones I’ve seen elsewhere…

  • Love the look. Is it possible to do this and have it hold up in a window in a walk in shower. No direct water hits but lots of steam and moisture?? Thanks

  • Kate – you are a lifesaver! I’ve been driving myself nuts looking for “frosted” contact paper. Thanks to your note above, I realized that clear is really the frosted I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to find. THANK YOU! Love your blog!

  • This is amazing and SO well done! I’m with some of the others, I LOVE what you’ve done, but I can’t draw a stick man. I’d love a pattern if you have it :)

  • Perfect way to get privacy in a downstairs apartment while letting the light in! Can’t wait to do this!


    I did it, and probably because my windows faced due west and it got very hot where I lived, the paper crackled, it was a beeyotch to remove, and left sticky glue that I had to use Goo Gone and a scraper to remove. Good times.

    There is a clingy film you can buy that is removable. Use that instead.

    • Thanks for your input! They also sell a window film contact paper, which I have good results with. In very very hot windows, you will run into trouble with the paper sticking, it’s true, but I have had contact paper film on windows that don’t get a lot of heat, and had no trouble removing them, even after years of use.

  • This seems like an excellent idea! I have two bathroom windows that face my neighbor’s house and backyard. It would be nice to be able to pull up the blinds and let light in, but I don’t want them seeing everything going on inside.
    I really like this. Now to convince the husband! :)
    Thank you! Found you via Pinterest.

  • We just moved into a house where all the bedrooms have closets with sliding mirror doors. I have been trying to figure out how to design something so I have the frosted look on it but still be able to use them as a mirror. I never thought about using contact paper! I am going to try a little and see how it turns out. Thanks! Great Idea!!!

  • So, just to reiterate, this contact paper is clear/frosted, not the green hue seen in the photo? Is it possible to lightly paint the entire piece of contact paper with one color then pen the design with another color?

  • Hello,
    thank you for the wonderful idea. I am considering doing my windows.
    How are your experiences with cleaning the window ? Does not the paint wear of?

  • Lovely! I’m a huge fan of contact paper, I have used it endlessly in my dingy rental. I’m going to use this same idea for a row of accent tile in my kitchen back splash (which is stainless steel look contact paper). Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I know I’m a bit late to the game, but I’m wondering what the other side of the windows looks like. I have an all glass entryway door I’d like to add some privacy to, but I’m concerned that the look from the inside will be awful from the outside.

  • I love this project and it turned out so well! My cutting skills are lacking though so I’m worried mine won’t turn out nearly as well. I see you use contact paper but as I was shopping around I came across this decorative window film. Some of these you don’t have to cut yourself. I’m hoping this is a shortcut designed for people like me with zero design skills. Will this work or am I cheating?

  • Is clear contact paper see thru? Or slightly frosted? I’m looking for light to add brightness but not so that people can see in…

  • What kind of paint pens? I went to Michael’s and found fabric paint pens. An online search yielded everything from water based sharpies to chalk. I’m planning to make my own stained glass pattern. Thanks!

    • Hi Kelli!

      The Sharpie oil-based paint markers work best. I’ve used these on glass vases and they’re still in tact two years later.


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