My husband and I will soon be finishing our basement. There are only two small windows down there and it is very cave-like. I've been thinking about how I could brighten the space and came up with the idea of a lighted, faux window. Of course, my first stop was to look at Instructables for plans! When I didn't see exactly what I was looking for, I noticed the Make It Glow Contest and decided to tackle this project on my own. I had a great time building it and I'm hoping that, by hanging 2 or 3 of these in our "below-garden-level" finished basement, we can give the feeling of an above ground space. Hope you like it!
IMPORTANT NOTE: You can see in the following photos that I folded my LED tape lights into pretty sharp 90 degree angles. As my lighting has been erratic since shortly after this project was photographed, I think that is what I may have done wrong. SOOO--please do not fold your lighting this way--instead, use a more curving solution OR use inexpensive Christmas string lights!! I'm sure I'll eventually go back and change mine out!
-Window Blind in Desired Size (I used 31" wide and cut it down to 48" long.)
-1" x 1" Wood Trim Pieces at Least as Long as the Perimeter of Your Desired Window (Note: 1"x1"s are actually .75"x.75".)
-Screws or Bright Finish Nails--2" or Longer
-Sheet of Corrugated Plastic that is Larger than Your Desired Window OR Foam Board OR Poster Board
-White Non-Opaque Fabric to Diffuse LED Light--I used some sort of drapery-lining fabric.
-Staple Gun and Staples--1/4" Long OR 1/4" Wire Brads
-Flexible, Self-Adhesive LED Strip Light (I used RGB 5050 SMD 300 Leds LED Strip Light. Mine was 5 meters long.)
OR Christmas String Lights (White wire would look best.)
-If you're using Christmas String Lights: White Tape
-Optional if you're using LED Ribbon/Strip Lights: 44 Key IR Remote Controller
-If you're using LED Ribbon/Strip Lights: Power Source: Mine required a 12V Adapter.
Total Cost of my Faux Window: About $90
Total Time Spent Building Window: 2 Hours
Step 1: Determine Frame Dimensions and Cut Wood.
My finished faux window was to be 31" wide by 48" tall. The faux wood blinds I purchased were 31" wide and could extend up to 72" long. In order to end up with a finished size of 31" X 48" you'll need to cut two pieces of wood to the exact width of the window and two to the height of the window minus 1 1/2" to allow for the "overlapping corners" of the wood pieces. They don't actually overlap, of course. If you kept the sides as 48" and then attached the 31" wide pieces perpendicularly, your window would become 49 1/2" long instead of 48". I hope that makes sense!
NOTE: You also want to choose a wood that is not too heavy since this will hang on the wall.
FYI--I had my boards cut for me at the store so I didn't have to worry about using a saw.
Step 2: Build Your Window Frame.
Use either predrilled holes and screws or bright finish nails to assemble your wood pieces into the final frame. Make sure your final frame is the correct size!
OF COURSE--be very careful when using all tools! Wear your safety gear! :)
Step 3: Attach Window Backing to Your Window Frame.
Cut a backing to the exact size of your frame out of corrugated plastic or foam board. Poster board would also work. Be very careful when using a utility or knife!!
Use shorter staples or wire brads to attach the backing to the frame--you don't want them to poke all the way through your frame. I used 1/4". Be careful not to staple your fingers or an underlying surface!
Step 4: Ready Your Lighting.
If you are using Christmas lights, just take them out of the box!
If you are using LED ribbon lights, get out all of your parts, assemble them and test them to make sure they work. I chose the LED lighting so that I could change the color and brightness of my window whenever I desired. Colorful sunset, anyone?!
Step 5: Add Your Lighting.
Lay out your lighting tape or Christmas lights (preferably with white wires). When making turns, be careful not to crease the strip lighting too much so as not to interrupt the circuit of the lighting tape.
If you're using LED lighting tape, remove the tape backing and adhere to window backing. if using Christmas lights, attach lights to backing using white tape.
Make sure to plan out where your plug will "exit" the frame.
REMINDER NOTE: You can see in the below photo that I folded my LED tape into pretty sharp 90 degree angles. As my lighting has been erratic since shortly after this project was photographed, I think that is what I may have done wrong. SOOO--please do not fold your lighting this way--instead, use a more curving solution OR use inexpensive Christmas string lights!! I'm sure I'll eventually go back and change mine out!
Step 6: Cut an "exit" for Your Power Cord.
In order to allow your window to lay flat against the wall, cut a little notch in the frame, as shown, in which the power cord can lay.
I made two parallel cuts with small hand saw an then just popped out the little piece with a screw driver. Be very careful using the saw--it would be a good idea to wear safety goggles when popping the piece out!
NOTE: You can see in the below photo that I folded my LED tape into pretty sharp 90 degree angles. As my lighting has been erratic since shortly after this project was photographed, I think that is what I may have done wrong. SOOO--please do not fold your lighting this way--instead, use a more curving solution OR use inexpensive Christmas string lights!! I'm sure I'll eventually go back and change mine out!
Step 7: Attach Fabric for Diffusion.
Lay out your sheet of fabric and top with your lighted window (face down). Pull the fabric up on one long edge and staple the fabric down along that entire edge.
Next, pull the fabric up on one shorter end and staple that fabric all along that edge. Try to pull the fabric smooth and tuck the corner like you are wrapping a present.
Pull the fabric tightly across to the other short edge and staple there. Then do the final long edge. Make sure the fabric is taut and smooth.
When you reach the notch you created for your power cord to exit the frame, cut a little slit in your fabric for the cord to pass through.
Be careful when using your stapler!!
Step 8: Attach Blind Brackets to Window Frame.
Attach the brackets that were included with the faux wood blinds to the top edge of your completed window frame using the included screws.
Step 9: "Hang" the Blinds.
Drop the blinds into the brackets you just attached to the frame and flip them to lock the blinds into place. You can add the accompanying valance (using included brackets) and the controlling wand to the blinds, too, if you wish.
Following the instructions that came with the blinds, shorten them to your desired length. You will shorten the pull cord, too.
OPTIONAL: Using the other included brackets, attach the bottom edge of your blinds to the window frame so they cannot be raised and lowered.
Voila!! You are finished. You may now use a STRONG picture hanger to hang your window OR, even better, screw your window directly into the wall being sure to hit wall studs.
THANKS FOR CHECKING OUT MY INSTRUCTABLE!!