Paper Privacy Windows (window Frost Like a Boss)

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This is an inexpensive solution to add privacy to your windows while still allowing light through. This paper based window treatment is beautiful and has the added benefit of masking imperfections in the glass. We've used this method for our Makerspace, covering 3 storefronts which previously had visible scratches on the outside. The building has been around since 1931, so it's had plenty of time to collect imperfections.

It's non-toxic and easy to remove (read: kid friendly) and you can choose any color or design you wish!

Materials List:

Corn Starch

Tissue Paper

Paint Brush

Painter's Tape

Electric Kettle

Measuring Cup

Tablespoon

Scissors

Utility Knife

Level

Step 1: Window Measuring and Marking

After cleaning your window, its now time to decide how much of your window that you'll be covering. Those of you who wish to cover the entire pane(s) can skip ahead to step 2.

We wanted the top 22" exposed, so we measured down from the top of each pane and marked with painter's tape, checking for level.

Step 2: Preparing Your Materials

For the Paper: We cut various sizes of squares and rectangles, averaging roughly 6 inches on a side. There's really no wrong way to do this, though the smaller sizes are easier to apply accurately. You can also choose fractal pattern and other repeating crazy shapes and colors, but it's important to first test your tissue paper to make sure that the colors do not bleed.

For the Glue: Add 1TBSP Corn Starch to your measuring cup, then add 1 TBSP cold water and mix together with your brush. Once it has turned into an even consistency, stir in 3/4 cup boiling water. That's it, your glue is made and ready to apply to your windows.

Step 3: Application of Tissue Paper to Windows

Working your way from top to bottom across the window, apply/paint your glue on to the window in small segments. Carefully place your previously cut pattern of tissue paper onto the window. Note: It's difficult to move the paper once it has been placed, so take your time in placing and if it's crooked sometimes it makes more sense to throw it away and apply the next piece that's ready.

Once the tissue paper is placed correctly, apply glue over the top of the paper. Each of our squares have an overlapping seam of approximately 1/4".

The paper will become less transparent as it dries.

It's ok to have some overlap when your reach the border of the window. This can be trimmed later, after the paper has dried. Just be careful not to glue it to your window frame!

Step 4: Checking Your Work

Once your tissue paper is dried it's now time for the last bit of finish work. Trim any excess paper sticking out on the edges of the window with your utility knife. Mix up and add more glue if any corners need to be re-stuck after trimming the excess.

Remove Painter's Tape and clean up any excess glue with a wet rag.

Step 5: Conclusion

You did it! Let us know if you have questions or anything to add in the comments below.

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45 Discussions

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GaelS7

Question 3 months ago

Hiya, i know this is quite an old post hoping ur still around: Mine wont stick. I'm desperate bc i live in a storefront, have been experimenting with DIY cornstarch etc based paints for 6 months. Thought I had finally found a solution. Some of my panels worked fine and are sticking. The later ones I have redone 4x and keep falling off as soon as they dry. How did things hold up with yours? Is it that once the cornstarch has dried it creates residue and the whole thing has to be cleaned, dry and use new tissue paper? I'm getting super frustrated obviously bc I've already cut new paper to fit twice for the ones that keep falling down. I also tried redoing the glue recipe in case it has just separated or the proportions had gotten off or something. Without fail all the panels that didn't stick still wont stick. Have you found anything that works better as glue? I'm trying to be non-perminent and mess free but I'm honestly about to just throw in the towel and use real paint or elmers and deal with the repercussions from the landlady.

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Yardster

3 years ago on Introduction

I love this idea. I have a question about using this technique to cut down on direct sunlight in a car. As a passenger who is knitting on long trips, I'm made very uncomfortable by the strobing of direct light coming through trees when the sun is low in the sky. I need an idea that will allow the driver to see traffic, but cut down the intensity of light contrast. Any ideas?

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PamK50Yardster

Reply 1 year ago

You will not need to remove film to adjust windows if you take a ruler or other straight edge,cut an extra 1/2 - 3/4 inch in length Carefully wet and tuck down under window guide/ the fuzzy thing at bottom of window.Carefully smooth with a thin sturdy object and allow to dry.Good luck

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johsouYardster

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

you would need to have the passenger window tinted as it must still be see-thru. there are films available in various degrees of tint. some countries do not allow the front windows of vehicles to be tinted or only tinted to a certain level. check before you have it done (unless you'd prefer to knit in the back seat)

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Yardsterjohsou

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Does this also apply to the curtains I see suction cupped to the glass? I can't recall if I've only seen them in the backs of cars for babies seated inside.

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supearYardster

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

You can buy one way film, window cling (google it) that can be put on with water, you'd have to take it off if you were to roll the window down though, I think...I'd say never block the view of the driver! This film is see thru one way and mirror on the other, but this is difficult in your case becasue what ever blocks the sun enough for you, would not be very see thru.

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dr_peru

3 years ago on Introduction

Nice! If you want to do this faster, there is another good method:

Take a cup of natural yoghurt without sugar and fruits, thin it down with cold water until it has the consistency of usual wall paint (buttermilk also works).

You can now paint your windows with it from the inside using a paintbrush or -roller. It will smell a bit like yoghurt until it is dried (not longer than a day or two though).

If you don´t need it anymore, you can just remove it with a wet towel or scratch it off without any traces.

This method might sound a bit yucky, but actually it´s not unhygienic as long as you don´t start licking your windows (beware you Aphex Twin fans!). Actually dairy products have been used as a buildunig material, e.g. for insulation, for centuries if not millennia.

I learned about this very cheap and effective method some years ago when I wanted to project movies in a Galleryspace I used to work in (also had the benefit, that I did not have to buy a projections screen, as the windows - unlike many walls - were perfectly flat).

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jarikcboldr_peru

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Another easy route is the shelf-stable milk (I think one brand is called Parmalat). Because its ultra-pasteurized, it does not have much noticeable smell as it dries. Milk is nice for this also because you have a little wiggle time to adjust things while its still wet. I've used it to fix paper labels to bottles, just wet the paper with milk, stick it on, position, and let it dry.

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fzumrkjarikcbol

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

I wonder how well that would work for beer bottles? It would be nice to put labels on my homebrews, but I usually don't want to go to the trouble of printing adhesive labels and then having to scrape them off the bottles when I reuse them. I'll think I'll try this with some labels printed on plain paper and adhered with milk. It should be much easier to clean off than adhesive.

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msm1981fzumrk

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Great idea, and the comment below will ensure you don't get bleeding...

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jarikcbolfzumrk

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

I actually used it to label some bottles of 'quick mead' I made. The trick is to have the labels printed with a laser (toner) printer, because the ink in those is actually plastic, and fuses with the paper. If you use a inkjet printer, the milk will cause the ink to run, because its water based. If you don't have a laser printer, (most of us don't they are expensive) just have copies of your label run off at say, Kinkos, or whatever copy-center/printer you have locally. Copy machines use toner, and the resulting prints should work fine. If you don't have a copy center, often Grocery stores will offer copies, but at some insane price like 25cents per page.

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Laserbirddr_peru

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the comment. It's an interesting, albeit slightly unnerving, idea. :)

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Wild-Bill

3 years ago on Introduction

I lived in a place with a store front and this would be a very effective solution. I am a great hater of curtains and blinds. On a redesign of my current house I had a problem with what to do with the windows where the bathroom now was located. My daughter came up with what I feel was an elegant solution. Something similar would work well here adding a design element to your solution.

window treatment.JPG
1 reply
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paappraiser

3 years ago

If your windows get condensation I would use some watered down cheap watered down acrylic paint. I say cheap paint as the pigments are not as dense.

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supear

3 years ago on Introduction

This is fantastic, can't believe I haven't seen something like this before, such a great idea! Thank you for sharing it!