Tuesday, January 11

Now you see us, now you don't...

I originally posted this to We Did It Wednesday at Sew Much Ado. Even though it isn't technically a craft, I made myself a semi-private bedroom! :-)


But then, I felt like a sham, because the patio door transformation is not crafty in any way. So then I made a Wire Bracelet for We Did It Wednesday, and instead, am going to the Transformation Thursday party with my doors over at The Shabby Chic Cottage!

One of my 2011 Home Goals was to replace the nasty, broken dog hair and dust collector mini-blind that hangs on the inside of our front door with opaque window film. I'd used this stuff three times before - 1) the garage window, after our real estate agent told us to lose the saggy, too short curtain that was left up purely to block the view into the garage, 2) on the window panes at the top of our front door in our last apartment - the morning sun made our entry feel like you were standing on the surface of the sun, and 3) our bathroom window - 2nd floor window + apartment building across the way had people above (looking down) and people below (looking up) = no matter which way you spin the blinds, some one can see your goodies. Oh by the way, standing at the front door (#2) you could also see right through the window, up the stairs and into the bathroom (#3). In all three cases, we wanted privacy, without blocking out all the light. I accidentally stumbled across the frosted flim, and immediately fell in love.

Turns out, I am not the only one in love with a little privacy/blurring on the great glass doors. Sherry and John over at Young House Love covered their laundry room door in Frosty the Side Door, and Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick covered her pantry door in clear contact paper in Before and After Party: A Private Pantry. I considered the contact paper, because I already have three rolls, but since the doors look right into our bedroom, I stuck with the frosted. Wait, what? Yes, the FRONT doors look right into our bedroom. One of these days, I will make up the floor plan, so it makes sense. Or at least sort of makes sense.

So here is the story:

I started with this: (It was cold the night that I took the before pictures- even in Hawaii - and we have tile floors. So we busted out the dogs' camping fleeces :-) I made those myself.) On the left is looking in from the outside. On the right is looking out from the inside.
 I started with these tools, and a pair of scissors:
Basically, I needed a long tape measure, a straight edge, a pencil, a pair of scissors, and the window film application kit, which consists of a hard squeegee, a razor blade, and the window film solution. I think you can get away without the kit, but the solution you use has to be ammonia free, and if you don't have the special cutting tool, you heve to be extra careful cutting, or have a straight edge for cutting. I measured and cut all of my squares carefully, because I was trying to squeeze 2 doors (15 - 8.5 x 13 inch panes each) out of one roll. I had just enough of the frosted film (comes in a 4 ft by 6.5 ft roll), but other film finishes come in different sizes. Or maybe my Home Depot just has a small selection.

First things first! Clean the windows well. Anything left behind will stay behind and leave a shadow through the film. Therefore, it will look crummy no matter what you do. Also, clean the outside of the window, to make the before and after look super dramatic. If you skip the outside clean, that's ok. You can clean it later. But CLEAN THE INSIDE OF THE WINDOW. Also pay special attention to the corners of the window. Use a flat razor blade to scrape off any paint stuck to the window, or loose grim/paint in the corners or up against the frame.

After you measure and precut your pieces (I left about 1 inch extra in each direction to trim the piece once on the window), and have cleaned the windows, you are ready! To get the film off its backing, you can put a piece of scotch tape on both at the corner, press the tape together, and then pull them apart. The theory is that the films will stick to the tape rather than each other. In practice, sometimes this takes a try or two. Before you start to pull the film off the backing, spray the window and the film with the spray solution. IMPORTANT: Spray after the first little tug with the tape (otherwise the tape won't stick if you spray before). Once you have sprayed, go ahead and peel the film off the backing. Then spray the sticky side of the film and place the film (sticky side down) on the inside of the window, like so:

Gasp! A bubble. No biggie. Squeegee the bubbles out with the squeegee. This is where the solution comes in: keeps the film from sticking to the window. At Young House Love's Frosty the Side Door they had problems getting the bubbles out because it was so cold outside. They went back and redid the film with more solution, and that seemed to solve the problem. Other things the solution helps to control is the static cling of the film. If you don't use the solution, the film tends to curl around and get stuck on itself. Not impossible to get apart, just nearly impossible to get apart without creasing the film. Which later shows up on the window. I started to run low on solution, so cheaped out and stopped spraying the backing side when I was pulling them apart. Seemed to work ok.

Once the film is up on the window, you have to trim off any excess. I used the kit's cutting tool. It took me about half a door to realize that it works way better if you hold the cutter perpendicular to the GLASS! Like so:

One things to keep in mind is that the film still slides around, so if you are cutting one side of the film, be mindful that the film hasn't slid away from the other side of the frame, leaving an unsightly gap. Not that I've ever done that... The tricky part about the application kit versus the film: the application kit has been updated but the film instruction still reference the old kit which has a few extra tools. Tricky, but true. :-)
Anyway, repeat the above steps until you've finished the door/window, or whatever you need to cover for privacy. (If you have a multi-paned door like I do, I recommend picking up an extra cutting tool in the form of a box cutter or razor. My cutting tool ran out of steam about halfway through the second door and I had to bust out a kitchen paring knife. And some swearing.) Repeat and repeat and VOILA!
Terrible picture, but you can see the difference between the door (with film) and the window (without film). The window will eventually be covered by a curtain. That is coming up soon. There are actually two of these doors, and I covered both of them, which is nice, because the other face directly onto our bed. Now I can walk around in my underoos without flashing the neighbors! Boo-ya!

Oh, so the total cost of this project was $21.97 for the window film and $9.97 for the application kit, plus tax and a little bit of my sanity, but all in all, a fair price to pay for a little bit of privacy.

:-) Barbara

BTW, Gila didn't perk me to post. Just happened that way :-)

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Hi! I hope you've had as much fun reading about my adventure as I have had writing about it! I would love to hear from you! :-) Barbara

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