“I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Meeeeee….”

5

October 8, 2012 by Decorum DIYer

I am sure it is no “Thriller” to Michael Jackson that his back-up vocals are being used for a master bathroom update blog post.  Sorry, Michael!   Wherever you are. (I almost titled this post “I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me Peeeeeee….”, but thought better of that.  Still, had to share it.)

Today I am sharing with you a little project that I have been contemplating and putting off since the day we moved into this house.  In a previous post I told you about my ever-so-tiny master bathroom.  Another reason that my husband and I have disliked using our master bathroom is because it isn’t very private.  Sure, we have window treatments in there, but during the day, I like to have my roman shades open to let in the natural light and to even open the window on beautiful days.  The problem is that our neighbor, and the whole neighborhood for that matter, has a front row seat into our little loo. Here’s the view from the master bathroom:

View from the master bathroom looking towards the street and my neighbor’s front yard.

View from the master bathroom towards the back of our house and into the neighbor’s backyard.

While it is lovely to see some trees and grass from our window, it does make one wonder, “What is the view that the neighbor and passers-by have?”.  We really didn’t worry too much about being spied upon, as we rarely used the master bathroom, until now.  Since becoming a family of five and slightly revamping the master bathroom, it has seen a bit more action, so privacy has become a concern.  That said, I didn’t want to keep the roman shade closed at all times, as I really enjoy the natural light.  So, that only left one solution: a privacy film for the windows. Here is what I used:

Window privacy film made by Gila in a rice paper pattern.

I picked up this roll of Gila privacy film in a rice paper pattern.  I like the look or rice paper, again for its obvious asian aesthetic, but also I thought it would eliminate the need to keep a more linear pattern straight on the vertical and horizontal.  I followed the directions provided in the kit (and by kit, I mean window privacy film and instructions – that is all that is provided in the box).  This was my first time applying a window film, so I made sure to read every word of the instructions.  Then I gathered my supplies:

My necessary, but unconventional supplies. Some were suggested by the Gila manufacturer’s instructions, and others were my improvisation.

  1. GILA Film Aid concentrate  : Nope, didn’t have that, but apparently this is common as the instructions state that a good substitute is any ‘no-tears baby shampoo).  I used my lavender Johnson’s baby shampoo ‘no tears’ formula (purple container).  Thank goodness I have a baby!
  2. bottled water: (clear squirt bottle is filled with bottled water)
  3. Spray bottle (trigger sprayer preferable): Okay, I didn’t have a spare spray bottle, so I used the above mentioned squirt bottle.  It is what I had on hand and worked fine.
  4. Break-away utility knife and blades (for trimming film):  Yippee, I had this in my tool kit (purple handled implement).
  5. Single-edged razor blade (for cleaning glass):  I didn’t need this, as my widows weren’t quite that dirty.  This is only necessary if you have dried paint or other particles on the glass that need to be scraped off to create a smooth surface before applying the film.
  6. Ruler or tape measurer :  Clearly, I had this readily available.
  7. Lint-free cloth or paper coffee filters (for cleaning glass and film):  I don’t have lint-free cloths on hand, so thankfully I also drink copious amounts of coffee that I brew at home.
  8. A squeegee (for cleaning, removing lubricant/solution, and flattening out air bubbles): I used a plastic, pizza stone scraper. I know, totally out there, but it worked and it is what I had.

THE PROCESS:

  1. Clean your windows.  I first used Windex and the coffee filter to clean my windows.  I didn’t need to scrape any items from the glass, so I skipped the razor blade step.  After using the Windex, I cleaned my windows a second time using the ‘no-tear’ baby shampoo formula (1 quart of bottled water and 1/4 teaspoon of baby shampoo) and a coffee filter.  The reason behind this is that the Windex cleaner may damage the window film, so a thorough second cleaning with the ‘no-tear’ shampoo formula was necessary.
  2. I measured my windows.  In my case, each pane was 16″w by 21″h.
  3. Cut window film to your windows’ dimensions adding at least 1/16″ margin that can be trimmed later.  I elected to add an additional inch or two, just to be safe.  It didn’t appear to be a problem having a little ‘extra’ around the edges.
  4. Wet the window thoroughly with the ‘no-tear’ shampoo formula, as it will serve as a lubricant for the window film until you have it in position.

    “Make it rain!” No, not like THAT! You need plenty of lube here, don’t be afraid to completely saturate your window panes with the ‘no-tear’ solution.

    As you can see, I have plenty of lubricant (‘no-tear’ solution) on my windows. This is important, as it will help you layout your film before it completely adheres.

  5. Remove the window film backing from the window film.  This sounds easy, right?  WRONG!  This was probably the hardest thing.  I don’t really have any nails to speak of and trying to separate the corner edge into two was crazy hard.  I guess that is why the manufacturer suggests the ‘scotch tape’ method.  Basically, firmly adhere a small piece of scotch tape to the film’s outside edge at the corner and another small piece of scotch tape to the backing’s outside edge at the corner.  Do not let the two pieces of tape touch past the corner, as they will to adhere to each other and completely destroy what you are trying to accomplish.  Pull both pieces of tape away from each other with one quick tug.  This will pull the backing from the film.  I left the pieces of tape in place to assist me until after the window film application process.

    Use scotch tape to assist in removing the backing from the window film.

  6. Pull the backing from the top edge a few inches from the edge.  Gently placing the window film against the window pane.  If the window is too dry and the film is not easily moved, add more lubricant solution.

    Window film partially adhered working in a top-down fashion.

  7. Using your hand, gently continue to pull the backing away whilst smoothing out the film over the window.  Eventually, you will get to a point where the film is adhered to the window, but you have edges to trim.

    View of excess window film that will need to be trimmed.

    Another view of the excess window film that will need to be trimmed.

     

  8. Before trimming, use your squeegee, or in my case pizza stone scraper, and smooth out any air bubbles or lubricant solution from the center of the film to the outer edge of the window.  Wipe away any extra lubricant solution that spills from the edges.

    Using my scraper (my version of the ‘squeegee’) to smooth out the air bubbles and remove excess lubricant from behind the film.

  9. Be sure to smooth the entire surface of the film and crease the edges where the film meets the edge of the window pane/frame.
  10. Carefully trim off the excess film.  I did this free hand using the window frame as my guide, but found using the scraper (or some other straight edge) as a guard for the sharp corners.

    Trimming the corners, after using my scraper as a guide to ensure a crisp cornered edge. (Sorry I couldn’t get a photo of the scraper AND the blade. I only have two hands!)

    Trimming the side, corner, and bottom. (Again, after I cleaned up the corner with the scraper as a guide.)

    Pulling the excess away as I trim. (Do it much the same way as you would when removing painter’s tape at an angle after you have painted.)

     

And…, Voila!

My now private window panes in the master bathroom using the light-filtering, rice paper, window film.

This was a really easy project, but admittedly, did take some patience and forethought.  I have two recommendations:

1.  If you have a window latch that presents an obstacle for applying the window film, start applying the window film in that location, even if it is not top-down.  In my case, I needed to work around a latch at the center, so I was forced to work in a right to left fashion, ensuring the right side was aligned before proceeding across the window pane.

The centrally located window latch that presented itself as an obstacle to adhering the window film.

2.  Do not attempt to complete this project during nap time (your child’s nap time, not your nap time, silly).  It made for a much hurried and stressful application.  The process wasn’t hard, but I was forced to rush – not fun!  In anticipation, I pre-cut my window film the night before whilst watching “The Walking Dead”.  I don’t recommend that either.  I was a little scared of the zombie action and had a bit of a shaky hand, but the excess trim off portion of an inch helped out.  🙂

Well, there you have it, another easy project to make my home, and maybe your home, a bit more enjoyable.  Has anyone else ever applied window film?  If so, how did it go?  Any pointers you would like to add in the comments section?  If you haven’t tried this yet, any plans to add privacy to your home’s windows with window film?

Until next time, happy ‘filming’!

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5 thoughts on ““I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Meeeeee….”

  1. Great minds think alike! I have not yet bitten the bullet for the window film. Pros and cons, you know? Luckily my bathroom with a view doesn’t have zombie access like yours does. 🙂 This does make me wonder if it would be a viable option for my front door. Thanks for the tutorial!

  2. Decorum DIY says:

    Why thank you little lady. If I were you, I’d opt for a roman shade that has two layers. I had them in my townhome and I loved them. I purchased them at JC Penney. The street side is a sheer roman shade (in white or ecru) and the interior side is the fabric of your choice. Each roman shade moves independently, so when you want privacy, but want to be able to see who is coming to your front door, pulling into the drive, etc…, you can having the sheer bit down and the decorative fabric shade up. Of course, you would draw the fabric shade portion down at night to maintain privacy. I don’t think I’d like the film for a front door. You could never see who is at your door. In that case, everyone would look like a shadowy, zombie figure. 😉 Just a thought!

  3. Suzz says:

    A few brief thoughts …

    Very nice! Thanks for sharing.
    Newspaper, strangely, cleans windows and mirrors amazingly!
    *sing-song voice* I know where you got that squirt bottle 🙂
    Maybe Erin would like to fasten window film to her door windows instead of frosting them …?
    I couldn’t help but think of your son when you were describing the blinds, haha.

  4. Decorum DIY says:

    Yes, Suzz, you are correct with regards to the squirt bottles’ origins. Hey, use what you have! It was unused until that day, if that helps. 🙂

    • Suzz says:

      I am all about being “resourceful.” Hey – one of the baby books I read recommends cleaning it out and using it to wash baby’s hair in the tub, ha!

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