before & after, DIY, secondhand stories, small town life

The Totally Free, All-Natural DIY Window Covering


012314-window-film-01I’ve been struggling a bit with how to cover the windows in the Dream House. Because the windows are so beautiful and since they’re such an integral part of the house’s design, I want to keep them as exposed as possible. However, we also want some privacy. Here in the entryway, for instance, there’s a window by the front door that faces the street. I love the light but I don’t like feeling like my house is wide open for all to see. I came up with a solution that honors the window, still allows in plenty of light and gives us privacy. Oh, and I did it all for free.


I mean, just look at this window. I don’t want to cover up that beautiful zinc glass! But as you can also see, this window faces the street. And that means that when we’re ambling by in our underwear to feed a very insistent cat in the morning, well, let’s just say I’d prefer to have a little privacy here.

There’s still evidence of hardware from where a curtain used to hang on this window. I considered a curtain here but I didn’t want to lose the openness that the bare window lends to the entryway. That’s when I got the idea to use window film to create some privacy without adding any bulk to the window frame. I looked around for window film at the hardware stores but balked at the price. Having seen Manhattan Nest’s door project a couple of years ago, I was inspired to use old sheer curtain panels that came with the house to create my window covering. All it took was some corn starch, water and a lot of cutting and pasting!

Here’s how I did it:

With all of my materials prepped, it was almost time to get started on the window. But first I need to clean the window. In addition to using glass cleaner, I also scraped off some old dried paint flecks. I wanted the glass to be sparkling clean before I started applying a single drop of paste.


Now, it was finally time to get started with the fun part. First, I brushed a thick layer of my corn starch paste directly onto the glass.


Next, I placed my pre-cut sheer panel onto the paste-lined glass. Most of the directions I read online suggested using a credit card or some other flat edge to smooth out the fabric. Since I was working with sheers, however, I noticed that I had to use my fingers to work the fabric into place. When I tried to use a flat edge, the fabric would shift out of place.


Once the fabric was in place and all of the air bubbles has been worked out, I brushed a fairly thick layer of paste on top. I had to be extra cautious around the corners because the fabric did tend to shift when I applied paste.


And that was it. Quick and easy, right? All that was left was to wait for the paste to dry. Now, this may be small town life at the Dream House, but I do have better things to do that watch paste dry! Namely, I got carried away and started covering a few other windows, too.

When the paste finally dried, the windows have taken on a Shoji screen appearance. Given Frank Lloyd Wright’s affinity for Japanese culture, I think he would have approved.


— J. Blandings

Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Brucie 01/23/2014 at 7:40 pm

    Beautifully done!

  • Reply Abby 01/24/2014 at 4:14 pm

    The best part is that if you ever decide to remove it, it will probably only require some warm water.

  • Reply Jennifer Berlyoung 12/28/2016 at 3:29 am

    Now that it has been a few years, how does it hold up over time? I am thinking of doing this in my bathroom.

    • Reply Jason 03/28/2017 at 12:14 pm

      Still holding strong!

  • Reply Jennifer Berlyoung 12/28/2016 at 8:56 am

    Now that it has been a few years, how does this hold up? I have been wanting to do it for my bathroom. Would it be too steamy?

    • Reply Jason 12/28/2016 at 9:07 am

      Three years in and the window covering has held up very well. This despite the wild temperature swings of the upper Midwest. It can get pretty humid here – and we also have a lot of freezing days – so I think the application would be just fine in a bathroom. Good luck!

  • Reply Charleen 08/22/2017 at 3:50 pm


    Please let me know how you actually manage to keep them clean? We live in a dusty area so this will be crucial to drciding if I can give it a go.

    • Reply Jason 08/22/2017 at 4:41 pm

      A simple vacuuming with a brush attachment does the trick!

  • Reply jojomuljoanne 09/17/2018 at 3:25 pm

    Looks amazing, I live in Turkey and it gets very dusty here so I too am concerned about cleaning them….not sure what to do now.

  • Reply Jenine 09/19/2018 at 5:57 pm

    What does the window look like from the outside?

  • Reply Betty 04/04/2020 at 10:16 am

    What fabric did you use? Just sheer panel cut up, polyester?

    • Reply Jason 04/12/2020 at 6:03 pm

      Yes, an old polyester shear curtain. But you could also use cotton.

  • Reply Shanelle 05/16/2020 at 8:12 am

    Has anyone tried this with sheer colored fabric? I wonder if it would give a stained glass effect? Does it remove easily? We rent and I dont want something permanent…

  • Reply Allison 10/27/2020 at 6:15 am

    It’s even easier with spray starch. Not a can of starch used for ironing. Walmart sells a jug of stay flo starch for less than $2. Put that in spray bottle. Spray windows and it acts like wallpaper paste. I’m cleaning windows today for tulle project.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.