Renter-friendly and budget-friendly window privacy

Guestpost by Alissa on Aug 15th

The thing I love most about my apartment is its location. Central enough to walk to work, grocery stores, and downtown — but this means there's a lot of pedestrian traffic going by. The second thing I love most is all the windows means lots of natural light. Put those together and there's not a lot of privacy.

I went to the home improvement store and found semi-transparent adhesive window films, but they cost $20 per window! With three windows to cover, I knew I'd need to find a cheaper option. In fact, I found a way to do it with just stuff I already had so the whole project was FREE! Here's how to put it up AND take it down.

Put it up

Supplies needed for application:

  • Tissue paper — the less wrinkled, the better
  • Mod-Podge
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors

Step 1
Examine the size of your paper and the size of your window pane. My window panes were all slightly larger than the paper I had and one was okay height-wise but a little wider. I decided to center the paper leaving a one-inch gap around the sides that I could peek through. Don't cut it before; it's easier to cut it later.

Step 2
Apply a thin layer of Mod-Podge to the window. It doesn't need to be perfect. If leaving a gap around the edges like I did, apply only where you're sure the paper will be covering it; Mod-Podge on the glass with no paper will be hazy.

Step 3
Carefully apply the tissue paper by starting at one end and gently smoothing it across the glue. Tissue paper is so thin that it will be difficult to accomplish the application without a few wrinkles (sorry, perfectionists); if you choose to use something a bit thicker like rice paper or art paper, this probably won't be as much of a problem.

Step 4
Dab a little more glue under the edges of the paper if needed.

Step 5
If your paper was larger than your window, score the edges with scissors or a utility knife to trim the excess.

I only papered the bottom panes of my windows so I can still see the sky and trees out the top. I have privacy from all the pedestrians, but still light and a view.

Take it down

I wasn't sure how well this would work, so I actually put it up on the windows for a few months, then took it down and reapplied it to write this tutorial. Clearly, it was a success.

Supplies for removal:

  • Liquid in a squirt bottle
  • Plastic card

Step 1
Saturate the paper. I sprayed one half with white vinegar and the other with cleaning solution to see if it made a difference. It didn't, so you could probably do this with just plain water, too.

Step 2
Scrape the paper and Mod-Podge off with your card.

This is so easy, it makes me regret waiting four years to do it. I obviously used plain white paper, but this could be fun with colored or patterned paper — especially in a kid's room!

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About Alissa

Alissa is a long-time Offbeat Empire reader, sporadic blogger and tweeter, secretary, and Sunday school teacher. She is often described as "silly" and was once re-tweeted by Nathan Fillion. While excited about blocking out prying eyes, she's still trying to figure out how to block the sounds of the singing college students stumbling home in the wee hours.