Add privacy but keep natural light with this lace DIY window film. Simple and inexpensive, you can totally get great results!
How to DIY Window Film using Lace
by Annabel Vita
One day, with the help of this post from Manhattan Nest, I had a brainwave and added lace to the window with a pantry staple and some £1.50 lace from Ikea. Here’s how you can do the same.
DIY Window Film, Step 1: Prepare your lace.
I made a template of my window panes, but for a larger surface you could just measure it. Iron your lace if you can and trim it to size.
DIY Window Film, Step 2: Make up a starch jelly
First, mix two tablespoons cornflour (also known as cornstarch) and two tablespoons cold water until it forms a paste, then dissolve this in about a cup and a half of boiling water. You should end up with a nice gloopy liquid.
DIY Window Film, Step 3: Apply the jelly to the window
Use a brush to paint a thick layer of the gloopy jelly on to the window pane.
DIY Window Film, Step 4: Put lace in the window
Lay your fabric onto the pre-applied cornflour jelly.
DIY Window Film, Step 5: Brush on more jelly
Brush another layer of the jelly on top of the lace. Brush from the center to the corners but make your strokes slightly random. That way they won’t show too much when the jelly dries.
If your lace moves a bit, don’t worry! It’s easy to reposition at this point.
The best thing about using lace (with holes in) is that there are naturally no air pockets so you don’t have to bother with maneuvering bubbles to the edges to get them out.
DIY Window Film, Step 6: Let it dry
The starch jelly will take a while to fully dry out and it won’t be clear until it’s fully dry, so don’t panic if it looks a little white to begin with!
Q: Why did you need lace DIY Window Film?
A: Our old flat in a stately 1745 townhouse was packed with period features. The bedroom had delectable shutters, which I adored, but they made window treatments kind of hard. You either had to hang curtains in front of the whole alcove (we can tell by the holes in the trim that this is what our predecessors did) or not at all. For the last year and a bit, we’ve opted for nothing at all, except for a light-blocking curtain above the shutters. The shutters are great at blocking all natural light, which was great when we wanted it dark. But, the room got crazy beautiful morning light and it always seemed a shame to be getting dressed in artificial light just for the sake of privacy.
Q: Just how opaque is the lace DIY window film? I am curious how much privacy this actually offers.
A: I t totally depends on your fabric. If you’d be happy with getting changed behind the fabric as curtains then the fabric will be opaque enough for this window treatment too. I actually have lace curtains in this same fabric, and in both instances I feel happy getting changed behind them if it’s light outside. If it was dark outside and I had the light on, I wouldn’t be hanging out without my clothes. If privacy is really important for you, pick a lace that is more opaque than sheer.
Here’s a picture of my hand on the window…
…and held out as far away as it could go.
Q: What about mod podge? Would that work instead of cornflour?
A: We don’t really have modge podge here so I don’t know! It would be a bit more permanent I imagine. If it’s anything like PVA glue (I think it is) then I wouldn’t want to use it on wooden painted windows like we have, but it could work great on more modern windows. It would also be much more expensive. (The “glue” made out of cornstarch is essentially free!)
Q: If I used colored lace would the cornstarch show?
A: No, it dries totally clear (but goes on gloopy and white-ish, don’t panic!) It will probably go clear overnight.
Q: How do I clean it?
I would say it’s probably not great for a window that would get dirty a lot because you can dust or brush it but can’t wipe it down. I’d probably remove all the sheets of lace and run them through the machine in a lingerie bag every now and again and then put them back up. It’s that easy to apply.
Q: How do I remove the lace?
When it came to be time to move out, I sprayed the lace down with water and just pulled it away. There was a lot of residue on the window, but it soon came off with a scrubby sponge and VERY HOT water.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions I will try and pop in to the comments here to answer them, or you may find the answer in the comments to this post.
More DIY window film ideas for privacy:
Originally published 09.30.2014 // Updated 06.22.2021