Way back in the day (technically, back in October), we removed the window panes from the two back doors (read the post here).

By the way, that’s my dad helping me with the windows back in October : )

Fast forward ten-ish months and the windows are still naked. No window treatments. No blinds. Naked. Until the kitchen is finished, we don’t want to do anything too permanent or expensive. So I guess you could say we’ve been in window-treatment-limbo. The back door in the living room faces our neighbors’ backyard. Even though their deck is a pretty good distance away, sometimes we felt like we’re giving them a front row seat to everything going in Casa de Brown. On top of that, at night, the window of dark nothingness kind of freaked me out…

To cover up the “scary dark nothingness”, we’ve resorted to covering the window with craft paper, wrapping paper, and even pages from magazines. A more attractive alternative was well overdue. We came up with several low-cost options, but ultimately decided to give the ‘ole contact paper method a try.

At first, we thought about trying out this technique (via Design*Sponge) using a paint pen on contact paper for a detailed, artsy look…

Even though it’s a very cool technique, we want to be able to see out the window a little bit, rather than covering the entire window. We also wanted something a little more graphic yet subtle. So we decided to design and cut our own contact paper pattern.

I played around with a few different patterns, keeping in mind I would have to cut each peace and place it on the window by hand. In other words, simplicity was key. I then came across this Moroccan-Vintage-esque tile on Pinterest (here). Not only would it make a dreamy backsplash for a kitchen, but I loved the overall shape. I imported the image over into Photoshop, traced it, then started to lay out my window. I drew everything to scale so I could see how big I wanted each piece to be. This also helped me know how many pieces I would have to cut.

tile inspiration

I printed the pattern on a piece of card stock to make a stencil (Click here to download the stencil!). With my DIY stencil, contact paper, scissors, and fine-tip Sharpee, and the Doris Day & Rock Hudson box set in hand, I hunkered down for a long night of tracing, cutting, and movie-watching.

contact paper window supplies

It was tedious, but I felt really proud of myself when I had all 76 perfectly-cut stickers – enough for both back doors.

From this point on, the process is pretty self-explanatory. The contact-paper-as-window-film concept isn’t rocket science and has been done a bajillion times, I’m sure. But here are a few things I wish I would have known before I got started:

  • When tracing the stencil onto the contact paper, draw on the paper side, not contact paper itself. Yeah, I know. I had a total blonde-moment.
  • Rather than making a lot of little, short cuts when cutting out your design, keep the scissors moving. This will give you a much cleaner line.
  • Make sure you clean the window as well as humanly possible before starting to applying the pieces to the window. After you finish applying each row, wipe off any finger prints you left on the window with a dry cloth before you start on the next row.
  • When peeling the contact paper backing, do it slowly. If the contact paper creases or wrinkles the slightest bit, it will show up on the window, no matter how much you try to smooth it out.
  • If you have a bubble, don’t try to rub it out too hard. When I first started, I would get a bubble and freak out and try to rub it out really hard and quickly. That always ended up with a crease so I had to do it over. I later found that rubbing out the bubble lightly and slowly worked much better.

When it was all said and done, and my hands had a chance to rest, Greg and I were both really happy with the end result….

contact paper window film

We were actually kind of surprised how non-DIY it looked. If we end up loving it after the kitchen is installed, we might look into a more permanent application of the same design, like etching.

We’re also digging how it adds a layer of unexpected pattern to the not-finished-yet living room…

living room

In case you have a naked window, and you’re wanting to try this out for yourself, I put together a handy dandy PDF for you to download – complete with the pattern template and the tips listed above. Click here to download!

**If you have any questions, be sure to check out the comments on this post.**