Friday, January 16, 2015

DIY "Stained-Glass" Windows (At least it looks like stained-glass)

It looks like Stained Glass
But It's Actually Window Film

When we moved into our home 3 years ago, I knew going into it that I wanted to redo every single room.  The home was built about 15 years ago and needed updates everywhere.  Our basement is unfinished so we no longer had the luxury of having a designated family room.  Our main room of our house needed to be able to accommodate watching football on the flat-screen tv.  The only problem with flat-screen televisions is the fact that a little bit of glare makes the viewing experience terrible.

My main focus was not on these windows because I knew they would be a huge undertaking so I decided to put a band-aid on the problem for the time being.  Three years have passed and the band-aid project is long past it's due.

Paper Blinds From Bed Bath and Beyond

I taped up paper blinds with double stick tape for a weekend fix, knowing full well this was very temporary.   The main reason this project took so long to come back to was my own indecision.  On the one hand, I wanted to be able to block out the bright sunlight, but yet I still wanted to be able to see out the windows.  Since the windows are so high up it would be impossible to open and close curtains without an electronic system, but the price of this made it out of the budget.

I kept thinking and pondering and finally came up with the perfect answer.  It's called the miracle of "Vinyl Clings."  I have used them in the past so I know they are not too expensive, they help with heating costs and they can hold out the glare.

I watched a few videos made by the vinyl companies that are posted on Home Depot's website and decided my beautiful picture windows were due for their time to shine.

I didn't have the patience to order the window film and then and wait for them to come into the store so I decided to see what they carried in their stock.  It turns out they don't carry a lot, so I drove around until I found the perfect combination.  I went to Lowes, Home Depot, and Menards until I found the vinyls I wanted.

Dated Trim

After removing the paper, I also realized there was one other thing bothering me about the windows.  I hate the dated trim. Oh, don't worry, this was the easiest fix of all. I still had half a can of stain leftover from my kitchen table project, so all the trim could match with only a little effort. Once again I went to work rubbing stain on the wood.

Rather than taping off I used a large sheet-rock putty knife to block the area I didn't want stain on next to the window or the wall. It is especially handy for the floor boards that bud up to carpet. Just push the knife into the carpet and hold it back while rubbing the stain on the floorboards. No stripping required. I did tape the tops of the floorboard because taping there was fast and easy. I just wanted everything done in five steps or less.  My rule of thumb is, if the taping takes too long then it's not worth the effort.  Every time I go to work I make a decision based on easiness.  If it is easier to just cut the paint or stain in with a brush I do it that way, but if taping is easy to do, then it is faster to tape.

I taped the top of the floorboards and used a sheet-rock knife to hold the carpet back and stained the entire room in about 10 minutes. This is so much easier than painting and I love how it turned out.

Look at the difference of the before and after.  The picture above of the trim is what the woodwork looked like throughout the house.  After I added my new stain it made my heart sing with joy.  This was even before I added my vinyl to the windows.  

I even added stain to the stair rail and the front door.  Ok, I promise I will get back to my windows, but sometimes in the middle of a project you realize you need to do additional things to make it all happy.

On the corners I used ARTSCAPE CITY LIGHTS WINDOW FILM which costs about $20.  I needed two of them for my large windows.  For the middle window I used GILA 36-in W x 15-ft L Bronze Heat-Control Adhesive Window Film.  This runs about $45.00.  As you can tell from the picture, you can still see out, but the glare is reduced tremendously.

The application process for the windows is not too hard, but it's not a piece of cake either, especially when you are on a ladder that high up, but remember, it has been 3 years of looking at a set of windows I hated, so the payoff was worth the extra effort.

I love how it all turned out!

Oh, And After All This Staining, I still have a Half a Can of Stain Left.
You Won't Believe What Else You Can Do With a Can Of Stain.
My Best Project of All is Still To Come!!!
You Won't Want to Miss It!

Sorry for shouting, I just get so excited when a plan comes together.

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