If you have ever admired the beauty of stained-glass windows in a church or public building but thought you couldn't have this look in your home because of the cost, you may not have heard of stained glass window film or stained glass blinds. Window film is an inexpensive product that can give you the look of frosted, etched or stained glass. You can also find specialty blinds that mimic the look of stained glass.
Stained Glass Window Film
There are two types of window film that produce the effects of stained glass. Both types of window film are installed using the same type of method.
Self-adhesive window films have a tacky adhesive on one side that helps them adhere to the window securely. However, installing this type of film does have its drawbacks. Self-adhesive window film can only be used once, and the glass will have to be cleaned with an ammonia-based window cleaner to remove any leftover adhesive if you decide you don't want the stained glass look anymore. The film will also stick to itself if you're not careful when applying it to the window, which can drive up your cost if you can't salvage it and have to buy more to complete the project.
Although the manufacturer suggests interior application whenever possible, the one advantage that adhesive film has is the ability of exterior application. Weathering will shorten the 5 to 9 year life span of the film, but it can be done. It is not recommended to apply static film on exterior glass.
Static Cling Film
Static cling.window film requires no adhesive, which makes it easier to work with. If you don't get the placement quite right on the first try, it's easy to remove the film and reposition it. You also don't have to worry about a static cling window film getting stuck to itself. It's easy to remove, reusable and doesn't leave any residue behind if you decide to remove it.
Where to Buy Stained Glass Window Film
Check out the following online retailers if you're interested in purchasing stained-glass window film:
- Window Film World - Here you will find static cling vinyl stained glass window films in both see-through and opaque privacy glass versions. Prices vary according to the style, pattern and size you select. A set of stained glass corners runs about $16, while larger window film cost just under $100.
- Decorative Films, LLC - This retailer offers self-adhesive stained glass films in traditional and abstract designs. They also offer complete window film application kits and professional installation. Pricing on their films runs less than $0.10 per square inch, and there is a $25 set up fee per order.
- Wallpaper for Windows - Find a large selection of adhesive-free stained glass window films, including traditional classic, contemporary, solid color and nature-themed patterns. Pricing begins around $5 for a stained glass centerpiece, while larger panels are priced just under $30.
How to Apply Window Film
The following method applies to both self-adhesive and static cling window film. You will need the following tools and materials for cleaning and installation:
- Tape measure
- Plastic card squeegee
- Spray bottle- standard size
- Paper towels
- Mild dish soap
- Clean water
Cleaning the Glass
In order to have good contact between the film and the glass, the window needs to be thoroughly cleaned first. Also, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to keep oil from transferring to the film.
- Fill the spray bottle with clean water and add a few drops of detergent.
- Spray the surface and wipe clean to remove all traces of dirt, grime and grease.
- Spray the surface again, and then use a single blade razor to shave the glass. The razor should glide smoothly over the surface, without making any noise.
- Squeegee all the excess water away from the glass. Do not wipe because this may leave small fibers behind.
Installing the Film
After the glass is cleaned and dried, you will use the soapy water to apply the window film.
- Measure the height and width of the glass surface to be covered. Add an extra inch to each side and mark the backing paper or liner where it needs to be cut. Use scissors or a razor knife to cut the film to size.
- Lay the film with the backing paper or liner up, on a clean flat surface. Remove the protective liner.
- Spray the exposed film thoroughly with soapy water.
- Spray a generous amount of soapy water to the glass so that the film can easily be positioned.
- Carefully lay the sprayed side of the film on the glass. Wet the top surface of the film.
- Starting in the middle, use the plastic squeegee to push out any air bubbles and extra water.
- Check carefully that all air bubbles are removed and that the film is completely flat and free of wrinkles. Wipe away any excess moisture with paper towels.
- Use the ruler and razor knife to trim the excess film from the edges, cutting in one continuous direction. Wipe away any moisture that remains around the edge.
- Allow at least two days for self-adhesive film to completely dry and adhere to the glass.
Stained Glass Blinds
Stained glass blinds are difficult to find because there are very few manufacturers currently offering this type of product.
Creatively Different Blinds is a UK company that produces high-quality, designer blinds with the look of real leaded glass. Choose from a gallery of contemporary and traditional stained glass patterns that are digitally printed on the blinds. Measurements are taken in centimeters, but the company has a calculator that will convert inches to centimeters for you. They offer worldwide shipping, and you can contact them directly for a shipping quote. They accept Visa and MasterCard.
No Need for Bland Windows
Stained glass window coverings can add an unexpected decorative element to your home. Whether you choose blinds or film covers, there's bound to be a pattern that complements and enhances your decor.