Lace window treatment with cornflour

Lace cornstarch window treatment10Oh my goodness, this was the quickest, easiest, cheapest project ever but I’m 100 per cent in love with the results. You know those little upgrades that just make your life both better and prettier? This is one of those for our bedroom.

So, privacy. This bedroom has delectable shutters, which I adore, but it makes window treatments kind of hard. You either have 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 the latter option, except for the tension rod light blocking curtain above the shutters.

Lace cornstarch window treatment05

The shutters are great at blocking all natural light, which is great for lie-ins. But, this room gets crazy beautiful morning light and it always seemed a shame to be getting dressed in artificial light just for privacy.

Anyway, the other day I was browsing the Manhatten Nest blog (looking for something else entirely), when I stumbled on this post of yore about using liquid starch and fabric for privacy in glass windows. Boom!

Obviously, my mind went straight to lace (because my mind always goes straight to lace) and I thought ooh, I gots to try that out one day!

Serendipitously, we headed to Ikea earlier in the week to scope out tea-light lanterns for the wedding. Even more serendipitously, Ikea has JUST started selling lovely scallop edge lace fabric for a mere £1.50 per metre. Boom boom.

Lace cornstarch window treatment08

Anyway, I got home from work one day and mixed up the starch jelly. I ended up mixing 2 tablespoons cornflour (that’s cornstarch across the pond) with about an equal amount of cold water, then mixing that in about a cup and a half of boiling water from the kettle. I mixed it in a lunch box and the resulting jelly is both spooky and somewhat non-newtonian.

(Random interlude – my first lady boss once told me that some men – ie. our coworker at the time – are like custard powder mix – the more you stir them the more they resist, so keep a light touch. It’s been remarkably useful advice and obviously applies to lots of women too!)

Unlike Daniel, I didn’t soak my fabric in the mix. It just felt like a messy and icky idea so instead I painted a thick layer of gloop on to the window pane.

Lace cornstarch window treatment01

Then I cut out a rectangle of lace using a template I’d made earlier. I didn’t iron it first but the one piece I had where there was a crease was the hardest to apply so do iron your fabric if it’s creased at all.

Lace cornstarch window treatment04

Then I applied another thick layer on top, being sure to get it right into all the corners. I tried working top to bottom, centre to corners and a few different ways, but there wasn’t a noticeable difference in ease or result. I did notice that there were sometimes brush marks if I did it too regimented so I ended up going for random patterns of brush strokes.

Lace cornstarch window treatment02

The best thing about using lace (with holes in) is that there are automatically not air pockets so you don’t have to both squeegeeing them out, which is good because I’m really bad at that sort of thing. The other good thing about lace is it’s very forgiving. On one pane, I ended up with a gap in one place, I just cut a small strip and starch-glued it over the top. I can’t even tell where it was now!

Lace cornstarch window treatment03

Et voilà! Done. This took less than an hour from start to finish.

Lace cornstarch window treatment13

Except I’m going to go back and add a row of scallops in the panes just above it. But I figured if I waited to post about it until I’d done that then I’d probably never post about it.

Lace cornstarch window treatment12

The best thing about this is that to remove it, you just wash it off with warm water, so it’s perfect for renters. My other favourite thing, that doesn’t really show up in pictures, is that it keep the texture of the lace, so it doesn’t look like fake lace contact paper.

Lace cornstarch window treatment07

I noticed Dan got a lot of comments wondering if this could be done in a hot, humid room like a shower. To that, I’d say it wouldn’t work somewhere that gets directly wet. As for humidity, it probably depends just how humid, but this is so cheap (£1.50 of fabric, probably less than a penny worth of cornflour) and easy to install and uninstall that you should just give it a go and let the internet know how it works out!

I would say it’s probably not great for a window that would get dirty a lot (like above a sink) because you probably can’t wipe it down. If this window gets dingy, I’d probably remove all the sheets and run them through the machine in a lingerie bag. It’s that easy to apply.

Hopefully I’ll get the scallops up soon and will post back about those!

PS. To see the stunning view this is blocking, click here.

PPS. A few more pictures

Lace cornstarch window treatment14

UPDATE! I added a few more details and answers to common questions on a new blog post. Read all about it here

 

 

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109 thoughts on “Lace window treatment with cornflour

  1. Ainhoa Vega says:

    Oh this is stunning! I remember reading Daniel’s post when he did it in his apartment. And I also saw that lace at a Ikea a couple of months ago and thought it would be fun to use in a DIY project :)

  2. This looks awesome! I’m not sure that my IKEA has lace yet, but I think it’s worth the trip to find out :)

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Mine had got it in in the last month! (You can also stock check online, but it’s not always accurate for fabric for some reason)

  3. Sabs says:

    Oh wow, this looks so elegant. I’m going to try it when I get a chance. Altho my work colleagues may think I’m a bit weird (my office door has a window that doesn’t allow for any privacy and I’ve been thinking about what to do about it for ages) You’ve done such a neat job, it looks amazing!

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Haha, maybe do the gloody bit when nobody is around?! (I’m not a neat person with things like this, but the lace stayed flexible when wet, which helped get it into all the edges)

  4. countrymousetales says:

    Beautiful!! I have a bathroom window that I need to make a bit more private..

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Let me know how you get on Bekah!

    • Casey G says:

      Did you do this in your bathroom and how did it work out? I was just wondering about steam and heat from the water,

      • Annabel Vita says:

        Hi Casey, I did this on a small window in our bathroom and it’s ok but not great. It does stay up but gets damp so dust etc sticks to it and then you can’t clean it. I’d say it would work well as a temporary measure but not permanent.

      • joanne says:

        Maybe you can finish it off with varnish. Then it won’t stick.
        Good luck.

  5. This is gorgeous!! Love this idea so much! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Lindsay says:

    I love this!!! Really pretty and it’s such a good alternative to plastic-y contact paper!

  7. Staci says:

    So smart, and looks fantastic!! Glad you can now dress in the natural light without getting peeped on!

  8. OMG I can’t get over this! We’ve done the whole typical frosted window film before but 1. it was rather a pain, and 2. it’s kinda boring. I love this idea! I don’t know that Derek would go for lace (boo!) but maybe I can twist his arm with a more “masculine” lace. Is that even a think? ;) LOVE it!
    xo Catharine @Your Modern Couple

  9. What a great idea! I love it.

  10. Callie says:

    Wow, gorgeous Annabel!! I’m totally going to remember this for our apartment when we move. We did the frosted film in the bathroom of our current house and I’ve really loved the combination of privacy and sunshine. I love the idea of using fabric!

  11. That is so cool and it looks great! What an awesome idea!

  12. sarah black says:

    These are awesome!! I definitely want to try these in my bathroom – we get so much natural light, it’s just a shame to put up curtains!

    • Annabel Vita says:

      I’d love to hear if it works in a bathroom! My bet is yes, as long as its not too close to the shower and you have a decent fan…

      • Jasmine says:

        Maybe try applying some self-adhesive clear contact paper over the lace after the cornstarch glue dries completely. In theory, that would protect from the humidity and you would be able to wipe it down if you chose to put it somewhere like above a kitchen window. Plus its also easily removable, just peel off!

  13. Rachel says:

    Oh so lovely!! Such a pretty option.

  14. Katie says:

    Gorgeous! It looks so good. I am in love with this idea!

  15. hullo annabel!

    followed your link from ‘reading my tea leaves’ this morning…this is SUCH a delicious idea! can’t wait to lace up some windows. so, so good. :)

    jennifer

  16. Ann says:

    I love this and am so glad you walked me through how you did it. Can I bother you for a photo of what it looks like from the outside?

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Hi Ann, so glad you like it! I can’t get a proper picture of the outside as we don’t have access to the back, but when it stops raining I’ll try and get one from army’s length with my camera.

  17. Brittany says:

    Hi, I’m interested in knowing a little more about the mixture. So it’s however much corn starch I want and match it with equal water and then boil the mix?

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Hi Brittany! You make a paste with equal parts cornstarch/cornflour and hot water and then add extra boiling water. In my case it was two tablespoons cornflour and two tablespoons water to start with and then I mixed in a cup and a half of boiled water from the kettle.

      Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions xx

  18. Heather says:

    I am curious how much privacy this actually allows. I have a bathroom window where it is ESSENTIAL that one cannot see IN…thoughts?

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Hi Heather! I’d say it 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, but I wouldn’t hang out without my clothes on with the light on if it was dark outside (It would probably be fine but I have no way of checking that in this window as we don’t have access at the back). So if privacy is really important, just pick a lace that is more opaque than sheer. (You’ll still be able to see through a little bit, but it will just be shapes, like a frosted window).

  19. Tonya Steele – what about mod podge? Would that work as well?

    • Annabel Vita says:

      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.

  20. Viv says:

    I wonder if colored lace would be more private? I love the clean look of the white lace, just wonder if a dyed lace would conceal more…. Guess I’ll have to check and see!

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Hi Viv! I think you might be right, but the main thing that would determine the opacity is how sheer/how many holes the lace has in it. I’m planning to update a picture of this post to show how visible my hand is through the lace, to help people decide if this is for them.

      Many thanks,
      Annabel

  21. Debbie Webster says:

    I am trying it for sure! I am going to try it in my bathroom, I have paned windows too. I have an older house so no vent. But I am going for it anyway! Wish me luck!

  22. Chris Wheeler says:

    This is a great idea! We purchase glue back privacy plastic for our entry. I looked awful and would leave bubbles when it got hot We moved it to the back glass storm doors. I’m excited to try this on my entry. :-)

  23. Victoria says:

    So I have a question when the sun light hits it does it show the shapes of the flowers in the shadows??? I need to do something for my lil girls room and if it did she would love that.

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Ooh, I don’t know! It doesn’t here but the sun through this window isn’t direct (apart from about five minutes in the afternoon when I’m at work) and also the lace isn’t that high contrast. I think some laces definitely would (if the flowers were dark enough compared to the surrounding lace and the light was bright enough). If you try it, let us know!!

  24. […] det här med insynsskydd. Men nu har jag nog hittat det alldeles speciellt fina och smarta. Hos Annabel Vita hittade jag fönster täckta med spets. Snyggt och smart […]

  25. Virginia says:

    If I used colored lace would the cornstarch show?

  26. Lorna Eads says:

    I love this fr my apartment !!!!

  27. Brandy says:

    How cute! Loved it but what a shame to not use the scallops. Why not put just a few centimeters with the scallops at the bottom of the third row up. I may try this in my little girl’s bedroom, she’d love it.

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Hey Brandy! It was my plan to add the scallops to the window above (“I’m going to go back and add a row of scallops in the panes just above it. But I figured if I waited to post about it until I’d done that then I’d probably never post about it.”) – but in the end I decided I liked being about to see over the top of the lace to check on the weather! I’ve saved the scallops though so I can always do it at a later date :)
      I’d love to see pictures if you do do it in your daughter’s room!

  28. Michal says:

    I tried it and loved it. I blogged about it and credited you. Thank you sooooooooooo much!!!

  29. Debra says:

    I love the results but live in North Dakota . Wonder how it would fare in the winter !

    • Annabel Vita says:

      Hi Debra, I think it would work great in the winter! (Might even add a smidge of insulation!). Let me know how you get on!

  30. Barbara says:

    What a successful project! I have done fabric to walls when I rented, applied with liquid fabric starch and equal amount of water in a bucket. Removal was super easy with a spray bottle of water. I must try the lace on glass tho, very pretty!

  31. I’m across the pond….I love the idea and hope to give it a try!

  32. […] this window treatment, 7. this window treatment, 8. this coat rack because I can’t hang things […]

  33. Brittany says:

    This is an amazing idea! We moved into a new apartment a couple months ago and none of our bedrooms had any sort of blinds in them. We put up curtains but we block out so much natural light just for the sake of privacy that they hardly seem worth it. I think I’ll just surprise my husband one day and do this in our bedroom! Thank you for the wonderful idea!

  34. Marie-José says:

    Lovely idea, and not that diffucult (I hope)I’ll keep it in mind for the front door (we’re going to paint the hall and redecorate the stairs…blèh;)
    Looks very shabby and nice on this lovely window you have :)

    Lovely greetings, MJ
    seeshappyhome.blogspot.com

  35. Kim says:

    So great. I guess you won’t be able to clean the windows anymore though??

  36. […] actually I’m going about this the wrong way. What really inspired me was this post about using fabric to add some “frost” to your windows for privacy. This links to […]

  37. Mary Randi says:

    I’m going to do this on a small china cabinet that I’m using as clothes storage. I’m excited!

  38. ricealbny says:

    Do you leave the lace on the window? I love this idea. I have laid the lace on furniture and spray painted it and removed the lace.

  39. Liam says:

    This is fantastic! We’ve recently started renting a unit and the bedroom window faces directly into the driveway so anyone walking past can see right in. I’ll definitely be using this to make it a bit more private!

  40. bilibikiko says:

    I love this i need for my apt. My bedroom windows . I know what im doing tomorrow.

  41. AR says:

    This is so gorgeous, thank you for sharing!! I live where it gets very cold for 6 months out of the year. Will this work on windows that frost over and produce condensation quite often?

    • Annabel Vita says:

      I should think so! It would be good to apply it while it’s warm so it gets a chance to harden nicely before the first condensation hits. It would be worth a try for sure!

  42. Leanda says:

    So great to have stumbled across this as I have a window desperate for treatment. Wondering how well this would work on larger areas of glass. Just have to try it I guess!

  43. EF says:

    I have done something similar with fabric and liquid starch, using it instead on the walls. I have been a renter for many years, and to spruce up a bedroom wall, I measured out how much fabric would be needed, soaked it in the liquid starch and applied it to the wall like wallpaper. Wet the fabric when wanting to remove it, no damage to the walls! Easy to coordinate fabric with drapes, bedding, etc.

  44. Alicia Franz-Wann says:

    This would be great on clear glass china cabinet doors as well, especially if you store anything in the china cabinet other than beautiful china.

  45. aemy says:

    Awwwssome!

  46. Billie says:

    Love this idea..thanks for sharing. I wanted to just ask if the second time you apply the goop..do you apply with the lace on the window already for apply it to the lace once you have the pattern cut out? Such a cute idea…I have a window that is tall and narrow, have blinds there now but would much rather have this. So pretty!!

    • Annabel Vita says:

      I think either would work, I applied it to the lace on the window. Good luck!

      • amy says:

        Could you use mod podge? I have plenty of that. Does the lace itself make it look frosted?

      • Annabel Vita says:

        We don’t have modge podge over here so I don’t know! The lace makes the window look frosted (so for privacy you wouldn’t want anything with too large holes).

  47. Julz Rosenow says:

    luv it. thanks

  48. I love the way this looks, thanks for sharing :)

  49. What a wonderful idea it’s look so easy,so prectical.your work is so neat.thanks a lot to share such a practical thing.

  50. Meri says:

    I just did all my basement windows and one room where my neighbors can see in. I hate closing dark curtains just to put on a pair of pants. It worked a treat! Two things I found. 1) I had to boil the water and cornstarch in order to get a gel, but it didn’t take long to figure that out. 2) American windows are sometimes “vinyl” whatever that means, but the cornstarch treatment works just fine. Oh, and 3) I found that we have less window panes than huge single panes of whatever it is. I cut large pieces of lace and pressed the dry fabric onto the pane with the wet first coat, let it set a little, and then went back and working from the top down, applied the second coat allowing my brush and fingers to get the fabric all the way to the edges. Out of order, and I found that the fabric peeled off from the weight and fell on my head. Not a good look. Not. at. all. :)

  51. Riatha says:

    So stunning. Do you think it would be as beautiful if I used colored lace? Or would it end up looking tacky?

  52. […] Lace Privacy Windows || Annabel Vita […]

  53. […] Lace Cornstarch Window Treatment […]

  54. Marylee says:

    Lovely. I am going to try it. Thank you

  55. Theresa says:

    Hi there. The cornstarch you are using, is it the same as cooking cornstarch ?

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