Oh 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 a tension rod light blocking curtain above the shutters.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Et voilà! Done. This took less than an hour from start to finish.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE! I added a few more details and answers to common questions on a new blog post. Read all about it here.
PPS. Click here to see an update for how I removed it after six or so months.
If this was helpful feel free to buy me a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/itsannabelvita
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 🙂
Hey there, I am wondering how long it took to set?
It was bone dry by the next morning, it took a bit longer when I did it more recently in a bathroom. Depends how dry the room is I guess!
can you use sheer curtains?
not to crazy about lace…
I don’t see why not! Might have to work harder to get air bubbles out but principle is the same.
It’s just what I used! (We call it cornflour here though)
Did I miss it or,,,,do you take the lace oder when it drys??
This looks awesome! I’m not sure that my IKEA has lace yet, but I think it’s worth the trip to find out 🙂
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)
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!
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)
You did a fabulous job. unfortunately I have never tried it yet, but you inspired me. I got it off Pintrest & never tried it, but keep for future references.
I really love it good for privacy thanks.
Beautiful!! I have a bathroom window that I need to make a bit more private..
Let me know how you get on Bekah!
Did you do this in your bathroom and how did it work out? I was just wondering about steam and heat from the water,
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.
Maybe you can finish it off with varnish. Then it won’t stick.
I did something similar but bought acrylic glaze. It could be used in a bathroom and gently washed, but would require a razor blade and a LOT of scrubbing if you moved.
This is gorgeous!! Love this idea so much! Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure Christine!
I love this!!! Really pretty and it’s such a good alternative to plastic-y contact paper!
So smart, and looks fantastic!! Glad you can now dress in the natural light without getting peeped on!
Haha, thanks Staci! It was nice this morning.
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
Ooh, what about some sort of polka dot lace? Nearly masculine? You can also use any semi sheer fabric, but then you have to get the air bubbles out (I bet you’d be good at that sort of thing; I’m not!).
The second time Manhatten Nest did it he used a sheer curtain with some texture http://manhattan-nest.com/2010/11/26/the-doors-again/
So unique! Love it!
What a great idea! I love it.
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!
Glad you liked it Callie, and YES! So perfect for your globe trotting decorating! x
That is so cool and it looks great! What an awesome idea!
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!
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…
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!
Oh so lovely!! Such a pretty option.
Glad you like it Rachel, thanks for your comment!
Gorgeous! It looks so good. I am in love with this idea!
Thanks Katie! I’d love to see it if you try it out.
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. 🙂
Thanks Jennifer, so glad you liked it! It’s held up really well since I did it.
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?
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.
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?
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
I am curious how much privacy this actually allows. I have a bathroom window where it is ESSENTIAL that one cannot see IN…thoughts?
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).
Tonya Steele – what about mod podge? Would that work as well?
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.
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!
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.
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!
Oooh, good luck! Let me know if it works!
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. 🙂
I’d love to see pictures when you’re done Chris!
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.
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!!
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If I used colored lace would the cornstarch show?
No, it dries totally clear (but goes on gloopy and white-ish, don’t panic!) It will probably go clear overnight.
I love this fr my apartment !!!!
Let me know if you try it!
Can u wash the window after a while
You need to take the lace down to wash the window.
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.
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!
I tried it and loved it. I blogged about it and credited you. Thank you sooooooooooo much!!!
Hooray! That’s amazing, thanks for letting me know Michal!
I love the results but live in North Dakota . Wonder how it would fare in the winter !
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!
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!
Ooh, thanks for the tip about removal (going to have to try that soon).
I’m across the pond….I love the idea and hope to give it a try!
Hooray! I’d love to see pictures if you do!
Love this! Thanks! You can also use liquid starch from the grocery store. It also works on fabric to cover walls too. Same thing releases with water. Great ideas!!
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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!
Ooh, I did it to surprise my husband one day too! I hope yours is a fan xx
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
So great. I guess you won’t be able to clean the windows anymore though??
You can’t really clean the windows, but it does dry hard enough to dust! If they get really dingy you can take the lace down, wash it and reapply.
Thanx Annabel. I just might try anyway 🙂
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I’m going to do this on a small china cabinet that I’m using as clothes storage. I’m excited!
Oooh! That will be so pretty!
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.
Yes, for this application you leave the lace on.
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!
I love this i need for my apt. My bedroom windows . I know what im doing tomorrow.
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?
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!!
I think either would work, I applied it to the lace on the window. Good luck!
Could you use mod podge? I have plenty of that. Does the lace itself make it look frosted?
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).
luv it. thanks
I love the way this looks, thanks for sharing 🙂
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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.
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. 🙂
Thanks for adding your tips! I’m glad it worked for you 🙂
So stunning. Do you think it would be as beautiful if I used colored lace? Or would it end up looking tacky?
I think it depends on the lace! There’s no harm in trying though!
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Lovely. I am going to try it. Thank you
Hi there. The cornstarch you are using, is it the same as cooking cornstarch ?
Yes! It’s called cornflour in the UK but I think it’s something different in the US.
Really really like this idea so I tried it last week on a large window that looks directly out on to a pavement. Unfortunately the lace has all peeled away from the window panes. Any recommendations as to what I was doing wrong? I followed your instructions exactly.
Hmm I don’t know, did you use enough cornflour? Maybe it takes too long to dry on large panes. I’m so sorry it didn’t work for you.
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I have used similar treatment using fabric to wallpaper a wall. Only i used liquid starch. Also washes off with water, but far more expensive. I will use this idea. Thankyou.
I did a ” stained glass” look to my bathroom window with acrylic paint and sealed it with clear spray paint. The window got wet every time someone showered. When I had to move 3 years later the acrylic paint underneath was still protected and unblemished. I used a razor blade to start the removal and it came off in strips. It is my guess that clear spray paint would seal this as well.
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I’ve done similar in a bathroom, only with a permanent solution. I used a plastic lace tablecloth with a glass etching solution, it works great! This way it’s waterproof and cleanable!
Hello, I’ve tried your cornstarch window treatment and I need to ask you: 1. Is it supposed to be watery? Also do you add a 2 level tbsp of cornstarch? Like I mentioned I tried it with level tbsp of cornstarch and boiling water and it was very watery, I just wondering if I did something wrong. Thank you
If you mix the cornflour with the same amount of water (eg one tablespoon for every tablespoon) you should get a very thick paste, which you get then water down.
Are the pictures gone? I get an error 404 Not Found
Hello! Planning to sort the pictures ASAP, but got a five week old baby so may be a few days!
Iam in love with the idea iwant to get up and do it now thank u love to create things for my place.
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Fantastic idea 😉 I’m wondering if there could be a way to make it a permanent window treatment.
I’ve used the plastic version on our front door windows (it’s not too bad but painful when it gets older) could a clear varnish do the job?
I don’t know, but would be worth a try.
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It’s really an answer for my problem, great instructions….thanks for sharing….
Why not just glue the lace to clear or frosted contact paper?
That would work too! I found this easier, I hate using contact paper!
I really appreciate this application – when we were first married and living in a one room apartment with a concrete floor (45 years ago!) I bought blue shag rug scraps and put them together with duct tape and I stuck striped cloth to the walls with spray on starch! Both looked wonderful. When it was time to leave — both things came right up and the landlord was both surprised and pleased!
That’s brilliant! Thanks for sharing.
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I need to do this on an old front door that has a large oval window. I was going to use a lace tablecloth that is probably a bit heavier than the lace you used. My questions are: 1. Do you think it will work with a bit heavier lace? and 2. Did the cornstarch end up making the glass look transparent or more opaque (like etched glass)? Thanks
The cornstarch itself dries clear (eventually!). I think it would work with heavier lace!
Aww! This is so pretty!!! As someone who rents, I think it’s fabulous!!
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what an amazingly cool window treatment. I love it. Great job.
Thanks for sharing this awesome idea, I’ve been looking for an easy way to help my friend cover some side windows and this will work perfectly, I think that another way to help the lace stick to the windows good would be to use decoupage it too can be easily removed with soapy water, it just doesn’t peel off in humidity, it’s worth a try in the bathrooms.
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Hi Does it turn yellowish with time? How do you clean the vanes?
Mine didn’t go yellowish and we didn’t clean the panes – you could easily remove it to do so and then put it back up.
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Love this idea. I may try it on a half circle window above some casement windows – more to diffuse the morning sun than privacy. Would have used it on our bedroom windows that face our neighbor, but the hubby finally bought me a curtain rod for the room, so going to make curtains from ribbons – he wants air in and I want privacy LOL.
Thank you sooo much! Did that today, looks awesome!
Great idea! Windows with this decoration look very charming and romantic. They remind me of my grandmother windows that lived in the countryside. 🙂
Thanx for sharing!
I want to do this in my bathroom! But since our bathroom does not have a fan, do you think the steam or hotness from the shower will ruin it any way?! I would love to do this because I have a little window that has this ugly awkwardly hung curtain covering it. I want natural light shining through it. What do you think!?
I think it’s worth a try (it’s really so easy!) and you could always replace once a year if it needed it. Let me know how you get on!
so lovely, good reading other peoples comments as we too were interested in doing it in bathroom. Great stuff!
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A good solution from the view of curious insect screen but can sometimes help.
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I was going to do this with tissue paper, but this looks better. My house was built in 1908 and lace will be in tune with the styles of that time. I’m thinking I should look for some lacy sheer curtains for the windows and get an extra panel to cut up.
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could you use this on skylights.
I don’t see why not – let me know how you get on!
Love the idea! Thanks for sharing! Ik would love to publish it on a page of a magazine.
I am an freelance editor for an Evangelical Broadcasting Radio and TV magazine in The Netherlands. (called EO Visie) I made each week a nice page full of ideas DIY and other stuff. There is also space for a small tutorial. For the edition themed ‘White’ I would like to publish 3 of your photo’s.
I will write down your weblog in the credits underneath the photo’s, they will also appear on the EO visie Pinterest page with a direct link to your webpage. Please let me now if you’ll agree with that. Would be great. Greetings, Gerdien
Hi Gerdien, that’s fine, as long as the credit underneath the photos is the same size as the description. Please email me a pdf of the page to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Annabel, thanks for sharing your talents. I love lace & the elegance it portrays. I want to try this on some windows.
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Great idea! Solves my problem perfectly of how to cover my door window.
Have you seen it done using other fabrics other than lace as well?
I also like the tension rod curtain at the top of the window. I would also like to do that. It’s have to see it clearly in the photo. Can you provide details — is it a roman blind, did you make it, what is the fabric?
I’m so glad you like it! It’s a totally fake Roman blind, I just folded a piece of fabric in half, sewed it together at the top and turned it inside out, then put it on a tension rod. I hope that helps! Let me know if not and I can draw a diagram.
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It’s a great idea but none of the very few people here who has actually tried it (including myself) has been able to reproduce this semi Newtonian gel stuff you speak of. We just get a watery white solution that doesn’t work as described. Would be great if you could repeat this process only and tighten the instructions up – eg. photos / product used / confirm measurements in ml / etc. thx
Hi Stanley, some people have tried it! Meri wrote that she had to boil the solution, maybe that would help. Here’s the link to her comment https://annabelvita.com/2013/04/18/lace-window-treatment-with-cornflour/#comment-2142
You could also try reading Manhattan Nest’s tutorial – I think I linked to it above. I’ve also seen people try with laundry starch spray.
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Uhm – this is genius, and I am going to the fabric store immediately.
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For humid areas you could try the Gallery glass, faux stain glass paint products. They made a clear that I used to approximate seed glass, and also applied more thinly to approximate frosted glass.
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Just wondering if you could do this on “double-pane” windows. A lot of manufacturers recommend that you don’t apply anything the window because of the “air, aka gas” that is between the two panes of glass that help with temperature control & condensation reduction. I have found a film that you can put on your windows that makes it possible to see “out of” but almost impossible to “see into” depending on the darkness of the tint. It actually states right on the package, DO NOT USE ON DOUBLE-PANE WINDOWS. I think it has something to do with increasing the temperature of the gas inside an thus increasing the likelihood of causing the seal to break and then the window would “fog up”. So I ended up using it on my storm door/screen door (the glass portion). I have a large front picture window and would like to do something like this but would hate to have the seal break and have to spend thousands replacing a window.
I’m afraid I have no idea! Maybe ask the manufacturer.
Scotch guarding spray may work to set it & keep it from getting dirty..worth a try!
I did this this morning but later when I checked on it I could see the cornstarch through the lace I took it off and cleaned everything up and washed the lace. Did i use too much of the mixture or did I not thin it down enough? I want to try again as soon as the lace drys.
Hmm, is it cold where you are? I think it took 24 hours to go clear when I did it!
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Its great I also done this to my window and it looks awesome.
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I’m wondering if you could add dye to the starch solution.
I’m wondering if you could add dye to the starch solution if maybe that would make it less opaque
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Is that possible to do this up on a window that is inside a shower or do you think the hot water of the shower will broke everything ? P
I did it in bathroom next to the shower but not right in it, it was fine.
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Fantastic idea and just the solution I’ve been looking for. Before I launch into this can I ask did you use net curtain lace or dressmaking lace? Have been looking on ebay and not sure which I should use. Thanks
I used cut down ikea lace curtains but I’m sure both would work!
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I tried this and it looked lovely for couple of months, then then lace started falling off. I’m going to try to reglue it with spray adjesive.
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how would someone go about removing this? Is it okay for rentals or am I better off not risking it?
Click the link at bottom of post to see how I removed it. This was in a rental.
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