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Shining Some Light on Our DIY Windows

How We Transformed Our Studio Windows in One Hour

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area 1

As much as I lack a sense of privacy, having completely exposed windows in our office wasn’t ideal. We do some top secret styling stuff here, so having Lookie loos peeping in and reporting back to the New York Times could really take down our business. As you may remember,  we recently added some window film to our living room and bedroom windows at my house that helps protect against UV rays and helps keep rooms cooler when it is warmer. But for our studio we had a slightly different issue to address. We needed to add some privacy and a pop of color to our rather drab floor to ceiling windows. This is how they (and the studio) looked a few years ago when we did our studio tour. We loved all the natural light, but weren’t such big fans of the lack of privacy.

Emily Henderson Studio_Desks Chairs Office
Studio Tour with MyDomaine

Remember when I did this to the Ban.do windows? Well. we loved the look of that but it didn’t provide privacy really so I basically just knocked myself off and did a version of that mixing camera gels with privacy film. We used DIY Gila privacy window films to solve that very problem. Gila is an extremely easy-to-install DIY product that can be purchased at your local home improvement store or online and comes in a range of patterns and functions to suit any style or application. The film is removable, affordable, decorative, and offers heat and glare control which made it a good fit for our studio space.

Here is what you’ll need:

Window Film: We went with 6 different designs from Gila as we wanted the windows to have an artistic boho studio type vibe, but they have styles to appeal to every taste and style of room.

Water Solution in a Spray Bottle: Mix together 1/2 capful of baby shampoo per quart of water. You will use this solution to adhere the film to the windows.

Straight Edge or Ruler: Depending on the size of your window, the longer the ruler or straight edge the easier the cuts are to keep clean.

Cutting Mat: This is not required, but it made it a lot easier for us to cut as we used the built in rulers on the mat to cut everything down to size.

Exacto Knife: You could use scissors but a sharp exacto knife will keep everything clean and straight.

Gila DIY Window Film Ingredients

STEP 1:

Prep Your Glass and Pick Out Your Patterns: You will want to start by prepping your windows. A good cleaning with a glass cleaner and making sure any debris or gunk on the windows is cleared off will help everything to adhere and stick better to the glass. Once your windows are prepared the fun part comes selecting your patterns. We went with these six patterns – Winter Morning, Waterfall, Ice Chip, Crackled Glass, Misted, and Crystal (which was our personal favorite). There is something kinda ’80’s party girl’ about that one.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Unbox

STEP 2:

Measure Your Windows: Using a ruler or measuring tape, measure each window. Our studio windows are quite old (therefore not so square) so we individually measured each window pane to ensure that the window film would fit snug and go edge-to-edge on the window.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Measure

STEP 3:

Cut Window Film To Size: Once you have measured your window, roll the film out and then begin cutting it down to size. A simple few cuts will do the trick. Quick Tip: press firmly on the first cut to ensure that you cut through the film entirely and will not have to make another pass at it. This will help to make sure you keep your edges clean and straight.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Cut

STEP 4:

Peel the Plastic Backing Off the Film: The best way to get the plastic backing off the paper (unless you have tiny perfect doll hands with sharp little fingernails) is to use two pieces of tape and place them in the corners of the film facing each other. Press them together firmly on the film and then slowly pull them apart. Each piece of tape will grab a corner of the film and pull it away from backing making it ready for your windows.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Peel

STEP 5:

Wet the Windows: using your spray bottle generously wet the window with a few sprits of water to prep it for the film.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Spraying

STEP 6:

Apply the Film and Adjust: once your window is wet and you have peeled the backing off, you are ready to stick your film to the window. The film itself is not sticky, but the water will adhere it to the window which makes it VERY forgiving in the application process. If you do not get the alignment correct the first time then you can just peel it off and try again.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Adjusting

STEP 7:

Secure and Press the Film: once you have the alignment correct you will want to press out any air bubbles and extra water to secure the film to the window. You can wrap a credit card (or a Disney Annual Pass in our case) with a paper towel and use it as a small squeegee to get out air bubbles and the excess water. The paper towel will soak up the extra water as you press near the edges.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Pressing

STEP 8:

Sit back and enjoy your new privacy and glammed up windows. We cannot tell you how much we appreciate the new found privacy as well as the fun patterns that these films have brought into the entry of our studio space. We ended up buying a few camera light gels in pinks, yellows, and oranges from our local camera store to mix in with the Gila film to add a bit more color into the space. The application process is the same and the gels could even be added on top of the window film if you want both pattern and color.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Windows
Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Emily

There I am, Writing this post in my new happy little corner of the studio.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area 3
Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area 4
Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area 5
Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area 6
Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area 1

Sources: Rug | Leather Pouf | Rattan Bench | Gold Drum Table | Geometric Lumbar Pillow | Faux Fur Throw | Standing Planters

Not only do the windows now look and make the studio happy on the inside but the passerby’s have something nice to look at as well.

Gila DIY Window Film Happy Bright Pastel Emily Henderson Bamboo Seating Area Outside

I DIG it. We needed privacy and got it. It’s great for glass doors that lead to street view, bathroom windows, etc, anywhere that you want those looky-looks to look elsewhere. Plus it makes simple windows look like a party. Get your Gila here and get that party started.

**Styled and DIY by Brady Tolbert for EHD, Art Directed by Me, Photography by Tessa Neustadt

***This post was in partnership with Gila but all words, ideas and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that support the blog, which allow us to bring original content to you everyday. 

Sources: Rug | Leather Pouf | Rattan Bench | Gold Drum Table | Geometric Lumbar Pillow | Faux Fur Throw | Standing Planters

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  1. So pretty! I love how you mixed in some solids too.

    Have you ever blogged about your studio before? I tried searching for a post, but all I found were some “before-ish” pictures. It’s beautiful!

  2. Emily and crew, thanks for one great blog after another…how do you do it? The windows are so pretty. If someone had described this effect to me I’d have thought it looked cheap but seeing it shows how lovely it is. Thanks for making my world more beautiful.

      1. I definitely lol’ at the licking comment, but the concern is actually the toxic VOCs that off-gas into the air, especially when heated from being in the sun. The good(ish) news is that the worst off-gassing occurs in the first several months or so of having a new product and then it decreases. The plants in the studio are also good for helping to clean them from the air.

    1. Hey Guys, we wanted to confirm this with the company so that we could give you some correct info. We just got confirmation that there is no PVC in GILA films. GILA films are made with polyester film. Hope this helps clear up the concern about PVC and thank you for your concern and info about PVC, that is very good to know.

      1. I’m very glad to hear that, and sorry I got that wrong.

        Still a good point: If you are looking at OTHER window films besides Gila, you might want to make sure they aren’t PVC!

        Also, Air Wick, Glad plug-ins and the like are definitely toxic.

  3. Looks great inside and out! I love how the light still comes through. And it’s much more affordable than I had expected. I’m pinning this for future reference – you know, just in case someday we have a bathroom with a window!

    1. Yes, I, too, am dying for the rattan bench. The link is broken. Please say it’s not a rare albini heirloom that can’t be duplicated : )

  4. Love this look! Do you mind sharing where you got the sheer curtain panels? Been looking for those exact shades for ages… Thank you!

    1. We sourced the fabric from “The Fabric Store” in LA and then had them sewn into panels as our windows are so tall. Give them a call, they ship and they may still have some yardage.

    1. The rattan bench is from Amsterdam Modern and linked up in the post and the white desks that are in the before shot are just ikea table tops and legs that we put together.

  5. What do you use to stuff your poufs? I’ve heard coconut fiber is the best but I can’t find it in bulk. Thanks! Love your blog!! It’s a dream to work with you someday!!!!!!!

  6. Lovely! The light probably looks beautiful reflecting color through these into the studio. This is such a creative and playful alternative to the frosted window spray that I usually see over windows like this.

    Likely By Sea

  7. This looks great! So clever! I want to recreate it and use the soft colors of the camera gels too. What is your source for those?

  8. Beautiful! I like that you can switch them out for a whole new look too. If your readers have insulated glass windows, the film could cause them to fail by trapping heat between the panes of glass. Just wanted to let you know – and compliment you, of course.

    1. Exactly! If the windows are rated energy efficient, then putting a film over them could trap additional heat that would cause them to crack. Wah wah;(

    2. Hey Denise, we wanted to confirm with the company your questions. We have confirmed through them that, the privacy control window film used in this project is compatible with dual-pane (insulating) windows as are most other Gila window film products. The packaging has plenty of information about it as well. Hope that helps and thanks for the kind words and concern.

  9. Em, it looks incredible! My daughter has three huge windows in her room that needs something and i think this would be so pretty! Thanks for the neat idea. Also, i completely love the dress you’re wearing, do you mind sharing where its from?? Thanks!

  10. I think your windows are lovely, BUT if you have double-paned insulated glass, you may soon find yourself replacing your windows because the film causes heat to build up between the panes resulting in ruined windows. We are spending nearly $4,000 to have huge panes replaced in 10 windows and only wish we’d been warned initially. The film manufacturers never reveal this.

  11. We LOVE window film! We did that to the french doors that lead to the office in our house (so you can’t see in, just in case it is cluttered) also to the half moon windows through out the house AND drumroll….worked perfect on the glass shower door/wall! I am actually writing a blog post about it right now! http://nuttyhiker.com

  12. Such a pretty effect! It really brightens up the room! I’ve never thought of decorating the windows to match the decor in a room before, it’s so awesome

  13. Such a fun and creative gig you have! I’m planning a Home Decor/DIY event for my event company (www.GirlsNightEvents.com) & our hope is to share tips as wonderful as yours! Thanks you for sharing 🙂

  14. It looks like a couple of your windows have a design on them, what is that? I’m so confused on the gels, how much so that need–what size?

  15. awesome idea, i love it
    at First, i looked at a photo in google and I thought I had to do it in my room because I have a balcony with a big old door that look the street, and now I find out that it is your studio and i was surprised.

  16. Love this!!! Want to recreate in my home!! Could you by chance tell me the color names or numbers of the camera light gels that you used? Thanks so much and love your work!! Laura Brooks