Monday, January 30, 2012

diy: window film pattern

Problem: Our neighbours have highly functioning, industrial strength, two-pronged, motion-detecting spotlights at the door to their garage. Or, in other words, they have two high-beam, vehicle-sized headlights attached to their garage that turn on whenever we leave our backdoor or a moth flitters by. This spotlight is in a direct line that goes through our backdoor window, to the kitchen and hits me directly in the eyes. Amazingly, it's been installed at the most perfect in-my-kitchen, through-my-door eyeline. Wonderful.

We don't really need privacy on our backdoor window. No one enters there except us and it's pretty near impossible to see through it from the alley or another yard. The doors aren't metal -- there goes my magnetic curtain rod idea -- but there's really not enough room for swishy curtains anyway (if the closet door is open -- which it almost always is -- the door bumps into it. It's a poorly designed entry. I'll be fixing that). So I thought I should put some window film up. I had some oddly sized leftover pieces from the old house that were just too damn pretty to throw away (i.e. it's my favourite window film pattern to date and I almost always hate throwing bits and pieces away if I think they could be used somehow). The floral pattern is not exactly an easy pattern to piece together, though, so if I tried to make the larger pieces work, it just would have looked like I was... trying to make the larger pieces work. And that wouldn't have worked at all.

What I did:

- printed out a simple hexagon after drawing it in photoshop -- i.e. clicking the shape tool, and dragging out the shape until it was approximately the size I thought looked good.

- cut out said hexagon for a template.

- tediously traced and cut out about ten hexagons (to start) from the scraps of window film I had. (I still have a scab on my thumb from using scissors all day.)

- found the exact middle of the window, and placed my first hexagon dead centre of that. I used a wet piece of paper towel to wet the window for each hexagon, then smoothed out the bubbles as best I could (I should restick some of the top ones to get the bubbles out, but bubbles are more visible from the outside, so it's not a humongous deal).

- eyeballed the distances between each subsequent hexagon thereafter. (Once wet, the film is really easy to move around and reposition.) I would have made another template that could have acted as a marker between the hexagons so I'd get the perfect distance each time, but I didn't want to get OCD about it.

- since I was working with limited window film, I made sure to do the important side of the window first (the right side) and I stopped cutting whole hexagons rather frequently to cut out edge and corner pieces so I was sure I'd have enough.

- to cut edge and corner pieces, I took the discarded backing from previously cut hexagons and put them on the window where I needed them, then folded them and cut them to fit. Essentially making new templates for the half and quarter hexagons.

And then I ran out of window film. But no matter. The left side isn't the offensive side. It's the right. And now that it's covered up, the eye-blasting spotlights create a soft, flowery glow seen from the kitchen which is a whole lot prettier and (come to think of it) safer. Especially when trying to use a sharp knife after being eye assaulted by burning harsh yellow high-beams. Check out the night shot. Now imagine a world without pretty window film.

If I actually look into the original source for this film, I might be able to get more and I'll do the window up properly (and the window in the stairs because I'd much rather look at this than poop brown siding). Until then, the hexagon look is really fun and interesting. I'd definitely make my own pattern using shapes again (I'm imagining triangles now!) particularly if my only option was plain, rice paper style window film -- which is seriously the best looking option at Home Depot. (Hello, grape-vine window film. I'm talking to you.)


ali v. said...

you're so smart! neighbors can be so inconsiderate--let's be honest, I bet they don't realize how much those daggone lights affect you!--but you found a way to overcome it. I love the final's better than I could have ever dreamed up! have a fabulous week...and I hope the crazy lights are gone for good! xoxo {av}

Unknown said...

This is why I read your site! because you come up with crazy, awesome things that I would never think of! Now to find a window to cover up.....