Making a DIY privacy window screen is the perfect DIY window treatment (it’s even easier than making DIY roller shades!). If you can’t hang curtains, have an odd-shaped window, or would love to remove the privacy screen to let in light during the day but easily put it back in place at night, then a privacy window screen that you can make yourself is the way to go!
Do you remember my excitement when I saw this privacy window screen during a home tour?
I had gone to the DC Design House home tour, and I wrote a post called 10 Ways to Decorate Your House Like the Pros. I was blown away by this idea alternative window treatment idea of using a removable privacy window screen, so I included it on my list as #8!
Usually, I’m obsessed with curtains because I love sunlight and the way curtains on a bare window can expose the whole view.
But the idea of a window privacy screen that can easily be removed or moved up and down was so cool that I decided one day I’d make my own for my master bathroom makeover!
Below I share with you the tutorial, along with some “lessons learned” when you’re ready to make your own DIY window privacy screen.
Materials Needed for a DIY Privacy Window Screen
This is a simple project, but there are a few things you’ll need.
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- Strips of plywood or inexpensive pine.
- Sheer fabric (like lining fabric or muslin)
- Jigsaw or some other tool to cut your wood to size.
- Rotary cutter or scissors
- Cutting mat
- Tape measure and ruler or straight edge
- Paint and stencil (I used my favorite stencil)
- Glue gun or spray adhesive
STEP 1: Grab Your Tape Measure
The first thing you have to do to make a privacy window screen is to measure your window in 2 places: the width of your window and how high you want your DIY privacy window panel to be.
I wanted mine a little more than half the window, so I measured in these areas: across and down.
Here’s what you have to remember, though.
Whatever height and width you want your window privacy screen to be, you’ll need to account for the thickness of the wood. If you’d like the total height to be 20 inches high, then the side pieces, the top, and the bottom must total 20 inches.
For example, as seen in the picture below, if my top piece and bottom piece of wood are 1.25 inch each, my side pieces must be 17.5 inches. Add it all up and you get 20 inches. (1.25 + 1.25 + 17.50 = 20 inches total in height).
When I did my measurements, I forgot to keep this in mind and made mine a tad too tall. LOL
Aren’t you glad you can learn from my careless mistakes?? 😉
TIP: Click here to watch this YouTube video for tips on how to take measurements inside of windows and other awkward spaces!
STEP 2: Cut Out Your Wood
This is what will make up the DIY window privacy screen frame: just 4 pieces of skinny wood that you’ll glue and/or nail together.
You don’t have to cut yours out like I did with a jigsaw. I only used this 3/4″ plywood because it’s what I had on hand.
If you go to your local home improvement store, they sell skinny pieces of wood in 1 inch x 2 inch sizes like this that would work just as well.
And if you don’t have a power tool, don’t worry!
You can use a handsaw, like this miter box, which makes cutting small pieces of wood super easy. Just set your wood on it and cut!
I think they range from $8 – $16, which is super affordable.
STEP 3: Test Fit the Pieces of Your Privacy Screen
Before you glue or nail them together, make sure you test fit them.
You’ll want your pieces to fit snuggly, but not so snug that you won’t be able to adjust the privacy screen in the window.
When I test fitted my pieces, I realized that the bottom and middle of the window were larger than the top part of the window. It was going to be much too tight!
STEP 4: Glue or Nail It Together
Now you just have to glue or nail the pieces of the frame together.
It will make a nice square or rectangle, depending on the size you make.
I like to use corner clamps so that I get a nice 90-degree angle Otherwise, I tend to mess up my angles and things get wonky! You see–we DIYers make just as many mistakes! LOL
STEP 5: Cut Out Your Fabric
If you’re using sheer fabric that won’t need cutting out, then you can skip this step. For me, I had to not only cut my fabric, but I had to join it together with Heat ‘n Bond fusible iron-on tape so that it created a larger piece to fit over the wood privacy screen frame.
Be sure to use thin lining material (or thin muslin) so that you don’t block the sunlight coming through your windows.
I already had this fabric on hand, but there wasn’t very much.
TIP: A reader had a great idea: You can also use a thin white lining material on the back if you’re worried about colorful fabric showing through to the exterior of your home.
I have a larger cutting mat, but because it’s so big, I never pull it out. It’s too cumbersome!
STEP 6: Stencil Your Fabric
I decided to use one of my favorite trellis stencils for the window privacy screen.
But first, I mixed my own paint to get the shade of purple that would compliment the lavender in my bathroom.
I had some chalked paint on hand and just mixed red and blue.
Related: What’s the Best Paint for Furniture?
I thought I was going to use my roller stamp, but I didn’t like the outcome when I did a test fabric.
Blehhhhh, not really all that cute! A bit blotchier than I would have liked…
So I went with my tried and trusted favorite trellis stencil.
STEP 7: Glue the Fabric to the Frame
You can use hot glue like I did or spray adhesive for fabric.
Just make sure the fabric is evenly spaced so that you’ve got enough fabric to glue on each side.
I would recommend you have a large piece of fabric that will allow you to wrap it around to the back side.
I didn’t have enough to do that, though.
You can use the rotary cutter to easily trim off the excess if you’d rather it be flush with the edge of the wood frame.
STEP 8: Fit the Privacy Screen In the Window
This is the true test!
Did you take the right measurements?
Is your fabric too bulky and now the perfectly measured DIY window privacy screen won’t fit?
Because my window is more narrow at the top, it was a tight squeeze for it to get in, so I made some adjustments, including sanding down the side a bit. But since it was just hot glued on, it wasn’t a problem to adjust it.
Let’s take another look at the BEFORE and AFTER.
Since it’s adjustable, you can slide it up or down when you need or don’t need privacy!
Because my window is a little snug at the top, it takes a little bit more effort for me, but I’ll make those adjustments so it slides more easily. Love that!
See how you can move it up and down? 🙂 Keep it up during the day to see outside. Put it down at night for privacy. Love it!
I loved how it looked when I turned off the bathroom light, too!
There were definitely some things I would do differently next time.
- Don’t stencil the edges of the window privacy screen. Because it’s such a tight fit (and because the paint hadn’t totally dried by the time I tried to fit it in), the paint started rubbing off on the window sill. Either wait until your stenciled fabric is totally dry before fitting it, or leave the edges un-stenciled.
- Use one whole piece of fabric. Of course, I used what I had and used fusible iron-on tape to make a large piece. But I think it looks better if you use a whole piece of fabric.
My bathroom makeover turned out great! I build my own 60″ DIY bathroom vanity from scratch for this master bathroom makeover.
I also painted my shower and got rid of this ugly 70’s turquoise shower! You can see the entire video tutorial on how I refinished my shower using a tub refinishing kit.
If you want to see everything that’s been done in the bathroom to get ideas and inspiration, check out the posts below!
Read the Rest of this Bathroom Makeover Series!
Catch up on this entire master bathroom makeover series!
Day 52: How to Remove a Toilet Yourself
DAY 57: How to Install a Toilet Yourself
So what do you think? Do you think you could make this privacy window screen?
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