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How to Make a Pretty DIY Window Privacy Screen

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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!

Click here to SAVE this privacy window screen on Pinterest.



Do you remember my excitement when I saw this privacy window screen during a home tour?


How to Make a Pretty DIY Privacy Window Screen - Thrift Diving


How to Make a Pretty DIY Privacy Window Screen - Thrift Diving Blog


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!


How to make a DIY window privacy screen with just a few pieces of wood, fabric, and glue! Easily adjustable, lets light in, and can be made for only a few dollars. See the full tutorial.



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.


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Measure the length and width of your window. - Thrift Diving



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).

Easy, right?


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Add the thickness of the boards to figure the height of the privacy screen. - Thrift Diving


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!


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - How to measure the inside of your windows. - Thrift Diving


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.


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Cut slim pieces of wood to make your privacy window screen frame. - Thrift Diving


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.


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - 4 panels of wood needed - Thrift Diving


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.

Read: How to make picture frames without power tools (only using a miter box).


Miter box for cutting small pieces of wood


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!


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Test fit your window screen frame. - Thrift Diving


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


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Use corner clamps to glue straight. - Thrift Diving


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.


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Use sheer fabric. - Thrift Diving


I have a larger cutting mat, but because it’s so big, I never pull it out. It’s too cumbersome!

Use a small self-sealing cutting mat and a rotary cutter which I find it easiest for cutting.


How-to-make-DIY-privacy-screen-for-window-Thrift-Diving-blog - Laying out and cutting the fabric


Cutting out fabric for the DIY privacy screen



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?


How-to-make-DIY-privacy-screen-for-window-Thrift-Diving-blog - Mixing paint


I thought I was going to use my roller stamp, but I didn’t like the outcome when I did a test fabric.


How-to-make-DIY-privacy-screen-for-window-Thrift-Diving-blog - Roller stamp


Blehhhhh, not really all that cute! A bit blotchier than I would have liked…


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Stencil on fabric. - Thrift Diving


So I went with my tried and trusted favorite trellis stencil.


How to make a DIY privacy window screen - Trellis stencil on fabric. - Thrift Diving


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.


How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - Use hot glue or adhesive to attach fabric to frame. - Thrift Diving


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.


How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - Trim excess fabric - Thrift Diving


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.


How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - BEFORE - Thrift Diving




How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - AFTER - Thrift Diving


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!


How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - Privacy window screen can be moved up or down. - Thrift Diving


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!


How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - Privacy window screen can be moved up or down or removed. - Thrift Diving



Love this project?? Click here to SAVE it!

How to Make a DIY Privacy Window Screen - Thrift Diving on Pinterest


I loved how it looked when I turned off the bathroom light, too!


How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - Privacy window screen lets in light. - Thrift Diving

Lessons Learned

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.


How to make a DIY privacy screen for the window - Don't paint the sides of the window screen. - Thrift Diving


  • 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.


How to refinish or paint your shower or tub - BEFORE and AFTER - Thrift Diving


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 1: The Evolution of a Master Bathroom Makeover

DAY 4: Picking Out New Flooring: Which One Do You Like?

DAY 6: How to Remove an Old Bathroom Vanity

DAY 27: Removing Wallpaper, Repairing Walls, and Removing an Old Toilet

DAY 29: Installing New Flooring in Our Master Bathroom

DAY 49: The Bathroom Makeover That Would Never End (An Update!)

Day 52: How to Remove a Toilet Yourself

DAY 57: How to Install a Toilet Yourself

Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity – PART 1 – Attaching Legs and Base

Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity – PART 2 – Attaching the Sides

Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity – PART 3 – Creating the Partitions

Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity – PART 4 – Making Drawers

Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity – PART 5 – Making Cabinet Doors

Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity – PART 6 – Adding a Granite Vanity Top

Build a DIY Bathroom Vanity – PART 7 – The Final Finishing Coat

BEFORE & AFTER: The Final Master Bathroom Makeover Reveal!


So what do you think? Do you think you could make this privacy window screen?



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  1. Stephanie says:

    I absoultely love this idea, I have a starter home and my mudroom has ugly metal screen windows and I want to cover them up because they are NEVER going to look nice and we don’t have the money to redo all the windows. I am looking for a fabric that already has a pattern like the one that is mostly white with the grey-ish diamonds towards the top of this page. What kind of fabric is that? I am trying to find one but I’m not sure if that is 100% cotton or what kind of fabric that is. Can you please help!

  2. That looks really great!! But what if instead of using a wooden frame why not use two tension rods with double side material? That would help with uneven windows and you could leave the top rod in place and pull the bottom rod to the top of the window or leave it at the bottom of the window, for top or bottom coverage.

  3. I love it! Gives a crisp clean line, while being different. I think this may be exactly what I need for my bathroom. Thank you for sharing!

  4. How does this stay up?

  5. This is a great idea! I love that you created your own decorative fabric with a stencil. Brilliant!

    Thanks for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

  6. I do love this idea, but I think it should be either white fabric on the back or something to finish it. I don’t like the raw look from the outside of the window. It needs to look finished.

  7. I agree that this is a great idea/alternative to drapery. I love the clean lines it creates with a window. Thanks for sharing such a detailed tutorial with us at #HomeMattersParty

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