How to Install Decorative Window Film

When purchasing decorative window film the first concern after which pattern or color works for your window, is “How am I going to install this, and make it look good?” Believe it or not, it’s much easier than you think. With some basic tools, a careful hand and some dish soap you’ll have your decorative window film installed in no time!

Tools Needed to Install Decorative Window Film

When purchasing from your window film comes with a free basic installation kit that includes complete installation instructions and a squeegee. In addition to this squeegee you’ll also need a utility knife, 32oz spray bottle, mild detergent, such as baby shampoo, and some paper towels. A tape measure and a straight edge are also highly recommended. We also have complete installation kits available. These kits include everything you need include a spray bottle, utility knife, scraper, pre-measured mounting solution as well as an additional squeegee. The most beneficial reason to purchase a complete installation kit is the cleaning and mounting solution that it comes with. The solution only requires you to add water, and allows you to clean the window prior to installation, install the film easier and acts as a professional quality adhesive promoter allowing your decorative window film to last for years!

Preparing your Window Film for Installation

Start by creating an installation mixture using a 32oz bottle filled with water and add 6-8 drops of very mild detergent, baby shampoo (recommended) or dish detergent. If you have purchased a complete installation kit, simply add water to the bottle. Using your mixture, clean the glass surface you are installing the film on. Do not use typical household window cleaners that contain ammonia, as this chemical will break down and ruin the adhesive overtime. We highly recommend Sprayway Glass Cleaner. After spraying down and cleaning the glass with a lint free cloth, use a razor blade to lightly scrape the glass surface. Test a small area first to ensure the glass will not scratch. After scraping down the window to remove stuck on debris, spray the window again and wipe solution away with a lint free cloth. You can use a paper towel to remove excess solution at the edges of the glass. The surface you are installing the window film should be very clean, free of dirt, dust particles and silicone.
Carefully measure the height and width of the window. You want to oversize the film up to 1 inch of extra material on each side to allow for proper sizing during installation. Cut the film to this size making sure to give you extra room for cutting during installation.

Installing your Decorative Window Film – Part 1

Lay the cut piece of window film onto the clean flat glass surface with the release liner facing you. If there is an extra set of hands around, have them hold the film up to the window for you while you are cutting. You can also spray the film and the glass with your solution as this will help stick the film temporarily onto the glass.

It is now time to remove the release liner. Be sure to spray the exposed adhesive as you remove the liner – this ensures that the film does not stick to itself and is completely covered with the installation solution. Be careful however when removing the release liner that the film does not roll onto itself. Also apply a generous amount of wetting solution to the glass. The solution prevents the film from sticking to the glass immediately, allowing you more time to properly position the film for cutting and installation.

Tips for Removing the Window Film Release Liner

1) Use two pieces of scotch tape and stick them to opposite sides at one corner of the film…then pull these two pieces of tap apart and the liner should separate from the film.
2) If this does not work, put a corner of the film between your teeth and grind your teeth together. The combination of grinding and moisture can expose the liner.
3) Use a thin or sharp object, such as your finger nail, to slide between the two layers and pick the two apart. At your own risk, you can carefully slide the utility knife blade between the two layers.

Installing your Decorative Window Film – Part 2

Place the now wet film onto the clean and wet glass surface (with the wet adhesive side onto the glass) for installation. Make sure there are no dry spots on the film prior to placing it on the glass. Use the plastic squeegee card and squeegee from the center out towards the edges to remove any air bubbles and wetting solution. You may need to apply more pressure to make sure the majority of water and solution is removed. Double check that the film is flat and smooth with no remaining air bubbles. Pay special attention to textured film such as Stained Glass Window Film as these may require additional attention and more pressure with the squeegee.

The Final Cuts to your Window Film

Trim the excess film from the edges of your window. It is ideal to cut into one continuous movement. You can use the edge of your hard card or a ruler to keep a straight line. Use paper towels to clean any excess water that has now come out of the edges. A 1/16″ of exposed glass around the perimeter of the window is normal, as this allows for any remaining water to be pushed out. Note: It may take a few days for the film to completely dry and for the adhesive to cure. Do not attempt to move or clean the window film during this time. Some general fogging or a milky look may appear for up to a week depending on the amount and type of solution used to install your film.

Maintaining your Decorative Window Film

Decorative window film is virtually maintenance free. Check out our articles on proper maintenance and removal of window film for more information.