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What Are the Best Tips for DIY Window Tinting?

Steven Symes
Steven Symes

Tinting windows, whether in a car or house, requires patience and practice before it's possible to achieve professional-looking work. Following tips from professional installers helps make a person's DIY window tinting experience more enjoyable and increases the chances of the tint fitting properly and being bubble-free. Among the most important steps are to clean the glass thoroughly before starting, measuring the tint correctly for the size of the window, and working out bubbles between the tint and window without tearing the tint.

When doing DIY window tinting for a vehicle, the first step should be to contact local law enforcement agency. Local laws dictate what kinds of tint are allowed for the type of vehicle, including how dark different windows on the vehicle can be tinted. The DIY window tinting package has a rating of how much light the tint filters out, which those doing DIY tinting can consult to ensure the tint is not rated as too dark for local laws. Law enforcement may make special exceptions for vehicles such as limousines or other commercial vehicles.

Home windows can be tinted.
Home windows can be tinted.

The glass the window tinting is to be applied to, whether it is in a car or the home, must be completely clean before beginning the application process. Using a glass cleaner helps eliminate not only streaks, but also dirt and buildup that might be hard to see. Leaving behind any kind of foreign materials on the glass creates a barrier between the tinting film and the glass, affecting adhesion so the tint peels off later. Clean with a microfiber cloth and glass cleaner, since microfiber will not leave lint behind on the glass.

Window-tint laws vary from state to state, but typically the windshield must be clear.
Window-tint laws vary from state to state, but typically the windshield must be clear.

It's important to trim the film for the DIY window tinting project more than once during the installation process. When trimming the film for the first time, hold it against the window as a guide, then trim the film one inch or 25.4 millimeters larger than the size of the window, on all sides of the window, using scissors. Tint film shrinks slightly after being sprayed with application solution, so cutting it larger prevents the film from shrinking to a size smaller than the window. After applying the film to the window and sliding it into position, then trim it to the exact size of the window using a utility knife.

After applying the film to the window, its important to remove bubbles and creases before the solution dries. The DIY window tinting kit should come with a plastic squeegee to help smooth out the film, but if not a nylon scraper from the kitchen works well too. The hard edges of the squeegee or scraper might actually damage the tint, so wrap two to three paper towels or disposable napkins over the edge before using it on the tint.

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Discussion Comments


When doing a DIY tint job, make sure that your squeegee or other tool that you are using to remove bubbles is smooth and in good condition. If it has chips or cracks, it may not remove the bubbles, or it may scratch the tint.


I have applied window tint to several vehicles, and the outside temperature has a lot to do with the success of this project. If the weather is chilly, humid, or rainy, the tint will take more time to adhere to the window. This can cause bubbling or peeling.

On the other hand, if you try to apply tint to your vehicle window on a very hot day, the adhesive will dry too quickly. This also can trap bubbles under the tint that are hard to squeegee out, or it may also cause wrinkling or cracking of the tint.

To avoid these problems with a DIY tint job, wait to do the project until you have mild weather with very little humidity. A temperature that is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit makes an ideal day for tackling this potentially time-consuming and tedious project.

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    • Home windows can be tinted.
      By: dbrus
      Home windows can be tinted.
    • Window-tint laws vary from state to state, but typically the windshield must be clear.
      By: Robert Wilson
      Window-tint laws vary from state to state, but typically the windshield must be clear.