Learn how to add on window grids to your existing windows with this simple DIY tutorial for DIY window grilles! These step-by-step instructions will show you exactly how to install DIY window grids in just 4 easy steps!
This post was originally published on August 15, 2018 and has since been updated.
When we went to install the windows in our she-shed home office, we chose to buy them all on Craigslist to save money. Doing this, led us to have one window with grids and two without.
I love the look of windows with grids (aka window grilles), so of course I took it upon myself to figure out how to make diy window grilles and add the grid patter to the rest of them so they all match. 😉
This isn’t the first time I’ve used this method either – I used the same steps as in this tutorial to add DIY window panes to the shower doors in my master bathroom shown below.
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With this tutorial, I’m going to teach you how to make window grids and add them to your existing windows (or shower doors) to easily up the style in your home! Enjoy, my friends.
DIY Window Grid or Grilles FAQ
Before we get to the tutorial, let’s talk about window grilles/grids for a second.
What are window grids?
Window grids originated in the early 1600s when London had a shortage on glass. A glass factory was developed in Jamestown and, rather than risk breaking large, valuable pieces of glass in shipment, they instead shipped small squares with which the builders simply pieced together with trim to create larger windows. Nowadays, the grid pattern you see on windows is likely just for looks.
There are three different terms you might hear discussed when the topic of window grids come up:
- Window Grilles (not structurally needed, just for looks)
- Window Mullions (structurally hold window panes together)
- Window Muntins (vertical sections of a grille or mullion)
So, an easy explination for these terms is that the muntins are the vertical part of the mullions and grilles are today’s faux mullions put on windows just for looks!
Many window manufacturers install the grid pattern between the panes of glass on new windows, so if you know you want them when you’re installing new windows, be sure to purchase ones with the grilles already in them.
One of the big benefits of installing windows with manufactured grids is that you don’t have to try and clean around the trim since it’s all enclosed in the glass.
For windows that weren’t originally made with grids, the most common way to add grilles is by installing some sort of trim on the outside of the window like I’ve done here.
Not sure if you want grids on your windows? Check out this post for thoughts on what’s right for your home.
Can you add grids to existing windows?
Well, of course! That’s what I’m going to teach you in this tutorial! But, keep in mind, the grids or grilles we’re adding to your windows are purely aesthetic. They don’t serve any purpose other than giving your windows some extra style. 😉
Well, let’s get to it, shall we?!
How To Install DIY Window Grilles
For a printable copy of the materials and instructions, scroll down.
Materials & Tools Needed:
- White Electrical Tape
- Super Glue
- Paper Towels
- Window Cleaner
- Painter’s Tape
- Measuring Tape
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How to Install DIY Window Grilles or Grids:
First, you’ll want to note that because there isn’t enough room on the inner sides of vinyl window panes for the added grid trim to slide back and forth, we’re going to install the thicker trim on the outer sides of the panes and white electrical tape on the inner sides.
STEP 1: CLEAN THE WINDOW
It’s critical that you clean your window really well before installing the trim so that the glue can strongly adhere. I used window cleaner and a paper towel.
STEP 2: INSTALL THE VERTICAL PIECES
Measure the width of the outer pane of your window and decide how many vertical pieces of trim you want to install. For mine, I wanted to mimic the window grilles on the door next to my window, so I only needed one vertical piece.
Next, measure the height of the window and cut a piece of vinyl trim to that dimension.
Use a pencil to mark where your trim needs to be installed on both the top and bottom of both outer sides of the window.
Apply super glue to the back of your trim in a zig-zag pattern and then glue it onto the window and tape it in place with your painter’s tape.
Try not to get too much glue, as you don’t want it to seep out from under the trim once you press it to the window. If it does seep out, just use a paper towel to wipe it away while it’s still wet.
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STEP 3: INSTALL THE HORIZONTAL PIECES
Next, decide how many horizontal trim pieces you want to install and follow the same process as above. Measure, mark, cut and glue onto the window.
**TIP: Tear off and set your blue tape pieces to the side of the window before you start gluing so you don’t have to let go of the trim once it’s on the glass.
After you’re finished with one side, do the same thing on the interior “outer” pane.
Here’s how mine looked after both sides of the window had the trim installed:
STEP 4: TAPE GRILLES ON THE OPPOSITE SIDES
The last step is to tape over the back side of the trim with your white electrical tape. For the most part, this hides the backside of the trim and the super glue. My window panes are about 1.5″ apart, so when you stand at an angle sometimes you can see between them, but in general it looks great.
I simply cut a straight edge on the tape and then stretched and stuck it in line with the trim on the other side of the window.
Do the tape on both sides, and you’re done! You’re now an experienced DIY window grilles installer and have likely mastered the art of how to make window grids. 😉
Here’s how ours turned out on the front of my she shed:
The grid on the door came that way, but the grid on the window is my DIY window grilles. Looks pretty good, don’t you think? Definitely more curb appeal!
Here are a few before/afters to give you a glimpse at how the grids affect the style of the windows from the inside:
Unfortunately, the only before pictures I have are from really early on in the construction portion of the she-shed. But you get the gist, right?
I also added this same type of DIY window grids to my back window and side door of this space.
Do you see there how the glass door now has that stylish grid pattern on it?
As promised, here are the printable instructions:
- Clean the windows really well on both the inside and outside.
- Measure the height of your window and cut the vertical vinyl trim pieces for your window. (Remember you're only doing vinyl on the non-sliding side of the window, so you'll only need enough trim pieces for one vertical in each spot.)
- Glue your vertical trim pieces on the "outside" sides of the window (the sides that don't slide against each other when the window is being opened) using super glue and painter's tape to hold them in place.
- Measure, cut and glue your horizontal pieces in around the vertical piece and tape them in place to dry.
- On the "inside" sides of the window (the sides that slide up against each other when the window is being opened) apply electrical tape along the window behind the recently installed trim pieces.
Before beginning, you'll want to determine how many grids you want on your window so you know how many vertical and horizontal pieces to cut.
Note that because there isn’t enough room on the inner sides of vinyl window panes for the added grid trim to slide back and forth, you install the thicker trim on the outer sides of the panes and white electrical tape on the inner sides.
It still amazes me what a tiny bit of trim can do to the style of a window!
I LOVE the look of decorative window grilles, and it’s fun being able to take thrifted windows and doors and make them match another one that came with a grid pattern. 🙂
I hope you have fun with this one and let me know if you have any questions!