DIY Window Tint

Computer Cut Window Tint

We weren’t sure we should put together this page.  However, the more we considered this topic the more it became apparent that this information should be shared to all car enthusiasts.  Our reluctance was based around the level of difficulty because we will always advocate DIY projects for their rewarding experiences.

First things first, consider your level of skill.  Most car owners have never tinted glass.  Perhaps there are a few of you out there that may have tinted a window in your home using some cheap film from a big box chain.  Car windows are an entirely different animal.  Back windows range from the mostly flat to extremely curved.  Consider this, it’s easy to put wallpaper on a flat wall but now think about trying to perform that same feat on a basketball.  Wrapping the curves of a an object with a material that isn’t made to do so can be challenging.  Most DIY kits are low enough in price that giving your self tint a shot may be worth it.

The following procedure is how we tint windows.  This may not work for you.. Proceed at your own risk of damaging your new tint kit, your car and painfully injuring your body and soul!

Install Your Own Window Tint

Let’s assume you’re happy to move forward and give this a shot.  Here is a list of things you will need:

  • Clean Area to work in.  Preferably this area will be isolated from wind, dust and anything that could potentially interfere with the delicate process of keeping your windows and tint clean.
  • Plenty of lighting.  It’s hard to work with tint in a darker area such as garage with poor lighting.  Tint is shaded and specs of dirt and dust can be difficult to see when you apply it.
  • Patience.  This goes without saying.  If you rush a tint job, especially your first attempt at a tint job, you’re doomed from the start.
  • Custom pre-cut window film designed for your vehicle.  As a first time tinter, trying to tint your windows from an uncut new roll of film will be next to impossible.  Pre-cut computer cut window film is designed to fit on your vehicle and will make this process plausible.
  • Single Edge razor blades, paper towels, appropriate squeegee (typically included in a DIY kit) and a “Olfa” knife or razor pen knife.
  • Heat-gun for rear windows that have a curve.
  • Patience.. yeah we mentioned it before but you’re going to need a double dose of this.

Most of the DIY kits can be found on Amazon.com and eBay.com.  Look for positive reviews and it’s advisable to contact the seller.  Most of these DIY kits come with generic brands of tint.  This might not be a problem but please do your research.  The last thing you want to have happen is for your tint to start peeling off a year after you spent so much time preparing and installing it.  Worse.. the dreaded purple tint!

  1. Your first step will be to clean your car.  Yes, inside and out because the less possibility that dirt or dust is in your working environment, the better your tint job will come out.  Next, use your razor blade and pen knife to completely clean the inside window surfaces.  Be careful around your rubber/felt gaskets and never, ever use the blade near your defrosters or antennas.
  2. Open your DIY kit inside your home.  Carefully separate the tint patterns.  Identify which windows are which in advance.  This will save you time and will keep you from starting on the wrong window.  The tint will have a clear backing on the stick side.  Use a corner of the tint that won’t end up on the glass (the patterns have extra tint to make them easier to work with) and start peeling it so you can determine what side of the tint is sticky.
  3. Fill a spray bottle full of distilled water.  Put a few drops of “DAWN” or “JOY” dish soap in the bottle and shake it up.  You may need more or less depending on whether or not the tint slides around on the glass enough or too much.  Most of us here at the office prefer more rather than less but if you get too much it will be just as difficult.  Wet the window you plan to tint, really soak it down and make sure to spray down the window channels to keep any fuzz or dirt heading downward and not out into your glass. Peel your tint from the top and stop about half-way down the tint.  Keep the clear plastic on the bottom half of the piece of tint to protect the lower part of the tint while you work on the top edge of the glass.  Spray the exposed sticky tint with your same water bottle.  Line the top edge of the tint up on the glass at the top edge of the glass.  Spray the tint so you can squeegee out the extra water/soap.  Once you’re happy with where the tint is, finish your squeegee work on the top.  Slowly bump your window back up into the top of the door frame.  Now lift the extra clear plastic upwards and spray the exposed tint until you have it off.  Squeegee out the remaining work and hold the gasket away from the tint as you lay it behind the bottom gasket.  You should be complete.  Don’t roll down or clean this window for the next 2-3 days. (longer in the colder months)
  4. Now onto your back window.  If your window is curved it will require a heat-gun.  Use a “BOUNTY” or other dryer sheet.  Spray the sheet with your same soap and water mixture.  Ring out the excess and rub it onto your back window (outside of the car) as if you were applying wax.  Take your rear window pattern and line it up on the window.  Once you’re happy squeegee a line across the middle of the window tint pattern from the far left to the far right of the back window.  This will hold the tint in place.  Hold your heat gun far away from the tint until you get the hang of it.  Form “Fingers” into the tint and heat the fingers away from the middle line you created towards the outer edge of the window.  This process is complete once the tint is complete molded and sitting flush to the outside of the back window.  Completely soak the inside of the window (put down towels to protect your interior from the moisture)!  Peel the backing of the back window tint and soak the piece of tint.  Carry the tint into your car and line it up.  Once it’s lined up swipe the same stripe into the middle of the tint with your squeegee.  Work away from the middle line you’ve created towards the outer edges in the same process as you did when you heated/formed the back window.  You will likely have some “fingers” protruding from the edges of the tint.  Apply light heat to the outside of the back window and push these fingers down on the inside until everything is ironed out!

Yes, patience is required.  This isn’t for everyone.  Consider if it’s worth the risk for you.