DIY: Make a Stained Glass Window out of Instagrams

Extra photos for bloggers: 1, 2, 3

Ever wish your Instagram feed were more tangible? Like, hanging-from-your-window-tangible?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

This DIY turns your windows into giant, photo-filled lightboxes that showcase your Instagram masterpieces.

Make colorful stained glass inspired windows to brighten up any space.

Gather up those digital files, or pull out that old box of 35mm slides from your grandparent’s attic.

Finally, a digital-analog way to drape your windows with Kodak moments!

Turn Your Windows into Giant Lightboxes

p.s. Attention Android party people – we’re ready for ya! You can *Enroll in Phoneography 101* – our guide to taking primo pics on your phone.

Why it’s cool:

ingred-smShiny colorful reflections that change throughout the day? Yes, please.

This funky slide curtain adds interest to any room.

Channel harsh sunlight through all the Kodachrome colors and Instagram filters, and even keep passers-by at bay.

Although, you may actually find a crowd hovering outside your door to look at your photographic treasures.

But hey, can you blame them? They are pretty awesome.

Oh, did we mention these are completely removable and damage-free? Sweet!



  • For a digital option: Instagrams printed onto transparencies
  • For an analog option: 35mm slides, lots of them.*
  • Archival Slide Sleeves
  • Scissors
  • Super Glue
  • Scotch Tape
  • Small, removable plastic hooks. We used these 3M Hooks

*Slides will fade in the sun over time, so take that into consideration in case your slides are of family.

STEP 1: Measure:

paint-smFirst, measure the space you want to cover with your curtain. For both the digital and analog version of this project, you’ll be working with 8.5″x11″ transparency pages or sleeves.

Each sheet, whether digital or analog, will hold 20 2″x2″ images.

To figure out how many slides/images we were going to need, we did a little math. You can also physically layout the sheets to visualize what this will look like.

The door we covered was 22″ wide, and 62″ high.

We measured that 2 sheets wide would cover the width. It needed 7 sheets down to cover the length. That made 14 sleeves we would need to fill with images. Since each sleeve holds 20 images, our final count was 280 images.

We’re starting with the digital version. If you are working with slides, skip to step 5.

Step 2: Digital Layout:

paint-smUse an editing software like Photoshop or Gimp to create a digital layout for your images.

Size your images to 2″ by 2″.

Copy and paste your photos into a new document that is 8.5 x 11″.

Space them out to create a grid that fits 4 images across by 5 images down.

Here’s a video that will help you figure out how to make a grid.

Repeat this step until you have the desired number of pages to cover your window.

Step 3: Digital Prints:

paint-smOnce your grids are finished, print them out on transparency pages.

You can pick these up at any office supply or art store. Just make sure they are compatible with your printer.

You could also take your files to a local copy shop and have them print on transparency for you.

Either way is fine, just print those bad boys out!

Step 4: Digital Trim:

paint-sm Sometimes the transparency will have a larger edge on the top and bottom.

If so, trim your pages to have even borders, around a half an inch wide.

Lay them out in the order you want them to be hung.

Now, skip down to step 8.

Step 5: Analog Layout:

paint-sm Now, layout your sheets on a table.

Make sure the opening where you’ll place your slides in each sheet are either at the top or side of the curtain. If they’re at the bottom, your slides could fall out.

Line them up so that they are all facing the same direction. This will help you keep track of how to glue them together in later steps.

Step 6: Analog Trim:

paint-sm In this step, you’re going to remove the white label and three hole punch from all of the sheets except the top row.

Take your scissors, and carefully trim as close to the white label as possible.

After you’ve cut one sheet, put it back in its place in the layout and move on to the next one.

TIP: You want to remove the label and holes from each sheet, but leave enough plastic to glue the sheets together.

Step 7: Analog Align:

paint-sm Again, double check that you are putting your sheets back together in a consistent manner.

You want all the openings to be facing the same direction.

Also make sure the openings are all on the same side of each sheet.

Step 8: Glue:

paint-smStart gluing the sheets of one column together.

Take the very top piece, the one with the holes and white label still attached, and place a thin line of glue along the bottom edge.

Carefully line up the sides of the next piece, and glue them together.

Press and hold for 30 seconds.

Repeat this step for the rest of the sheets.

Let the glue fully dry for 10 minutes.

TIP: We found it easiest to glue on column at a time. Start with the left side, and work top to bottom. Then do the same with the right side.

Step 9: Join:

paint-sm Once the glue has dried, it’s time to join the columns.

Line them up next to each other.

Place a line of glue on the edge of one column, and press the other column in place.

Let it dry for another 10 minutes.

TIP: It may help to temporarily tape them together to make sure they stay aligned while you’re gluing.

Step 10: Fill:

paint-smNow the fun part!

Fill up your curtain with all of your amazing slides.

You can make patterns of color, place images chronologically, or make any funky design you want.

You digital creators won’t need this step. Go ahead and skip this step.

Step 11: Place Hooks:

paint-sm Because we wanted to cover a metal door, we used these clear, removable 3M hooks on the glass.

But you can use any hanging system you wish.

Depending on your space, a curtain rod with rings might work well, or you might decide to tack it in place.

Either way, measure where to place your hooks, and affix them to your wall or window.

Step 12: Hang:

paint-smNow you see why we left the holes on the top row, eh?

Place the holes of the top row over your hooks.

Ta-da! Time to kick back and enjoy!

Take it further

  • Make a small cluster of framed slides for smaller spaces.
  • These vertical blinds add colored light and move with the breeze.
  • Make a slide light for a colorful display day or night.

Thanks to Design Sponge for the inspiration!