DIY

Should I Just Paint My Window Trim Really Quickly?

August 15, 2019  —  Written by Julia Marcum 

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Famous last words.

We were going to share after photos of the kitchen today, but the china cabinet we ordered arrived afternoon yesterday and we lost our ideal lighting before I could finish the other task I decided to start–painting the windows. The task of painting the window sashes black wasn’t even on the original “finish the kitchen” list. My sisters were hanging out and helping, and somewhere between the Indian take-out, the Something Corporate songs, and gabbing about “Bachelor in Paradise,” we all accidentally ended up with our own miniature can of black enamel paint and small edging brushes. (Oops!)

We were minutes into our task (but past the point of no return) when we were all wishing we had primed the wood first (did I learn nothing from my very own cabinet painting post?). The paint was going on so streaky! “The first coat will act as primer,” Chris reassured us, and we kept on keeping on. We’re replacing these windows in the next year, but I just thought this would be a quick project! 

Next, contorting ourselves into the sinks, kneeling on counters, and limbo-ing under ledges, we wished we had taped off the windows first. With surgical precision and at a snail’s pace, we slowly edged each sash — sharing just-discovered tips: “Let the brush drag along the trim, hanging just enough over the edge…” Still, the backlight of the setting sun was blinding. We couldn’t even see if we were doing it right! (Lesson learned: This task might be better suited for after the sun goes down.)

Hours passed, and we weren’t even halfway done. I had the brilliant idea to just paint one “willy nilly” and clean up all of the paint I got on the window with a razor blade. Can you guess what a big mistake that was?! The razor blade was hard to grip and scraping off all of the paint took just as long as carefully edging each piece of trim. Thankfully, I limited my experiment to one window pane.

My sister was next to experiment: “I’m going to tape this one.” She went about the fussy task of taping off 15 window panes and the exterior. We were halfway through an Adele playlist when the tape ran out. Victoria concluded that the time to tape + the time it takes to paint several coats = maybe no time saved at all.

In the end (read: in the morning), we all loved the black windows. And even said, “wow! worth it!” (note: we were not saying that during the 6 hours it took to paint.) I can say, it made a huge impact and probably cost a total of $15. And that was the biggest lesson: A project like this isn’t a financial investment — it’s a time investment. If we could start over, we’d prime all the trim and tape all of the windows. So, if you decide to take on this project (and you should! There’s so much wow factor!), take those notes and save yourself a few hours and a lot of squinting.

Or invite your sisters over and just surrender to the process. That part had rewards we couldn’t even measure. I can’t wait to share with you how they look with the rest of the finished kitchen. Tomorrow! For sure!

(Ps. We used these 1″ brushes and this black enamel paint)

What do you think?

  1. Natalie Anderson says:

    I’m currently working on a similar project in my kitchen, and was so inspired by your post! I have a different style of windows though (traditional sliding) and I’m stumped on something. Should I paint the track black? I’m worried it will affect the sliding or chip easily.

  2. Lindsey says:

    I’m curious how you’ll do window treatments with black windows. I just recently got black windows and am having trouble deciding on treatments. We have one window in particular where curtains really don’t work because of a weird shaped wall. But am lost as to what kind of shades would work. Am eager to hear what you guys will do! ????

  3. Paul says:

    I think using a razor blade to remove paint from window trim is not a good idea. :) It can turn a simple task into a difficult one. Actually I read your blog post where you removed paint from a coffee table. Just like that, you can use any chemical to remove the paint from window trims. Can we use sandpaper to remove the paint? What do you think?
    Actually I was looking for help to remove graffiti from the wooden fence but I found this article on google https://www.basildonstone.co.uk/how-to-remove-graffiti-from-different-surfaces/ it is about graffiti removal from different surfaces.
    Nothing to do with the promotion, but this is something that will help to solve the problem and sharing knowledge.

  4. Savannah says:

    Hi,
    Thank you for sharing! I have just recently bought an older house (one I haven’t seen in person yet…yikes) and envision doing this. How do you know if your windows can be painted? What does the other side look like? Really hoping we will be able to do some of the renovations ourselves but seems scary. Also on different topic, have you and your husband added a stove hood by yourself to a house that didn’t have one?

  5. Mallory says:

    So glad to see this post! We’re about to close on a cottage with unfinished windows and trim and plan to paint them white to break up all of the knotty pine paneling and lighten up the space a bit. The black looks lovely in your space!

  6. Yivo says:

    I love the way you write. It’s so easy to read, funny and relatable! xx

  7. kimberly says:

    love the black sashes – there is a windex trick for this tho! if you just go to town with the paint and don’t worry about getting it on the windows – you can just spray it down with windex and it pulls the paint up off the glass (but doesn’t affect the wood) and you can scrape/wipe it right off! it acts as sort of like a goo gone for the paint, but only in the spots you want! it’s magic

  8. Angi Lowry-greene says:

    Quick question, I have the same icky honey oak trim and casement windows and wanna do the black on them, currently painting exterior of windows black, ok back to my question, do I paint the trim around black too or leave oak? That’s been my stalling btw the window looks awesome

  9. Lianna says:

    This is one of the best posts to date on a simple, manageable project for a beginner! I love that the different ways in which you tried/succeeded/failed were all documented and shared with us. It’s really nice read for a beginner like me who is reluctant to start projects that will yield costly mistakes or just have the personality type to gather all info before tackling something. Thanks!

  10. Karmen says:

    Random question. Could you source you sisters shirt and shoes? Could you also source your outfits you had on Instagram today? Your kitchen remodel is very inspirational.

  11. Shaza says:

    I just love love love this! I think this is my favourite post of all time. So light, so quirky, reading it made me feel like I was there with you guys. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  12. Elyse says:

    For what its worth, the liquid masking tape for windows is 1000% worth it!!!! Did something similar in my home and I was borderline crying at the end it was so intense of a project. The liquid mask stuff makes the biggest difference! I saw it on ‘This Old House’ (those guys know what they’re doing right?!) and have never looked back!

  13. Sarah says:

    They look incredible! As a random question, what are the shoes you’re wearing?

  14. Cristina says:

    Looks so good! Can you paint vinyl window trim?

  15. caroline says:

    Did you need to use deglosser like you did on your cabinets? Looks amazing!

  16. Kyla says:

    What do you do if they are already painted? Does it require sanding off paint to then paint over again? Love the black!

  17. Beth says:

    I have wanted to do this for so long! How do you make sure the windows aren’t painted shut?

  18. Janelle says:

    Painting then black made all the difference. I think your quick redo is going to easily last you a few years. It’s looking so much more practical and styling. Good job!!!!

  19. Cassidy says:

    I love this post! ???????? It is so fun to hear that designers experience moments of regret, worry, cramping, squishing, and frustration when even seemingly small projects take longer that expected. ❤️

  20. Kayla says:

    We have vinyl windows. Would you recommend painting these or have you ever done so? I know that you’re not supposed to paint them on the exterior, but I feel like the interior might be ok.

  21. There is a masking liquid you can use, you may know of it. You paint it on the glass, let it dry then you paint your trim and it doesn’t matter if you get some on the glass because the masking liquid has dried under it. Then once paint is dry you peel off the masking liquid, and the paint that is over it comes off too. Saves you from taping and scraping paint off the glass. It’s much easier to demonstrate than explain, clearly! Hah! I love the black windows.

  22. Tina says:

    Love the newly painted black trim windows. I’m curious are these wood framed windows and will they be replaced with black vinyl windows are are planning on buying wood framed windows?

  23. Sarah M says:

    Something Corporate can keep spirits up for many a DIY project! This looks amazing!

  24. Amanda says:

    I love this post! It’s so cute to hear your thoughts during the painting. I can imagine being there with you through it all. Though I’m glad I’m not sharing the (assumed) hand kinks you have. ;)

    The black really does make an empact. I mean, we all knew it would right? So worth it!

  25. KAH says:

    I also frequently listen to Something Corporate when painting — and sometimes his later reincarnations (Jack’s Mannequin, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness) — but nothing beats his starting band for me. <3

    Your windows look great. Totally worth the effort — plus, sisterly bonding! Looking forward to seeing the kitchen.

  26. Faith says:

    The black windows make the window trim look even better! I’ve loved every color choice you’ve made so far but was having a hard time envisioning the black windows contrasted with the taupe trim and I’m in LOVE!

  27. At least you had a fun time with your sisters! And the the black looks really good. With some projects, it seems like even if you do the best prep, it still ends up taking forever.

    • ao says:

      Didn’t you use a “paint” to gloss over the whole window that you could peel off afterward that you said was easier to use than taping each window?

  28. Karyn Ruth says:

    I must confess, I was not a fan of the darker trim; however, it looks amazing with the windows painted black. I admire your ability to trust the *process* and keep evolving as a designer.

  29. Nicole says:

    How many coats of paint did it take?

  30. I smiled through this whole post – yup, been there before – but the story itself was pretty heartwarming.

  31. Elaine says:

    And look at the casing too! Looks amazing!

  32. Lauren says:

    I recently spray painted my window sashes black by making a bubble around the window with plastic drop cloths, holding my breath for 12 seconds at a time, and going into the bubble to spray paint then coming out for air. I wore a mask, but even the mask couldn’t stop all the fumes. And then there was still a thin layer of black film on most of the surfaces in my living room afterward. But it looks great! And even after reading this post I don’t know which way I would do it if I were to do it again. Yours look great!

  33. Bridget says:

    I love black windows! They always bring the view to the forefront.

    Last weekend my husband and I decided mid-afternoon one day that we would wire and turn on the oven before we went to bed (we’re mid kitchen gut job). It was 1:00 a.m. before we finally turned that sucker on and called it a night!

  34. Emily says:

    Make sure the mullions don’t pop out – most do, but it’s not easy to tell. If not, it might be worth sawing them off, painting, and reattaching/caulking. Esp since they’re only temporary!

  35. Liz says:

    I have vinyl in combo with older metal windows, all white. I want to go black- could I paint these?

  36. Mindy says:

    Looks so good! Do you think liquid deglosser would have worked in place of priming?

  37. Sadie says:

    I’d love to do this but my windows are vinyl. Also so excited for the kitchen reveal! That vintage painting that inspired the old bathroom is so devine in this new kitchen space.

  38. Carrie says:

    Super pumped to end the week tomorrow with the kitchen reveal. I am just drooling over the cabinet color! (Like, mentally, not literally. I would not admit that to the internet.) And now I’m super pumped you painted the windows black! I love this look so much and sometimes lament over it not working in my house, but oh it is working here! So pretty!

  39. Katie says:

    We’re you using a straight up razor blade to try to scrape the paint off the pains? Because there is a tool that I’ve used before that has a little handle and a blade for scraping and it’s very easy to use to scrape paint off the glass. Maybe if you decide to do more windows it could help save some time? I love the black windows. It looks gorgeous with the new color palette and I’m so happy you sparky painted the fixtures too! Loving it!

  40. Laura says:

    You can also use liquid mask. Brush it on the window pane Willy Nilotic then it just peels off! SO MAGICAL.
    https://www.amazon.com/Jasco-GJMS00292-Liquid-Mask-1-Gallon/dp/B0067NLX5A

    • Natalie says:

      Yup in the comments to find and second this comment. I CAN’T BELIEVE you didn’t know about it!!

  41. Caitlin says:

    Just a thought – would it maybe have been easier to use a large putty knife to hold against the glass so you didn’t have to be so precise with cutting in? You could use that to shield the glass from getting painted, and you could move it along as you go instead of having to tape everything off, then remove the paint. Maybe next time?

  42. Julie S says:

    Oh gosh, so real. Sometimes I know i just have to dive in to get something done even if it would be “better” to do it all properly and orderly from the start. I looooove the end result though. Really really helps the canvas of your home.

  43. Looks amazing. Love black windows. It just goes to show that doing little details make such a huge difference in the design of the house. You guys are doing a great job.

  44. Looks amazing. I love black windows. Small things make a huge difference :)

  45. caroline says:

    You’ll always be my Konstantine!

  46. Priscila says:

    I’m loving follow you guys on instagram. The new home is amazing ???? I am impressed how fast you got change all the kitchen. Greetings from Brazil!

  47. Leah says:

    Love it! Can you show in more detail where you painted vs where you didn’t? I have a hard time delineating between where my window frames end and the sashes begin. Could you do this with vinyl windows?

  48. Elizabeth says:

    I did this in my kitchen with five big 15 pane windows. Such a time investment! THEN I hired someone to paint a few tall ceilings and he gave me a great pro tip for painting windows (I have many more 15-pane windows to paint in our house). Apparently there is a product that you can spray on the windows and paint however haphazard you would like and then score and peel off of the window panes!

  49. Kristin says:

    I have old aluminum windows that we will eventually replace, and I have thought about painting them for about a year. Can you use the same type of process (priming and paint type) on aluminum? Or would that not work at all?

  50. Melissa says:

    Love them! My windows have a rubbery piece against the glass that’s white. Did yours have one and if so did you paint that too?

  51. Laura says:

    I feel like this is how all my projects go!! I want to paint my windows black, but this is my issue, the grids are inside between the windows panes, so they are not paintable. Would it look weird to have the window surround painted black with the grids white??

  52. JENNIFER says:

    So funny, I forgot the windows were being replaced and was expecting the trim would be made black. The internet has trained my eye, apparently….looks good!

  53. Erin says:

    LOVE THIS!
    I have vinyl windows, is there a product you know of that could work? Maybe a peel and stick?

  54. Lelia says:

    Jenny Komenda once shared a tip that you can spray Windex on the paint stuck to the windows and it comes right off!

  55. Jessica Nichols says:

    As much as I’m loving this kitchen remodel, and am anxiously awaiting the reveal, I kinda don’t want you to share it yet, because it’s the best content on the internet! Plus, in all the chaos of the kitchen, we’ve not seen what work is happening behind your plastic! So much goodness going on at #cljcottage!

  56. Jordan G says:

    SO WORTH IT. Just that one photo of the arched window painted black with the white trim gave me all the feels. I can’t wait to see the full space.

  57. Morghan says:

    Would this work on vinyl windows? Love how it came out!

  58. Cayla says:

    I know there was a reason I loved you so much right away! Something corporate! My first car’s name was Konstantine.

  59. Georgia says:

    My windows aren’t wooden, but some kind of plastic sill—would this kind of paint still stick to something like that, or would it just flake off?

  60. HB says:

    Any tips for painting vinyl windows?

  61. Jennifer Yoder says:

    They make a tool with a razor blade in it for projects like this. It had a handy handle. ???? Helpful hits: 1. let the paint dry a day or two before removing it from glass. It will be less likely to pull paint off of the wood. 2. Use the razor blade to slice along the wood so the above mentioned is less likely to happen.
    I have painted many windows and doors. I never take time to tape things off. It’s way too time consuming and gives a a false security that you are staying “with in the lines” so to speak. ????

  62. Kathleen Kinkella says:

    Six hours isn’t really that bad when you think about it…luckily you had some extra help! They look great! Who’s the better painter out of all of you would you say, and what is their trick?

    • Julia says:

      I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m probably best (lots of practice) but my oldest sister is definitely the most precise.

  63. Amy Jones says:

    You say the kitchen is both later today and tomorrow in this post and I’m ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT!! Most anticipated reveal of the summer

  64. Karen says:

    OMG! That’s exactly the style window frame I have over my sink & for some unknown reason the lock is white while the crank is ORB. (We got a few $ refunded and lived with it) I’m curious how you will deal with the white hardware. My windows are natural cherry stain.

    I know it was a pain, but those black window frames look gorgeous!

  65. shelly says:

    On This Old House, I saw them use a product that they painted on the glass prior to painting the mullions in a window. The product dried and created a film that just peeled off after the paint dried. It seemed like a great improvement over taping the window prior to painting or scrapping off the paint after.

  66. Hollie says:

    Love everything about this kitchen! Thanks for sharing so much and being so real! I’m wondering if you could give a quick run down on distinguishing where trim ends and sashes begin on different styles of windows? It’s hard to distinguish on my windows which makes me think they should all be one color….

  67. Courtney says:

    This post made me laugh so hard! Sounds just like my projects.. learn as you go! Mine usually don’t end that well though ????

  68. Aubrey Laidlaw says:

    Best part of the post was finding out you guys listen to Something Corporate! Andrew McMahon and I are good friends who grew up together in Dana Point. In High School they would play during lunch and at the battle of the bands. We all knew they’d go on to do something incredible. Anyway, this all just made me love you guys a little more! ????

  69. Jessica says:

    Do you think this would work on vinyl windows?
    Love watching this makeover btw!

  70. Annie Richardson says:

    I an now inspired to paint the inside of our sliding glass door in our Dining/Kitchen Room Black. What color and finish would you use? Also, what color primer?? I didn’t realize there were different color primers!!?

  71. Annie Richardson says:

    I am now inspired to paint the inside of of my sliding glass door in our dining room/Kitchen black question – what color and what finish would you use? Also, what primer? I didn’t know there were different color primers!!

  72. Jules says:

    Great (not as quick as you wanted) update! I would like to do this to my windows, but it will be a long term solution, not short (no plan to replace windows soon). Would you have used the same paint product if you knew you were going to have the windows for a long time, or would you have chosen something else?

  73. Joanna says:

    Oh the feeling of falling a down a project rabbit hole. Glad to know to happens to the “pros” sometimes too. Can’t wait to see the reveal!

  74. Lauren H says:

    Can’t wait to see the full end result. Although my favorite part of this was the Something Corporate songs and Bachelor in Paradise gabfest. Not only do you sound like my kind of people but I love that someone else remembers Something Corporate!

  75. Deb says:

    Are they vinyl or wood windows?

  76. KB says:

    I’m positively on the edge of my seat for the full reveal, but MAN does that look better with these painted windows! Can’t wait to see it all!

  77. Geen says:

    You have made this last month the best month ever, love how real this all is!

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