How can I subdue the harsh glare from sunlight?
April 22, 2014 11:10 AM   Subscribe

I spend a good deal of time video-conferencing via Skype. During summer afternoons, as the sun hits a certain point in the sky, there is strong sunlight glare from a nearby window that makes it almost impossible to work. I need screening, but cannot install permanent window treatment. I want a simple screen that I can prop in front of the window when needed. What materials or solutions will enable me to eliminate/minimize the strong glare?

Last summer I used wood frames with canvas stretched over them. The canvas was originally intended to be used for watercolor paintings. They were perfect structurally, because I could prop them on a desk in front of the window. The canvas was translucent, and glare was eliminated. However it was not a good solution, because the canvas gave the light an unattractive, kind of sickly yellowish hue.

Are there screens I can purchase that are made for this purpose? Alternatively, if I know what fabric or material to use, I can probably mount it on a frame myself. Ideally, I want soft, natural light while eliminating the harsh glare of the sun.
posted by elf27 to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can look up a DIY Panel Diffuser (for photography)

Sample instructional how-to video here

It looks like this photographer uses White Ripstop Nylon for fabric
posted by Debaser626 at 11:17 AM on April 22, 2014

Maybe a removable vinyl cling sunshade?
posted by Bardolph at 11:20 AM on April 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Go to your local camping store and get a mylar emergency blanket.

Cut to shape, spray the window with water and place the mylar on the window, shiny side out.
posted by gnossos at 11:24 AM on April 22, 2014

I'd go for Styrofoam board, you can get it at a hobby shop and it will block out the sunlight.

Just boost your other light sources.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:24 AM on April 22, 2014

I'm with Bardolph: removable vinyl cling sunshade. Try a Babies R Us or a Target. They make these in pretty good sizes for car windows to keep the sun out of kids' eyes. They're inexpensive, easy to put up and take down, and it shouldn't take too much futzing around to find the ideal spot for them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:29 AM on April 22, 2014

Bleach and/or dye the canvas light blue?
posted by amtho at 11:39 AM on April 22, 2014

Window film would probably do it. It's easy to install, easy to remove, and cuts glare dramatically, in my experience, but still lets in light. I was just thinking about ordering some to darken my bedroom windows.
posted by MeghanC at 11:42 AM on April 22, 2014

If you want something that stays up all the time, try cut-to-fit privacy window film.

If you want something that you can have only up/closed at certain times of the day:

(a) Is there casing around the window that you could insert a tension rod in? I would use it to hang white sheers.
(b) If for some reason you can't insert a tension rod, I'd still recommend sheer voile over an inexpensive picture frame. Either just buy a set of sheet curtains and use that, or you can also get voile at the fabric store. At any rate, this is what sheer voile was designed for: cutting glare (and increasing privacy) while still letting in ample light.
posted by drlith at 11:46 AM on April 22, 2014

I've used a tension rod also - besides using sheer curtains, I've also used inexpensive hand-made wrapping paper. Folded over a "hem" and hot glued them shut, slipped the tension rod inside the upper and lower hem and positioned over the offending window.
posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 1:25 PM on April 22, 2014

I use styrofoam board. Just lean it in the window and take it down when I'm done.
posted by harrietthespy at 2:10 PM on April 22, 2014

MeghanC: "Window film would probably do it. It's easy to install, easy to remove, and cuts glare dramatically, in my experience, but still lets in light. I was just thinking about ordering some to darken my bedroom windows."

I was going to suggest window film too. It's available in dozens of different strengths (IE:5-95% blocking) and the most common is fairly neutral as far as effecting the colour of the light. Though watch out because some films are designed to warm or cool the light temperature.

Also it doesn't have to be permanent as you can stretch it over your wooden frames just like the canvas.
posted by Mitheral at 7:04 PM on April 22, 2014

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