Here's what I started with. You can clearly see right through the windows.
I'm not going to go through the steps here - you can just click over to Sarah's post for the tutorial. But, this seemed like an easy project...in theory. Now, I'm pretty crafty and handy, but I'm not gonna lie. I did a test run the night before starting the actual project and it did drive me a bit crazy at first. I did come across a few issues, but once I figured them out & got into a good rhythm, it got much easier.
1) Do a test run first! This will give you a feel for what you should or shouldn't do.
2) Make sure when you cut your pieces, that they are the right size. Now, I'm not saying it has to be perfect, because it certainly doesn't. But make sure that the edges do not touch the trim on the windows. If you don't do this, the contact paper won't lay flat on the window & it will cause air gaps and bubbling at the edges. (Yes, there are grid lines on the backing of the paper, but the lines are broken up by words, so there aren't always lines to follow. Just take your time and cut your pieces carefully - there's no need to rush. Trust me on this - let's just say that it's a good thing that the clear contact paper comes in BIG rolls).
3) When placing the pieces on the windows, carefully hold the top part of the already-cut piece to the top edge of the window and then make sure it lines up with the right and left sides. Once you have this aligned correctly, lay the rest of the piece down. It should be lined up nicely once you do this.
4) Be patient!
So after getting through my issues, it was smooth sailing.
In these two pictures, you can see the side-by-side difference of the windows with the contact paper and without. MAJOR difference!
But, after letting them sit for a full day, the spots disappeared! I don't know if it was the heat from the sun during the day or what, but I'm happy with the results! So, if you come across this problem, let them sit on the windows for a day or two and the issue may resolve itself.
The new view from outside...I didn't get a picture from before, but especially at night with the lights on, you could see clear as day through the windows. Now, the contact paper acts like a mirror and you can't even see inside at all! Score!
Overall, I'm soooooooo glad that I finally did this (I had been procrastinating for awhile). I still get some light in the house through those windows, but don't have to worry about people seeing so clearly inside.