How to Make a Transom Window

Updated February 21, 2017

Transom windows are often found in contemporary residences, though they originated in the medieval era. Transom windows usually are placed just above the frame of a door and add a decorative flair to doors and to homes. There are plain transom windows (often with rectangular, flat, divided panes over the windows) as well as ones composed of stained glass or consisting of multiple panes and shaped like a fan. Making and installing a transom window is neither difficult nor time-consuming.

Adjust your table saw guide to 3/4-inch width and then tear a 1-by-4-foot board into 3/4-inch square pieces. When you get to the end of it, use a push stick to push it entirely through the opening where the transom window is going to be. Then smoothly apply a thick primer coat over the square pieces. Allow the primer to dry completely.

Chop off the ends of the cut square pieces using the mitre saw. Measure and put a marking on the opening so that the piece of glass remains exactly in the middle. Then insert your set of trimmed square pieces into the transom window opening and nail all of the pieces into place.

Set the cut piece of glass against the square pieces. Nail a second batch of square pieces all the way on the other side of the glass to get it securely and snugly into place.


Some people like to cover up their transom windows with valances or blinds. . Light-coloured, sheer and textured materials help maximise the decorative potential of transom windows.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety goggles or glasses
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Table saw
  • Wooden board
  • Push stick
  • Protection for your ears
  • Nails (1 to 3/4 inches)
  • Mitre saw (sliding compound)
  • Finish nailer
  • Glass cut to the appropriate size
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