How to Frost Glass Windows

Have you ever wanted more privacy for your home or to create a personalized space in your home with beautiful frosted glass?

Outside of purchasing prefrosted glass panes, there are three ways you can achieve a DIY frosted appearance on your already installed panes:

1. Install Frosted Window Film

It’s not as easy as it sounds, as fingerprints, obstacles in the room and bubbles can get in the way. But if the instructions are followed and shortcuts avoided, DIY window film (also known as house window tint) can provide a luxe look to your home:

  • Start with clean windows. Baby shampoo works well, surprisingly, as it leaves windows clean and residue-free (unlike glass-cleaners or vinegar). Fill a standard sized spray bottle with water and add three tablespoons of baby shampoo. Mix well, spray and use a squeegee to dry the window after washing. Plan on installing the film during the coolest part of the day.
  • Measure and cut the film. Film can be purchased at your local hardware store. Purchase a bit more film than you need in order to account for any mishaps or odd measurements, and cut the film with a border of an inch or so.
  • Coat the window. Prepare a spray bottle of the baby shampoo solution and lightly coat the window.
  • Take the backing off the film and prepare to apply to the window. If the backing won’t come off easily, try some clear tape on the corners and peel back. It’s best to have a partner to help with managing the movement of the film. Lightly spray the back of the film (the side going on the glass) with the solution. Also spray some of the solution on your hands just prior to installation to avoid fingerprints on the film.
  • Install the film. Starting at the top of the window or glass, apply the film, working your way down. The spray solution will help with smooth application and working out bubbles. Once the film is on the window, step back and check the centering. Now is the time to make adjustments since it won’t be possible once the adhesive on the back of the film dries.
  • Work out bubbles and wrinkles. Using the squeegee, preferably, work the bubbles and wrinkles to the edges. If the glue starts to dry, just spray it with the same cleaning solution used in previous steps, until you’re finished smoothing.
  • Trim! Once the film is smoothly installed, you can trim the edges. Be sure to allow about an eighth of an inch overhang to account for shrinking during drying. Handle the window or glass with care until it dries, about 30 minutes or so, and even up to about a week after. For best results, avoid opening or closing the window or door as much as possible during that time.

2. Use a Frosted Glass Spray Paint

This type of spray-on film is readily available (Rust-Oleum or Krylon, for instance), cost-effective and easy to use. Even if you change your mind at some point, this type of coating can be scraped off. In general, frosted glass spray paints are a low cost, low effort solution for homeowners looking for DIY frosted glass.

  • Clean glass thoroughly and tape-off the area to be sprayed.
  • Apply a thin coat of the spray and allow it to fully dry.
  • Add subsequent thin layers until desired opacity is reached.

3. Apply Etching Cream

If you want a permanent frosting effect, use an etching cream for desired results. Crafters love this product, and you can find it at hobby and craft stores. You’ll want to closely follow the instructions on the packaging, but here are some basic instructions:

  • Use painter’s tape to protect any framing or other areas that won’t be etched.
  • With a bristled brush, scrub the etching cream onto the glass.
  • Let the cream sit on the glass for the specified time in the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Rinse the cream off the glass with warm water.
  • Enjoy your newly frosted etched glass!

The experts at Glass Doctor® can help you with installation of any frosted glass for your home’s privacy and personalization. Schedule an appointment online or contact the Glass Doctor location nearest you to learn more.