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How to Frost Glass Windows

A frosted-glass window gives your home an updated look while adding privacy. You can have a professional do the job or buy a window with frosted glass, but a DIY window-frosting treatment is a more affordable method. Options include a spray treatment, window film and glass-etching technique.

How to Frost Glass Windows

Want the look of frosted glass without the expense of hiring a pro or buying a new frosted-glass panel? Reach for a DIY option to give your window an updated look. Frosting the glass also adds a bit of privacy to your home. These methods also work to create a frosted-glass door.

Preparing the Glass Window

No matter which DIY window-frosting method you choose, you always want to start with a clean window. Make sure there isn't any residue on the window such as pieces of tape or stuck-on substances. You also want to make sure the glass is free of dirt and grease, as they will interfere with the chosen product sticking to the window and may leave lumps in the finish.

Depending on the type of frosted-glass window treatment you use, you may need to tape off the windows to protect the frame so only the glass gets frosted. Apply the tape along the edges of the window pane to allow all of the glass to show.

Designing the Frosted Window

The easy route is to frost the entire window pane, but you can also create designs with the frosted sections. One option is to leave an unfrosted border around the edges of each window pane. To achieve that look, simply apply painter's tape around the edges. Just make sure the tape gets applied evenly to get consistent borders.

You can also make a template or use a stencil if you want to create a different design with the window-frosting treatment. Make sure the template sticks to the window well to make sure the frost treatment doesn't bleed. Leave the template in place until it fully dries.

Frosted-Glass Spray

Special spray products designed to frost window glass offer a simple way to transform your windows. You just spray the product directly onto the glass in the areas you want to frost. Always read the specific product instructions to make sure the spray adheres properly.

Just like regular spray paint, frosted glass spray needs to be applied in thin, consistent coats for the best results. Hold the spray can at a consistent distance away from the window. You can add more than one coat if you want a more frosted look or greater privacy, but give the spray plenty of time to fully dry before adding the next layer.

Etching the Glass

Etching your glass window panes permanently changes them to the frosted look, so make sure you're committed to the idea before using this method. You can get glass-etching cream to easily create the effect. Each cream is a little different, so read the instructions on the package before starting.

Typically, the cream gets brushed onto the glass in a thick layer and then sits for a period of time. Follow the package directions exactly when deciding how long to leave the cream on the glass. You'll then rinse the cream off the window to reveal the etched-glass look.

Using Frosted Window Film

If you want the option to easily undo the window-frosting treatment, consider using a frosted-glass window film. These products typically work with static cling, which means they won't leave behind adhesive if you do remove them.

It's a good idea to cut the film slightly larger than the window pane on all edges to make sure you have enough. Spritz a little soapy water onto the window before applying the film. Use a squeegee to smooth out the film, continuing to work toward the outer edges until you remove all air bubbles. You can then trim the edges for a perfect fit.

About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.