How to Make Windows Opaque

Tina Lane

Windows that are exposed to the neighbors or a busy street may require additional privacy. As an alternative to heavy drapes, consider glass treatments that will make windows opaque. If you prefer privacy that still allows ambient light to pass through, frosting windows with etching glass is a permanent option.

Etch a window for complete privacy.

For those who desire complete privacy with less light passing through, glass paint is available.


If you desire to cover only a portion of the window, cover the area you would like to keep untouched with clear adhesive vinyl. Use a squeegee to push out air bubbles that may get trapped between the glass and the vinyl before proceeding. To add a design element to your painted window, tape a stencil to the outside of the window and use it as a guide while you apply your glass paint. You may also outline your design with black glass paint to create the appearance of stained glass. Glass paint products are available in craft stores.


Frosting your windows will result in a permanent and irreversible change to your glass. Consider this before proceeding.

Frosted Windows

  1. Clean the window with glass cleaner to remove all dirt and grime from the surface.

  2. Dry the glass completely with a dry towel making sure to remove all traces of moisture.

  3. Trim all the edges of the window with painter’s tape or clear adhesive vinyl to protect them from treatment. Use a craft knife, if necessary, to line up the protective covering as close to the edge of the glass as possible.

  4. Apply etching cream evenly to the entire window using a paintbrush.

  5. Refer to the etching cream packaging for how long to leave the cream on the window before removing.

  6. Clean off the remaining cream from the window using a damp cloth. Dry with a separate towel. The entire window should now be frosted.

Painted Windows

  1. Prepare the windows by cleaning and applying trim adhesive (see Steps 1 through 3 from Section 1).

  2. Apply one coat of glass paint directly onto the glass using a paintbrush.

  3. Allow the paint to dry completely.

  4. Repeat the previous two steps as desired to achieve a deeper color or darker coverage.