How to Frost Glass With a Pattern
Sometimes we need privacy but still need light! That’s was the case with our front door (and our back door). Instead of replacing the door with a solid one, we decided to frost it as part of our front porch makeover. If you didn’t see the details of the makeover, you can check those out in this post.
We could have just taped off the window and added the frosting, but we wanted to do something special, so I devised a plan to create a lattice type design in each corner.
Do you want to know how we did it? There’s quite a few steps but it’s much easier than you think to get a look like this.
What You’ll Need Design (see download button below)
Brother Scan and Cut or Cricut Maker Machine (optional)
Cricut Vinyl (New Zealand Supplier here)
Cricut Transfer Paper (I didn’t use this but it would have the job much easier)
Newspaper or large sheets of newsprint
Rust-Oleum Frosted Glass Spray Paint (New Zealand Supplier here)
Hot soapy water
Microfibre cleaning clothes
First, cutout the design. I used the Brother Scan and Cut to cut out my design. If you would like to download the design I used, I’ve included a download button at the bottom of this post. You don’t need a cutting machine to do this – you could cut it by hand with an Exacto knife.
I used Cricut Vinyl to make the stencil. After creating the design, I sent it to the cutting machine. I stuck the vinyl down on the mat and cut out the design twice. This took a bit of experimentation to get the most economical cut.
Preparing the Window
I decided to put the frosting on the inside of the glass for two reasons.
First, it would be more protected and therefore last longer as it won't be exposed to the elements.
Second, I often put hooks on the outside of the door to hang a wreath or similar and I didn't want to damage the frosting when I did this. I have not yet painted the inside of the door so it’s still in its ugly bronze colour (next job!). I gave the door a really good clean. I scrubbed it with a scrubbing pad and hot soapy water. Then I wiped it over with alcohol so that I knew it was really clean. My door had some paint splashes on it so I made sure I got everything off. I dried the glass really well with a towel, then left it for a while to dry any bits that I missed. In short, the cleaner and dryer the door, the better finish you will get so don’t scrimp on this step.
Masking around the door was probably the biggest job. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get any of the frosting anywhere else – believe me, you don’t want this. When I frosted our back door, I got the spray on the frame and it was really hard to remove.You can see in the photo below that I taped paper up over all the surfaces that I thought might get hit with the spray. I also used the same trick as I used when I painted the outside of the door – I taped a latex glove over the door handle.
I also stuck one strip of the masking tape around the inside of the window. On the corners I laid another piece of masking tape next to the previous one. This gave me the placement for my stencil.
Applying the Stencil
You know, there’s how you should have done it and how you did do it, right?
How I should have done it was lay the transfer paper on top of the cut design and use that to position the stencil onto the window.
How I did it was took the design with the backing paper off the cutting mat, then I peeled the stencil off the backing paper and placed it on the window. This was really tricky as I needed to move it a couple of times. I used scraps of vinyl, so I had two different colours. The gold vinyl was stronger than the green and worked much better. The green ripped whenI tried to reposition it.
I placed the stencil onto the window using the second row of masking tape as a guide. Once you have the stencil in the right place, go over it with your fingers or a roller to ensure there are no bubbles. Pay particular attention to the edges – you want to get a good seal around all the edges so that the paint won’t bleed underneath the stencil.
Once I was happy that they were all in the correct place, I removed the second row of masking tape.
One final step before spray painting the glass was to give it all another clean. During the process of taping and putting on the stencils, a little bit of dust got onto the door so I gave it all another wipe with some more alcohol. This also removed any sticky residue from where we had repositioned the stencils.
Spraying the Glass
Once I had the door all masked up and the stencil on, it was time to paint! This paint is strong so you will need to use a well ventilated area – open the window or door.Using even light strokes, much like I did for painting the outside of the door, I carefully painted the glass. In the photo below, it actually looks like I’ve missed some but that’s just how it looks when you paint the frosting on. It won’t look even at all so don’t freak out about it. You’ll do enough coats to get it even. This is what the door looked like after the first coat was dry.
We went onto do three more coats because we wanted a really opaque door – this opens up quite close to the street, so we don’t want everyone who walks past looking in. You don’t need to do this many, on my back door I only did two.
Removing the Masking
This has got to be the most rewarding part – when you pull off that masking tape and get those nice clean lines. Carefully remove the tape, ensuring you don’t pull at the stencil.
Removing the Stencil
Next it’s reveal time – slowly and carefully pick up one edge of the stencil, making sure that you don’t scratch the frosting.
If you have any rough edges, you can just give them a wipe over with a cloth and they generally disappear. If you have any places where the spray has gone under the stencil, use the Exacto knife to clean up the edges.
Remove all the paper from around the window. We found that there was a powdery residue on the floor that needed to be washed off. In hindsight, I would have covered the entire area of the floor as well.
Now, all that’s left to do is enjoy the privacy offered by this wonderful, frosted glass.
I really hope that you enjoyed this post and found it useful. I know that for us, frosting the glass has made a huge difference to our home and how we feel about the front door space.If you would like to download the lattice design file, visit my original post.
I hope you enjoyed this post and gained some useful information
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Leslie on May 16, 2021
Great idea but not everyone has or can afford a Cricut or similar. For those folks you can make stencils from masking tape and carefully cutting out the pattern with a razor or craft knife (exacto knife) without scratching the window. You can get frosted spray paint from Home Depot or Lowes and use that to frost your window (s).. Instead of using masking tape you can make stencils from sheets of mylar. The sheets are not that expensive. There are many links to teach how to make your own stencils, just Google. Add in a spray adhesive for sticking the stencil to the glass and proceed to spray the window. you may have to get a few cans depending on the area you want to cover and you will have to do a few coats of the spray. I did this to my condo windows in Fl. about 4 or 5 years ago and they are still viable. Good luck.