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How to Frost French Door Glass

If you’re looking for a way to introduce a little extra light into your interior, and heighten the sense of space, then a set of French doors might be just the way to do it. Coming equipped with two or more panes of glass, internal French doors allow light to flow from one room to another, and really make the room feel as large as can be.

But if you’re considering adding internal doors to a room where privacy is a concern, like a bedroom or bathroom, you might hesitate as you’d like a bit more privacy, but still maintain the light.

Your bathroom or bedroom can benefit from French doors without compromising on privacy. This is possible with the help of frosted glass – special glass which you can’t see through, but will still allow light to enter. Many of the French doors you’ll find amongst our catalogue come equipped with this glass – but even French doors with regular glass can still be frosted afterwards. As well as allowing us a greater degree of privacy, frosted glass allows for flourishes or logos: by frosting certain areas of glass and leaving others untouched, we can create all manner of shapes – from the decorative to the informative.

What is frosted glass?

Frosted glass allows enhanced privacy yet still allows plenty of light into the room. Rather than being transparent, the glass has an ice-like effect that stops you from being able to see through the doors by applying a blurring effect.

Although almost opaque, light can still pass through the glass which means that your bedroom, bathroom or the room behind the doors isn’t kept in darkness. Frosting the glass on internal French doors means that you can increase the style and privacy of your rooms without compromising on quality or style.

How can a frosted effect be achieved?

The frosted effect can be achieved in several ways. Each works via the same principle – by interrupting the smooth surface of a sheet of glass, and causing light rays to deflect in an effectively random manner as they pass through.

1: Spray-on method

If you’d like to create a frosted effect on the glass in your home, then fear not – for you’ll be able to do so without performing major surgery – all you need is a can of spray-on frosting.

Unlike the other methods we’ve looked at, spray-on doesn’t rely on any abrasion against the surface of the glass itself – it instead applies a layer of translucent plastic that will scatter light in much the same way.

Before beginning, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to remove the door from its frame. Doing this is undoubtedly a greater hassle, but it will also minimise the chances of accidental miss-spray, and ensure that running is kept to a minimum. Remove your doors by first removing the handles, and then the hinges, and laying them down atop a plastic sheet. This will ensure that the door is as flat as possible, and that you won’t get spray on your carpet.

Next, you’ll need to thoroughly wash and evenly dry your windows. You won’t want any dirt or imperfections to be encased beneath the frosting, and so removing them now is crucial.  You’ll next want to apply masking tape to the areas of the door that aren’t made from glass. First apply thin strips around the edges of each panel, and then thicker ones over the top of the woodwork. Then give your can a good shake for several minutes, and begin to apply your frosting. Do this as thinly as possible, and build it up using as many layers as it takes. You want to achieve a pristine, even finish rather than a gloopy one.

Each layer should take around ten minutes to dry. Once you’re happy with the way things look, you should apply a coat of acrylic sealer – this will protect your frosted glass, and ensure that it can last the distance. Be sure to apply frosting to both sides, and the result will be an immaculate door that will look the part wherever in your home you’d like some privacy!

2: Frosting film

You can purchase frosting film or sheets. These, in theory, are a very simple and easy way to frost the glass on your French doors.

Here’s how to install frosting film:

1: Clean the glass with window or glass cleaner. Ensure that the glass is as clean as possible and make sure there are no dust specs or debris on the window.

2: Measure the windows and cut the film to the right size. Use a ruler to cut along to ensure the edges are straight. Some companies do provide the frosting film cut to size which means you can skip this step.

3: Peel the paper off the paper off the back of the film. As you peel the paper off, use a spray bottle to spray water and a small amount of washing up liquid onto the film. This will allow you to move the sheet into place once it’s on the window without it sticking immediately.

4: Put the film onto the window and move it into position.

5: Use a squeegee to push the water out from behind the film. Work from the middle and make sure you get all the water. Allow the film to set.

3: Acid etching

This method sees a sheet of glass bathed in acid, which will eat away at its surface. Unlike sandblasting, the effect occurs at a uniform rate across the whole sheet of glass, and so the results are far more consistent. Acid etching has been popular for more than a hundred years, and it allows for incredibly detailed artwork and lettering to be created on glass by simply covering certain areas with acid-resistant material.

Naturally, the prospect of removing glass windows from their housing and giving them an acid bath is not one many homeowners will relish. Moreover, it’s impossible to remove modern double-glazing without allowing the trapped inert gas within to escape, thus ruining the window. For these reasons, this technique is more often employed at factory level. 

4: Sandblasting

If you’re looking to ruin a nicely smooth surface, then bombarding it with high-velocity particles of grit is sure to be effective. A sandblaster is a device more commonly used in the home to remove rust from the side of old garden shed. It’s not particularly suited to frosting glass when it’s in position in your door, as the finish you achieve might not be consistent, and you might risk damaging the frame as you go about your work. Sandblasting is a technique that’s fallen out of favour, as similar results can be achieved using far less cumbersome and specialised equipment.

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