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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. Equipped with two or more panes of glass, internal French doors allow light to flow from one room to another, and significantly increase the sense of space.

But what if you’re considering adding internal doors to a room where privacy is a concern, like a bedroom or bathroom? You might think twice, due to privacy concerns – but what about that flow of light?

Your bathroom or bedroom can benefit from French doors without compromising on privacy. This is possible with the help of frosted glass – glass that lets light flow, but is difficult if not impossible to see through.

Many of the French doors we sell feature frosted glass – but even French doors with regular glass can be frosted afterwards.

But are there other benefits to frosted glass?

In short, yes. As well as increasing privacy, frosted glass can be decorative by frosting certain areas of glass and leaving others untouched.

What is frosted glass?

Frosted glass increases privacy by obscuring the glass while still allowing plenty of light to enter the room.

Frosted glass isn’t exactly transparent. Instead the glass has an ice-like effect that decreases visibility by applying a blurring effect.

Although almost opaque, light can still pass through frosted glass. This means that your bedroom, bathroom or the room behind the doors benefits from light elsewhere in the home. Frosting the glass on internal French doors means that you can increase privacy without compromising on quality or style.

How is frosted glass made?

There are several ways to create the frosted glass effect. 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.

Let’s run through the different ways of creating frosted glass.

How to frost glass…

1: Spray-on frosted glass

If you’d like to create a frosted effect on the glass in your home, then fear not – all you need is a can of window frosting spray, which you may know as window privacy spray.

Unlike the other methods we’ve looked at, spray-on frosting for glass doesn’t work by leaving an abrasion on the surface of the glass itself. Frosted glass paint instead applies a layer of translucent plastic that scatters light, causing the frosted effect.

How to apply spray-on frosted glass

Before applying the spray, you’ll need to decide whether you want to remove the door from its frame.

Removing the door is extra hassle, but it will also minimise the odds of applying the spray in the wrong place.

If you want to remove your doors before applying spray-on frosted glass:

  1. Remove the doors handles.

  2. Remove the hinges.

  3. Carefully place the door on a plastic sheet. This will keep the door flat, and prevent spray from getting on your carpet.

Next, whether you’ve removed your doors from their frames or not:

  1. Thoroughly wash and dry your windows, otherwise you risk dirt getting encased beneath the frosting.

  2. Apply masking tape around the glass. First apply thin strips of tape around the edges of each panel, and then thicker strips over the top of the woodwork.

  3. Thoroughly shake the can of spray-on frosting.

  4. Begin applying the 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. It should not be gloopy in any way.

  5. Wait for the frosting to dry. Each layer should take about 10 minutes.

  6. Once you’re happy with the finish, apply a coat of acrylic sealer – this will protect your frosted glass.

2: Frosting film

Glass can also be frosted using frosting film or sheets. These, in theory, are a very simple and easy way to frost the glass on French doors.

Here’s how to install frosted window 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 sell pre-cut frosting film, meaning 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 remove all the water.

  6. Allow the film to set.

3: Acid etching

This method of frosting glass, also known as glass etching, bathes a sheet of glass in acid, which will eat away at its surface. Unlike sandblasting (below), the effect of acid etching occurs at a uniform rate across the whole sheet of glass, for more consistent results.

Acid etching has been used 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 and bathing them in acid 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, frosting glass by acid etching is more often employed at factory level.

4: Sandblasting

If you’re looking to interrupt a smooth surface, applying high-velocity particles of grit will do the trick – however it’s far from the best way to frost glass.

Sandblasters are more commonly used in the home to, say, remove rust from the side of an old garden shed. Sandblasting is 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 risk damaging the frame.

Sandblasting is a technique for frosting glass that’s fallen out of favour, as similar results can be achieved using far less cumbersome and specialised equipment.


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