Whether you want to frost a window for privacy or to emulate an icy look for seasonal decor, a temporary solution ensures you can return that glass back to its original clear state with ease. A homemade faux frost, a spray-can solution or a cling-on window film -- all offer the opportunity to create the look you want without harming the glass.
Homemade Faux Frost
Pour 1/3 cup Epsom salt into 1/2 cup of warm water, stirring until the salt dissolves completely. Add two squirts of dish soap; then stir the solution again. Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution and wipe it over the glass surface you'd like to "frost." If you're using the solution on a vertical surface such as a mirror or window, blot any drips gently with a lint-free cloth. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind Epsom salt -- magnesium sulfate -- crystals that resemble ice crystals or frost. Wipe the glass with a dry cloth when you want to "defrost" the window, then wash it with equal portions water and vinegar or your favorite glass-cleaning spray.
Temporary glass-frosting sprays allow you to create the look of frost, snow or even etched glass on any glass surface; just be sure to read the specifications and instructions on the can first, as one spray may vary quite a bit from the next. The snow- and ice-style sprays are readily available as winter approaches; you may be able to find them year-round in a craft store. Other sprays made by spray-paint manufacturers are designed to create a translucent frosted effect that offers privacy; these are designed for interior use only and may come off if scratched or washed. If frosting a surface such as a tabletop, frost the underside instead of the top to ensure the finish stays put. Spray the selected frost substance on as if spray painting, allowing it to dry completely before handling.
A window-privacy film, or even frosted contact paper, allows light to shine through while still offering privacy. Measure the glass surface; then cut a piece of the film the same size or slightly larger than the glass. Clean the glass; then peel the backing paper off the film and apply the film to the glass, smoothing it down with your hands or the edge of a plastic gift card.
Tissue paper offers an extremely temporary -- and inexpensive -- way to achieve the look of frosted glass, but it's best used in an area that won't be touched or exposed to moisture, such as on interior bedroom window panes. Cut sheets of white tissue paper to the size of the glass; then attach them with removable clear glue dots. Layer the paper for more privacy, or use colored tissue paper for a frosted stained-glass look.