Whether you want to frost a window for temporary window 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.
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Epsom Salt DIY Frosted Glass
This option is part science experiment, part DIY home project. You probably already have the ingredients you need on hand. 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. Now you're ready to frost your windows.
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, or 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. Your window is back to normal with no signs of the DIY window frosting treatment.
Temporary glass-frosting sprays allow you to create the look of frost, snow or even etched glass on any glass surface. The snow-style and ice crystals spray window frosting products are readily available as winter approaches. You may be able to find them year-round in a craft store. They wipe off easily when you're done with the frosted look.
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 you're frosting a surface such as a tabletop, frost the underside instead of the top so the spray doesn't get scraped off. Spray the selected frost substance just like you do when you're spray painting, allowing it to dry completely before handling.
Just be sure to read the specifications and instructions on the can first, as one spray may vary quite a bit from the next. Read the warning label on the spray can. Some window-frost sprays contain hazardous chemicals and should be applied only in a well-ventilated area.
Privacy Film Products
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 Treatment
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.
With so many different temporary glass frosting techniques, you can find one that fits your projects. A few simple materials let you get the frosted look while adding a little privacy.
Kathy Adams is an award-winning writer. She is an avid DIYer that is equally at home repurposing random objects into new, useful creations as she is at supporting community gardening efforts and writing about healthy alternatives to household chemicals. She's written numerous DIY articles for paint and decor companies, as well as for Black + Decker, Hunker, SFGate, Landlordology and others.