How to Apply Frost Acrylic Paint to Window Glass

Updated February 21, 2017

Whether you want to paint frosted designs on your windows to mimic etched glass, or cover them entirely with a translucent layer to provide some privacy, acrylic paint makes it easy. It’s quick to apply, and the paint is water-based so you clean up with soap and water. Most window-frosting paint comes in an aerosol can, so you don’t even need a brush to apply it--just mask and spray.

Use the tape to mask off all surfaces around the window to a depth of at least 2 inches. Remove furniture from the area and cover the floor with the tarps.

Shake the paint can for at least one minute to ensure that the pigment is thoroughly mixed. Remove the lid.

Hold the can straight up and down near the top right corner of the window, 15 to 18 inches from the surface and with the nozzle on the spray button pointed at the glass. Push the button gently as you sweep your arm right-to-left across the window, overspraying the glass by an inch on the left side. Keep spraying and move the can down enough to paint another line below the first one going left-to-right, overlapping the top line by one-third. Continue in this manner until you have covered the window with a first, misty layer of paint. Let the paint dry the amount of time recommended on the can for “between coats.”

Hold the can straight up and down near the top left corner of the window. Proceed as in Step 3 but, instead of moving the paint can left-to-right across the glass, move it up-and-down. Continue until the second coat is completed. Let the paint dry.

Continue to alternate between side-to-side coats and up-and-down coats, letting the paint dry between applications, until the window has reached the “frosted” look you desire. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours before you remove the tape.


Clean the glass well before painting or the paint won’t adhere correctly. Use commercial window cleaner or rubbing alcohol. Practice spraying first on a piece of newspaper or scrap cardboard to be sure the nozzle is working correctly. If you want to paint designs on your windows instead of covering them entirely, tape a stencil to the glass with masking tape and spray as above--just confine the spray to within the masked-off area. A few light coats will adhere better than one heavy one, and lessens the chance of sagging paint. Shake and test the paint can before each new coat.


Work in a well-ventilated area. Wear a mask if you’re susceptible to acrylic paint fumes. Paint the glass only on the interior side of the window. Test the paint in a small, inconspicuous area before painting the entire window to be sure that the paint and the glass are compatible. Don’t stop moving while you’re painting; that’s what makes drips.

Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Plastic tarps or other floor covering
  • Protective eyewear
  • Acrylic frosting paint
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About the Author

Siva Stephens has been a writer since she could hold a pencil. She has written newspaper articles, medical manuals, advertising copy and gags for cartoonists. Stephens has been publishing online since 2004, most recently as a contributing author for the Oregon Encyclopedia Project.