Glass Frosting Types

Written by karen boyd
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Glass Frosting Types
Etching is one way to create a frosted look in glass. (stained glass image by Andrzej Solnica from

Frosted glass is a great way to diffuse sunlight in a room that's too bright, add interest to a living space and create privacy. You may wish to cover up an unappealing view or turn a window into a work of art. For these and other purposes, frosted glass provides a solution with a choice of many textures and opacities. There are several ways to frost glass, ranging from sandblasting and acid-etching to applying simple window stickers.

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Sandblasting glass is one of the most popular ways to create frosted glass. According to, "Sandblasting is a general term used to describe the act of propelling very fine bits of material at high-velocity to clean or etch a surface." This process causes glass to become slightly opaque and white. By pairing this technique with stencils, you can create a multitude of lovely patterns, where the covered portions remain clear and the sandblasted portions take on a frosted texture. This method of frosting glass is a little dangerous, however, as the inhalation over time of fine particles, such as sand, can damage the lungs. It's imperative for your safety to wear proper protective gear at all times during the creation of this type of frosted glass.


Acid-etching is another popular way to create a frosted look in glass. This process essentially involves washing glass in a bath of hydrofluoric acid or coating a pane of glass in an acid cream. According to, this cream "creates a translucent satin appearance which obscures view while maintaining a high level of light transmittance."

The advantages of acid-etched glass over sandblasted glass are that: it is much easier to accomplish; it can be done in a variety of textures and opacities; and it is more durable. By using stencils, you can create different textures and designs on glass, similar to sandblasting.

You can achieve this process at home if you use the etching-cream option, but if you're looking for a more even look, you'll want to go with the hydrofluoric acid. This technique is highly dangerous, however, since hydrofluoric acid can cause painful burns--it should only be attempted by a professional.


Frosted glass film is a simple adhesive sticker that you can apply to windows in order to create a frosted glass look. This film is easy to apply and hard to tell from the real thing. According to, "It installs in minutes, looks great for years, is easy to clean, removable, and reusable!" The film is slightly opaque, so it will still let in natural light, while allowing for privacy and an interesting new look for a window or door. The film creates a look almost exactly like the glass frosted either by sandblasting or acid-etching, and is far cheaper and easier to accomplish. The only downside to this technique, however, is that it will not last forever and may be hard to apply evenly, without getting any air bubbles under the film.

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