How To Frost A Glass Side Door (And Avoid Bubbles)

It’s no secret that the real improvement we need to make to our new laundry area is in the upgrading to energy efficient appliances arena along with adding some nice built-in storage to maximize that tiny room. But as we save up and plan for those upgrades, we took a few hours after Clara’s bedtime a few days ago to tackle some smaller items on our laundry list. Pun intended.

First we went to work on the glass side door. You know, the one that gave everyone a straight shot from our carport, through the laundry area and into our kitchen (here I am being creepy and demonstrating the problem, which you can read more about here).

Since we were eager to get rid of this bi-fold door that was currently acting as a privacy solution in the interim…

… at first we figured we’d throw up a cheap wooden blind over the glass side door, remove the dark pocket door, and consider our problem solved. Well, after buying a bamboo rolling shade from Home Depot, we realized how much light it blocked and after learning that our kitchen is a black hole in the mornings (it’s the only room with no windows to the outside world- the window above the sink looks out into the sunroom) we didn’t want anything that would block too much light.

That’s when we opted to go the frosting film route. We used the same materials / techniques that we employed in our basement a while ago, so you can read that step-by-step guide here (and see what film we chose). The only issue we ran into this time was bubbles.

Some serious, annoying, won’t-go-away bubbles. You always have these at some point of this process, but it usually just takes a few squeegees to get them out. But these bubbles weren’t bursting, no matter how hard Sherry squeegeed. And it totally burst our bubble (too corny- had to cross it out).

We hoped it was just an issue with not having applied enough applicator spray to each surface, but we feared it was a problem with the temperature of the side door (instructions said not to apply it in under 40 degree weather, which it definitely was on the other side of that glass). We crossed our fingers, peeled off the permanently bubbled film, scraped some residual glue off of the window, and readied ourselves to try again (fortunately our leftover scrap of film was perfectly sized for a second attempt). And this time we used a boatload more of the applicator solution to keep things nice and slippery so no bubbles could take permanent hold.

And it worked. Phew.

Our next little project was the removal of those shelves next to the door. We love bonus storage just as much as the next blogger, but we couldn’t figure out exactly what we’d want there since it’s not concealed- and we learned that coming through the door with our hands full meant that we routinely bumped into whatever was on those shelves anyway. So we decided to take them down and instead turn it into a place to hang art or a frame collage someday. Every laundry room needs a little space for the eye to rest and art always makes it feel a bit more welcoming and less utilitarian. At least that’s what the wife says. She’s more of the decorating brains. And I’m the take-those-shelves-down brawn. Although Sherry does get down with the power tools when the mood strikes.

While I was in the midst of unscrewing things (despite it being about 10:30pm) we thought we’d keep the momentum going and get rid of the shutters on the laundry room window too (to make room for an eventual set of blinds/roman shade/curtain).

So by morning, our laundry area was looking more like this:

No shutters, no shelves, but a bit of touch up painting to be done.

And we’re still getting a nice stream of morning light coming into the otherwise pitch black kitchen in the early morning. Frosting film was definitely the (nice cheap) way to go.

Have you guys frosted windows with the same film stuff from Home Depot? Have you ever encountered the not-coming-out-no-matter-how-hard-you-squeegee-bubble problem? Was it due to temperature or lack of applicator spray? Or something else entirely?

Psst- We announced this week’s giveaway winners back on the original post. Click here to see if it’s you.


  1. says

    Looks great!

    I did the same thing in my laundry room immediately after moving in last fall – except to a window. Neighbors and people walking down the street could see right in while I was working so after seeing you do the basement, I tried it. Love it – so thank you!!

  2. says

    I tried to frost the glass doors of our kitchen cabinets with Ikea’s film… but couldn’t get rid of the bubbles, and it looked horrible! It’s staying as it is for now. But since we use those cabinets as the “pantry”, it looks a bit messy (even though it’s pretty organized) and we’d really like to frost them. Maybe I’ll try again using more spray like you suggested!

  3. rboyd says

    I have a window above the back door in my house that was giving me grief, and I considered the frosted film…but I was too lazy to measure it so I used frosted spray paint! Same look, less work…hahaha!

  4. Anne says

    Right after we moved into our house in April of 2009, I attempted to apply the same frost film to the french doors leading to our bathroom. Since I am modest, I was not exactly thrilled with having a glass shower door and glass doors leading to the bathroom. Anyone coming up the stairs could see the person showering in all their glory.

    I believe this was my first project in our new house. Yeah. I failed. The window dividers weren’t removable so I had about 16 rectangles to do. On the first on I used the edge trimmer tool included in the kit and it left a huge (ok maybe just 1/4 inch) gap between the film and the trim. Not the look I was going for. I ditched the tool for the next one. That one actually went fine so I continued but each one kept getting worse and worse. Bubbles and more bubbles. The cuts weren’t looking right. Then the section where the film was bent in the box wouldn’t come out. The bent part stuck out causing one long skinny bubble. Maybe I needed more solution. I was doing this by myself and after about 5 rectangles I quit.

    Those 5 rectangles still have the film on them. The rest are clear glass.

    However, we rarely close the bathroom doors anyway so it doesn’t really matter. Might be a different story when we have teenagers.

    Sorry for the long story. Thanks for this post. Now that I know a lack of solution might have been my problem, maybe I will try it again.

    Love the new house btw!

  5. says

    Yes, you have to keep the light coming in. I like the frosted window. Great idea! The laundry room looks so small. Will you be able to fit a non-stackable washer and dryer in there? And the shelves by the door definitely were NOT practical. I would have removed them too. :)

  6. ashleyD says

    our front door had some see through glass so we used the “frosted glass” spray paint. we did have to take the glass panel out to make sure we didn’t over spray and get paint on the door itself!

  7. says

    We frosted a side panel near our front door (because I didn’t want to have to custom order a tiny blind or curtain) and the frosting has a really nice pattern in it. I absolutely love it because it completely gives us privacy while still looking very stylish. The best part of all is that it was FREE because my best friend had extra from doing her window at her house :)

  8. Heather says

    I work for a screen printing company that deals with decals/window clings all the time- I have customers calling me when it’s 20 degrees outside and trying to put a static cling on a freezing cold window. It doesn’t work. Science! When they tell you application temperature is 40, it usually will work if it’s above 30, but no colder than that. Extra water/windex/whatever you’re using to apply it will help, but ultimately, the temperature of the window makes a HUGE difference.

    Love what you’re doing with the house!

  9. says

    I’ve never frosted a window/door before, but now that I know how easy it is, I just may very well tackle it!

    It looks great, and I’m in agreement with the shelves by that door needing to go. As great as the extra storage space would have been, the bumping hazard seemed to outweigh that!

    I love that you guys are tackling the “little things” first but they’re already making a HUGE difference in the new place!

  10. says

    I used a spray that frosts glass (found in the spray paint section). I was worried it wouldn’t be even, but it worked like a charm. It comes off with acetone so it was great for an apartment I lived in.

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