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.

Comments

  1. Beth says

    Just found your blog a couple of weeks ago. Love it. In regards to the film, I used film that I bought at either Home Depot or Lowe’s for my bathroom window. Unfortunately, I cut it too small so I had to cut a teeny tiny piece for the bottom. It actually looked great, though I, too, had the “bubble issue”. They eventually went away so I don’t know if it was the humidity that created the bubbles. I will say that the teeny tiney piece for the bottom has fallen off a bit and you can now see outside (or inside if you really really want to). I have a very shear curtain covering the window, and used the film to keep the light in what could be a pretty dark bathroom.

  2. says

    You guys have accomplished a lot in a short time, way to go! We worked on doing things around our house for a month before we moved in since we still had our apartment. I was so glad just to knock out the basic things (remove popcorn ceiling, paint every single thing, and change out most light fixtures) without furniture getting in the way.

  3. says

    Looks good,we used the same stuff in our bathroom window (that was located inside the shower!).
    Just a thought- what are you going to do about light in the kitchen when you build the garage? That will probably kill any light that is coming in now, will you have a window/ skylight in there?

    • says

      Hey Diana,

      We’re planning to add some windows to the side and back of the garage (and the garage door) so hopefully it won’t get too dark and cave-like in there.

      xo,
      s

  4. says

    Wow, that looks so-o-o much better with the film on and the shelves and blinds gone. Are you thinking of putting in a tube light or skylight down the line? Although I’m sure once there’s a doorway into the dining room that will also change the lighting in there.

    • says

      Hey Beth,

      We might consider that down the line to let in more light, but we’re hoping we won’t need to go that route since keeping things light with paint and other cheap-o cosmetic updates is always nice and easy.

      xo,
      s

  5. says

    I actually like the spray frost. It seems so much easier (I guess I don’t have the patience to cut nicely and get out all of those ugle bubbles). Love that you get some privacy while keeping all of that natural light!

  6. MS says

    We used that frosty film stuff before and actually moved the leftover roll and kit. I have the perfect door to do in our garage next.

    I was wondering what you were thinking about doing about the lack of light in your kitchen. We had the identical problem, but in our living room. What a depressing room to have so little sunlight!

    After a year of living with it, I saw these tubular skylights being installed on Holmes on Homes on tv. I guess they look like a can light on the ceiling, but let in tons of natural light. I have 2 companies coming to give me quotes this week and next…but I’d love to hear if you have an alternate plan for that little “problem.”

  7. says

    Just got the most awesome “light” put in our dark (read: no window) laundry room. It’s called a “solatube” that utilizes some shiny aluminum tubing (I think it’s aluminum) to bounce sunny rays into the room. Even on an overcast day the room is bright enough not to have to turn on the light (which we still have for nighttime laundry duties). Best of all it qualified for a 30% tax credit. This could be a great solution for your kitchen. We are having one installed in our kitchen too, as even with windows, it’s in the northeast corner of our home and is dark in the afternoons.

    As for the frosted window panes, we installed some frosty film to our master bath and haven’t regretted it once. Nice light and privacy to go around. We even painted the master in your famous “gentle tide” color and it is beautiful!

    Holla!

  8. Andra says

    I have a potential bubble-bursting query: Though you have an open carport now, I seem to recall that plans are in the works to turn said carport into a closed garage – Won’t that eliminate all of that natural light into the kitchen? I am with you on preferring a closed garage to a carport, but if it’s going to close off all natural light to the kitchen that’s a bummer! I cannot remember if the door comes straight from the carport or if there is a gap and the carport is not immediately attached to the house, but if so that is something to think about!

    • says

      Hey Andra,

      We’re planning to add some windows to the side and back of the garage (and the garage door) so hopefully it won’t get too dark and cave-like in there.

      xo,
      s

  9. Amanda says

    Any tips on putting up the frosting?? I tried it on our bathroom window and used a whole roll…and still have nothing on the window. Plus I have two sidelights I’d like to do. I can’t seem to get the measurements right and it just looked awful! I really need to put it up in our bathroom!

  10. says

    Wow that does look good! I always thought that frosted glass was for greenhouses, pimped cars and meth houses! Yours looks surprisingly great!

  11. Abby says

    We have a 100 year old house full of quirks including a tiny, odd window in our walk-in closet with a straight eye shot to our neighbors. Not ideal for getting dressed. We used some of that frosting film (free from a friend who had a small scrap left) and it worked great. We had some trouble because it’s an original, leaded glass window and it’s not exactly smooth or straight but it turned out fine. Great, cheap fix!

  12. Nancy says

    My neighbor as I was growing up was constantly redecorating her house. She was in her 70’s then, and is still going strong 20 years later. One of her many projects was frosting her windows. I asked her how she did it and she said she sprayed beer on them. I know she wasn’t making that up, but I don’t really know how she managed her desired results other than putting a beer in a spray botttle.

    I’ll have to ask her the next time I visit my parents. :)

  13. says

    Yes! Yes! A million times YES! Frosted window film has become my new BFF since buying our home in the city. We have a bottom floor condo unit and we had two types of window situations to combat: 1) people walking by our windows and turning their head to look DIRECTLY into our living & dining room and 2) some really high, weird-o windows atop a sliding glass door in the bedroom.

    Window film was our super hero and here’s the links to see how it turned out (click on the photos to see larger views). Oh, and I didn’t have any issues with bubbles so perhaps you are right that it was a temperature thing bc. we’re in CA and it was about 75 and sunny [as it always is] when I installed it.

    http://tami-licious-life.blogspot.com/2010/10/masterful-windows.html

    http://tami-licious-life.blogspot.com/2010/11/peek-boo-pt-2.html

    P.S. We’re going at a snails pace for sprucing up our beach pad fixer-upper so please be gentle on the rest of the place :)

  14. Kate says

    We used a patterned frosted film (purchased on eBay) on our french doors that lead to a basement bedroom. There are two huge windows in there as well as one in main basement room and we wanted light to flow freely while still providing privacy. It worked great!

  15. says

    We have windows in every room of our house except for the laundry room and our hall bath, both of which get pretty gloomy. I’m considering putting in light tubes, have you guys ever considered or looked into using those? Basically they are a smaller, less roof/ceiling invasive sky light.

    • says

      Hey Malissa,

      We might consider that down the line to let in more light, but we’re hoping we won’t need to go that route since keeping things light with paint and other cheap-o cosmetic updates is always nice and easy.

      xo,
      s