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. Steph says

    I work in a sign shop and do lots of frosted vinyl applications on windows/doors. A few tips:

    1. Temp is very important. Vinyl does not like cold, and anything under 40 degrees annoys the vinyl. To get around this in cold weather use a hair dryer to warm up the glass/surface as well as the vinyl a bit. Makes application much smoother.

    2. Liberal application of the solution will obviously help the problem as it works as a lubricant to help the trapped air. At the shop we use old windex bottles filled with warm/hot water with less than a teaspoon of dish detergent (we use Dawn). Instant homemade vinyl applicator fluid.

    3. I’ve used that particular film before, and it’s a lot different than what we have in the shop. If you have problems with bubbles close to the edges it’s usually best to walk away for about a half hour and let the majority of the moisture dry, but come back before it’s completely dry and immovable.

    Hope this helps anyone looking to do this in the future!

  2. Barbara says

    Well, it looks like everyone said the same thing I was going to say except that I used a bigger squeegee than Ikea gave me and it helps. Lots of fluid, warm windows and a big squeegee.

  3. Paula says

    All the changes you made in the mudroom/laundry room are great!! I recently watched a show on HGTV where they did a similar process on a door, but the designer left about an inch or two around the outer edge. It was a nice look.

    I’ve gone back and read all your archived posts, and noticed the use of “Eh?” a lot. It caught my attention because I’m from the UP(upper Peninsula)of Michigan and we get teased for using that slang all the time. People think we’re Canadian! Just thought it was funny!

    I also love Burger, he reminds me so much of our own “child” dog, Macie. She is a 5 year old very spoiled Cockapoo!

    Keep up the great blog and work!!

  4. Jessica says

    Do you guys (or anyone else) have tips on frosting glass that is not totally flat? Our front door has thin vertical panes of glass that have like some sort of metal framing around the inside (it drives me crazy because every time you shut the door it kind of vibrates). This might be hard to picture but basically this metal framing is on top of the glass therefore you cannot get a smooth finish if you apply frosting film to it. I have always wanted to frost the glass for privacy reasons but short of replacing the entire door I don’t know what else to do. I don’t have any experience with the spray frosting method (if there is such a thing…).

  5. says

    I like how you propped up the ironing board to block the view of the dryer vent hose. It appears to be a cute fabric on the ironing board, too. LIttle things like that make such a difference, don’t they? Anyhow, everything is really looking great. Love your energy!!

  6. Bethany says

    What a great bang for your buck! That looks great!

    Is there a screen door on the other side of that door? It seems redundant to have an almost full glass door with another glass door behind it. However, if you use the screen to let air in during the warmer months, then I think it makes perfect sense. :)

  7. says

    I have to admit I wasnt feeling the idea of frosting your door but I have to admit I love it! it makes me think about doing our deck doors. I know most peolpe would think that is crazy but I live in a philly row home and the people behind us can see right through to our livingrooom.

    On another note could you give me some advice on my bathroom? I have a very small bathroom with a sky light and no windows. so the its like I have the walls then ceiling then like a mini wall again then the skylight (I dont know if that makes any sense) this is the closest thing I could find to compare

    I have ceramic tile going halfway up the walls like in the picture. but there is not trim anyway. My question is should I paint the wall and ceiling all the way up to the skylight or should I just paint the walls. The tile is a gray tanish mixture and I plan to paint the walls a pale aqua


    • says

      Hey Maggie,

      We would paint everything! The wall, the ceiling, everything. If you choose a nice light and airy color it’ll look really cohesive and unified without feeling closed in.


  8. says

    I live in a rental and didn’t want to spend a ton of money for creating privacy in my kitchen. I already had a roll of clear contact paper. To get the bubbles out I just made tiny slits in the big bubbles and squeegeed like a maniac. You can’t tell where the slits are at all. Now my neighbors can’t see me when I first get up in the morning. It benefits us all!!!

  9. says

    I used to do the windows at Gap and we had to put that frosted vinyl stuff up all the time. Your problem was too little spray. One time we put a floor to ceiling decal and we sprayed until it was dripping all over the place. The idea is that the vinyl needs to float on the spray. Also, we just used plain ol’ windex and one of our gift cards made a handy squeegee for details. It looks so much better already! I can’t wait to see how some paint will transform that dark hole of a kitchen. The whole house is so light and airy that the kitchen seems completely out of place.

  10. Monika says

    Frosted window on the laundry room door looks lovely!

    I second what the previous poster suggested about the light tube if you decide you want additional light in the kitchen. Some friends of ours had one installed a number of years ago and it made a significant difference in their dark kitchen. I believe it was a fairly budget friendly project as well.

    Can’t wait to see more projects!

  11. Ann Marie says

    I tried the privacy film (In our old house we had A HUGE picture window looking straight at the toilet from the front porch — so classy) and we didn’t have much luck.

    We ended up replacing the glass on the windows with a privacy glass for about $30 more than the film. I wish we had done that sooner.

  12. Kelly says

    Odd question: Did you let the previous owners of your new house know you have the website? I’m curious if they might decide to follow along with the reno process.

    • says

      Hey Kelly,

      Oh yes- they read really regularly actually! We’re so lucky they’re such good sports who are just as excited to see the house evolve and change as we are. It would be scary if we thought they were reading and didn’t want us to change a thing, but they’re really great about rooting us on!


  13. says

    I’ve been reading your blog for ages and find it so funny that today of all days, while I’m covered in strips of leftover sticky Gila privacy film trying to figure out how to fix my mess, you have written a post on just this subject! My problem was the same as yours. I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to have a 5’x5′ window in the adjoining wall between my shower and bedroom, but I found it completely … invasive? weird? Seriously, just look at this pic for proof –!So I decided to frost it. However, short little me with HUGE piece of sticky frosting and not enough adhesive spray? Yeah – not so pretty. So I’m off to Home Depot for some removal solution and another sheet of window film to go for round two. I’ve successfully frosted our back door (in a fleeting hope to deter our creepy neighbor who thinks it’s ok to come knocking on the back door late at night), so I know I’m not completely inept when it comes to this. Glad your second attempt was better and here’s to hoping a little more solution will go a long way!

  14. JenO says

    I used to work in retail and was in charge of changing out the window displays, including the static film that screamed SALE!!! to anyone walking by. I became a pro at these film projects. My trick: start hanging from the bottom and smooth up as you are going. Not sure if this works with spray adhesive or the frosting material you used, but worth a try.

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