Thursday, May 15, 2014

DIY Frosted Back Door

I'm gonna try not to make any Frozen references. Or laugh at how dirty that title is.

While we scrambled to get blinds installed within the first few weeks months, we have left our perfectly clear eight-foot back door uncovered until...yesterday. We moved into our house in October of last year, which means our neighbors have been getting an unwarranted eye-full for approximately eight months now.

Behind all that glare are several neighbors in very close quarters.

I wasn't too bothered leaving it exposed as I rarely do embarassing/inappropriate things on our first floor. Other than still being in my pajamas mid-afternoon. My husband had the perfectly valid thought that while we might not being doing anything our neighbors shouldn't see, they shouldn't see anything without us knowing. Fair enough.

Bravely, I decided to DIY a frosted glass back door. After a little Google/Pinterest searching I decided the spray paint route was the easiest way to go. Most people do some sort of interesting design: trellises, chevron, medallions, you name it. I am much lazier than most people and decided the best choice for our privacy concerns was a simple, unadorned style. The only special touch I included was two stripes, one at Boone's eye-level and one for the cats, so I can watch them watch me when we come home.

Having decided on a design, I set about taping off the two stripes and the surrounding areas to protect from the overspray.

Then it was go time.

Now for the hint that no-one told me: frosting spray is crazy dusty. All the overspray was just dust. Dust. Everywhere. Remember, we live with a Golden Retriever so we don't shy away from dirt. But the kitchen, living room, even Boo's kennel ended up under a heavy coat of dust. I had to barricade him farther back so he wouldn't be breathing it all in:

Home boy could have bust through that with literally zero effort, but he didn't. Further evidence that he is Ferdinand the Bull.

One coat into frosting is a pretty scary place. The spray was super blotchy and my inner voice kept screaming this is permanent!

I calmed myself thinking, it's only the first coat, it's bound to get better with a second or third. But it didn't.

At that point I started googling, but no one offered tips on how to a fix streaky frosted glass door. I thought it would be great to sand it even (like normal spray paint) but didn't want to damage the glass worse than I already had.

Since the surface seemed kind of chalky, I knew there had to be a way to remove some of the excess. After it was dry, I took an old towel and, in a circular motion, buffed it smooth. That was the key. I did another coat, let it dry, and buffed again. Much better than the first coats.

It's kinda hard to see straight on during the day. Basically it looks that over exposed in real life. On purpose.

Luckily, the stripes came our perfectly.

From the outside, it's still a smidge blotchy. I imagine it's because from the other side you're mainly seeing the undercoat and the spraying agent.

The door is at it's best at night; it captures light and almost glows.

One unexpected downside is the tree in our backyard has a creepy shadow I had never seen before. Now, I'll see it every night until we move several years from now.

Overall, I'm very happy with how this came out. I think it looks really special and gives us a bit of character that our neighbors don't have.


  1. Hi, I just tried the frosted paint as well. I'm quite upset that it turned out pretty blotchy and uneven.

    How many coats did you have may I ask?

    1. It's hard to say because I did 4-5 light coats and then applied a little extra is certain areas to even out any blotchiness. Lightly applying it is super important.

      The thing that I didn't realize before I started is that the adhesive in the spray is what makes it uneven, not the "frost" particles themselves. You need to stay an even distance away from the surface (I stayed 6"-8" away) and keep moving. If you vary the distance or concentrate too much product in one area, the adhesive will build up and blotchiness is guaranteed.

      Try rubbing it down with a rough cloth and a lot of pressure to even it out. If that doesn't work, use a Magic Eraser to remove all the frosting and start again.