DIY Frosted Privacy Windows





Introduction: DIY Frosted Privacy Windows

Hello there, this is my first Instructable and I thought I'd share the method I used to create privacy windows in my home.  It's a combination of two methods I have seen pretty widely used, but with some experimenting I achieved the results I wanted -- a consistent look, a good level of privacy, and an agreeable laziness factor.

Disclaimer: This has not been tested in high-moisture environments.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You will need:

- Valspar Tintable Glaze available at Lowes
- Rust-Oleum Frosted Glass
- A paint brush (preferably one that fits in the can)

All total, sub-$20.  One can of each did a whole 112" x 49" window.

You can optionally tape off the windows as there will be overspray on the Rust-Oleum step, but I just used a little elbow grease and windex at the end to clean things up.

Step 2: Step 1: Spray on the Rust-Oleum

The only thing I'm using this to achieve is the added privacy as the tintable glaze alone did not provide the privacy I wanted.  Don't worry about the unevenness of the spray -- later steps will mask this.  I try to get this step done fast because using spray paint indoors is kind of a nightmare.  Open a door, turn on the fans, lock your pets in another room, it will be slightly noxious.

Pictured is where I stopped.  This is about 2 passes following the instructions.  It dries completely in about 3-5 minutes allowing you to immediately move to the next step.  Don't worry, it gets better.

Step 3: Step 2: First Coast of Tintable Glaze

Get a brush and paint on the first coating of tintable glaze.  Lay it on THICK like a cheeseball on a blind date.  Not dripping but thick.  Don't worry about the streaks made by the bristles as they will *mostly* self-level.  So pick a direction and do your best but don't agonize over it.  It will turn out fine.

Super Important: It can take up to 2 days for this to fully dry.  You must wait until it has dried completely before putting on the next coat or you run the risk of not building up the layers and getting the privacy you want.  If privacy is not as much an issue for you, you can probably stop here.  For me, these are street and neighbor-facing windows so I wanted 100% privacy while I did some renovations and painting.

Step 4: Step 3: 2nd Coat of Tintable Glaze and Final Product

When the first coast of tintable glaze has dried completely, repeat with another coat (thick!) and you're done!  Here is the final product with a closeup of the window pane so you can see the consistency.  The shading differences are because of external light and trees.

On the left window I did all panes.  On the right one I kept the top panes uncovered.

I hope you found this helpful.



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    15 Discussions

    I also have pedestrian level windows; however, because I rent, I buy opaque shower curtains (dollar store) and cut to size for lower windows. This allows for my plants tothrive, does not darken rooms and gives my the privacy needed. Not a permanent solution, but given I rent, works well for me and is also a great budget concept.

    Hi, I'm a little late to the party but this is exactly what I need to do to a bathroom door window. I'm at home depot and they have a Ralph Lauren glaze and a Behr glaze. The RL glaze dries with no yellowing and maybe slightly more opaque than the Behr. Would either of these work do you think? Was at Lowes and they don't make the tintable glaze anymore and were out of the "mixing" glaze...which O think is the same stuff you referenced later. Did anyone have a chance to use the mixing glaze? And what is the purpose of the make it more opaque or to provide protection from scratching or both? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    2 replies

    Hi Jaysandi, I cannot say whether the Ralph Lauren or Behr would work since I did not try it out. I also did not try it in a high-moisture area like a bathroom. I just recently had a bathroom window done but had a service come out and put on a film. I know they also have those kinds of films and/or contact paper at home depot but for larger applications, what a hassle!

    The purpose of the glaze in this application was to smooth out the unevenness of the frosting spray. Some people seem to be able to use just the spray and they can make it look even, but I couldn't! So I used the spray to make it opaque and the tintable glaze to give it a more even finish. The glaze on its own is not opaque enough... and the spray on its own was blotchy... together they did the trick.

    If it's a small window, it couldn't hurt to experiment! Good luck!!

    Righmeow, thank you so much for your quick response. Actually, it is a small 1/2 bath off the kitchen, so there is no humidity issue. I am putting in a sliding barn door type door but it has three vertical windows in it. Very cool, but of course needs privacy. I will try the spray by itself on a test piece. The glass itself has a swirling pattern to it so maybe the blotchyness wouldn't be noticeable. The most important thing is to get it totally opaque. Thanks again.

    RighMeow - i can seem to find that exact product you used - the valspar tintable glaze - did it change? would you be able to send me a link on the Lowe's website or something? thanks

    1 reply

    Hi there, I'm not seeing it on the Lowes website either. This product looks like the same thing but I would contact Lowes or Valspar to confirm. You could also test the process on a small sheet of glass if you can find a scrap somewhere. Good luck!

    RightMeow, thanks for your reply yesterday! I did my first coat of Valspar glaze last night and it looks not so good this morning (10 hours later). It is uneven and very streaky. Will that even out over the 2 day drying time period? I'm beside myself. Trying to put house on market and I have to get this done...

    1 reply

    I'm sorry you are having a rough time! Mine was very streaky when wet and I felt like despairing as well, but it evened out when it dried. Where you see the white color in your picture is still very wet. I also put on a 2nd coat of the tintable glaze after the first one finished drying completely and that made it even more even once it dried completely.

    Yours looks like mine did at this stage! Turn up the AC, turn on a fan, it should not have those opaque white streaks when it dries. Good luck! The waiting is a pain, I know!

    Great job, I've been looking for an affordable privacy solution for my full-light neighbor facing front door...

    1 reply

    Thanks! I hope it works out. I got lazy and never did the renovations and the windows are still holding up great.

    I used the Rustoleum on a radius window above my front door. I wasn't able to apply evenly and now it looks splotchy. Can I use the glaze after the Rustoleum is dry? Help! Please :)

    1 reply

    Hi there, I believe only Thor himself could apply something like Rustoleum frosting spray evenly. Mine was splotchy as well and I let it dry and then put the glaze over it which evened it out. I hope it works out!

    I tried to do this with Modern Masters brand tintable glaze and it didn't work at all! The glaze still wasn't dry after a week, and it had melted off the Rustoleum brand frosted glass spray I used underneath. I haven't tried it with the brands RighMeow recommends but don't use Modern Masters!

    Very helpful! I have glanced at the price of some adhesive sheets that involved squeegees and were expensive. Your solution is a lot cheaper! Thanks for sharing it!

    1 reply

    You're very welcome! I have gone through a good bit of trial and error with the squeegee on stuff as well. It was difficult to put on larger windows and I just gave up and returned it. And you're right, it is very expensive!