Etched glass is absolutely beautiful, but it is also quite expensive, especially when windows are expansive and translucent designs are highly detailed. Hand etching is an art, and it is a skill that must be practiced and perfected before applying techniques to windows and other expensive glass surfaces. A much safer alternative to etching is frost paint. It is available in spray cans, and it is very easy to apply. It is also forgiving. Errors can be carefully scraped away.
I had two huge glass window panes in one of my homes, and I wanted to add a little privacy and a lot of beauty with detailed etched designs. Instead of using acid and permanently altering the glass, I opted for frost paint. I used top quality stencils and a few cans of Rustoleum brand Frosted Glass Paint. I was thrilled with the results. I made a few minor mistakes, but they were easily remedied with a plastic scraper. The windows looked magnificent, and it is something I plan to do again when I have plenty of time and windows to decorate with frost paint.
Measure to Locate the Center Before Beginning
Windows literally covered with frost paint designs are not nearly as impressive as those that are carefully and meticulously designed with less. Completely cover panes of glass and the windows will appear overdone. Also, the more frost paint designs on windows, the more room for error. It is important to begin with clean dry windows and a plan. Stencils can make the job very easy.
Locate the center points of the windows before applying even the smallest amount of frost paint. One large design will embellish the centers, and coordinating patterns will border the edges. Measure opposite corners to determine the center points of the windows. With the help of an extra pair of hands, use a cotton swab and a tiny dot of frost paint to mark each one.
Stencil the Corners
After marking the centers, use frost paint and angle stencils to decorate the corners. Hold the stencils in place using blue painter’s tape, and apply the frost paint according to label directions. If unsure of the outcome, practice on other windows before trying to create frosted works of art. The practice designs will be easy to scrape away with a professional scraper once the frost paint dries. In any case, allow the corners to dry completely before continuing.
Stencil the Edges
Once the frost dries to the touch, continue creating designs using border stencils held in place with painter’s tape. Carefully apply the frost paint, and move each stencil until completing the entire perimeter. It might be necessary to use to multiple stencils of the same design if the lengths do not correspond. The second stencil can be trimmed to fit the window perimeters perfectly.
Finish the Center with an Eye Catching Frost Paint Design
After completing the edges of the windows with frost paint designs, finish the centers. Use a larger elaborate stencil to create a beautiful centered design. Carefully line up the stencil with the center mark, and hold it in place with masking tape. The tape will help prevent overspray. Once the tape and stencils are removed and the frost paint dries, you will have beautiful windows that appear to have been professionally designed and etched.
Source: Personal and Professional Design, Decorating and Crafting Experience