Cheap way to frost windows for privacy

May 18, 2020

This simple way to "frost" a window, or make it private, is one of my favorite home hacks ever! It's so simple and cheap, and helps with an annoying problem that would be expensive or messy to fix otherwise. I've actually shared this before (a looong time ago), but it's one that's worth sharing again!

I've only had to use this trick a few times, but it's been so helpful. The first time I did this was on our glass pantry door ten years ago:
black glass paned door on pantry

I was able to "frost" that pantry glass door for next to nothing! (Although getting the film placed perfectly on those panes was a I wouldn't be quite so exact with it.)

A few helpful readers told me about this trick forever ago. Who knew transparant contact paper is the easiest and cheapest way to make a window private? I was so pleasantly surprised when this actually worked! 

We had a big bathroom window in the old house that I made private with this as well. I didn't think I'd need to do it again, until we moved into this house and realized the powder room window was placed in a less than ideal spot: 
Navy blue wallpaper white board and batten

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Ha! Just...not the best. I've always felt for our guests especially. 😝

I don't know what took me so long, but I finally did this private window trick again and it worked like a charm.

You'll need transparent matte Contact paper:

Using contact paper to make window private

Take a look at this post to see all of the easy steps on how to install this on a window. You'll just need a spray bottle with water, scissors and some way to push out the bubbles. 

Because this paper isn't wide enough for the window, I cut the peices in the size of the window panes. You can also cut them in strips, which is how I did it on the window in our old bathroom. 

You'll have TONS of bubbles, but they will push right out! I always use these pan scrapers, but even a debit card will work. You just need something with a smooth side to push the bubbles out of the sides. (I leave some space around each peice so I can do that.)  

This time, the vinyl looked like this a day or so after I installed it: 
How to easily frost windows for privacy

But those marks disappeared over a few days. So odd! They almost look like bubbles, but aren't. I still don't know why that happened. 

I only placed it on the bottom part of the window. You will not be able to see through it -- everything will be blurry. When I did this last time I thought it would bother us not being able to see out, but it never did. 

Same in this house: 
DIY private windows -- so easy!

As you can see, we can still see out of the top part of the window. ;) 

Also, if you stand right up on it like I am above (I'm leaning against the window) I'm blurred but not overly so. But if you're just inches away you can't see much (at night with a light on you'll see movement for sure). 

I took a pic of our son standing away from the window slightly and couldn't see him at all. I thought he had moved away before I could take the photo!: 
How to make a bathroom window private for cheap

I also love that you really can't tell half of the window is "frosted" from the outside. I'm considering doing this on some other bathroom windows as well!

Here's how it looks from the inside: 
Easy and inexpensive private window hack

There are window privacy films you can try that work well as well, but they are more expensive. You can also use spray paints -- this frosted spray paint is for windows, and this mirrored spray works as well. But they take a lot more prep and time. 

I can whip this out in ten minutes and a whole roll is $6 -- it lasts forever! Have you ever tried this easy private window trick? 

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  1. Got to do that in my family room side windows. They look out onto a block wall and are ugly. Frosting them will at least blue the wall.

  2. What a wonderful idea! I have a BIG window in my bathroom over the tub and I took a bed sheet and cut it off lengthwise, got a curtain rod that expands and put that on the window. Maybe I'll get some contact paper and use that and if I wanted to, I could use the curtain also just to change the look sometime!

  3. This is a good idea!

  4. I've been an Environmental Graphic Designer for many years and have created and/or installed a TON of vinyl graphics. Add a couple drops of dish soap to your water when you spray the window. It helps keep the vinyl from sticking and you can move it around until you get it in place. Also buy a 5" squeegee vinyl application tool. It helps SO much! Trim edges off with an exacto blade and straight edge. One last tip, if you have any visible bubbles left after a day or 2 of drying, just poke the bubble(s) with a needle and gently squeegee over it. The vinyl should lay down and stick. I even use these tips when installing shelf paper in my cabinet drawers. Works like a charm!

  5. I did this to our powder room window after I saw your post years ago, and it has held up perfectly! It is on the front of our house, so it really needed some privacy, but it's an octagon shape and blinds would have looked ridiculous. This was the perfect solution.

  6. I have done this on a sidelight window at the front door. I am not a big fan of the curtains or narrow blinds that are made for these but def want my privacy. I cut the contact paper into arabesque shapes and created a really nice pattern that looked beautiful inside and out. Nice job!

  7. Just a friendly FYI, translucent (clear) Contact paper can be found at the Dollar Tree for a buck! It was a great find when I needed to "frost" a window to obstruct the neighbors' view. :)


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