Faux Etched Glass

One project I wanted to tackle almost immediately after we moved into this house a year and a half ago was to etch the glass on our front door. The previous owners had placed a heavy red curtain over the door’s big window which combined with the deep red wall going up the stairs and the oppressive gold wallpaper to make for a very dark entry space. So the curtain went away immediately, and the fabric makeover in the front hall made a dramatic difference in the amount of light in the hallway, which I loved! The downside to looking OUT and seeing all that light coming into the house was it felt like other’s eyes could see IN as well. 

So I continued to dream of etched glass. I’ve had a little experience with DIY etched glass. I made that window that hangs on the porch, which turned out beautifully, and I had great luck with the etched wine glasses I made for Christmas, but I still hadn’t tackled the door… until recently, that is.

Is it etched? No. I got scared. And I don’t get scared very often! At least not scared enough to leave something be. I will etch it, at some point… especially after I realized that the glass isn’t even original and it has all these ugly scratch marks from some past painter who got sloppy with a razor blade.   

In the meantime, though, I have the next best thing – faux etching! 

I used My Machine, as I’ve begun to call my Silhouette cutting machine, to design and cut three pieces to put on the door. I wanted a lot of that light to come through, and I still wanted to be able to see out the front window, but I wanted just a little more privacy than we had before. This design achieved all those aims. 

And what is the material that I cut? Clear contact paper. No, I’m not kidding. That’s contact paper! 

That’s not to say there weren’t problems. The center piece cut beautifully, but for a couple weeks that was all I had. The side pieces would cut about 90% of the way, but the machine would finish and the final 10% of the cuts would never have been made. I began to wonder if maybe the machine couldn’t cut something that long, or that detailed, or both. Then it dawned on me. Our computer goes to sleep after several minutes of inactivity. It must be going to sleep part way through the cutting process, stopping the blade from finishing its work, and ruining my piece of contact paper! I tried cutting it again, but I stayed in the room so I could move the mouse every few minutes. It worked! I loosely stuck the whole two foot strip of contact paper to the glass, then peeled away the outer edges, leaving only the beautiful swirl. 

The best thing about this project is that it’s so easy. Anyone could do it! Other bonuses are that it’s cheap and temporary. Contact paper is usually less than $10 a roll and you’ll have tons of extra paper, so if you want a different look down the road, it would be easy to change out the design. 

Thinking you may want to try this? Follow these steps:

Step 1 – Choose and cut your design. I wanted a swirly, fancy design because I have a swirly design kind of house… and I had a machine capable of cutting said design. However, if I didn’t have a Silhouette, I would have done a much simpler (and larger) medallion or quatrefoil design that I could trace and cut out by hand. This blog has a great explanation of how she added some privacy to her kitchen door, and she cut and placed her pieces by hand. 

Step 2 – Peel and stick your design. I found it easiest to peel off the top two inches or so of the whole piece of contact paper and level it on the window before separating the part of the design I wanted to keep from the part that would be thrown away. This required some patience with a door that is clearly not hung straight anymore! I’m not much of a measurer, and eyeballing it worked pretty well. If I were piecing together individual pieces like the woman whose blog is linked above, it would make sense to start in the middle and work outward from there.

Step 3 – Enjoy! The clear contact paper is actually very translucent when placed on a window. The light comes through just fine, but it prevents prying eyes from seeing into your home.

Where could you use some privacy? Give this simple project a try!

This entry was posted in Decor, Hall and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Faux Etched Glass

  1. Nancy Clewell says:

    Love it!!

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