Monday, August 1, 2011

The Best $16 I've Ever Spent

One of my favourite parts of our home is our beautiful front door. It is definitely a statement piece. I love how big it is, and I love how beautiful it is. What I don't love is how see through it is...

When we chose all the bits and pieces for our house we had the choice of frosted glass panels in the door, but they were all really ugly. Bumpy, or patterned or a funny colour. Which may look nice in other doors, but I always knew I wanted something more modern for our front door.

So, we picked the clear glass panels and said 'we'll just get it frosted ourselves...

We have spent the last three years living like this:

It kind of feels like living in a fishbowl. Anyone driving or walking past can see in. There's no hiding from dodgy electricty salespeople and ducking into the bedroom to freshen up (wipe off last nights make-up) before answering the door... not an option.

We did get a quote to get the door frosted. But $160 for a couple of metres of frosted contact is not what I consider a good deal. So the door remained clear and we went on living in our fishbowl.

The other day I had a stroke of (long overdue) genius... I decided to frost the door myself. (Yep, it took me three years to come up with that clever little idea!).

Sean had gone away for a weekend of male bonding with his mates, so I decided to solo the DIY. One trip to Bunnings and $16 later, I had in my hands a roll of frosted window contact.

The info that came with the film had a list of 'essentials' that I needed, but in the interest of saving money I decided to improvise. Here's what they recommended and what I actually used:

  1. Spray bottle: almost empty windex bottle ( I tipped the last bit  into another half empty windex bottle)
  2. Plastic Scrapper - a plastic card out of my purse (scuba licence if you're really interested!)
  3. Baby Shampoo Solution - 1 squirt of baby wash to half a bottle of water
  4. Exacto Knife - cheapo razer cutter thingy
  5. I also used scissors, sticky tape, a pencil, a cutting mat, a ruler and a permanent marker
The installation itself was a piece of cake. I measured up the glass panels in my door and then cut the contact to size. The instructions recommended cutting the panels with a 2cm allowance around all edges. The beauty of this buffer meant that it was ok for my lines to be a little crooked.

To prep the windows I cleaned them really, really well. Like three times per panel. My Father in Law said that a single tiny speck of dirt could ruin the whole finish, so I was really pedantic about this.

To stick up each panel I sprayed heaps of the baby soap solution on the window panel first. Then I would lay down the contact panel on the floor, peel back the corner of the contact (using the sticky tape), then spray heaps more of the baby soap onto the sticky side of the contact as I peeled off the backing.

Once the film was in the perfect position I would spray the whole panel with more soapy goodness. Then it was time for round one of bubble smoothing. Taking my plastic card, it was as simple as squeegying the whole panel.  After that, using my cheapo razor cutter and a ruler as a guide I went around and trimmed off the excess. Then it was just a matter of smoothing out any more bubbles with my plastic card.

Rinse and repeat for each glass panel.

Simple as that!

The absolute best part? The frosting has seriously changed the feel of our house. It feels private, secluded and a lot more relaxing. Heaven!

As you can see from the photos we still have so much to do (tiling, rendering outside, building a front deck, installing lighting, decorating etc), but hey, baby steps!


  1. great idea. thank-you for sharing. i have the same issue with my front door.

  2. This looks really good...I think I will try this with my sliding glass doors.

  3. i still think you need a little whole cut out so you can see who's at the door lol. i love it, it looks great from the outside as well as inside yay you hi-5

  4. Hi Brandi and MJ, it really is easy. Definitely give it a go!

    Thanks Dez, I'm glad it passes the neighbour test :)

  5. that is awesome Tamsyn. good on you. great diy clever lady!

  6. Well done, I love your improvisation skills :)

  7. Gosh! I'd be too scared I'd eff it up and would have insisted the husband do it. lol Looks fantastic. Well done you.

  8. Thanks girls, it was a lot easier than I imagined :)


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