Transparent glass panel inserts in cabinet doors provide a view of the contents kept inside the cabinet. Alleviate this problem by frosting the glass with an acid etching cream. The acid etching cream corrodes the surface of the glass and creates a soft white appearance that is translucent. The frosted appearance creates a barrier for viewing the contents while still providing a smooth glass surface on the exterior of the cabinet.
It is possible to frost the entire surface of the glass cabinet door insert or to create a pattern. The pattern is created using a stick-on stencil that is either pre-cut or one that you cut yourself. The stencil covers the area you wish to keep transparent. Any portion of the glass that is not covered by the stencil will etch or frost.
Frost the glass with a special acid etching cream for home use. A brand that I have used and one that I swear by is Armour Etching Cream. Armour Etching Cream is sold in various sizes at hobby and craft stores. Other brands are available so check on-line or at your local hobby and craft store.
Begin the frosting process by removing the glass insert from the cabinet door. If the glass is built into the cabinet door, remove the entire door. The next step is to remove the hardware from the insert or door so it will lay flat during the frosting process.
Determine which side of the glass you would like to frost. I prefer frosting the inside of a glass cabinet door insert. The front of the insert stays smooth and aides in cleaning. The frosted side of the glass will have a textured feel and is harder to clean.
Clean the glass with glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth. If glass cleaner is unavailable, create a mixture of one part water to one part white vinegar. Clean in the same fashion as with glass cleaner.
Tape off the areas directly next to the glass surface with painter’s tape. Press the tape firmly along the edges to ensure the etching cream does not spread onto the area. When using a stencil, press the stencil in place. Smooth the edges of the stencil with the back of a spoon to ensure a secure seal.
Cover a flat work area with newspaper or plastic sheeting. Place the glass insert or glass cabinet door on the covered surface. You are now ready to frost the glass.
Put on protective eye covering and gloves. Open the acid etching cream. Dip the acid etching cream from the container with a wooden craft stick or Popsicle stick. Spread the acid etching cream over the glass surface like you are frosting a cake. A solid layer of acid etching cream is necessary to create the proper reaction with the glass. A sufficient amount of etching cream is applied to the surface when you can no longer see through the glass and view the work surface. Allow the acid etching cream to sit on the glass surface for five minutes.
Remove the acid etching cream with a soft scrub brush and lukewarm water. I use the bathtub for this process. Rinse thoroughly to remove the etching cream. Scrub the surface with a soft scrub brush to aide in the removal process. Remove the painter’s tape and any stencils. If the stencil does not pull away from the glass easily, run hot water over the stencil to help break down the adhesive.
Clean the newly frosted glass with window cleaner. Allow the glass to dry completely to view the intensity of the frost. Repeat the process if necessary to achieve the desired results.
Finish the project by placing the glass insert in the cabinet door. Reattach cabinet door hardware at this time.