How to Add Privacy and Texture to Any Window or Door for Less Than $20

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Our house is out in the woods… literally. We back up to a state forest. We love the quiet and the privacy. In fact, the location is probably number one on the list of reasons why we decided to take on this fixer upper to begin with. So at first, the front doors didn’t bother me. The front French doors and the back French doors are the exact same door package. There is literally zero privacy to our front doors whatsoever.

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You can see in this picture from my post about our floors just how open the view is… and the fact that a table saw on the front porch is kind of the norm for our life right now.

Our house sits on just under 2.5 acres, and our property is very wooded. You can hardly even see the house from the road or see the front door from our driveway. Plus, I just love all the natural light the big glass doors let in. We would love to replace these doors with something prettier down the road. But for starters we decide to just give them a fresh coat of paint and move on down the list. Until the first time we ordered pizza.

We still aren’t living in the house yet since there is nothing but walls and floors where our kitchen should be, but we have started getting our furniture moved in. We were there working one evening after dark and I was sitting by myself in the living room. I heard the screen door slam and I looked up to see the pizza delivery guy standing outside the front door. We made eye contact and he just sort of froze in place. It seriously felt like he was already in my living room. I might as well have had the door wide open, because those little panes of glass made no difference whatsoever. He looked at me like he didn’t know what do, and then sloooowly reached over and rang the doorbell. It was awkward.

So yes, our location gives the house a lot of privacy. But when we do have someone at the door, it would by nice to have a little bit of a visual barrier instead of locking eyes with the pizza guy while I’m sitting on the couch. So, off to Pinterest I went to search for DIY options. I really thought we would have to end up putting some kind of film on the glass, which I wasn’t crazy about. But lo and behold I came across Gallery Glass and a handful of tutorials on how to make DIY faux leaded glass. Could it really be that easy?

This is stuff they use to make faux stained glass. It comes in a variety of colors, but the “Crystal Clear” option is un-tinted and just gives your glass the texture. All the tutorials made it look so easy, so I decided to give it a shot.

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The Internet is telling me that if it doesn’t work out, or we decide down the road we want to change it, you can just score it with a razor knife or peel it right off. Plus, it’s only about $10 a bottle, so what could go wrong? You can get it at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. However, the nearest craft store to me is about 30 miles away (oh the joys of living in the country) so I ordered mine off Amazon here. Once it came in, I did one pane of our side panel as a test and let it dry overnight. I came back the next day, and what do you know… it looks like leaded glass! You can see here the top pane is done but the one below it isn’t.

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It added just the right amount of privacy I was looking for while still letting all that beautiful Florida sunshine in. So I jumped in and started working on the rest of the door.

This stuff is the consistency of Elmer’s glue. It goes on the same milky white color and dries clear. It even smells like Elmer’s glue. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s essentially all it is. But I’m not here to ask questions; it served my purpose.

This worked really well for my door because the French door panels broke it up into smaller sections to work with. I can see how this project could be a bit more challenging on larger pieces of glass. We stared out by using the nozzle of the bottle to outline the glass of the section we were working on, getting right down to the grilles of the door. If it gets messy, you can easily wipe it up before it dries, or come back and clean it up with a razor knife after. Then squeeze a good amount of the product onto the glass. You want it to go on pretty thick. I would squeeze it just onto the top 1/2 or 2/3 of the panel because it does run a bit. Then you just use your hand to work it around, covering the glass and creating the texture. I gently tap-tap-tapped randomly with my fingertips as I spread the goo around to create little peaks and valleys. I found this to create the most authentic texture.

Here you can see what it looks like in the various stages of drying

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It’s seriously so easy, even mini-me jumped in and helped (and Kimber dutifully supervised).

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It’s hard to explain the technique, but it’s honestly really hard to mess up. If one panel doesn’t come out how you like, just let it dry and peel it off and try again. This is seriously a low-risk project. But if you are that nervous about it, I suggest picking up a couple of dollar store or thrift store picture frames. You can use the glass of the frames to play with it a bit and find out the technique that works best for you and the look you are trying to achieve. I used the official and technical “tap” method, but some people do more of an equally-scientific swirly thing.

If you look closely here you can see the random pattern I created with my fingertips.

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The tapping method also created these tiny air bubbles, which were just what I was going for.

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Here’s a side by side with one panel that done and one that’s not. Part of the panel on the right are still drying, but you can get the idea of what a difference it makes. Again, just the right amount of privacy I was looking for.

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And here it is completely done and dry.

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Since it is an exterior door, we did the treatment on the inside so it wouldn’t be exposed to the elements. But it looks just as good on the other side of the glass.

I ordered two of the 8 oz bottles for my project. And for this whole door package I used one whole bottle and not even a quarter of the second. So for less than $20 and an hour or so of finger painting, I would say this was well worth it. So far it has held up to regular cleaning with Windex, and we have not had any pealing or separating or any issues at all.

I tried to explain the process with photos the best I could, but let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if something doesn’t make sense to you.

Up Next: We keep moving our things into the house… but still aren’t moving ourselves in yet!

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2 thoughts on “How to Add Privacy and Texture to Any Window or Door for Less Than $20

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