How to Apply Frosted Window Film

Updated on April 9, 2019
SusanWesty profile image

A bored housewife with too much time on her hands... plenty of opportunity for DIY home projects!

Using frosted window film gives homeowners more privacy, while at the same time allowing the light to come in. You can either cover a portion or all of a window or a glass door. This prevents nosy passers-by from getting a good look inside your home. It's also very useful inside, as it can be used to provide more privacy in a bathroom, on windows or on clear shower glass.

There's more to frosted window films than privacy, however.

  • They are also used to add to a room's décor by spicing up windows, mirrors or doors.
  • It can be quite fetching when a mirror or glass door is decorated around the edge with beautifully patterned frosted window film.
  • Or, place some warm golden frosted window film on an upper window that catches the afternoon sun and delight in the warm glow that fills your room as the sun descends.

So many uses for this wonderful invention, but the question that often comes up is 'how easy is it to apply to windows?’ I won't deceive you by saying it's very easy to apply, as I've certainly had my share of mishaps with it catching on other pieces of furniture before going up, or getting full of bubbles that I couldn't get out no matter how hard I tried. Having said that, it is a fairly simple procedure providing you follow the instructions and don't try any short cuts.

How to Apply Frosted Window Film

  1. Prepare the glass surface. (Don't skip this crucial step: See how below.)
  2. Measure and cut. (As they say: Measure twice, cut once.)
  3. Consider adhesion.
  4. Apply the film.

Below, you'll find step-by-step instructions for each step, plus useful photos to show you how.

Preparing to Apply Frosted Window Film

  • It is best to apply the frosted glass window film during the coolest part of the day to avoid the film from streaking, so plan on either an early morning or late afternoon time for your project.
  • The first thing to do is to clean the window well, but don’t use conventional window cleaner or ammonia or vinegar, as they may leave a residue on the window that can have a reaction with the glue and cause the film not to stick. Believe it or not, baby shampoo is perfect for cleaning windows and it leaves no trace that would interfere with the gluing. Mix some in water, and then clean the windows with this, using a squeegee to dry off the window afterwards.
  • Once the window is completely clean, you can prepare the frosted window film.

Measuring and Cutting the Frosted Window Film

  • Hopefully, when you purchased the film, you bought a little more than you needed, just in case of any ‘accidents’ and also to allow you to cut the film wider than the actual window area it needs to cover. You should leave an extra border of around an inch, so that you can place the film squarely on the window.
  • Next you need to spray the surface of the window. Fill up a spray bottle with the same baby shampoo solution you used to clean the window with, and spray that on. It will do nicely. Spray the solution on your hands too, just before smoothing the film onto the window, so you don’t leave any fingerprints on the film as you put it up.

Applying the Frosted Window Film to the Window

  1. Be careful as you take the backing off the film, as it is quite a tricky procedure. This is when you will need the help of someone else, especially if you’re working with a full window sized piece of film.
  2. If you have a hard time getting the backing off you can use transparent tape to help you. Just stick a couple of pieces on one corner and pull it back, the peel should start coming off the window film. As the backing comes off, get the person helping you to spray the back of the film that’s going to be put directly onto the window.
  3. When you have the piece of film ready to put onto the window, lift it up and start applying it at the very top of the window, gradually working your way down. If you spray the film as you’re working with it you’ll find it’s easier to work with and it will help you to work the bubbles out of the film as well.
  4. Once the film is applied to the window step back and make sure it’s centered properly. If it isn't, take time to adjust it and move it around till it’s square as you won’t be able to do it once the glue on the film has dried.
  5. Move any bubbles out to the side of the film by rubbing the surface and squeezing them over to the edge. A squeegee can help move them along quite nicely, so keep the one you used to dry the window on hand to use at this stage.
  6. If the film starts to dry before you’re finished centering and getting all the bubbles to the edge, just spray it again till you’re all done.
  7. When you’re satisfied with the positioning and have all of the bubbles out (or as close to edge as you can), then go ahead and trim the film. Don’t trim it too closely, though, as you need to allow about an eighth of an inch to allow for shrinkage around the edges as the film dries.
  8. It will take about thirty minutes before the frosted window film is dry, so be very careful with it till then. Be careful with your newly covered window for the next week or so though, and don’t open or close it more than you have to.

I Used Gila Frosted Window Film

If you need more instructions, you will find that the Gila frosted window film site also has good tips and instructions on tools needed for the job. Not only do they sell frosted window film, but also recommend items such as the Gila application solution to use for wetting the film and cleaning off the window; the Gila edging tool to trim around the film; and Gila film remover solution to help take off film that’s difficult to remove.

How to Apply Frosted Film


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    • profile image

      sun stopper 

      3 years ago

      You need to add about two drops of liquid dish washing detergent to a spray bottle full of clean water. Then spray the window with the soapy water. Peel the paper backing off the film and apply it to the wet window. Use the side of your hand to squeeze out any large bubbles

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Interesting. On my front door I use a tinted cling film that sticks with water for the summer and peels off easily so winter sun can warm the house. I did know of films using glue. The frosted film would be prettier than the tinted. Thanks for the baby shampoo tip!


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