Frosted glass

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Frosted glass windows used in a restroom
James Gillinder & Sons (1860 – ca. 1935). "Westward Ho!" Compote, ca. 1875. Pressed colorless and frosted glass. Brooklyn Museum

Frosted glass is produced by the sandblasting or acid etching of clear sheet glass. It has the effect of rendering the glass translucent by scattering of light during transmission, thus blurring images while still transmitting light.


  • To obtain visual privacy while admitting light.
  • Decorative patterns may be imposed upon otherwise plain glass by using wax or other inhibitors to retain transparent areas.
  • Frosted glass in light bulbs is used for evenly distributing the light from the bulb's filament across its surface area.
  • To distribute light uniformly in a photographic contact printer.
  • To create an airtight seal in tubes.

The frosted glass effect can also be achieved by the application of vinyl film, used as a sort of stencil on the glass surface. "Photo-resist", or photo-resistant film is also available, which can be produced to mask off the area surrounding a decorative design, or logo on the glass surface. A similar effect may also be accomplished with the use of canned frosted glass sprays.

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