How to Sand Glass for a Frosted Effect

Frosting the glass on a given object gives it a softer, whitish appearance.
Frosting the glass on a given object gives it a softer, whitish appearance. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Frosted glass is so named because it resembles the look of a delicate coating of ice crystals on a winter window. This lovely, semi-opaque effect gives glassware an expensive-looking charm. Creating it, however, is as simple as treating glass with a sanding tool and ordinary sandpaper. Give a new look to everyday glass items, and transform plain glass into a keepsake.

Things You'll Need

  • Permanent marker
  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail polish remover
  • Masking tape or painter's tape
  • Rotary power tool
  • Sanding bit
  • Fine hand sandpaper

Draft an outline of the frosted shape you want using permanent marker. Erase mistakes using a cotton swab dipped in nail polish remover, and re-draft as you go.

Cover the area you do not want frosted with a coat of masking tape or blue painter's tape. For particularly tight corners and curved edges, tear or cut the tape into the right shape and use very small pieces.

Fit the rotary power tool with a detail sanding bit according to the tool manufacturer's instructions. Use a new, previously unused bit for best results.

Set the tool to a medium speed level on its dial (the exact number will vary from model to model, so check to see how high the numbers go).

Sand the glass inside the area you outlined using short strokes of the sanding bit. Do not leave any spot unsanded, and remove all smooth, clear areas within the section you outlined. Avoid bumping the masked areas; the tape will only provide some protection.

Tear a small circle of sandpaper. Make it small enough that you can move and manipulate it inside the outline of the frosted area.

Smooth out the frosted area with the sandpaper circle using your fingertips. Strive to make its surface uniform. Replace it with another piece of sandpaper if it seems to be losing its effectiveness. If your shape has fine lines and narrow areas, fold the paper in half and sand with the folded edge.

Remove the tape.

Wipe away any remaining permanent marker lines.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not want to draft your frosted glass shape by hand, trace an image printed on paper by taping it against the reverse side of the glass.


  • "The Big-Ass Book of Crafts;" Mark Montano and Auxy Espinoza; 2008
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