Etched Glass, Sandblasted Glass or Frosted Window Film?

People often ask us about the difference between acid etched glass, sandblasted glass and glass with frosted window film. All of these terms describe ways to create a similar opaque finish on a glass surface, however they use very different processes to achieve the frosted glass look .

What is acid etched Glass

Similarly to sandblasted glass, acid etched glass is created through a physical process which involves applying an acid based solution to the glass which ‘eats’ away at the smooth surface of the glass. The technique is usually for creating small decorative items such as vases, mirrors or glassware. As with sandblasted glass it is a permanent non-reversible process. It can also weaken the glass making it vulnerable to damage from extreme temperatures.

What is sandblasted glass?

Sandblasting glass is a physical process which uses machinery to blast sand at high speed and pressure onto the smooth surface of the glass. This process removes the smooth glossy surface of the glass and leaves the treated area with a frosted opaque effect. The end result is permanent and will last for the lifetime of the glass, however the process can weaken glass causing it to crack. Sandblasting removes up to 2mm of the glass surface. As a result not all forms of glass are suitable for sandblasting. Extremes of temperature could cause weakened glass to crack. In addition sandblasted glass is unsuitable for window privacy as it becomes see through when wet.


Why choose Frosted Window film?

Frosted window film is a thin vinyl adhesive film which you can simply apply on to glass as a sticker. There are hundreds of designs available for both patterns and lettering applications. Alternatively you can upload graphics and design your own. Using Frosted Window film has many advantages over sandblasted or acid etched glass. Frosted window film is a better solution because

  • Installation happens in situ. Quickly, cleanly and without any messy, dangerous chemicals or tools.
  • It is a more affordable solution at up to a quarter of the price of etched glass.
  • It is durable yet non-permanent. Vinyl window film is resistant to moisture inside and out, lasting many years before it is susceptible to weathering.
  • Frosted window film does not have a detrimental effect on the strength of the glass.
  • Change your mind or branding design and you can change your designs just as easily.
  • It’s a more creative solution. It is possible to cut complex designs in frosted window film and apply them to glass.
  • Window films are also available in a variety of depths of opacity as well as different colours
  • Vinyl window film can also provide insulation and UV protection properties which sandblasting and acid etched glass does not.

Overall window film is a really versatile solution for both residential and commercial interiors. You can buy ready made vinyl window film patterns and borders for window manifestations from Inkmill Vinyl. For inspiration on how to use  frosted window film at home see our blog on 5 Easy frosted window film decorating ideas. Alternatively if you are looking for ideas for vinyl graphics for stores, our Inspirational Store Windows board on Pinterest is a great place to start gathering ideas.


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