Cutting and Frosting Glass

I'm not exactly sure when we lost all of our closet doors, but when we moved into our house almost a year and a half ago, only one of our four bedrooms had them.  (Then again, our house didn't have floors, either, so at that point I wasn't so picky.)  I'm going to guess that they were trashed in the first round of construction before we even purchased the house, because the only "before" picture I can find of our master bedroom is this one from our appraisal:
Thank you for this gem, previous owners. LOVE the window treatments.
Just looking at that and knowing it was one of the better rooms in the house makes me wonder why no one had me committed back then. Since we have been busy adding the necessities over the time that we've owned the house (you know, like floors, working electricity, a kitchen...) we've really neglected all of our closets.  And, as much as I love an "open concept" home, I'm not so into an "open closet" home.
Oh, hello! Welcome to our clutter.
Despite what this picture may say about me, I really am a big fan of organization and removing of clutter.  But, sometimes, you just have to throw your stuff in the closet and forget about it until your guests go home... unless there's no hiding that, either.

The worst part of all, is that anyone coming over has a clear view of all of our dirty laundry... literally.

So, the time has come to finally put doors on these "his and hers" (but mostly "hers") closets.  Brad and I really wanted something unique and not builder grade since there's not a whole lot of fun details or wall space in our master.  We also wanted something clean and modern to coincide with our cool grey walls and white trim and furniture.

For Brad's office, which is just a bathroom away from our master, we got him this IKEA closet set with PAX doors, which we really like:

Not only does it have the clean, modern lines that we were looking for, but we also really dug the look of the frosted glass that provided a bit of transparency and openness to the space while still hiding what is behind closed doors.  The only thing we didn't love for our bedroom was the metal, and we wanted a bit more solid coverage rather than so much glass, so I got to work in sketch-up and came up with a quick plan to build something similarly out of wood.

Simple, quick, easy.  (The plan is for the wood to be painted white, but white-on-white doesn't show up so well in sketch-up.)  I sketched my plans for the doors around the pre-cut glass pieces that they sell at Home Depot so that I wouldn't have to cut any of them... or so I thought. Once I actually got to Home Depot to pick up my glass for the closet doors, I realized that the 12"x24" pieces I found online were actually for PLEXIglass... not the real stuff.  While it probably would have worked, I wanted my real, luxury glass, not plastic.  The closest size that I could find for what I needed was a piece that was 24"x36", so I figured that I could get three 12"x24" pieces from each sheet, having no waste and a perfect fit.  Sweet deal.  So, I bought 6 sheets of glass for about $15 each, a glass cutting kit (oh boy), and lots of frosted glass spray paint.

I figured that since I bought the kit, this glass cutting thing would go smoothly.  I had never cut glass before, but the kit came with instructions.  Any idiot could follow the instructions and do this, right?

Step One: measure and mark the glass with the pencil thingy.  Okay, cool.  I can measure things.  Easy peasy.  Except that the pencil barely marked anything and I could hardly see it.  Minor setback.  I still had hope.

To make the actual cutting process a bit easier, I used the cardboard piece it came with as a straight edge and marked a line all the way down the glass so that I would have a guide when it was time to cut.

The next step was to dip the cutter into the glass oil it came with.  I wasn't really sure about the logic of this at the time, but I figured since it came in the kit it probably served a viable purpose.  So, into the oil it went!

Next step: score the glass with the cutter and slightly bend it on each side of the crease to cut.  Oh god, there it was.  The moment of truth.

Utter fail.  Not only was the cut piece jagged, but somehow I managed to completely destroy the rest of the glass piece in one blow.  This was clearly not working out.  (PS- Can you see the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" reflected in the glass?  Not even the weekly Melissa-Theresa drama could make this more pleasant.)

So, I tried to practice on the already broken piece hoping to master this system before moving on to a fresh piece.  I only had so many pieces of glass to destroy, and this was going to get expensive fast.

First cut = crap.  It almost looks like a deliberate curve, but it really was meant to be straight.  Then, I tried it again, and it worked.  I thought for a moment that maybe I just needed a few practice cuts and that I finally got the hang of it.  So, I grabbed a fresh piece of glass and gave it a shot.  And the new piece of glass shattered even worse than the first one.

There are no pictures that were taken of the second piece of glass.  I believe at this time I was too busy cursing Home Depot for not having the size of glass that I wanted and calculating my financial losses in a moment of despair.  I did have one moment of clarity, and decided to turn to my friend, youtube for help.  And that is where I found this brilliant woman:

At first, I thought she was mocking me as she made it look so easy after I just destroyed almost two full pieces of glass.  But, then she showed the coolest trick ever.  Instead of holding the glass in both hands and bending it to break, she flipped the glass over and pushed on it with her finger causing the break.  I had to give it a shot. So, I started over with the fresh piece of glass and scored it with the cutter, not using the special glass oil.

Once it was scored, I very carefully flipped it over like the smart woman said....

And, totally scared with one eye closed, I pushed down on the center of my score line.  (By the way, you're also probably noticing the red line rather than the practically invisible pencil line.  At this point, I got sick of that thing and started using dry erase marker instead.  It worked like a charm.)

Success!  I had two perfectly cut pieces of glass with a straight edge.  Glass cutting woman is my new hero.

After that, I had no more mishaps with the glass cutter.  The rest of the cutting went very smoothly, and before I knew it I had my stack of glass ready to be frosted.

I lined the garage floor with plastic and set out all of the glass pieces on top of it in a single layer for paint.  (Side note - anyone else think of Dexter when they're rolling out plastic?)

If you know anything about how I build, you know that I love spray paint.  The worst part of building to me is always the finishing, so I tend to take the easy way out and layer on a few coats of spray paint rather than use the day or two it usually takes me to stain, let it dry several hours in between coats, and then add a layer or two of poly.  I'm really too impatient for that most of the time.  Apparently, the same goes for me and frosting glass.  If I can spray it on and walk away, I'm sold, and Rustoleum products and I are bffs so this really fit the bill.

The best part about this spray "paint" is that it dries in 10 minutes.  You apply it the same way you do regular spray paint, and it goes on in a clear coat initially and then turns frosted as the 10 minutes goes by.  I put two coats on my glass, and it went on relatively smooth and evenly.

I let all of my pieces of glass dry overnight just in case, but I'm sure I could have worked with them really soon after the 10-minute drying period.  I had no idea going into this that cutting and frosting all of these glass panels would be a project all its own, but after all the anxiety over cutting the panels I'm really happy with the results.  Now, off to build the doors!

4 Replies to “Cutting and Frosting Glass”

  1. As I sit here in the parking lot of Mission Bay on my way to Az to pick up my mom’s belongings…drinking a Starbucks triple mocha…..I have been planning on what I will do with all the extra furniture. You give me great hope that I may possibly be able to reupholster them myself!! Keep up the good work and I enjoy the fact that you can laugh at yourslf even when things don’t go as planned!! Altho’ I don’t know when you get the time to watch the tv shows you mention!!!
    Deb

    1. Oh my goodness – all of that extra furniture sounds like a dream! That would be so fun to give new life to pieces your mom loved. You could totally do it! Keep me posted on what you decide to do!

  2. I’ve been having a dilemma on how exactly we’re going to finish our gargantuan closet ever since we took down the single (remaining) mirrored bypass door, and I think you just gave us an ideal answer!

    Also, I now have the perfect example (excuse?) to convince my partner that yes, kreg jigs are a handy tool and we should totally buy one haha!

    1. So glad I could help, Martina! I can’t wait to see pictures of your closet doors! And, yes, tell your husband that you definitely need a kreg jig, haha. It seriously changed my life! Later this week I’m going to post another building plan that I could not have done without it!

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