How to Build a Frosted Glass Pane Door from Scratch
by Yvonne of Sunnyside Up-Stairs
When live above a carport, so we enter through two doors to get into our “apartment.” The first is the garage entry door, and the second is our kitchen entry. Originally, our kitchen was not, let’s just say, our style.
Phase 1 – Door frame and hardware fitting
I initially chiseled mortises for the hinges, but the door would not close well with the mortises, which was unexpected. So I flipped the door around, and screwed the hinges on the side without mortises, and found that the door functioned much better this way. (And it still has been opening and closing without a hitch).
I aligned the bit, now hole saw, with the little mark the target made in the wood and did my best to drill the hole straight and evenly. Once I went in about 2 cm, the hole itself held up the drill, without my help.
I used an entire work day, okay, a couple hours from a day, to pre-install and position all the hardware so that the door would be ready to go when we were finished. Including this seemingly simply door stop.
It was $2 and came with no directions. I stared at it and turned it around, probably looking like I’ve never seen a door stop in my entire life.
Sneaky door stop, you.
Phase 2 – Adding frosted plexiglass, a bottom panel, and trim.
Our stairwell has a tiny window at the very bottom of the steps. The rest of the stairwell is a fairly dark, narrow space that I’ve not touched with a paint brush yet. We wanted a glass insert in our door to allow light into our dark stairwell and to increase a feeling of openness when climbing the 12 steps to the top.
1. Frost a design on plexiglass
The plexiglass had a protective film on both sides. I drew my own version of a fantastic tree my husband and I saw online with a red sharpie. Then, using our kitchen shears (because it was handy), I cut through the film around the leaves and branches and pulled the background off.
I think I may be the world’s worst spray painter. Does anyone give spray painting class? I may need it. My husband has yet to notice the spots, but if he asks, I’ll call them “happenstance texture.” You know, so he’ll think I’ve embraced it as part of the design, for a moment. After my spit-spraying of frosted glass spray, I peeled the protective film leaves and tree, I had this design:
Since my plexiglass was considerably smaller than the door frame, I needed to place the plexiglass inside the frame and measure how large of a bottom panel I’d need and take measurements to add quarter round, or in our case, leftover Timbron as stops on which the glass could rest.
I made miter cuts using my miter saw for a neater appearance, with my red Sharpie’s help.
3. Add the bottom panel and trim
Now that I knew how much of the door would be plexiglass, I could figure out how much needed to be a lower wood panel. I added a 2×2 below the plexiglass to separate the two areas, but also allow for a place where the lower panel could be attached.
Shown above is the side of the door without the pocket holes. All pocket holes are on one side, so I could choose to paint that side, and even stain this side if I wanted.
4. Attach trim
I used liquid nails construction adhesive to attach the non-wood trim I scavenged around our house. This was a low-budget door, after all.
Timbron and non-wood trim are not my ideal, but they were inexpensive, and I had them on hand. I’m doing what I can to prevent waste and transform some of the things we saved from our gutting phase of the apartment.
Exhibit A: Reclaimed non-wood trim from the kitchen, before.
Phase 3 – Glazing, wood puttying, caulking, painting the door
Before the door could be complete, I glazed the plexiglass to the timbron I used as stops, added glazier points and more trim to keep the glass in place and waited 3 days, per the instructions on the glazing compound, before it was time to caulk and paint.
After the plexiglass was glazed in, I let the door sit in it’s natural, mix-n-match wood state for 3 days to allow for the glazing compound to set.
We had lots of leftover paint even after using the dark purple for our small end tables, our painted canvas floorcloth, and rear media console.
Thank you, Yvonne! A pleasure to have you join us again!