DIY Custom Sidelights Using Frosted Vinyl and Silhouette Cameo

DIY Custom Sidelights Using Frosted Vinyl & Silhouette Cameo


I am super excited to share this project with you. It’s only been in the works for about seven years now. Okay, not exactly THAT long but it has been some time now.

Anyone who has sidelights (those windows directly to the side of the entry door) has probably wrestled with the dilemma of wanting to let in light while preserving some degree of privacy. This has been my mission ever since I moved into my house seven years ago. Curtains were an option, although a little too “grandmom-ish” for my taste. I also had my heart set on custom shutters I originally spotted in blogland a few years back. While I still like the idea of these, we never seem to have the extra cash laying around to invest in them, not to mention the fact that we have two dogs who may very well put a beating on them after one visit from the mailman. So with curtains and shutters out for the time being, I had to approach a more creative solution. Once I came across Frosted Vinyl (etched glass vinyl), I knew it could be somehow incorporated  to achieve my goal. Once again, I called on my trusty companion, my Silhouette Cameo, to help me achieve style with function.

I’m going to walk you through the steps I took to complete this project.

First, select a pattern. I chose to use the same Silhouette file that I used for my Stenciled Lampshade, geometric background. I took the easy way out here but there are plenty of awesome patterns in the Silhouette store that would work for this project.

Next step involved is creating the cut file in Silhouette Studio. Here’s an video showing the steps:

Now it’s time to actually cut your vinyl. Start by selecting vinyl from the cut menu but you may have to adjust your settings a bit. Remember to ALWAYS do a “test cut” before you start cutting. Weed out any vinyl that will be negative space.

Frosted Vinyl Cut for Sidelights

Once your vinyl is cut, you can start to apply it to your sidelights. These are the items you should have on hand to complete this:

  • Transfer Tape
  • masking (or painters) tape
  • squirt bottle with solution of water and drop of dish detergent
  • pan scraper (or credit card) 
  • lint free towel

Use the transfer tape to cover the frosted vinyl.

Cover Frosted Vinyl with Transfer Tape

Next, tape in place using a hinge method.

Frosted Vinyl Sidelights Tutorial

Using a pan scraper or credit card, firmly rub the entire surface. This is going to ensure that the vinyl is adhering to the transfer tape.

After that, lift the sheet away from the glass and spray the glass surface lightly but thoroughly with the soap solution.

At this point, carefully remove the backing (not the transfer tape) from the vinyl exposing the sticky side of the vinyl. Lay this down on your window. The soap solution will allow you to move the decal a bit until it is in place while preventing air bubbles.

Starting from the center out, firmly rub the entire surface using a pan scraper or credit card. This will also help to remove any air bubbles. As you press, water will seep out the edges so have a towel handy to wipe it.

Frosted Vinyl Sidelight Tutorial

When you have pressed out as much water as possible, let it sit for a while. I left mine overnight which worked perfectly. That way any remaining water will have dried and the vinyl will have time to adhere.

Last step is to simply remove the transfer tape and stand back and admire your work :)

Frosted Vinyl Sidelight Tutorial


Here’s the view from inside…

Frosted Vinyl Sidelight Tutorial

And from outside…

Outside view of sidelights


Outside View Sidelights


Now keep in mind, this project only took me seven years because I had to figure out all the details like pattern, material and how to cut it. Fortunately for you I have ironed out all the details for you right here so hopefully you can knock this out in a weekend. I would love to hear if you give it a try! Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to follow via email or Bloglovin’.

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  1. This might be the most timely post I’ve read in a while. You and I are on exactly the same wavelength! I’ve lived in my home for 7.5 years and those side panels have bothered me since Day 1. Just last week we FINALLY picked up a roll of vinyl and covered the panels. I feel so much better about being in my home now though the pattern you put on your doors is so much nicer than mine!!

  2. You are genius!! What a great idea that is also so stylish!’ I am loving the wreath on your door too! If you purchased it recently can you tell me where?

  3. DEFINITELY making this, I came here via pinterest, and I have to tell you this idea is incredible for anyone with a very visible window!

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  5. OMG! How brilliant are you? What a wonderful job! I have always drooled over sidelights and transoms and am pinning this to do when we move into our ‘dream’ home! Projects like this from fabulous people like you are what will turn the house into our dream home!!!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. i’m going to give this a whirl tomorrow-got the stuff today! fingers crossed it will turn out as beautifully as yours! my sidelights are full length with no breaks or “frames” so i’m excited to have some privacy finally!!!

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