Frosting a clear light bulb?
November 11, 2010 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to spray something on clear light bulbs to make them frosty and not make them dangerous?

I foolishly bought a lot of clear small pendant light bulbs for dangling fixtures over my kitchen island. The bottom of the bulb is in direct line with my eyes which blinds me. I can't return the bulbs nor can I find the frosty ones any more. Any ideas?
posted by Pennyblack to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
Best answer: Yep- there is frosted spray paint for just this purpose. At any hardware store.
posted by Eicats at 1:53 PM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks Eicats! I never even considered that. I bet those diabolical bulb makers got together and invented this stuff, then pulled the frosted ones from the market and put the clear ones on sale. I'm only half joking.
posted by Pennyblack at 3:14 PM on November 11, 2010

You can buy glass etching cream at an art supply store. Instead of adding a new layer on top, it eats into the glass so the surface looks frosted. This would probably be safer than spray paint, which might emit fumes or burn off when the light bulb heats up.
posted by embrangled at 3:17 PM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: Embrangled? Wouldn't that affect the integrity of the glass? If not, that's also a great solution.
posted by Pennyblack at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2010

Response by poster: I'm concerned that if the bulb explodes my eyes would be in direct line of fire.
posted by Pennyblack at 3:33 PM on November 11, 2010

I'd just go with the spray paint eicats mentioned. Since it's actually made for the purpose you describe, it shouldn't have a fume problem or burn off.
posted by joyeuxamelie at 4:45 PM on November 11, 2010

In my experience, glass etching cream degrades only a thin layer - when you etch a pattern, the etched parts feel rougher but not appreciably lower than the non-etched parts. But I suppose it could be a problem if the bulb is made of very thin glass. My concern about glass frosting paint is that it's made for frosting windows; I wouldn't put it on a heat source like a light bulb unless the label explicitly says it's safe to do so.
posted by embrangled at 3:55 PM on November 12, 2010

Clear tool dip in a spray can will frost the glass and make a rubberized coating over the bulb. If the bulb shatters the pieces of glass are held together and kept from flying into your just made bowl of coleslaw for the potluck.
posted by Pecantree at 1:51 PM on November 13, 2010

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