What Is Glass Applique?

E. Starr
E. Starr
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Glass applique is an artistic or functional addition to a glass surface. Most commonly, glass applique refers to a window sticker or decal. Other names that may be used to refer to glass applique include window films, window wallpaper, window decals, and static clings.

Applique, by definition, refers to an object or detail that has been added or applied to something else. The word has French origins and most commonly describes methods in sewing or quilting. Artistic methods described as applique also exist in clay and modeling work, stained glass, and numerous other art and craft projects.

True to the basic definition of applique, glass applique usually refers to the addition of a decal to a glass surface, such as a window or sliding door. Glass appliques, or window decals, are most commonly called static clings because they usually attach to glass without an adhesive. Static clings use only the naturally generated static charge that develops between a smooth plastic surface, such as the decal itself, and a glass surface. Once smoothly applied, the static cling remains on the glass surface until it is actively pulled off or removed by hand. No adhesive is used, so the static cling decal is reusable if removed carefully.

A glass applique, or static cling, is often used in home decor. The applique can be either purely decorative, functional, or a combination of both. For decorative use, appliques are manufactured in a variety of colors, patterns, and designs. Functional static clings can appear frosted, etched, embossed, or tinted to various levels. Each of these patterns and designs can vary the amount of light that passes through the glass, functionally controlling light and heat in a room, as well as acting as a privacy screen.

Glass applique is popular not only in private homes, but with businesses as well. Custom-designed appliques or decals are often used by stores and corporations as decor or as a method of advertising. Glass appliques are an affordable way to change the decoration or message on business windows. Changing window decals seasonally is particularly popular.

Most glass applique pieces are made of vinyl and are around 8 millimeters (0.31 inches) thick. They will stick to any flat, non-porous, and smooth surface, such as glass, and some plastics or metals. Depending on the quality of the glass applique, the cling will be fairly durable, but can deteriorate over time. Deterioration is usually more rapid in locations of high ultra-violet rays or extreme temperatures.

Static clings are usually attached to the inside of windows and glass doors. They are most successfully attached to a clean surface. Usually, the surface is misted with water prior to the placement of the glass applique. The wet surface allows the applique to be moved into the correct position. A squeegee or other smooth edge is then used to press the bubbles and water out from under the applique, fixing it in place on the glass surface.

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