Make an Etched Mirror

Applying etching cream
Pretty organic motifs etched on plain mirrors give vintage charm in an instant.

Etched Mirror

Distinct but subtle etching on glass achieves a frosted effect. Etching creams make the technique an easy, inexpensive craft that can be done in just a few hours. While almost any glass surface will do, we chose mirrors and enlisted the help of rubber stamps and self-adhesive paper to perfect our designs. If these botanical motifs aren't your cup of tea, try modern dots or a traditional paisley pattern.

Etched Leaf Border on Mirror

Create a border for your mirror by repeating your design several times around the perimeter. When stamped end to end, our elongated leaf design naturally accomplishes a framed look.

Etched Tray

An overall pattern might not be the best idea for your bathroom mirror, but it's perfect for this mirrored tray. For added interest, let your design run off the edge or into a corner. You can create your design by cutting your own stencil, or as a shortcut, you can apply etching cream to a rubber stamp and press the stamp directly onto the mirror. The result is imperfect but delightful.

Frosted Motif on Mirror

Sometimes a minimalist approach makes a surprisingly big statement. This simple branch motif peeks in from only a corner of a three-panel mirror, but the result is elegant.

Put your own spin on an etched mirror by highlighting select areas with color accents. We used glass paint and a small artist's brush to dot tiny red berries onto our etched branch.

Etching on Mirror: Step 1

What you'll need:

-- Mirror

-- Self-adhesive paper

-- Rubber stamp and ink pad

-- Moist towelettes

-- Crafts knife

-- Etching cream

-- Paintbrush

-- Sponge

Begin by protecting your work surface. Clean the mirror and cover it with self-adhesive paper (available at crafts stores), pressing out all bubbles. Use a rubber stamp and ink pad to stamp the pattern you want onto the paper. Mistakes can be wiped clean with moist towelettes.

Etching on Mirror: Step 2

Trace the stamped lines with a crafts knife, cutting away the paper. The knife won't damage the mirror's surface, so use enough pressure to get a clean cut. When all stamped images are cut out, smooth the paper with your hands to make sure it is in contact with the mirror.

Etching on Mirror: Step 3

Using a paintbrush and following the manufacturer's directions, apply a generous amount of etching cream (we used Armour Etch) to cover the mirror's exposed areas. Let the cream sit on the surface about 10 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water, making sure not to leave any residue. Peel away the remaining paper and rinse the mirror again. When the mirror is dry, the image will reveal itself.

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