How to Make Gorgeous Etched Glasses
Put a personal stamp on plain cocktail glasses or glass flower vases with this easy etched glass project. With a handful of supplies (most of which you probably already have) you can create pretty and useful glass gifts. This etching method also works on cocktail glasses, flower vases, and other glass decor items, so let your creative spirit shine.
They're the perfect gift for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and other celebratory occasions. Or, make your own to keep.
How to Etch Glass
- Cocktail glasses
- Stencils, vinyl stick-on letters, or decorative tape
- Clear adhesive paper (to make your own stencil; we used Con-Tact brand)
- Clear tape
- Bone folder
- Crafts knife (to make your own stencil)
- Rubber gloves
- Etching cream
- Lint-free cloth
- Dish soap
Follow these easy how-to instructions to etch a design on a glass or jar.
Step 1: Wash Glass
You can etch almost any kind of glass, so the first step will be choosing a design to etch (and what you want to etch it on). Once you've chosen the glass item you want to etch, wash it carefully with soap and water. Let it air dry or hand-dry it with lint-free cloth.
Step 2: Prepare Template
Before you can begin the etching process, you'll need a stencil. To make a stencil, draw your design—or print a template—on printer paper. You'll need a new template for each glass. Apply adhesive paper or vinyl to the glass surface, then use a bone folder to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles, starting from the outside and working your way toward the center. On a flat surface, place your paper template over a sheet of adhesive paper, secure it with tape, and use a crafts knife to cut out the pattern. You will slice through both layers of paper.
Remove the template and lift the adhesive paper where you cut your design. Smooth down the adhesive paper with the bone folder to create a tight seal against the glass.
Editor's Tip: You can order reusable, self-adhesive stencils online, which will save you time. If you use a reusable stencil, wash the stencil with warm water between applications.
Step 3: Paint Etching Cream
Wearing protective rubber gloves ($6, Amazon), use a paintbrush to dab a thick, even layer of etching cream ($10, Amazon) onto the stencil cutouts. Brush the cream in two directions to prevent brushstrokes on the finished project. Let the cream sit on the glass according to the package instructions.
Step 4: Rinse and Remove Stencil
Once the etching cream has sat long enough, rinse the glass (from the top down) thoroughly with warm water to remove all cream, then remove stencil and tape. Let glass air-dry or dry with a lint-free cloth.
Editor's Note: Etching cream will mar the finish of porcelain and enamel sinks. Rinse projects in a stainless sink, utility sink, or plastic bucket to avoid damage.
Step 5: Wash Before Use
Wash the glasses with soap and water before use. Etched designs are food-safe.