March 15, 2010

Glass Etching 101

At long last, my glass etching tutorial!  I'm sorry I didn't get it posted yesterday; my son is sick.  Ugh.  Anyways, here it is!  

I'm going to show you three different methods that I use to etch glass.  The first is to use a stamp to create your image to be etched.  The second is to use etching stencils.  The third is to freehand an image to be etched.


*Glass to be etched --I picked up a $5 cookie jar at Target
*Cutting mat (Can use cardboard)
*Contact paper
*Glass Etching Cream (I use Armor-Etch)
* Paint brush
*Exacto Knife
*Stamp and Ink (For Method No. 1)
*Etching Stencils (For Method No. 2)
*Highlighter (For Method No. 3)

Method No. 1 (STAMP)

Stamp the image you'd like to etch onto contact paper.  Any ink will work.

Using an Exacto knife, cut out the image that you've stamped.  I used a hole punch for the circles that make up my 'O.'

Be sure to keep any pieces that you'll need to replace, like the middle of the 'e.'

Now peel the backing off of the contact paper and stick your image to the glass you'll be etching.  Make sure that the contact paper is completely flush against the glass, otherwise the etching cream will get underneath and make your project look messy.

Time to get out your etching cream!

Paint a generous layer of etching cream onto the glass.  Be careful not to paint past the edges of the contact paper.  You really want to goop this stuff on.  In my experience, you can't use too much.  Please be careful NOT TO GET THIS ON YOUR FINGERS.  Just trust me, please.

Turn your glass piece around, hold it up to the light, and look through the back of your stencil.  This enables you to see the areas that might need more cream or that you may have missed completely.

Let the etching cream sit for about five minutes, then rinse!  I have found that warm water, running quickly, works the best.  It takes a while, though.

DONE!  (But I'm not going to to show you how it turned out until later!)

Method No. 2 (STENCILS)

Place your stencils on the glass wherever you'd like the etching to be.  You can layer them a little bit, like I did with Cookies.  Also, if you only have one of each letter (like the 'O' in cookie), but need repeats, just leave a gap.  Then you can go back and etch that after the rest is done.  

The rest of the steps are the same as in Method No. 1.  You just have to be a lot more careful with the etching cream on these small stencils than you were with the contact paper.  I've done projects where I end up with a thin line next to my letters from where I wasn't careful enough with the etching cream.

Method No. 3 (FREEHAND)

Choose what image you'd like to etch onto your glass.  Draw it onto the contact paper.  I've had good luck with highlighters--For some reason they seem to stick to the contact paper better than markers.

I'm going to etch chocolate chip cookies onto my glass jar.  Here I drew my cookies, but I had to remember that I would put the outside of the circle on the jar, not the circle itself.  My mind has trouble with silhouettes--Just really think about what you'd like to be etched and what you'd like to stay shiny glass.  Cover anything that you want to be shiny.

Next I cut a bunch of small "chocolate chips" from my circles of contact paper.  Then I placed them randomly inside the cookies on my jar.

Continue with the etching cream, just as in Method No. 1.  The method for etching never changes, just the manner in which you place your image on the glass.


I filled my jar with homemade Chocolate Chip Peppermint Scones.  VOILA!


  1. Looks great! I've always wanted to try glass etching, and I had no idea it was so relatively simple. Your instructions make it sound very doable. I may just have to add it to my huge list (seeing as I'm sitting online looking into silk dying and painting...).

  2. Thanks lady! I love the cookie jar...your pics made me hungry!!!

  3. When you kept mentioning that you were going to show us etching, I thought it would be way too hard. But I think I can do this and I'm not even crafty!

  4. fantastic tutorial.

    I picked up some etching cream recently but was unsure exactly what to do with it. Now I'm excited to get started

  5. I love this! I never knew glass etching was so simple. Thanks for the super easy tutorial...

  6. Cool, i've been wanting to try glass etching and you've made it look really simple!

  7. Great tutorial, very detailed!

  8. Emily those cooie jars look awesome! This looks like something even I could do. Thanks for the step-by-step!

  9. Love your cookies!! (The edible ones look great too!). Just a little add on to your tutorial: before you rinse off the etching cream, scrape as much as you can back in the jar, you can reuse it! This stuff is expensive!

  10. I loved the tutorial and the finished product looks great. All I want now is the scone recipe! :)

  11. Awesome! I've been wanting to try this for months now! You make it look so easy :)

  12. Very cute! I love how the jar is shaped too. I want to try this! Thanks for sharing at 'Look at me, I'm SO Crafty!' at Fun to Craft.

  13. Does anyone know where I can get the contact paper. I cant figure out where to buy it.

  14. I want to make my own etched glass artworks and I will give it to my bestfriend on her birthday.

  15. Thanks for the post. Accidents in this forum or blog can occur if glass etch solution isn't handled properly.

    Glass Doors

  16. Hi! Thanks for sharing nice information about Glass Etching, this was very good blog, Really i like it so much!
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  17. Cool tutorial for Etched Glass, got some inspiration from your DIY etching and now ready to wear gloves before handling that etching cream.

  18. What a clever task for makingEtched Glass. Just be careful while handling that etching cream.


I can't wait to hear what you think!

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