A Step by Step Guide to Glass Etching
Did you know Glass Etching is one of our most popular corporate workshops? It’s also one of the most approachable, and fastest crafts out there with an amazing payoff. Read on to learn how to create custom glassware with just a few steps.
History of Glass Etching
Acid etching, also known as ‘French Embossing’ is a process invented in the Victorian era. (The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign from 1837 until her death in 1901.) It gives a frosted, etched finish in delicate tones of white and diffused shades and is capable of producing very intricate patterns.
The process was originally used by the Victorians for decorating windows and doors in public houses and bars, where it gave a luxurious and expensive feel to sitting areas. It also afforded privacy as it is not easy to see through acid-etched glass.
Sustainable Glass Etching
One of our favorite ways to apply this technique is by hitting up our local thrift stores, finding some gorgeous vintage glasses, and customizing them to make them our own.
- Plastic gloves
- Foam brush
- Masking tape
- Etching cream
- Contact paper
- Tracing paper
- Scissors OR
- We recommend having a cutting matt and x-acto knife to create more precise stencils.
Try our Glass Etching kit to get all the materials you’ll need, shipped directly to your door including glassware!
First things first you must start with a clean glass so if you’ve thrifted your glasses go ahead and wash and dry them thoroughly. Then go ahead and lay out all your materials and make sure you’re set up and ready to go!
- To start, it’s time for a little imagination! Brainstorm what you want to etch your glass with and sketch it out on a piece of regular paper! Remember if this is your first time etching we suggest keeping it simple with a basic outline or design.
- Once you have your final design you’re going to want to cut it out from the paper using a pair of scissors or, for a more detailed and precise outline use an x-acto knife.
- When you’re done with your outline go ahead and grab your contact paper. Tape it to the non-shiny, or grid side of the page.
Pro tip: If you have letters or numbers in your design you’ll need to reverse your design so it etches the right way, go ahead and flip it around before taping to your contact paper!
4. Once the paper is taped, cut out the design from the contact sheet by tracing around the paper stencil with your scissors or x-acto knife to create an outline of the design!
5. When you have a clean stencil on your contact paper, go ahead and remove the paper side so you’re left with the sticky clear side and apply to the glass as smoothly as possible
Pro tip: Because the glass is curved the paper will not apply smoothly and we recommend making little slits around the edge of your contact paper to help the stencil bend more easily. Then once your stencil is applied you can use simple scotch tape to cover the slits.
6. Check to make sure there are no air bubbles or holes around the edge of your design and cover those will small pieces of contact paper. You can also secure with masking tape for an added level of protection.
7. It’s time to etch! It’s very important to always wear gloves when working with etching cream so grab your gloves and put them on now.
8. Using a foam brush, apply a thick layer of the etching cream over your design. All the exposed area will be etched.
9. Leave the cream on for a minimum of 10 minutes.
10. Once the glass is ready, make sure to put your gloves back on and run your glass under running water to wash off the cream.
11. Remove your stencil from the glass and rinse the glass once more to make sure you’ve removed all your etching cream!
And you’re done! How does your design look? Glass etching is an amazing and easy way to create lasting and usable art through glassware. You can also create amazing “labels” by etching text onto glasses and using them to store dry ingredients or craft supplies.
Glass etching is one of our most popular workshops with groups and corporate clients because it’s a wonderful way to promote team building and creativity with a quick craft activity. To learn more about booking one of our corporate and private events check out this page for more info and flip through our catalog to see all our offerings!