Learn How to Easily Etch Glass using Armour Etching Cream and a Cricut Vinyl Stencil
Recently, I fell in love with the look of etched glass and decided to learn how to etch glass on my own! After scouring the web for all of the best tips and tricks to get great results, I finally had a go at glass etching and guess what? I totally love it!
It's a great permanent alternative to using a vinyl decal and the best part is it's dishwasher safe!
Why Etch Glass?
One of the biggest reasons to etch glass instead of adding vinyl to it is to make it dishwasher safe. With etched glass, you don't have to worry about your decal peeling off or it needing special care.
In this tutorial, I'll be using Armour Etching Cream which is available at most craft stores or on Amazon. This is the highest-rated etching cream and gives the most desirable results.
This is such a fun way to personalize a gift or add some flair to your glassware! In the tutorial below I'll give you every step of the process as well as a few tips and tricks in case you run into a problem.
What is Glass Etching?
Glass etching is the removal of minute amounts of glass from the surface of a glass object in order to create a rough surface that is slightly translucent resembling frosted glass.
“Armour Etch is a fast-acting specially formulated glass etching compound that lets you create permanently etched designs on windows, mirrors and household glassware.”
A few things to keep in mind is that this is not recommended for use on Pyrex, plastic or large solid areas of glass.
- There seems to be some debate on whether or not this will work on Pyrex. Some people have had success using this etching cream on newer versions of Pyrex.
Don't forget to watch the video for a more in-depth look at this process!
Glass Etching Supplies
- Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream
- Small Paint Brush
- Stencil or Permanent Vinyl
- Painters Tape
- Transfer Tape
- Weeding Tool
- Paper Towels
Creating your Stencil
Before you get started etching you'll need to either create or purchase a vinyl stencil to use on your glass.
I used my Cricut machine to cut out a variety of different vinyl stencils.
Pro Tip - In this tutorial, I'm using a stencil that I cut from permanent vinyl. The reason why I use permanent vinyl is that it adheres better than removable vinyl and won't allow the etching cream to creep under it.
To create the stencil choose a design within Design Space or create your own. I like to add a shape, lay the design on top of it and slice it. This will leave you with a large shape and the letters cut out of the middle. The large area of vinyl will protect the glass from the etching cream.
Choosing the Right Glass for Glass Etching
First off you want to make sure you are using an item that is compatible with this etching cream. It is only recommended that you use this method on small pieces of glass. The cream will etch only work on bare, uncoated glass. Typically, it’s recommended to avoid Pyrex as it may not etch at all or it may have uneven results.
Before working with the glass, place a clean pair or gloves on your hands.
Clean the Glass
Begin by cleaning the glass thoroughly with Alcohol, this will remove any residue that might prevent the etching cream from doing its job. Wipe away any moisture with a clean paper towel.
Apply your Glass Etching Stencil
It’s important to use a pair of gloves when applying the stencil to prevent any oils from your hands from transferring to the glass and to protect your fingers from the acid.
Make sure both the glass and the stencil are at room temperature before beginning this process.
Leftover oils on the glass can prevent the stencil from fully adhering to the glass which can allow the etching cream to creep under the vinyl and destroy the integrity of the design.
Press down on the stencil making sure that it’s fully adhered to the glass.
Hold your glass up to a bright light and inspect the stencil to make sure there isn’t any hair or debris stuck under the design.
Make sure to cover any of the areas that will be touched by the rinse water with masking tape to protect it from the etching cream.
Apply Armour Etch Cream
Apply a layer of cream over the vinyl making sure not to get any of the cream outside of the vinyl stencil. The cream should be patted onto the stencil. Avoid brushing the cream on as this can cause brushstrokes in your finished product. The cream should be patted on with a paintbrush.
Once the area has been fully covered, brush the etching cream around the design back and forth.
For the best results, use a paintbrush instead of a foam brush. This will allow you to get better coverage and get the cream into the nooks and crannies of the stencil.
The directions will advise you to leave the cream in place for 1 minute, In my experience, I’ve found that’s not quite long enough to get great results. Instead, leave the cream on for about 5-10 minutes.
- Pro Tip - Keep in mind that leaving the etching cream on for too long can weaken the stencil causing a blurry image instead of crips, clean lines.
Remove Etching Cream
Rinse the etch cream off under running water. Remove the vinyl stencil and wash the glass once more.
For an even brighter etch you can reapply the etching cream a second time after cleaning the first layer off completely.
Thoroughly dry the glass to reveal the design.
Now you have your finished etched glass! You can reuse these same instructions on a variety of different glass objects! The sky is the limit with this project.
Troubleshooting Glass Etching
Make sure that both your glass and stencil are at room temperature before using it.
Check to make sure that there isn’t any hair or debris stuck under the stencil. You can do this by holding the glass up to bright light.
Completely surround the stencil with tape to prevent any ghosting from appearing where the cream might accidentally spread to especially where the cream will run when being washed.
Avoid brushing the cream on as this can cause brushstrokes in your finished product. The cream should be patted on with a paintbrush.
Glass with a high leaded content can be hard to etch. I recommend using glass from the Dollar Store.
More tutorials can be found at Sweet Red Poppy!