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September 24, 2014

glass etching

A while ago I mentioned that I wanted to try glass etching, & it finally happened! The concept is pretty basic & it was a lot easier than anticipated. We referenced The Yummy Life's tutorial as we went along, which proved to be super helpful. For this tutorial we etched some jars to hold pet treats, but etching is so easy we ended up etching many, many other things around the house (can anyone say personalized Christmas gifts?).

A few notes about etching cream: this stuff is pretty hardcore. Only handle the etching cream if you are wearing gloves. Work in a well-ventilated area - open a window! Cover your work area with something disposable, like a drop cloth or a paper bag.

To etch glass, you'll need:

  • Armour Etch Cream
  • Stickers for your design
  • A popsicle stick
  • Glass jars
  • Masking tape
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels (not pictured)

Step 1 // Clean your glass jars with rubbing alcohol & a paper towel. Keep your fingers off the glass after they have been cleaned - the oils in your hands will interfere with the etching process. 

Step 2 // Lay out your design using stickers & tape. The areas of the glass that are covered will not be etched & will remain clear. By taping off the top & bottom of our jar & applying stickers in between, our design turned out as a band of etched glass with the word "catnip" showing up clear. Make sure you lay out your tape straight. Any imperfections will show up in the final etching! If you end up touching your glass too much during this step, gently clean the area with rubbing alcohol again. 

If you want the opposite design - the lettering etched & the surrounding areas clear - you will need to create a sticker stencil. You can do this with contact paper, cutting the lettering out of the contact paper with either an x-acto blade or a die cutter.

Step 3 // Put on the rubber gloves & stir the etching cream gently with the popsicle stick. Then apply the etching cream to your glass jar using the popsicle stick. Apply the cream only to the areas of the jar that you want etched. 

Step 4 // Let the cream sit for a total of five minutes (contrary to directions on the bottle). The cream on your jar will need to be stirred up at different intervals. After one & a half minutes, swirl up the cream with your popsicle stick. After three & a half minutes, stir again. This stirring helps move the crystal in the etching cream around, creating an even etching.

Step 5 // After the five minutes is up, rinse the etching cream off in hot water & remove the stickers & tape. The hot water will allow the stickers & tape to come off more easily. Important! Do not rinse etching cream off in a porcelain or plastic sink! The etching cream will damage the sink. Rinse the cream off in a stainless steel sink or outdoors. After the stickers & etching cream are off, clean your jars in soap & water before using. 


Some more notes about etching: 

Don't etch really large areas. Etching takes best to small areas. The largest area we tried was the bottom of a pie plate, & even that was a little bit too big as some areas of the etching appeared uneven. 

Throw away your drop cloth & popsicle stick after you've completed your etching - this stuff is toxic. 

Some glass objects cannot be etched. Pyrex makes some of their products with a heat treatment that will not take to etching. 

Also, do a test run first if you haven't tried etching before, especially if you plan on etching a piece of glass that you only have one of. These pet treat jars are the last things we etched, so now we're basically pros at this now. 

Happy etching!


// This is not a sponsored post, Amazon is an affiliate sponsor of WeCanMakeAnything //

Related // For more stenciling fun, check out the stenciled t-shirt tutorial.

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