- Glass Etching
Simple versatile technique that can make a simple glass piece into an expensive one. It’s great for personalizing glass as gifts or, branding yours. I will warn you, the main tool; Etching Cream will cost you anything from $12 and up, depending on the size of your container, but I think you’ll agree with me in saying it’s worth it. It is an acid, so handle with care and keep it away from pets and children, avoid contact with your skin (if any, just rinse thoroughly) and apply with something plastic and disposable. Don’t worry, it sounds worse than it is, but those are just the precautions on the label and since it is some sort of acid, it doesn’t hurt to follow the precautions. On that note I will tell you, I got it on my hands and nothing happened, so don’t worry, it doesn’t irritate your skin as long as you don’t let it sit.
The great thing about Etching Cream is that you can create multiple pieces and not repeat yourself! I love the fact that even though it’s an acid, it has no fumes and it barely smells, so working indoors is not a problem. I’m sharing with you the original tutorial but I’m listing my instructions rather than the original ones. Feel free to compare and use the instructions that best work for you!
Contact paper (clear or colored one), Etching Cream & plastic knife
1. Choose your image. Any graphic or drawing will do, just remember that if you don’t have a cutting machine, you’ll have to do the cutting your self and a simple image would be best.
2. If you have a Cricut Machine (or other machine like that), just cut your contact paper on a sheet bigger than your image and let your machine cut it out.
If you don’t have a Cricut, just cut your contact paper so that it fits on your printer, flip your image horizontally (mirror your image) and print it. It is very important you print on the paper side and not the plastic side (that is why we are flipping the image). Be careful, some printers jam contact paper sheets. If your printer jams the sheet of contact paper, you will probably have to buy a mold and trace or draw the image. Once your image is on your contact paper sheet, your next step is to cut out your image with an X-acto knife. This step might take some time depending on how detailed your image is.
3. Clean your glass with alcohol and once it’s dry, place the adhesive part of your contact paper in your glass. Remove all air bubble and make sure there are no gaps. This is very important in order to obtain a crisp image.
4. Using a plastic disposable knife and apply sufficient Etching Cream to the areas that were cut out (to your image). You don’t want it to drip, but you want to make sure the cream completely covers the area. If cream falls on an area of the glass that is not part of your image, wipe away quickly as any drops where the etching cream sits in the glass will be permanent.
5. Depending on the brand you buy, some bottles don’t have waiting time instructions. I will tell you that 10 minutes didn’t do anything to my glass, by experience I would advice letting it sit for maybe 2 hours before rinsing. If it sounds like a lot of time, you can do what I did: I kept rinsing and reapplying until the etching effect was visible enough. Maybe it all depends on the thickness of your glass, of this I’m not sure, the good thing is you can rinse and reapply without having to remove the contact paper.
6. Once your waiting time is complete, take you glass and rinse it with tab water. Don’t be afraid of touching the image and removing the cream with your fingers, it will not hurt or dry your hands at all. The etching effects are permanent so rubbing the image will not harm it.
7. Once you inspect to make sure your image etched correctly, remove the contact paper. You’re finished! Feel free to wash as normal, your image won’t be going anywhere!
The truth is that this technique is quick and simple once your image is cut out of the contact paper. Anything from birds (which I did, I loved the simplicity of it!) to monograms will look expensive!
On another note, I needed a desert tray and decided to make one out of my extensive glassware, check it out! Ikea Tea Light holder and a glass urn glued together with glass water proof glue! Not bad!