How to etch glass in 3 minutes




The good news for artists who are interested in creating the frosty look of etched glass is that the process now takes about 3 minutes of time. The six step process begins with the use of glass etching cream. The process is not only easy it is safe. The results are treasures that will be loved by your family for years. The best part is this process fits easily into any home hobby.

Please keep in mind that etching is permanent, and the treatment will not wear off, or be removed. The etching becomes part of the glass itself. The benefit is that artists can learn to add shading to their projects.

The effect of etching can be achieved in three ways. Sand blasting, laser etching and chemical etching. In this article, we discuss how to use chemicals to produce etching on glass. Laser etching is expensive and requires special equipment. Sand Blasting is used on heavier grade glass and creates a mess. It is not very home-base friendly. For the home based artist that leaves chemical etching.


It is important that every project begin with safety. Safety for yourself, and your children. Be sure to follow the instructions that are outlined by the manufacturer.

Supplies Needed:

  • Masking Tape
  • Lint Free Cheese Cloth
  • Cotton Buds
  • Latex Gloves
  • Stencils
  • Paper Towels
  • Protective Goggles
  • Clothing that is long sleeved
  • Etching Cream

Step 1: Preparing the Glass

The first step is to clean the glass. The glass must be as clean as possible. Glass cleaner that is Finger Print Resistant should be avoided. It produces a film on the glass that prevents that etching cream from etching. Make sure that once the glass is clean it is also free of finger prints and smudges The glass must be completely dry before proceeding to the next step.

Step 2: Creating the Design

Using care, cut the stencil and the backing sheet to size using a pair of scissors. Cutting both sheets at the same time helps to prevent your fingerprints from getting onto the back of the stencil. Fingerprints can disrupt the chemical process and cause the etching to be of poor quality.


Once the site for the etching is located, remove the backing paper and apply the blue stencil to the surface of the glass so that the sticky surface is in contact with the glass. Using masking tape you can firmly attach the stencil in place.

Carefully transfer the stencil to the glass by rubbing a wood craft stick over the stencil. Use caution so that the stick does not tear the stencil. You will know that you are doing this correctly because the colour of the paper will change from dark blue to a lighter shade of blue.

Step 3: Removal of the Carrier Sheet

Once the colour of the stencil has turned to a uniform light blue, you can remove the clear plastic carrier sheet. To do this, carefully remove a section of masking tape and then, lift up one corner of the stencil. If the stencil did not completely transfer simply replace the blue sheet and carrier sheet and rub the stencil back onto the glass with your wooden craft stick.


Step 4: Protecting Clear areas with Tape

Any portion of the glass around the stencil that you do not want to accidentally become etched needs to be covered with masking tape. Start by first taping around the edge of your design and then work outward to cover any spots that you want protected. When you get to an area where you must overlap the tape then do so by leaving a 2-3mm overlap.

To ensure that the tape is firmly adhered to the surface of the glass use the frosted back up sheet to press gently over the tape and stencil area. You can hold the object up to a light source to check if there are any small holes in the tape. If you discover that there are holes, simply cover them over with tape, and repeat this step to make sure that new tape is firmly attached. The goal is to prevent any etching cream from seeping under the edges of the tape. TIP: Do not try to remove the tape as it will cause the design to tear.

Step 5: Using the Armour Etching Cream

Please read the manufacturers instructions. You will notice a handy tip in the instructions. Room temperature is best at 22°C. Once your object is properly taped, you are ready to apply the Armour Etching Cream. To begin, shake the container to ensure that contents are well mixed. Don your safety latex gloves and goggles. Place the object to be etched over newspaper or cardboard. NOTE: you are working with an acid, so make sure that you are near enough to a water source to wash any acid off your skin if you should come into contact with the acid. NEVER WORK WITH ACID WITHOUT GOGGLES.

The etching cream must be applied in a thick layer. The goal is that once the cream is applied, you cannot see the through it, to the design. Apply the cream carefully ensuring that it stays within the taped off area.

Step 6: Finishing up the Project

Continue to wear your Goggles and gloves. Once the etching cream has been on the object for a minute, turn on the tap and adjust the water temperature to luke warm. Remember the etching cream only needs to stay on the glass for one minute. Once that minute is up, gently rinse off the etching cream under the tap. Once all of the etching cream has been removed, you can remove the tape and stencil.

The last step is again to clean the glass using class cleaner and dry completely.

The art of glass etching has a rich, and a deep history that uses artistic skill in combination with a hand-made technique. There are many uses for glass etching that include products created out of crystal, glass marble and even stone.

No need to be intimidated by etching as we’ve got a starter kits that has everything you need to get started available at our online store.

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