Monday, November 14, 2011

Glass Etching Project

It took me a while but I finally got around to making another set of etched glasses.  I wanted to pass along how I do this so I hope you will enjoy my tutorial!

Last Christmas I made these "Naughty & Nice" wine glasses and I've also made a set of "Mr & Mrs" glasses for my daughter and her husband.  Also, a dear friend of mine who has a passion for the word "Believe" was given a set of 4 flute glasses I made as a Christmas gift a few years ago.  I even added stars to those too. Quite cute they were!

The idea to make a set of glasses with "Yours & Mine" on them comes from a wine glass set my grandparents had.  Their glasses said, "YOU" and "ME" and there was even a small wine decanter with "WINE" etched on it too.  I always thought it was a cute way to keep track of your own glass;  no need for the wine charms now!  I would love to have a few more clever etched glasses for guests, but then I would need a bigger closet to store them all in! 

Supplies needed:
Any glassware (I would advise something from the dollar store for your first attempt at etching). 
Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream  (most craft stores)
Contact paper
Graphite Transfer paper
Small Exacto knife
Felt pen
Paint Brush
Ruler and Nail polish remover (not in the picture of supplies, sorry)
Printed sheet of paper with the choice of words you want to etch on your glasses. You will need to adjust font sizes depending on the size of glasses you use. 

FYI: These stemless flutes I have used in this project were from Pier 1 Imports and were only $2.00 a glass.

After gathering all the supplies, I first typed the words I wanted to use in Microsoft Word using the "Herald" font size 36.  I suggest you use a simple, bold, thick font with straight lines to it.  Anything fancy is a bit difficult to do on your first attempt. Make sure the words fit the size of the glasses.

To begin you will need to transfer the words using graphite paper onto a piece of contact paper.  The pieces of contact paper I used were 2x2 inches for the size of glasses I was using. 

Now measure and mark where you want to place your etched words.  I have mine at 4 inches from the bottom of my glasses.  I recommend not putting it to close to the top where lips will meet it.

I have my letters centered where the black marks are on my glass. I know they don't show in the photo, but they are there.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  When placing the contact paper on the glass, try not to rub the graphite as it will smear. Just press your fingers down on it to make sure it is completely adhered to the glass. 

Next you will be using the exacto knife and I want to warn you to always be careful and aware of your hands and fingers at all times when using this tool. You will be drawing the knife towards your hand or fingers with every move.  Hold the knife and the glass very tight and steady at all times.  You may get a hand cramp by doing this so take a break when needed!

I find it best to make very short cutting movements that are about 1/8 of an inch at a time.  This way you won't move to quickly and go slicing too fast towards a hand or a finger.  :( 
Also think about turning the glass piece as you cut curves and not trying to turn your hands as these curves are very small areas and the turn of the hand seems to get in the way of itself.  This is why fonts with straight lines are easier to cut at.

When you are done cutting the letters, you may find some areas that are still connected at a corner or anywhere else you may have started and stopped cutting.  Go back and carefully cut a second time.

NOTE:  When cutting the letters, "a, e, o, p, d, b, A, R, O, P, D, B and maybe some other letters I can't think of right now, you will need to be careful of the tiny inside areas of these letters.  For instance, when cutting the lower case "e" and when you are lifting off the cut contact paper, the tiny little round center will probably want to come off too.  Be sure to keep this secured on to the glass.  Tweezers come in handy for this. 

Make sure all the inside edges are clean cuts.  If there are any rough edges this will show once you etch.  After all the cutting cleanup is done, I like to take a q-tip with a little nail polish remover and clean the glass where you removed the contact paper.  There is usually some adhesive there and it needs to be cleaned.  Once cleaned, then be sure all of the contact paper is again secured to the glass. 

Before etching please read all the instructions on your product before using.  Stir well before applying.

Next is the easiest part of this project!  But make sure not to get any etching cream on anything around you when working with this product because it will remove the finish on tile, porcelain, etc. .

Just take a paint brush and dab on a thick coat of the etching cream.  You don't want to brush it back and forth because you will move those tiny little pieces of contact paper we just talked about.

Now just let it set for ten minutes and then wash it off!  Dry it off with a paper towel and see if all the areas of the letter were etched.  If not, you didn't cover the whole word.  Add some more and let it set again.  This time it should be good. 

Remove the contact paper, give the glass a good cleaning with soap and warm water and you are all finished!   

I hope all this info will be helpful and inspire you to try glass etching if you've never done it before. 

If using letters seems a bit daunting, try adding stars or other shapes to adorn any glass item.  Taping off a glass piece is another way to add a different design.  Look into your local dollar stores (obviously it would only cost a dollar!) or thrift stores for an unusual glass piece that you may get at a bargain and make it all your own!


  1. Great idea and so simple! Thank you so much :)


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