My uncle got married the weekend after Thanksgiving. My brother is getting married during Christmas break. Annnd… I have a niece getting married over New Year’s. Usually, a wedding gift doesn’t make or break the bank, but three wedding gifts? And during the cash-strapped holiday season, no less. I needed something cheap, creative, cute and easy.
The first time I ever did glass etching was at a church activity when I was about 15. It was too cool. And super easy. That was back before crafting with vinyl or Cricut and Silhouette machines. We cut our templates from index cards with X-acto knifes. Whoa, right? Glass etching is a lot easier and yields much more professional looking results than it did when I was 15.
Here’s the How:
Sorry for the lack of in-the-process photos. It’s kinda a two hand job…
1. A glass dish or mirror (size is totally up to you)
2. Glass Etching Cream – I use Armor Etch. This is a bit pricey, but it will do a ton of projects and last forever. The only bottle I have ever thrown out before I used it all was my first bottle. I threw it away when we were packing up to move a couple years ago, I was 22. It was the bottle I bought for the activity when I was 15.
3. Vinyl and craft cutting machine. This is optional. The old school index card and masking tape method still works.
1. Clean your etching surface. Wipe dry with a paper towel.
2. Cut out and apply your vinyl template. Or your index card, you rebel, you. Keep in mind that whatever the vinyl covers will still be clear glass (or reflective mirror, if you’re using a mirror).
3. Apply the etching paste. What you use to apply the paste isn’t really important. I’ve used paint brushes, craft sticks, a plastic spoon and, recently, I used half of a clothes pin on my uncle’s dish (go improvisation!). Cake the goop on thick and make sure it covers your glass well. Side note: the etching paste stinks. It just does. Kind of like rotten eggs or bad flatulence… A well-ventilated area will help. Or just hold your breath.
4. Leave the paste on the glass for 10-15 minutes. After about 5, I check to make sure it hasn’t settled and left holes. If there are holes, just goop on some more paste.
5. When the 10-15 minutes are up, scrape all the paste off the dish and back into your bottle. The paste will work over and over and it’s FAR TOO EXPENSIVE to just wash it all down the drain.
6. Wash the remaining paste off the dish and pull your template off. Rinse the whole dish well. Dry with a paper towel. When the etched part of the glass is wet, it’s hard to see the design. As soon as it’s dry, you’ll be able to see it though.
|Here’s a close up of the etch|
That’s it. It’s pretty easy and, because you can reuse the paste, it’s not crazy expensive. And it’s personalized, which means your crazy Aunt Sue won’t stash it with her other dishes when you accidentally leave it at the family Christmas party. My kind of gift.