Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Have You Tried Etching Glass Yet - No you don't need a cutting machine

  Back in July I posted a piece of etched glass that I made for a Christmas gift. 

 For this piece I used my ScanNCut for the design. A couple of people reading the post and several people in my guild commented that etching looked like fun but they didn't have cutting machines.

This post is a  tutorial based on how I etch without using a machine. It is picture heavy. I will be including a couple of links to youtube tutorials that cover both machine and non machine projects.  The one using a machine is worth watching for the tips on the etching process.

For this post the items I will be using are:

Protection for your work surface (I use a puppy pad but several layers of newspaper will work just fine)

Disposable baking pan for rinsing off the etching cream (this can be used multiple times)

Armour Etching Cream  which I got at JoAnns,  $9.98 full price, but I used a coupon.(This has the potential to be a  dangerous  item. Please read the label before using.  Keep our to the reach of children, it can burn your skin, you need to wear gloves and eye protection, remember this is glass etching cream so it will etch your prescription glasses ) While this won't etch plastic, it can etch some sinks which is why I use the disposable pan for the initial rinse)  This little jar of cream goes on for a very long time because  the cream gets put back in the bottle and reused.

It's a thick cream and I haven't had any issues with it.

An applicator ( I use a small paint brush, picked up a package the dollar store, I haven't tried a sponge brush)

So far I have primarily etched pieces of glass from The Dollar Store and a Christmas ornament that cost me 50 cents at Hobby Lobby on sale.

I have also successfully etched a Pyrex pie dish $6 and a couple of $4 glass mugs using a designs made using the scan n cut.

And last but definitely not least you need some form of shipping label.  You need to be able to peel the label from the backing for the process. You can buy all sorts of sizes at Staples.  I have also found that the Priority Mail labels I use for packages and got for free  at the PO are great for the job.  

The biggest problem I have had so far is taking pictures of the finished items  Glass is a bear to photograph.

So let us begin.  The first step is finding a simple design that you can get onto your label to cut out.  I use my computer and clip art for ideas.  I understand that a childs coloring book is also a good source. 

If you are a cardmaker or scrapbooker you may have a great paper punch for a design.  

Or you can go back to your crafting beginnings and fold a piece of paper in half and free hand a design.  That's what I did for my Tree and Heart. 

I will also be trying for the first time to use stickers doing a word on the sample mug its kind of a reverse process.

I will be using 3 sides of this Mason Jar type mug.  This is a good starter shape because the sides are flat. Curves are a bear to get a good sharp edge where the cream cant leak under. I have successfully done curves but not on my first try.  I'd suggest starting with flat surfaces for a start.

Before you start, wipe the glass with an alcohol wipe of some sort.  You want to remove all finger oils. 

To begin.  Peal the backing off your design and place it on your glass.  Rub down all of the designs edges. If there is the slightest gap or wrinkle the cream will creep under and etch a blotch at that point on your project.  


Cover your design with etching cream, Make sure you cover the entire design including any little pointy areas.  brush from the paper in so as not to lift any edges.  You can look from the back and sometimes see tiny gaps you may have missed.  Be careful to stay within the label. Cream coming into contact with any glass will cause it to be etched.

I let the cream sit on the glass for 5 to 10 minutes.  I can't find the instructions but I think they suggest 3 minutes.  At the end of the time carefully take the brush and capture as much of the cream as you can and put it back in the container to use again.

Rinse the remaining cream and label off and dry.  You will have trouble seeing the design while the glass is wet and feel like your failed. You just need to be a little bit patient.

I got this far and came across  a punch with a little star so after the fact I added it.

For this side of the mug I am using multiple paper punch designs

after the 5 minutes, start the wash off

just keep it wet and keep rubbing off the label.

This is my last example.  I have the mug handle wedged in a folded towel to keep it steady while I do this new to me process. This is kind of a reverse process.  One of the you tube videos I've seen  showed how you could add words using stickers.  The trick is to neatly stop the etching process.

Making a masking tape edge worked well for me.  I did do it by eyeballing not measuring.

Again make sure all of the edges are as securely adhered to the glass as possible before covering in cream.

Now for the reveals of the day.

My collection of punched snowflakes
I find that my best pictures of the etched glass are taken on my lawn.

my hand cut tree with the punched star

my sticker snow

And last but not least my glass ornament with the cut out tree.  I notice that I need to add the star to its top before gifting.

Here are the 2 links to youtube videos that I found very helpful on the use of the etching cream no matter that the first one is using a cut pattern in the demo.

 etching on pyrex        https://jennifermaker.com/etched-casserole-dish/      

wine glass                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Si96k-qfR54

I hope that you found this post has aroused your curiosity enough to give etching a try. Other than the initial purchase of the etching cream it can be a source of some really reasonably priced and creative gift items from craft and dollar stores.
I'd love to hear how you made out and if there are any questions please let me know and I'll see if I can answer them.

I am self taught with the help of youtube videos.  I have only been doing this since this summer. If I can do it, I'm pretty sure you can too.  Have Fun.