Tutorial + How-to etched glass

Published on November 26th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe


How-to: Glass Etching

etched glassEtching cream is one of the simplest ways to put your own designs onto glass, and you can even make custom stencils to fancy things up!

The etching cream itself is not the greenest material, so you do want to make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area when you’re doing glass etching, and it’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves when you’re handling etching cream. Once you’ve taken the proper safety measures, hit the thrift store or your own cabinet for some old glasses, and you’re ready to etch!


  • Thrifted glasses, Mason jars, etc
  • Etching cream
  • Gloves
  • Paint brush
  • Contact paper
  • Scissors and/or an Exacto knife


  1. Cut whatever shapes you want out of the contact paper. The annoying part is that you have to cut a stencil for each piece you’re etching. A die cutter would make this SO much easier. Remember: you’re going to paint the cream on the negative space, so the shape you cut out isn’t your stencil – what’s left is.
  2. Stick the contact paper stencil to the clean, dry glass.
  3. Glob on LOTS of etching cream. Don’t be shy!
  4. Let it set for 10-15 minutes. I know, the box says 5 minutes, but whoever wrote that is crazy. It takes at least 10 minutes to get a nice, clear image.
  5. Put on your gloves and rinse each glass thoroughly, then peel back the contact paper.
  6. Make sure that you clean off your paint brush really well as soon as you’re done.

That’s it! Your design will show up like magic. You could keep using these as glasses, or you can turn them into super fun, custom votive holders! Just put about an inch of beans, lentils, or rice in the bottom, set your tea light on top, and voila!

Have you guys done any glass etching of your own? I’d love to hear what you made in the comments!

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About the Author

Hi there! I'm Becky Striepe, a green crafter and vegan foodie living in Atlanta, Georgia with my husband and two cats. My mission is to make eco-friendly crafts and vegan food accessible to anyone who wants to give them a go. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

3 Responses to How-to: Glass Etching

  1. Pingback: 9 Ways to Reuse a Mason Jar | Glue and Glitter

  2. Irene says:

    I tried this, but much perfer my electric engraver. Still have some cream ,may try it again. I love working with glass.

  3. Pingback: 7 Gifts You Can Make in a Mason Jar | Care2 Healthy Living

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