Introduction: Glass Dining Room Table "Etching"

A time consuming way to make a plain glass table (or any piece of glass) so much cooler.

Supplies you'll need include:
Spraypaint (Matte Black)
Painters Tape (Blue)
X-ACTO Knife (360 rotation head) or other razor type knife
Sharpies/Pencils etc.

Step 1: Flip the Table Over.

You want to be working on the underside of the glass so your painted side is protected.

Step 2: Prepare the Table for Painters Tape.

In this step you need to thoroughly clean the table so your tape and eventually paint are going to adhere well.

Step 3: Cover the Table With Painters Tape.

Starting from one side work your way to the other side with long strips of painters tape, with each strip slightly overlapping the previous one.

You'll want to find the widest painters tape you can for this, it'll make it much easier.

Step 4: Sketch Your Design Onto the Tape.

You might want to start with pencil and sketch out your design, then go over it with a thick black sharpie when you are satisfied.

I warmed up on this piece of cardboard and tried out a few motifs until I was ready to go.

Step 5: Now Comes the Tedium. But It's Worth It.

It's time to cut out your design. You're actually leaving the design on the table and removing everything else.

Note: X-ACTO has a handy knife that allows the blade to rotate 360 in the tool. This is very helpful when you are cutting curves like this design.

You'll probably want a drink handy for this phase.

Step 6: Spraypaint the Entire Table

I don't have any pics of the spray painting process, but basically you want to spray paint the entire table going over your taped design. Smooth overlapping strokes back and forth will make it turn out great.

Make sure you have good ventilation and wear a mask.

When you are done the table will be entirely black. It actually looked pretty cool this way too.

The 2nd picture is from the underside of the table showing you the tape and the paint.

Step 7: Remove the Painters Tape

You'll want to wait until the paint is dry and then you can begin removing the tape.

I've got a couple of cloths on the table to rest my arms and tools on.

This step also requires some patience.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Custom 'etched' Table

Don't forget to turn the table back over so your design is on the underside!

Check out the cool patterns the light creates on the floor through the table.


adriank made it! (author)2014-12-12

excelente trabajo

DropDeadShorty2320 made it! (author)2014-04-24

How did you do the legs? and is the table attached to the legs?

nevarxxxraven made it! (author)2008-09-03

Thanks for this wonderfull idea. the only problem i had was when removing the tape the paint came off with it. So I had to cut the outline of the tape before removing it completely.

Chefboy6382 made it! (author)Chefboy63822008-12-13

if your using a plotter, spend about 2 times as much and get vinyl made especially for painting

Code128 made it! (author)2008-09-04

Wow. Really cool nevarxx. Thanks for posting your pics.

Chefboy6382 made it! (author)2008-07-06

this is an awesome idea, a slightly less time consuming way to do this would be to make your design on the computer and cut it or have it cut with a plotter then apply that to the glass and paint it. all in all, great idea and truly awesome finished product!!

jeff-o made it! (author)jeff-o2008-07-07

Can I borrow your 4x8 foot plotter for a weekend? ;)

Chefboy6382 made it! (author)Chefboy63822008-07-07

Ill happily help you design and cut anything, i think it may be a little easier to ship you some vinyl rather than my whole plotter.

jeff-o made it! (author)jeff-o2008-07-08

My question was in jest, since most people here don't have a plotter (and especially not one that large). But, since you have a plotter and (I assume) large rolls of vinyl, perhaps you could write up an instructable on how to use the two to create fancy decals for walls or windows, or paint masks. Maybe there's even a little home business ready to flourish!

Chefboy6382 made it! (author)Chefboy63822008-07-08

I understood your sarcasm. and you are right not everyone has a plotter. but most every sign shop does and that is exactly the type of things they make, so someone could take the time to have the sign shop cut the design. and since not everyone has an artistic ability to be able to design and cut scrolls out of tape the sign shop would be a great resource. I have considered an instructable but since my home business is flourishing i haven't had the time. ill see what i can do in the future. thanks again

nevarxxxraven made it! (author)nevarxxxraven2008-09-03

awe an instuctable on any how to plotter would be amazing. i recently got my hands on one and have no idea wat im doin. besides the basics. i think its a beautiful hobby. im not the business type.

thefrogness made it! (author)2008-08-23

also what you can do is paste photocopies onto the tape (with spray adhesive, i use 3M its the best!) and scalpel directly through the image. Thats what I'm doing for my sandblasted screens :)

putingtikbalang made it! (author)2008-07-11

This is amazing! Thank you very much for sharing. :) I have a question for you, though: is there a way to "protect" the etching and ensuring it to be "scratch-proof" from the paint-side? Just wondering. :)

Code128 made it! (author)Code1282008-08-06

I've been living with the table for about a month now and the paint hasn't needed any 'protection'. I think the only thing to worry about would be peoples knees on the bottom of the table.

seankreynolds made it! (author)seankreynolds2008-08-05

You could probably varnish it with clear varnish ... just tape up the edges so it doesn't run over. I'd test this on a piece of spare glass first, though, just to make sure the varnish didn't react with the dried spraypaint somehow. FYI, if you peeled off the design instead of the "white space" around the design you could probably use glass etch to etch the design or a sandblaster.

Gonazar made it! (author)2008-07-06

.... But don't you scratch the table's glass when you go over it with a knife???

professorred made it! (author)professorred2008-07-16

if it does scratch, the scratches will be on the border between the painted and unpainted bits. Also, this would add a white scratch and would look good with dark paints.

Gonazar made it! (author)Gonazar2008-07-17

yeah but you're damaging the glass, and since it's used quite often couldn't that risk it's lifespan? Glass has a better chance of breaking if it already has nicks etc. in it right?

Code128 made it! (author)Code1282008-07-17

I wouldn't worry about weakening the glass, in this case it's very thick and the blade wouldn't cause anymore scratching than the normal sliding of dishes and glasses etc.

Jonny Katana made it! (author)Jonny Katana2008-07-07

I think that the hardness of most glass > the hardness of X-ACTO knives. However, I have been wrong many, many times before :)

professorred made it! (author)2008-07-16

If you could somehow remove the tape before the paint dries, this would reduce the chance of the paint chipping. Maybe use paper or cardboard or whatever to remove quickly and easily.

kirchmke made it! (author)2008-07-12

I love this idea... A suggestion for someone who's not as artistic in doing the design: You can project an image using a projector and a printed transparency and then trace accordingly. I really love this idea! Thanks!

jojo200517 made it! (author)2008-07-11

I like it also I think it would have been nice to peel off the design and have just it painted. It wouldn't be as much paint but it'd still be cool.

At Liberty made it! (author)2008-07-11


cuteaznprincesss made it! (author)2008-07-11

until this day, i've always thought of myself a cut above others in the realm of patience. you're work has completely humbled me. if i weren't living in a home that was not my own, i would translate your idea onto all my windows. so awesome.

Code128 made it! (author)2008-07-07

Yeah, that would be awesome and I have a plotter at work that I could have used, but it was the weekend and there is something to be said for the hand work aspect. I haven't had the chance to sit and work on something that intricate for awhile. It was good for the head. That being said, future screens will be plotted!

jeff-o made it! (author)2008-07-07

Excellent idea. This would be a neat effect for some windows or glass cabinet doors...

aliceownsj00 made it! (author)2008-07-06

Thats amazing! I'm sure if that were available in stores people would buy it, haha I would!!

sideways made it! (author)2008-07-06

The black looks cool, different that the normal white glass frosting.

You can buy an acrylic water-base craft paint that looks like frosted glass when it is dry. I got mine at a retail craft chain store. It's only a couple dollars for a bottle that will cover a good sized area. It goes on with a brush and it looks *exactly* like the glass was acid or sand etched when it's dry.

I also believe there's spray-on glass frosting available right in the same aisle where one finds normal spray paint. This isn't water-based, so it would need to be used outdoors.

armylifer made it! (author)2008-07-06

VERY COOL IDEA!!!! I do something like it on a smaller scale but use glass acid etch and white vinyl shelf liner. Carbon paper to transfer my pattern works great to cut the pattern. The glass acid etch found at most hobby shops. Very easy to do, no bad smell and it just frost the surface of your pattern. I also do this with mirrors using basic line drawings like coloring book drawings. Popular cartoon characters, flowers, scenery etc...

jongscx made it! (author)2008-07-06

Would this work with actual Glass etchant? (is that a word? well Glass Etcher I guess) the kind that you spray on and it eats away at the glass surface, so you get a frosted finish? I'm glad you emphasized BE CAREFUL WHEN REMOVING THE TAPE in step 7.. I use the same method for painting comp cases, and it's always a pain when the tape takes chunks of the paint away. (it could also be that I prepared the case badly or didn't prime it... but whateva)

n8man made it! (author)n8man2008-07-06

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! Rabbids!!!!! They are going to take over the world with their plungers!!!!

jongscx made it! (author)jongscx2008-07-06

... is a muffin... ON A STICK!

n8man made it! (author)n8man2008-07-06

I know that, but they do have plungers.

rredmon made it! (author)2008-07-06

if you had access to a portable sand blasting unit like is used to remove old paint from could achieve a frosted glass look without any'd still have to cut out the stencil but the effect would be really cool. Great Idea btw.

underroutine made it! (author)2008-07-06

If only I saw this yesterday morning. I was at ikea and they had a whole stack of glass dining tables on sale for 20 dollars (from 100 regular!) but it was so clear and plain. Still top notch instructable.

Jonny Katana made it! (author)2008-07-06

I love the Instructable, man. The effect looks great, and unlike conventional etching, if you decide you don't like the design a few years down the road, just bust out the turpentine rags and go to work!

tish made it! (author)2008-07-06

Beautiful! Gorgeous! Amazing..! thank you for sharing.

LinuxH4x0r made it! (author)2008-07-06

Awesome! I'd suggest adding some sort of foam or some sort of spacer to the "legs" so that the paint doesn't get scratched.

xr7vr0 made it! (author)2008-07-06

Excellent craftsmanship! I don't think I would have the patiente for this. If I were to do this, I would cut out a whole bunch of curves of random sizes first, and use spray adhesive to get them to stick to the glass trying to keep some sort of pattern. Much like a reverse stencil. I still don't think it would look as great as yours.

inquisitive made it! (author)2008-07-06

That is so pretty! I have a 4 tier glass and chrome stand that this would be a cool application.

Kiteman made it! (author)2008-07-06

This is a great way to update an eighties table. There's a local Chinese restaurant with plain, clear glass tables - I hate watching other people's knees while I eat, so I think I'll mention this project to them...

The Rocketizer made it! (author)2008-07-06

Woah. Absolutely awesome idea, and a great instructable. The effect looks amazing

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Bio: VP Creative Technology @Wrap
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