Introduction: Freehand Glass Etching

About: A caterer and adventurer looking for things to do! I like to crochet, cook, build stuff with wood, garden, do art projects etc. I also just bought my first house, so there's LOTS of projects to do!
I am making personalized shot glasses for each of my friends this year (or coffee cups for those who don't partake). This is a bit different from standard etching in that it does not use a stencil: for small curved glasses like these, stencils don't quite stick.

I also included basic instructions for custom stenciling, just in case...

So, while the manufacturer recommends glass etching products for stencils it's possible to use it like paint. The wine glasses I did last year were hugely popular, so I hope these are a success too.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

You will need:
1 jar of Armour Etch (from most craft stores, possibly from a hardware store?)
1 (or more) glasses or any object made out of glass
1 paintbrush

And since etching cream is really nasty and caustic:
1 pair of gloves
eye protection

If you want to stencil your design you'll want some vinyl contact paper. Make sure it's sticky enough, but even then you may have trouble getting it to cling to a rounded surface. You can also use plastic stickers to create a 'negative' image, e.g., a frosted glass with non-frosted polka dots.

This is a project for adults, in fact, you have to have an ID to even BUY this stuff.
Your product might be different from mine, so read all of the directions that come with it!

Step 2: Wash and Begin

Clean and dry all of your glassware thoroughly.

Use the brush to draw your design, or the first stage of your design.
With larger designs, you will need to stagger the painting so that all of the areas are etched evenly.


If you are using a stencil, apply it at this point...
Or apply a solid sheet of vinyl and use a fine blade to cut out your design. Smooth out any bubbles, as they will leave gaps in your design.
Fill in the open areas with cream, and brush it back and forth evenly.

Step 3: Wait Wait Wait....

After the first stage of etching cream has been applied, set it aside for about 7 minutes. Paint your next glass, or check your email, just don't let the glass etching cream get all over!

After 7 minutes, come back and wash and dry your glass.

Step 4: Paint in As Many Stages As You Need

Finish as many parts of your design in as many stages as you need. I used 2 stages, one for the flower, and one for the branches.

Glass etching is fast, and fairly inexpensive!