I’ve totally fallen in love with diy glass etching!!! With your Cricut or Silhouette, you can make so many unique gifts and personalize most anything. I know it sounds intimidating, but really it’s just sooooo easy and quick, too.
So here’s what you’ll need to get started. Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here for more details. As an Amazon Affiliate I earn from qualifying purchases.
My dear controller coworker Ken (you remember Ken and the Apologetic Chicken Salad story, right?) is leaving us to head to Washington state for another controller position. (Insert tears here…he’s a good ‘un and we hate to lose him.)
Anyway, I needed a really nice gift for him so he could remember his times at FDK ATCT (that’s ATC-speak for Frederick Air Traffic Control Tower.)
Silhouette to the rescue yet again! If you don’t yet have this awesome machine, you can grab one here.
So first, I copied a photo of the tower. Thanks, Kat, for the photo!
And brought it into the Silhouette program. Traced it, cleaned up the trace a bit. It’s a complicated tower! A little credit here…I learned how to create my own cut files from Jennifer Maker’s course, “A Cut Above.” It truly opened a whole new world for me and now I can create or modify any cut file I want!! I highly recommend her course!
Then cut it out on vinyl. I used the vinyl as a stencil for the etching. Sorry, but it’s not a reusable stencil when used in this manner.
I cleaned the glass thoroughly, then did a final rub down on it with isopropyl rubbing alcohol to remove any film at all that would interfere with a good etch. Be sure to use rubbing alcohol as the “glass cleaners” leave an almost invisible film behind.
Now that the glass is clean and oil-free, apply your stencil. It takes a lot of pressure on the stencil to ensure clean edges, so press all the edges firmly. You can also use a bit of heat from a blow dryer on the stencil after it’s applied, and then press down firmly again.
After a mistake with a previous etching attempt, I’ve learned to use painter’s tape or masking tape to mask off areas just adjacent to the vinyl. Just one stray drop of the etching cream where you don’t want it will ruin the whole project. So, mask, mask, mask! Here is the glass with the masking tape applied.
After the vinyl is applied to the glass, and it is masked, now it’s time to apply the etching cream. I use this one and have had great luck with it. I apply it as directed on the bottle, wait 5 minutes. Then swirl it around to remove any air bubbles. Wait another 5 minutes.
Use just enough etching cream to cover the design well. Too much gets sloppy and then you run the risk of it getting on your glass outside the stencil. Make your stencil with enough space around the design to have room to do your brush strokes without getting your cream in unwanted areas. And gloves and safety glasses are important!
If you want super easy cleanup, use popsicle sticks to apply the etching cream. Afterwards, just toss them. You can also use a small paintbrush.
Twice during that five minutes, use the popsicle stick or brush to gently swirl around the etching cream. This redistributes the cream in case there are any air pockets or crystals that are creating spots or uneven etching. Be gentle–you don’t want to loosen the tape or vinyl.
Here’s how it looks with the cream applied. As you can see, it doesn’t really take a lot of the cream. If you apply too much, you can scrape the excess right back into the container. It doesn’t go bad.
Now, just rinse off the cream and hand wash the glass.
So, the etching is complete, so just remove the vinyl and you have a custom, inexpensive, awesome gift! Now wasn’t that easy and quick!!!
I already had the masking tape on hand, so my project cost less than $10!!! This idea could be adapted for so many gifts. There’s literally no limit to the ways they can be personalized for birthdays, weddings, and special occasions. Glasses, jars, candle holders, vases…so many possibilities. What will you make?
And here’s another project. I used my Cricut to create a stencil to etch a personalized casserole dish. No more lost dishes at the potlucks!
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