Etched Glasses

I had no idea how glass etching happened. I used to think it was an intense process involving large machinery. FALSE. It's actually a something you paint onto the glass and is it easy peasy. Mind blown? Ours too. The finished product makes a perfect gift, and it's an easy way to give your glassware a little flair.

  • drinking glasses straight, not tapered
  • stencil
  • armour etch
  • popsicle sticks
  • latex gloves
  • painter's tape
  • drop cloth or piece of cardboard to protect surface

So many stencils out there so you can choose one stencil or mix and match. We used a plastic stencil and taped it onto the glass using painter’s tape, but you could also go with a peel-n-stick stencil especially made for glass. (In fact, that would probably make it easier!)


Step 1: Wipe the glasses down with rubbing alcohol. This provides a better etching surface than using glass cleaner would. Next, tape around the top of the glass to help you better position your stencil. Place your stencil where you choose and tape it down. Pro-tip: You really have to pull the tape tight so the plastic stencil doesn’t pucker and is as close to the surface of the glass as possible.


Step 2: Once the stencil is in place, put the gloves on. Armour Etch is acidic, and the label warns burns “may not be immediately painful or visible.” Not sure what that means exactly, but we weren’t going to take any chances. We also protected our workspace using a giant piece of cardboard.


Step 3: When it comes to applying the Armour Etch, pat using the popsicle sticks instead of spreading (with either the stick or a brush). You only want the cream on the negative space and spreading it too liberally might cause it to ooze underneath the stencil. (That might not be an issue should you be using a peel-and-stick stencil.)

Step 4: We left the etching cream on for 5-10 minutes, going over the areas a couple of times during that time in order to take out any air bubbles. A difference of a few minutes between the glasses didn’t seem to make a difference in the actual etching, so 5-10 minutes is a window that works pretty well.

Step 5: As far as rinsing, you want to be careful where you do it, as again the acid will not think twice about ruining your kitchen sink. To play it safe, we did it outside, pouring hot water over the glass and then wiping off excess cream with a paper towel. This method worked well for us and didn’t seem negatively affect the finished products.


And speaking of finished products, they actually came out pretty cute!!