Skill/Difficulty Level: Easy, especially if you are patient
Tools Needed: Etching Cream, glass object that you want to etch (here–a glass mug), rubber gloves, small sponge paintbrush–the smaller the area the smaller the brush you should get (do NOT use natural bristles), stencil, something to protect your surface–here, I used some sheets of plotting paper and plastic bags
So if you saw Swag Bag Project #3, you’ll see a reused color here. It doesn’t have anything to do with etching, and you may not even have a mug with a top, so I didn’t want to put it in your tools needed. But I did use acrylic yellow paint on the outside of the top, which is the same steel metal ring and top you will see on most mason jars. I would not recommend doing that, but again, I’m experimenting and reusing supplies to save money here.
**Warning: Etching glass is not difficult, but it is dangerous.*** Etching cream is a corrosive product (like bleach) and can do some serious damage if it touches your skin or is ingested. Protect yourself by wearing gloves when handling the cream and your project. I also had on eye protection. Keep this away from pets and kids***
First, make sure your glass mug is clean, dry, and free of any debris. (like glue from a sticker, etc.) Attach your stencil to the mug where you want to put your design. I glued the stencil on, making sure the glue did not run onto the portion that was to be etched, but if you get adhesive stencils, they will work so much better.
To etch glass: Put on your gloves and open up your etching cream. The cream will need to be stirred: I did this with a small disposable piece of wood skewer. With a paintbrush, paint the etching cream in the stencil, making sure to get a full thick coverage. Leave cream on for 30 – 45 minutes. After the allotted time, check the mug to see if your glass has etched. (it should have a frosted look where you’ve applied the cream.) Gently rinse off the etching cream with warm water leaving stencil in place. If it’s not etched, pat dry and paint on some more etching cream. Rinse again, then pat dry. If the cream has satisfactorily etched your design, you can remove your gloves and remove the stencil. Wash in warm soapy water. If your mug is dishwasher safe, you should be able to wash it on the top rack only. Your mug has been etched!
Lessons Learned: Only a couple of lessons learned here, but they were good ones.
- Adhesive stencils are everything. They make the etching and stencil painting process so much easier. No more stencils slipping and messing up your design.
- Use a sponge brush to paint on etching cream. Sponge brushes give you more ability to completely etch your mug in one pass. I had to go over the star design (above) twice because I was using a cheap bristled brush, and I had bare spots.
- Adhere to all safety warnings and precautions. I did not have to learn this lesson, I usually follow the rules. But it is worth it to say it again, this stuff is dangerous.