6 Tips for Coloring Etched Glass

etched glasses and plate on a table set for Christmas

Perhaps you have a piece of etched glass that you are getting tired of, or you have mastered the etching process yourself and want to add some color to your masterpiece. Either way, you can add color by painting in the etchings. Here are six tips for coloring your etched glass.

Use the Correct Paint

For coloring the paint, be sure to use paint that is made for glass. If you use another type, the paint will not adhere well and will most likely lift and peel from the glass. Glass is so non-porous makes it imperative that you use paint made for glass. You can find glass paint at any craft store or online.

Clean the Surface

Before you add color to your glass, be sure it is really clean. Use a window cleaner and be sure you get down in the little crannies of the etching. Also, make sure that it is completely dry before you start to add paint.

several small paint brushes

Paint as Soon as Possible

If you are starting a new project and will be adding color after, it works best if you can add the color right after the etching is done and the stencil is still attached. This will keep it from running into the part that is unetched. If you have a piece that was previously etched, you can add masking tape around the edges of the etching for protection.

Choose the Right Side For Color

If you have a piece that will be exposed to water, you can add color to the opposite side of the etching. For instance, on a plate or platter, add the color to the backside so it is not exposed to water and food. If you are adding color to a window, add the color to the inside as opposed to the outside that is exposed to the elements.

Proper Care

While most etched glass items can be placed in the dishwasher if the piece itself is dishwasher safe, you will still need to take some precautions. Try not to let the etched areas of your pieces touch another piece in the dishwasher. It may knock against the piece. The rubbing may cause damage to the etching. The best bet would be to hand wash etched items. When storing etched pieces, allow space between glasses, and add a paper towel between etched bowls and plates to protect them.

small paint brushes in a jar

Use the Right Brushes

For coloring your etched items, you will want to invest in a set of artist’s brushes. You can get a cheap set if you are not planning on reusing them. With the artist brushes, you'll be able to get into the small etchings. Using the smaller artist brushes also holds less paint which will help alleviate drips and runs. With the artist brushes, you can also go into the etching and layer the color if you allow it to dry in between coats to get a more dramatic color.