A Beginners Guide to Creating Acid-Etched Glass

Acid-etched glass is a great gift idea, as well as an easy way to decorate glass around your home. You can etch anything made of glass, including plates, glasses, vases, perfume bottles, wine bottles or candle holders, just to name a few.

Gathering Your Supplies

You will need the following supplies to create your acid-etched glass:

  • Glass object of your choice
  • Stencil of your choice (craft store)
  • Tape
  • Glass etching acid (craft store)
  • Small paintbrush.

Preparing Your Glass for Etching

You will need to be sure that the area you will be etching does not show fingerprints or dirt. If your glass piece is immersible, wash it in the sink with soap and water; then pat it dry. If it is something that you cannot immerse in water, wipe it down with soapy water, rinse it and dry it. You will then be ready to work with your stencil.

Attaching the Stencil

If your stencil contains several patterns, cut the one out you are going to use for your acid-etched glass. Leave as much extra space as possible around your design. (You'll use the extra space for taping the stencil onto the glass.) If your stencil only contains one pattern, you are ready to apply.

Place the stencil on the glass where you want to etch the pattern. Be sure it is straight before you tape it onto the glass as flat as possible. If you have gaps in the stencil, the etching acid will drip down inside the pattern, and your piece will not come out well. After you have attached your stencil smoothly, you can begin etching.

Etching the Pattern

Hold the glass piece over a sink with the stencil facing you. You will do this over the sink in case of a drip. The acid will harm soft surfaces, so be careful with it. Pick up your paintbrush and dip it into the etching acid. Apply the etching acid to the stencil pattern. Don't get too much on it. You do not want it to run and ruin your piece.

After you have applied the etching acid, you will need to wait out the time as instructed by the manufacturerer of the acid you bought. After the time is up, you can see what you have created.

Removing the Stencil

Carefully remove the tape around the stencil while you holding the piece of acid-etched glass over the sink. Drop the stencil in the sink and turn on the cold water. Allow the water to rinse off the stencil because you can reuse it. Stick the glass piece under the running water and gently rub it to help remove the residue of the etching acid. It should all come off with just water.

After you have rinsed your acid-etched glass clean, dry it and admire your new piece! Finish rinsing the stencil and wash out your paintbrush. Leave it to dry. Wash your hands with warm soap and water to be sure you don't have any etching acid remaining on your hands.