Etch Glass in Color

Lead Image
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-30
What You'll Need
Oil-free liquid soap
Clean rags
Permanent markers
Etching cream

When you etch glass, you can always try out new ways to do things. There are many techniques that one can implement to create some fantastic designs. It makes sense to want to etch glass in color as well, unfortunately, there is no etching cream for that purpose. You also cannot add color to etching cream because of its caustic nature. So, while you cannot specifically etch glass in color, there are some things you can do to get the same effect.

Etching cream removes the top layer of the glass it is covering which leaves behind a texture in its place. The article that follows will show you a technique where you can etch glass in color or, rather, make it appear as if you have.

Step 1 - Clean the Glass

In order to get a great finished product, you need to start with a surface that is completely clean. Create some hot, soapy water and wash the glass you plan to etch. Wash it on the inside and the outside until you are satisfied it is clean. Dry the glass off with a clean dish rag.

Step 2 - Color Glass

If you want to etch glass in color, you will have to either start with a glass that is already colored or color it yourself. If you color the glass yourself, you can better customize the coloring based on the design you are planning to etch. You could use watercolors to get an opaque look, but it would wash off when you remove the etching cream. Traditional paint can damage the glass as well as wash off. The only suitable choice for coloring glass you plan to etch is a permanent marker. Using one, or many will create an opaque look that won’t wash off. As said before, when you etch glass, you remove the top layer and leave behind a textured finish, so if you paint the glass on the outside and then etch it, the color of the etching will be several shades lighter than the glass around it. This is why you paint the inside of the glass instead (if you can), so you can have the full color come through the etching.

Begin to paint your piece with the permanent marker. As you color, use a rag to wipe the ink. This not only creates a very thin layer but also allows the ink to dry faster and removes any lines. You can apply as many layers of ink as you like until you’re satisfied.

Step 3 - Etch the Glass

Once the ink has dried, you can then center the stencil for your design on the glass. Tape it down so it will not move. Then, shake the bottle of glass etching cream before applying a layer on top of the stencil. Allow the cream to dry completely and then wash it off under warm, soapy water. Your finished project should have beautiful, bright colors showing through your etched pattern.

Safety Note: Glasses colored on the inside with permanent ink should not be used as drinking glasses, as the ink is not safe to consume. The ink will also wash away with repeated scrubbing and in the dishwasher. This project should be for decorative pieces only.