How to Etch a Mirror

What You'll Need
Etching compound
Contact paper
Precision utility knife, like X-Acto
Cutting surface
Cleaning solution for glass
Foam brush
Design (you can make your own with a home computer and printer)
Rubber gloves
Protective eye glasses
Old long-sleeve shirt
Masking tape
Lint-free cloth
Clean plastic bowl

For under $20, you can turn an average, run of the mill mirror in to a beautifully etched piece of art. You can use an etched mirror to create a memorial for a loved one, add to your home decor or just display because you like it. Making an etched mirror is fun and easy, and the type of designs that you can make are only limited by your time and your imagination. The following will show you how to easily make your own etched mirror.

Step 1 - Creating the Stencil

The stencil is one of the most important parts of the project as it is your design. Once you have your design printed you have to make the stencil using the contact paper and X-Acto knife. Place the contact paper face down on your cutting surface and tape the design to it, also face down. Turn it over.

Use the X-Acto knife to trace the outline of the design. Carefully remove the cut out sections. Remove the design from the back of the contact paper.

Step 2 - Preparing the Mirror

It is important to start with a clean surface. Use the spray to thoroughly clean the mirror. Use the lint-free cloth to dry it off. When you are ready, remove the backing from the contact paper and carefully place the stencil on to the mirror where you need it to be.

Step 3 - Safety First

When working with any etching compound, take safety precautions as it can be harmful to your skin and eyes. Be sure to wear rubber gloves, protective eye glasses and a long-sleeve shirt while applying or removing the etching compound.

Step 4 - Etching the Mirror

Read the instructions on the back of the etching compound bottle. Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Pour the etching compound in to the clean plastic bowl for easy application of the compound. Dip the foam paint brush into the etching compound, and then apply over the mirror and the design stencil. Make as many passes as you need in order to fully cover the mirror and to get the design in its entirety.

Let the compound set for the period of time suggested by the instructions on the bottle. During this time period, the compound is eating away at the glass surface of the mirror, etching the design.

Step 5 - Finishing the Mirror Etching

Use the tip of the X-Acto knife to lift up an edge of the contact paper, and then carefully remove it. When the compound is completely dry, rinse it off with some mild soap and water.