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Etching Glass

By etching a plain piece of glass, you can create an interesting piece of art.

Related categories

Listed below are the related categories in the ceramics and glass crafts group:


Acid etching glass
For safety reasons you should wear protective gloves, long sleeves, goggles and work in an area which has good ventilation.

Acid etching a piece of glass will give you a frosted glass look. You can write your door number in the glass above you front door, etch a mirror etc.

If you are etching door glass it is a good idea to use 6mm laminated glass for security. You can get some practice using any glass object like an old jar or a drinking glass.

Choose the piece of glass and the design that you want to etch into it.

Clean the glass
Using glass cleaner and a soft cloth, free from lint, clean the surface to be etched.

Place clear contact paper over the glass and remove any bubbles.

Place behind the glass your chosen design and trace it onto the contact paper.

If you are etching onto a mirror, trace your chosen design onto the contact paper using carbon paper.

Using an appropriate knife, cut away contact paper from the areas that are to be etched.

Apply the etching cream
After ensuring all bubbles are removed, spread a layer of etching cream over the design, using a paper towel. Wear rubber gloves to protect you from the acidic etching cream.

Leave the cream for about 10 minutes, before running cool water over the design to remove the cream.

Finishing off
Peel away the contact paper and run cool water over the finished etched glass.

Acid formation
The formation of the acid used to etch the glass will produce different effects.

Alternative techniques
Copper wheel engraving cuts the surface of the glass to create the pattern. You then use progressively smoother wheels to polish the glass.

In the late 19th century craftsmen created a technique of sandblasting glass, which was cheaper than the more traditional acid method.

Brilliant cut glass using a large stone wheel to etch elaborate patterns into the glass.