How To Etch Glass

Transform Your Glassware

Etching glass is one of the easier techniques and gives some of the most exciting results. Here’s where you can learn how to

  • Etch safely and creatively
  • Recycle jaded glassware with stencils.
  • Save time by following the illustrated etching cream tutorial
  • If you’re feeling short of energy you can choose from a huge selection of ready-made templates and patterns

There’s also help with selecting the best value kit, and advice about the best places for buying supplies.

I’ve added a couple of pages about sandblasting and acid-etching for those of you interested in working in a larger or slightly more complicated manner.

glass etching cream on mirror
Etching Cream

Add unique detail to your glass art work with glass etching cream. Design and make custom stencils and save time by checking out where to find the best supplies

red glass etching stencils

Upcycle your glassware by following this 4-step guide to using glass etching stencils. Let your creativity loose by finding out about custom stencils. Cut down on waste by choosing the right type of stencil for your project

blue glass etched penguins
Acid Etching

Discover the exciting but extremely dangerous process of acid etching. Learn about different resists and their effects

blue glass etching templates

Feeling short of creative energy? Choose from the huge range of templates and etching patterns available. Wow your friends with personalised gifts

glass etching kit displayed

Find out about each essential piece of equipment needed for a glass etching kit. Compare value and quality of available kits and the best suppliers

red sandblasted glass

Add beautiful light-catching textural detail to your glassart. Find out how sandblasting equipment works, the types and sizes of grit used and about the effects of different resists

black and white etching template

Bamboozled by choice? Keep cash in your wallet by finding the best value supplies. Choose from a selection of safe and reliable suppliers for all your etching requirements

Safety Considerations

As is usual with glass, there are many possible dangers to your health. Luckily, with sensible precautions, these can be avoided.

  • Always wear latex gloves when using acid paste or cream.
  • Eye protection is strongly advised.
  • Make sure you work in a well-ventilated space.
  • Running water is a must.
  • Acid paste or cream is not suitable for children to use.

This list is not exhaustive – check individual manufacturer’s product safety recommendations before using.

Acid-etching with hydrofluoric acid (different from the very much less dangerous cream above) is potentially lethal. It is only ever done in industrial set-ups, in a highly controlled fume cupboard with stringent safety procedures. You cannot do this at home! Read about the health warnings on my acid etching glass supplies page to put you off forever.

If you made your etched piece as part of a panel, you may find my how to make stained glass tutorials helpful, as they show you how to incorporate it into a copper foiled panel.

Before you start that process though, you will need to cover your etched glass with contact paper to protect it from the flux. Only remove this after the final clean up – etched surfaces pick up all sorts of dirt so it’s best to avoid this at the making stage if possible. Good luck and happy creating!


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