It's finally time for another step-by-step DEMO! Just in time for holiday gift making, we've got Easy Glass Etching - this is a great way to personalize or ornament glassware from Goodwill or the dollar store, make the glass pebbles you use for memory magnets even cooler, or even decorate plain glass ornaments from the craft store! I'll go over the supplies you'll want to have at hand, then give basic instructions and a few variations.
I get most of these things locally at Collage (the same folks who provide the on-site store for Art & Soul), but most craft stores will carry these basics:
- Armour Etch glass etching cream
- Sticker back paper (the kind you put through your home printer works great, though you can also use contact paper, to make your stencils)
- Stickers with simple shapes (you can use the basic shape, either the positive or negative as a stencil - lines, circles, and letters work great)
- Rubber gloves (to protect your hands from the etching cream)
- A cheap paint brush or two (to apply the etching cream)
- Paper Punches (to make shapes in the sticker paper)
- Rubbing alcohol or Glass cleaner (to clean fingerprints off the glass)
- Painter's masking tape
- Glassware! (Glasses from Goodwill or the Dollar Store, glass pebbles or slides from the craft store, glass ornaments from the craft store - smoother and flatter surfaces are easier to work on that rough or curvy shapes)
Easy Glass Etching Basics
The designs are limited only by your imagination! Keep in mind, though, that you are basically making a stencil: the etching cream eats away at the surface of the glass, making it whiter or more opaque, and wherever the stencil is, the etching cream can't go.
Variation 1: Sticker Paper and Hole Punch
Variation 2: Multiple Stencils and The Round Surface
Because of the distortion that happens when you apply sticker stencil to a round surface, and the difficulty in finding a place to hang or set it while it dries, round and really curvy surfaces present a special challenge.
Here, I'm decorating the surface of this glass ball ornament in stages. I've already put a few snowflakes on it, as you can see, and now that it's dry I'm going back and adding more in.
Start applying your stencil from the center, and work your way out with your thumbs. There will be wrinkles in the stencil, but this way you can distribute the wrinkles evenly and keep the design from getting too distorted.
Then, when you go to apply the etching cream, create a little nest of aluminum foil for it to sit in. This will keep the ball from rolling off the table, or dripping etching cream all over the floor.
Etching is subtle - not something I'm exactly known for - but it also adds an extra layer and dimension to mixed media work. Imagine etching the glass you use to frame a piece, or etching the surface of a collaged and soldered slide glass necklace. Then, of course, there is colored glass, and paints that can be poured inside those glass ornament globes . . .