Glass Act: DIY Etching


A couple of months ago, I came across Armour Etch - a product designed for glass etching.  Intrigued, I did some research on it - looking up products, tutorials and reviews - and finally bought some to try.  In Amazon's splendid Patience-Is-Overrated style, a small, brown, cheerful looking package containing the Armour Etch arrived on my doorstep two days later.  I brought it in and set it on my counter, eager to make all of the gorgeous projects I was dreaming up.  And there, on the oh-so-swanky laminate countertop (try not to be jealous), it sat -unopened and untouched.

The truth is, as excited as I was to try it, I also had this fear of getting myself into some difficult, twenty step process where I waste copious amounts of time and ultimately chemically burn my eyebrows off.  Silly me. 

A week ago, I finally decided to have a go at it.  And boy, was it easy. 

I purchased some cute glasses at the Dollar Tree, figuring if I ruined them it wouldn't be the end of the world (and, in fact, I did ruin one of them. More on that later). 

Raiding my craft supplies, I found various letter and number stickers as well as some label shapes.  I also grabbed a few small brushes, painters tape, disposable gloves and some damp paper towels.  I put down a piece of my crafting foam core to protect my work surface.

I've been wanting to replace the cotton jars in my bathroom for a while, so with that in mind, I decided to start with an apothecary style numbering. 

My old jars were fine, but I wanted something with cleaner lines.

I gave the glasses a good clean and wipe down with alcohol to prep the area and make sure that the stickers adhered properly.  

Laying out the stickers was probably the hardest part of the project, simply because it's difficult to determine when they're straight. The good part is, that it's also pretty hard to determine if they're NOT straight once you're done (so there weren't any that I felt looked completely wonky). 

Because I needed the negative space from some of the labels (to make the interior oval), I actually used the sticker backing around the actual label sticker. 

For the first glass, I also used painter's tape to protect the areas I didn't want etched, however, on following glasses I just made sure I applied the etching cream very carefully.

After my stickers were in place, I shook the begeesus out of the bottle and then put on disposable gloves before opening it (very important! This product could potentially cause chemical burns!).   

The etching cream is thick and goopy and kind of reminded me of Elmer's Glue.  Very Smelly Elmer's Glue (make sure you work in a well ventilated area).  Using a foam brush, I carefully applied a thick even layer over the area I wanted etched and allowed it to do it's magic. 

 It's magic was impressively fast - it only needed to sit on the glass for one minute.  To be honest, I questioned whether or not it would really be done in that amount of time, but it definitely was!  With my gloves still on, I rinsed the product and stickers off with warm running tap water. 

And, much to my amazement, that was it! I had cute little etched apothecary glasses in less than ten minutes!  I stole the lids from the jars I was replacing and added them to the new ones, and they were ready to go!

The project turned out so well, I decided to play around and try some other designs. 

Armour Etch's instructions mentioned that the product was not intended for use over larger areas.  As that was a little vague for my taste, I decided to see what would happen if I attempted to etch an entire glass, leaving a monogram in the center.  Conclusion? Armour Etch is not intended for larger areas (If only they'd tell you these things). 

Because it's impossible to make sure that the product is completely even and left on for the exact same amount of time, the etching comes out looking spotty and messy.  With smaller sections it's hardly noticeable, but with a larger area, it kinda looks like Frozen Queen Elsa's kindergarten project went terribly awry. 

With my fountain of knowledge and terribly clever new-found skill (Okay "skill" might be a bit of a stretch...) I used the final glass container to make a small monogrammed vase. 

My mom, loving the effect, brought over some pink water glasses (also purchased from the Dollar Tree) and we monogrammed those as well.  Tres Chic!
Monograms instantly add a touch of class. 
Like I said, this project truly couldn't be easier.  Letters, words, designs... I'm definitely going to be playing more with this in the future.  Personalized items will make great inexpensive but thoughtful gifts come the holidays and the price for the product is great considering how long it will last! 

A few additional notes: 

- Several people recommended trying a stencil and stencil adhesive for reusable letters.  I purchased
all of the necessary tools and found that even thin plastic stencils were a bit too thick for the adhesive.  Martha Stewart does make thinner cardboard stencils, but as they need to be washed off water, they still aren't reusable. To me, stickers make more sense. 

- Printable adhesive paper is another option for creating stencils.  They give you the option of creating any design you like, so long as you don't mind some fancy cutting!

You may also like

No comments:

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

Powered by Blogger.