Glass Etching for Gifts

This past holiday season I did a little DIY project that I think would make a fabulous wedding gift—either something to give the happy couple, the members of your wedding party, or even your wedding guests. I used glass etching to make personalized oil and vinegar bottles.


They turned out so well I want to share them with you in case they spark your creative thinking.

No one believes me when I say this project is pretty easy (although time-consuming), but I will say it again because it’s true. Relatively speaking (compared to what, I don’t know) this project is pretty easy. All you need is some kind of adhesive stencil material, glass etching cream, a cheap paintbrush, and a glass object. I used adhesive vinyl for the stencils and it’s by far the easiest stencil material I’ve ever used, but there are lots of other options out there.

Because I own a digital cutter, I simply chose a font I liked for initials and ampersands and then laid out all the necessary letters/symbols in my digital cut file. If you don’t have a digital cutter, never fear! You can easily print the letters and then trace the shapes onto the vinyl (consider using a Sharpie marker through regular copy paper, or just any ink that will bleed through) and cut them out by hand with an X-Acto knife. Takes a little more time that way, but you get the same end result.


image via Do It Yourself Weddings (check out their tutorial for freezer paper stencils!)

Now the ingenious property of adhesive vinyl is the… (feel the suspense building)… adhesive! Simply stick down your stencil wherever you want your etching to go and rub it all over to be sure it completely adheres around all the letter/symbol edges.


Once it’s laid out the way you want it (the adhesive is forgiving, so you can gently stick and re-stick a few times until you get it just right), you then just follow the directions on the package of etching cream. My own process was to brush on the cream first, making sure to brush in all directions inside the stencil.


Then I heaped on the etching cream until I achieved a thick layer. The package says to leave it on for about 5 minutes, but I found that extra time doesn’t seem to harm the glass or the stencil. Just be sure to leave everything on for the same amount of time if you’re doing a pair of items like I was, otherwise the final depth/color of the etching could be different.


After the right amount of time has passed, I put each item under running water until most of the cream had washed away. I then gently peeled up the stencil so that I could use it again on the next item. (I found that the adhesive was sufficient for two etchings, but I’m not sure it would have made it for a third.) When the stencil was completely removed, I washed the whole thing with soap and water and set them aside to dry.


Et Voila! In just a few hours you too can churn out an assembly line of personalized, elegant gifts for your loved ones.


Do you have any ideas for other glass items you could etch? What would you etch onto them?


Ms. Ferris Wheel

San Francisco
Wedding Date:
November 2011
The Unthinkable Happens
Baby Sand Dollar!
Add a comment


  1. Member
    MrsSl82be 9010 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 7:15 pm

    Very cool!

  2. frenchbulldog Member
    frenchbulldog 1088 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:24 pm

    What a cool idea!

  3. Member
    blurmeblue 380 posts, Helper bee @ 7:27 pm

    i’m definitely doing this….I didn’t know it was so easy!

  4. Member
    weeonebride 532 posts, Busy bee @ 7:29 pm

    Where did you find was the cheapest for the Vinyl and cream?
    I LOVE this… cheaper and prettier than main stream choices

  5. Member
    Mrs. Rubber Stamps 821 posts, Busy bee @ 7:31 pm

    What a great idea, FW!

  6. Member
    couawilou 7598 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 7:44 pm

    Woah, these are very cool. I’ve been wanting to do glasses for my bridal party and didn’t really want to have to paint them, this is perfect! Thanks so much for sharing this.

  7. Member
    shan773 7 posts, Newbee @ 7:48 pm

    We’re doing a sand ceremony, and I think I’m using an old canning jar that belonged to my mother for the “pouring into” vase. I may use this to put our names and wedding date onto the jar. Thanks!

  8. Member
    TamJam 211 posts, Helper bee @ 8:01 pm

    Wow! great idea!

  9. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 8:12 pm

    Great tutorial! I’m totally doing this in the future, I love it!

  10. sunhat Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 8:19 pm

    I’ve been wanting to try etching for some time now. I do know you can scrape off the etching cream (with an old credit card or something) when you are done and put it back in your bottle to use again. Will help make your cream last longer and waste less!

  11. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:19 pm

    Nifty! Still a bit too involved for me, haha.

  12. Member
    pigzfly 703 posts, Busy bee @ 8:35 pm

    The best price I’m aware of for armour etch is from Amazon. Using a coupon at Michaels may get it to roughly the same price?

    A great project is writing names on the bottoms of glass pans. The anchor-hocking ones work quite well, pyrex can be done by leaving the etching cream for approx 45 minutes. Check out examples on etsy.

    One thing to note though is that the chemical used is a bioaccumulator and “seeps” through your skin. Using gloves is key.

    Yes, you can scrape the stuff off and put it back into the jar, or at least that’s worked for me.

  13. Member
    roarinroxie 61 posts, Worker bee @ 8:57 pm

    I etched mason jar mugs for favors – made a stencil with two birds and a heart – they turned out great, but never want to etch glass again after 220 mugs! Great minds think alike!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    Christina, Guest @ 9:41 pm

    I’ve done this on some cheap wine glasses – it works great! I’ve wanted to try it on some serving dishes, but can’t ever seem to find them without the logo in the bottom (i.e. pyrex or anchor hocking). Never thought of the oil and vinegar (or, I use those for soap) dispensers though! Great idea!

  15. petitfour Member
    petitfour 695 posts, Busy bee @ 10:41 pm

    Wow! this is awesome!!!

  16. Member
    iammcdibble 995 posts, Busy bee @ 10:52 pm

    That looks super cool! And fairly easy. I’m impressed.

  17. Member
    Miss Wallaroo 382 posts, Helper bee @ 11:15 pm

    what an amazing idea! totally going to do this for the two family vases for the sand ceremony! thanks FW! :)

  18. teacup Member
    teacup 631 posts, Busy bee @ 12:07 am

    Very cool project! Thanks for sharing :)

  19. Member
    roux 1469 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:21 am

    I plan on etching my married name onto my glass casserole dishes, that way after a potluck, or dropping off food for a friend, I’ll get my own dish back. Personalised glass casserole dishes would make great wedding gifts too!

  20. Member
    totheislnds 7804 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 8:12 am

    i’ve never etched anything but i received 4 etched beer glasses with our last name on them as a wedding gift from one of my mom’s best friends – it was def one of my favorite gifts – i love giving personalized wedding gifts! its so fun to see your new name on them.

  21. hippo Member
    hippo 1012 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:15 am

    I took a glass etching class during the summer when I was in elementary school. This totally takes me back!

  22. Member
    Miss White Pearl 199 posts, Blushing bee @ 9:53 am

    i love this! thanks so much for letting us know how easy a great-looking project like this is

  23. Member
    Zinzerena 4207 posts, Honey bee @ 10:32 am

    *love* Those look awesome!
    I was thinking of doing it, but then discovered the price. Eeeesh. For someone on a low near-nonexistent budget, it’s out of the ballpark! LOL!
    However, I did find a cheating way to “etch” (ok, so it’s not actually etched) glass!

  24. ladyfingers Member
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:56 am

    I love this! Thank you for sharing it with us!

  25. honey Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:25 am

    Annnd Christmas gifts done 😉 Thanks for this tutorial, its awesome!

  26. Member
    shan773 7 posts, Newbee @ 11:07 am

    @Ryna: Do tell! What’s the money-saving idea?

  27. Member
    jlcadm 248 posts, Helper bee @ 4:56 pm

    they look amazing, thanks for sharing! :)

  28. Guest Icon Guest
    lovemadeglass, Guest @ 5:17 am

    this blog is really amazing and provide me answers to all my questions. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks.

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