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
Music to My Ears
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  1. hippo Bee
    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!

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. ladyfingers Bee
    ladyfingers 1257 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:56 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

    they look amazing, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  8. 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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