- Armour Etch glass etching cream
- wine glasses
- assorted stickers
- foam brushes
- rubber gloves
Anyone who has ever carried a wine glass at a party knows the perils of putting the glass down and then forgetting which one is yours. And any hostess who has ever tried to find her wine charms before a party (or clean them afterwards) knows they can be a hassle. My solution? Personalize the actual glasses themselves!
With a few simple supplies and a little time, you can permanently and creatively personalize each of your wine glasses.
Start with a selection of regular wine glasses (not plastic!). Your final set will be prettier if all the glasses are of the same style when you start out, and you etch each one with a different design. So, try to find a matching set of at least 6 to begin with. If you don’t have any already that you’re willing to use, you can easily pick up some new inexpensive wine glasses, which are often sold by the dozen. You can choose any color of glass, as well. Clear ones will match any occasion, and colored ones (like the green ones I used) will have a more striking effect once they are etched. Once you have the glasses, wash and dry them thoroughly.
Next, go through your craft supplies and pull out all the fun-shaped stickers you can find. Remember that the design and color of the sticker don’t matter; you’re looking for the overall shape here. Look for things like letters, hearts, circles, starts, or ribbons. Be creative and hit your desk, too, where you might find some more fun shapes. Almost anything goes in this step!
Now for the really fun part! Start decorating your glasses with the stickers. Apply them directly to the clean glass in any arrangement you like, keeping in mind that anywhere that is covered with a sticker will remain clear (and not frosted) when you are all done. Press all stickers down very thoroughly and be sure they are smooth and all edges are down. Careful work here will result in a more polished final product.
Once your glasses are all decorated with stickers, wipe them off carefully with a cotton towel, to remove all of your fingerprints. Then prep your work area by covering it with newspaper or paper towels. Be sure your work area is well-ventilated and out of reach of children or pets, because the etching cream you’re about to open up is pretty harsh. Don’t breath it in, don’t get it on your skin, and don’t let the kids anywhere near it! Set your polished glasses on the table and put some rubber gloves on and get ready for the science part.
Now grab the bottle of etching cream. I recommend Armour Etch, which is readily available in most craft stores, and has worked well for me in the past. The cream contains chemicals that will eat away at the glossy surface of glass, so when you apply it to your glasses, it will give them that neat frosted look anywhere that isn’t covered by a sticker. Read the directions on the etching cream carefully and follow them exactly. The process is simple and will generally entail brushing the cream onto the glass with the foam brush in thick, even coats. You’ll allow the cream to set on the glass for a while (please read the directions on the bottle!) and then you’ll wash the cream off with water. That’s really all there is too it.
Once the etching cream has been washed off, you can also remove the stickers. You might not notice any patterns at first, because the glass will be wet and the frosted areas might look clear. But once you’ve dried the glass off, you’ll see your designs appear.
A run through the dishwasher is a good idea to be sure all of the cream is removed, but once they are clean, you can go back to treating them just like any ordinary glasses. Except these are no longer ordinary — they are now permanently customized by you!
Jo loved the etching technique done in this project and decided to combine it with her gift idea of a filled apothecary jar to make a Valentine’s Day gift for her daughter.
Read Jo’s follow-up post titled “Decorative glass etching on an apothecary jar” for details and more photos.