With the Holidays just around the corner ... I know that many of you are looking for gift ideas. Why not try etching something? The process is easy and lots of fun ... and best of all, the end results are beautiful.
Here are some dishes that I etched for my Son and his family. The set includes dinner plates, salad/dessert plates, bowls and cups - service for 8. It was a lot of fun to do and soooooooo easy. I only had a small 3 oz bottle of the etching cream, and amazingly enough, I barely used half of it. The cream really goes a long way.
I used my Cricut to cut out the stencils and with the Joys of the Season cartridge (layer 1) for the birds and heart image and the Storybook cartridge for the lettering.
Following the pics ... are detailed etching directions. (click on image to enlarge)
Here are the basic directions ....
1) Cut a stencil out of vinyl (cuts great on the Cricut) of your desired shapes and/or words - NOTE: Be sure to consider the direction of your cut, this is particularly important for lettering .. in other words, are you putting the lettering on the inside or outside of the item ... invert the cut if necessary (for my glass set, the plates were etched on the inside/bottom and the image shines thru, the cups and bowls were etched on the outside/front and you see a direct view, so I turned the image around when I cut it).
2) Press the reusable transfer paper over the top of your vinyl cut, making sure to work all the bubbles out, and slowly pull the adhesive protector sheet off of the back of your stencil.
3) Apply your stencil to your CLEAN glass item, making sure to work out any kinks or air bubbles, and remove the transfer paper (keep the transfer paper, it's reusable!). The nice thing about the vinyl is that if you don't like where you've placed it, you can still lift it up, move it, and restick it easily.
4) Apply a coat of etching cream - you can be generous, the cream goes a long way, but there is no need to goop it on too thick, you'll just be waisting the product. To apply the cream, use a stencil brush or dauber, or even a small piece of damp sponge. HINT#1: hold it up to the light to be sure you didn't miss any spots. HINT #2: Check to be sure you didn't splatter any excess etching cream in an unwanted area, and remove with cloth or paper towel if you did.
5) Allow to dry for minimum of 5 minutes ... however I recommend waiting 15-30 minutes. I experimented with this a little ... and saw no noticable difference in the etched image if you wait longer than the 15-30 minutes, however, if you leave it on to long the excess etching cream becomes increasingly more difficult to remove.
6) While stencil is still in place, rinse off the excess etching cream using regular tap water. NOTE: I used luke-warm water and a soft sponge and lightly rubbed the excess cream while holding the item under the running water. This method made the removal very quick and easy.
7) Lastly, remove the stencil, rinse again if necessary, and waaaa laaaa, you now have a beautiful piece of etched glass.
I use an assembly line method when I made the dishes ... 1) cut all stencils ... 2) applied stencil to all dish pieces ... 3) applied etching cream to each piece ... 4) waited 15-30 minutes ... 5) washed off excess cream ... 6) removed stencils ... 7) washed and dried glass piece ... 8) package and wrap up gift ... 9) Place package under tree (or in my case, mail off to DS and DIL )
Other Helpful Hints ...
1) Be sure to apply a nice solid coating of the etching cream ... you don't need to "glob" it on super thick ... but you do want to be sure that it is well covered.
2) Some types of treated glass will not etch well - pyrex brand for example ... some do fine, while others do not. I'm not sure why, but I'm guessing that since the etching cream technique is actually chemically changing the surface of the glass, it conflicts with the chemical changes some glass types have already received to withstand the high baking temperatures (not sure if that's true or not, but in my pea brain, it makes sense).
3) Textured glass does not take etching well ... nor does the glass that appears to be crackeled. Colored glass is sometimes difficult to etch too.
4) The etching cream seems to work best with larger (or thicker) images ... it actually looks the same, but it shows up better when more surface is covered. That is why I used the bulky Storybook font opposed to a slender font like Jasmine or Opposites Attract. Did you notice how the birds and heart show up so nicely on the bowl? I struggled trying to get the stencil to adhere to the curve of the bowl when I used the full name, so I decided to just do the birds/heart image, except that I made it extra large (it still fit in with the theme of the set, so I liked it just fine) ... the larger image popped out much nicer than any of the others.
5) Be sure your surface is extra clean before you start. If there is any oily residue on the glass, it does effect the etching. Washing with soap and water first usually helps ... cleaning with rubbing alcohol and sponge or cotton ball, then wiping dry with a paper towel or cloth works well too.
BTW ... This process is permanent ... Short of breaking the item, your images will never wash off or fade. They will always be there.
Give it a try, and be creative ... try etching on vases, glasses, mirrors, the glass in picture frames ... or any other glass item you can think of!