Learn everything you need to know to make gorgeous acid etched glass for beautiful and creative projects you can gift or enjoy yourself!
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Acid etched glass must be a well-kept secret.
Or maybe it’s just a scary little craft that people choose to shy away from.
I actually stumbled across it by mistake recently while working on a stencil idea for glass.
It quickly whisked me back to my earliest days of soap-making when I was crazy intrigued by the process, but also plenty unnerved by harsh warnings about using sodium hydroxide.
You might even be amused to know that a batch of cinnamon-oatmeal-goat’s milk soap was the very first To Work with My Hands blog post!
That post is long gone but I did manage to dig up an old photo to prove that it actually did exist.
It was a sad little post.
So sad, in fact, that there weren’t even instructions on how to make the soap – which looked way to much like luscious hunks of homemade fudge anyway.
The reason: I was afraid someone might get hurt using sodium hydroxide and it would be my fault.
So five and a half years later I’m throwing out another hazardous project, and I’m even sharing how it’s done.
But I’m firing a warning shot too: acid etching cream is just that – an acid!
It can effectively burn your skin and I don’t even want to think about it getting into the hands of a child…
A good dose of common sense and careful attention to safety precautions goes a very long way to making this a safe and enjoyable craft project.
Please be careful!
Acid etched glass is a simple process, but do make sure you take these precautions:
- Keep it away from children. This isn’t a project to share with young children or grandchildren. The bottle recommends 18 years or older. I stick to that recommendation in my household.
- Cover your work surface with a layer of paper. Newspaper works. I used freezer paper because I had it on hand and like that it’s thick and reasonably waterproof.
- Wear gloves. I never got even a drop on my gloves during this project and since the cream is somewhat thick, it doesn’t really splash around. But don’t take any chances. Acid burns can be severe.
- Work near a sink or water source. You’ll need to rinse the cream away, so go ahead and work right beside the sink so you don’t have to travel with the acid-covered project in hand.
- Use a large bowl to catch the rinse water. Some information I read suggested it was okay to wash the diluted cream down the drain. I didn’t want to take the chance and chose to catch the rinse water in a plastic tub instead. After I finished cleaning up, I diluted it with more water and dumped it outside – away from plants and animals.
Acid Etched Glass the Easy Way
Now that we’ve got all the safety points covered, you’re not going to believe how easy this actually is!
Here’s all you need to make your own acid etched glass project:
- Glass of your choice (I chose a square cannister, which made using a rigid stencil much easier.)
- painters tape
- newspaper or freezer paper
- Armour Etch etching cream
- wood craft sticks
- disposable gloves
If you use a mylar stencil, secure it to the glass with painters tape. As an alternative, you can use a vinyl stencil and just stick it right on.
A mylar stencil can be rinsed and reused; vinyl is a single-use stencil.
Use a craft stick to dip the etching cream. It’s thick enough that you can dip up a good amount without spilling it.
Next. spread a generous layer of etching cream over the stencil.
Make sure you cover it well or you’ll have gaps in the finished stencil.
Let the cream sit for one minute, then rinse it off with flowing water.
After all the cream is rinsed off, this is what you get.
Kind of looks like a fail…
but just give it a little time to dry and you’ll see this:
And that’s really how easy it is!
It doesn’t take long and your finished project is a beautifully acid etched glass piece that you made yourself!