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How to Etch Glass Using Stencils

We’re prepping for the world’s coolest Halloween party, starting with drinks. Step up your cup game with these subtly-spooky etched glasses! This technique can be used all year round with any adhesive stencil. 

We’ll be using a product called Armor Etch in order to corrode the top layer of glass to create our frosted look. Don’t worry, once the etching paste is washed off the glass is safe to drink from. 

Materials needed for glass etching

Materials needed for glass etching:


For detailed instructions about using Armor Etch, we recommend checking out their instructions page. 

How to glass etch using stencils

1). Clean glass thoroughly 

In order to ensure that the etching cream will work as planned, make sure the surface of your glass is clean of any oils or fibers. You can use a microfiber cloth or even a lens cleaning cloth to achieve a clean surface. 

2). Tape off curved lips

Because we are using a glass with curved edges and a stencil, we want to tape off the curved lip so the stencil will only adhere to the face of the glass. This will keep the stencil from becoming creased when on the surface of the glass. If the stencil creases, it will create open pockets of air that the etching cream will seep into and it can etch unwanted areas. 

We taped off the top and bottom curves of the glass. 

Taped glass edges

3). Peel and place adhesive stencil

We’ll be using an adhesive stencil for this project. If this is your first time using them, we recommend checking out this article all about adhesive stencils. 

Peeling an adhesive stencil

Take your time peeling the stencil off its backing to prevent it from ripping. 

Lay the glass on its side in order to make placing the stencil easy. Add more tape on the top and bottom of the stencil to secure it onto the glass. 

Adhesive stencil on glass

4). Paint etching cream onto glass

For this step, you will need the latex gloves to protect your skin. 

Use a small paintbrush to lay a thick coat of the etching cream on top of the glass. For the bats, make sure there is etching cream in each little corner. 

Painting etching cream onto glass

Once you are done, the cream should look like this:

How much etching cream to use

Allow the etching cream to sit for 1 minute. 

5). Wash off etching cream and remove stencil

Run the glass under lukewarm water to remove the cream. Use a soft sponge if necessary to wipe off any excess. 

Remove the stencil and tape and put aside. 

6). Clean and dry glass

Spray on window cleaner as a final cleaning step and wipe away with a cloth. Allow the glass to dry. 

That’s it! With just one stencil and some etching cream you have new, custom drinking glasses that you and your guests will love. 

Decorative glass made with etching cream

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