Turn everyday glassware into art with a simple technique
Etching Glass
Etching can spruce up old glassware.

There is something magical about etching glass―the process turns plain glass pieces into decorative objects in minutes. The secret is etching cream.

You simply apply it to the glass, and the surface turns into a translucent white. The results are beautiful, subtle, and lasting.

Inexpensive glassware is readily available from home and craft stores. Or, chances are, you already have suitable pieces in your own home.

Look through your cupboard for old glassware―particularly unusually shaped jars and vases―in need of sprucing up, don protective rubber gloves, and give it a try. It’s well worth the effort.

TIME: 30 minutes and up, depending on complexity of design

COST: $20 


  • Craft knife
  • Self-adhesive paper
  • Glass
  • Paintbrush
  • Etching cream 


Note: Always wear rubber gloves and read warning labels carefully when working with etching cream.

1. Using the craft knife, cut a stencil from self-adhesive paper.

2. Stick the stencil on the glass. Rub it on firmly to ensure good adhesion.

3. Use a brush to apply a generous amount of etching cream into the open part of the stencil. Leave on for five minutes.

4. Rinse glass thoroughly with warm water to remove all the cream from the surface. Peel off stencil.


If you are making a word or phrase stencil, use your computer to print out the word at the exact size you desire. Or use self-adhesive letters sold in sheets by type and style in art stores. Tape the printout or stick the store-bought letters to self-adhesive paper and trace over the letters with a craft knife to create the stencil.

Use round stickers, available from office supply stores, to create a polka-dot pattern.

To create a consistent floral pattern, draw one flower carefully and photocopy it several times. Tape the copies onto the self-adhesive paper and trace over them with the knife.

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