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Last Updated on December 7, 2022 by Chris Butler
Hi crafty friends! Today we will learn how to etch glass with our Cricut Machines. This can be done with other cutting machines as well.
We’ll use our Cricut to cut a stencil design and then apply etching cream to etch the glass. This method is a quick and easy way to get an amazing etched glass result. Plus I’ll give you some fail-proof tips to make sure you get the best results every time.
Etching glass is such a fun way to personalize glassware and it makes some great gifts!
Let’s get to it.
Quick Links to Information in This Post
Step-by-Step Glass Etching Video Tutorial
Keep scrolling for the full written tutorial.
Supplies Needed to Etch Glass with Cricut
- Stencil Film or Removable Vinyl – https://amzn.to/3VDhvGV
- Transfer Tape – https://amzn.to/3BgMGQe
- Armour Etch Etching Cream – https://amzn.to/3uQhBiZ
- Paint Brush
- Paper Towels
- Cutting Machine and Tools – https://amzn.to/3Y3FKj8
- SVG Files – https://dailydoseofdiy.lpages.co/svg-library/
- A Glass Item -such as Wine Glasses, Casserole Dishes, Glass Plates, Glass Block etc.
- *Rubber Gloves and a well-ventilated area is recommended
I’m using this pyrex dish found on Amazon. https://amzn.to/3Y8Yq1g
A quick note about Pyrex dishes, not all of them are created equally and some pyrex will not etch. If you already have a dish you want to etch do a small test spot to make sure it will work first. You can do this by putting a dab of etch cream onto the dish with a toothpick.
I also use Oracal Stencil Film, I’m not a big fan of the Cricut Stencil vinyl as I find it harder to work with. You can also use removable vinyl for this, though it might leave more of a residue you’ll have to clean off. I’d steer clear from using permanent vinyl.
I also like Oracal Transfer tape, however clear contact paper works just as well.
Step One Download and Upload the SVG Files
I made you two SVG files that you can use for free to make etched glass crafts. The first one says “Made with Love” and the second one says “Home Sweet Home”
Both SVG come with a standard version so you can use it with any craft and a stencil version so you can use it for etched glass or painted signs. Make sure you upload the stencil version to Cricut Design Space for this craft.
All of my free SVG files and Designs are kept in a library for your convenience. Simply CLICK HERE to get access. We will send you the link and password right away and you’re free to use all the resources you want in the library.
Already have the password? (It’s at the bottom of every email) Enter the Library Here
You’ll find the SVG for this craft under “E” for Etched Glass.
Once the SVG is in design space you can resize it by grabbing any corner and moving your curser out to make it larger or in to make it smaller. Once the SVG is the size you need you can click the make it button.
Fail-Proof Tip: Etch cream is not made to etch really large areas. Keep your designs and design area on the smaller side for consistent etching results.
You can totally use your own design as well. See this post for turning any design into a stencil.
Step Two: Cut and Weed Your Stencil
On the mat screen, you will need to mirror the design if you are making a casserole dish. This is so we can etch on the bottom of the dish and still use it to make food. If you don’t mirror, your design will be backward when looking through the dish.
For all other glass etching projects, such as glass blocks or wine glasses, you don’t need to mirror.
For Cricut Explore Air owners set your dial to viny to cut the stencil film. For Cricut Maker owners choose mat vinyl from the materials list.
Next line up your stencil film on a green cutting mat and smooth it down. Slide your mat under the tabs of your Cricut machine and hit the load mat button. Once the go button starts flashing press that and Cricut will cut your design.
When it’s finished cutting weed your design. I’m weeding mine right on the Cut Mat to make it a little easier. For stencils you’ll first remove the outer excess vinyl. Then remove the letters from the inside of the stencil. This is the opposite of weeding a vinyl decal. You’ll pull the letters out and leave the centers of the letters there.
Step Three: Transfer Your Stencil to Your Glass
Now we’re ready to transfer the stencil to our glass. The first thing is to make sure your glass surface is clean and dry. You can wash in hot soapy water or use some isopropyl alcohol to clean the surface.
Fail-Proof Tip: Fingerprints on the surface of the glass and even some glass cleaners will give you blotchy results. Be sure not to touch the glass you are etching after it’s clean and stay away from fingerprint-resistant glass cleaners.
Next step, pull one edge down from your piece of transfer tape and fold it down. Stick the exposed transfer tape to the edge of your design. Then remove the backing while you move your hand down the front.
Next use your scraper tool to burnish (rub really hard) the tape to the stencil film.
Finally remove the backing from the stencil film and we’re ready to apply it to our glass. Vinyl will stick pretty quickly to glass, so you don’t have the opportunity to reposition once it makes contact.
If you’re not good at “eye-balling” the correct position, you can remove one-half of the backing of your stencil at a time. This will help you position it, and then you can stick one side down to hold it in place and remove the backing from the second half of your design.
This is called the hinge method. See how to use the Hinge Method Here
I’m taking my chances and removing the one backing. Hold the design over the glass you are going to etch and when you are happy with the position gently set the stencil down.
Then grab your scraper tool and starting from the center and working your way out, burnish the stencil onto your glass. Once that is done, you can remove the transfer tape.
Pro Tip: When removing your transfer tape don’t lift up. This can pull up parts of your design. Instead, keep the transfer film parallel with the glass and pull back.
Fail-Proof Tip – Once the transfer tape is off run your fingers over the design area to make sure all of the stencil is stuck to the glass. Air bubbles that are away from the letters or design are ok, but you want the edges of the design stuck well.
My stencil covers the entire bottom of the casserole dish. However, you have glass exposed beyond your stencil area you may want to use painter’s tape to cover the exposed areas of glass so is doesn’t accidentally get etched.
Step Four: Apply Armour Etching Cream to Glass
Now we’re ready to apply the etching cream. Shake the Armour etch cream really well and grab your paint bush. Use the brush to apply the etching cream using an up and down motion.
Fail-Proof Tip: Don’t swipe the cream on with a back-and-forth motion as you would with painting. This could push the etching cream under the stencil. Instead, use the brush to dab it on with an up-and-down motion.
Start at the top of your design and work your way down. You want a nice thick and even coat of etching cream on the glass.
Fail-Proof Tip: The etch cream should be thick enough that you can’t see through it. If you can see glass through the cream, add more cream. This will ensure you have a nice thick and even layer.
Once your whole design is covered start the timer. According to Armour etch instructions, the cream will etch glass in one minute. I find I get better results when leaving the cream on for at least three minutes up to five minutes.
Fail-Proof Tip – Leave the etch cream on for 3-5 minutes for more consistent results
After the five minutes are up, use a paper towel to wipe away the excess cream.
Step Five: Wash the Glass and Remove Stencil
Once the excess etching cream is off, take your glass to the sink and rinse off the remaining etch cream. I use cool to luke warm water and another paper towel to wipe away the rest of the residue.
Fail-Proof Tip: Don’t remove the stencil before rinsing off the etch cream. This could cause the cream to get onto areas you don’t want it.
Don’t be alarmed if it looks like it didn’t work! The etching is hard to see when it’s wet and you may think it didn’t work at all. But it darkens up once it’s dry.
After the residue is rinsed off pat dry with a towel, and then you can remove the stencil. You’ll probably need to use your weeding tool to get the centers of letters and smaller areas of your design off.
Give your glass another wipe off with a towel and allow to air dry the rest of the way.
It’s normal for it to look a little splotchy until it dries completely. But once dry you should have a nice even etch after following these steps.
Caring for Your Etched Glass Project
Now you may be wondering how to care for your etched glass. Especially if you’ve made a casserole dish or other dishes that you will use.
Etched glass is permanent, you don’t need to seal it with anything it is good to go. Do note that the etched area is now porous so it could stain. (think pasta sauce in a Tupperware container) However, by etching the bottom of dishes that will hold food and the outside of glasses that will hold wine, you shouldn’t have to worry about staining.
The finished etched glasses are dishwasher, microwave and oven safe so feel free to use and enjoy them as you would your other dishes.
Thanks so much for crafting with me today and learning how to etch glass with your Cricut! Warning: etching glass is fun and can get addictive! You might find yourself etching alllll the glass in your house!
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Chris Butler has helped thousands of crafters learn how to use their Cricut machine without feeling overwhelmed. She is a best selling author and an up and coming designer. For fun Chris enjoys designing SVG Files, hanging out with her family (preferably at the lake), traveling, and volunteering at her church. She is a wife and mom of two crazy fun kids.