How to Acid Etch Glass

Updated April 17, 2017

Etching glass can be fun as well as a great way to make a perfect personalised gift for any ocassion. With the craft kits now available on the market, the process has become simple and fun. Follow the steps below to acid etch the glass piece of your choice.

Decide what piece of glass you want to etch. Almost anything glass can be etched including wine glasses, plates and platters, bowls, perfume bottles, and mirrors.

Decide the design you want to use. For example, your idea might be to etch a border around the rim of a glass plate and then put another pattern in the centre or to etch something different on two sides of a glass. The possibilities are endless.

If you don't already have the glass piece(s) and etching kit on hand, go and purchase the items you will need. These will include one or more glass items, stencil, acid product, brush(es), and a craft knife.

Choose one or more stencils (or cut out your own if you are artistic, using a craft knife) that will fit the size of the glass piece you are etching as well as the overall design you want.

Make your own stencil by drawing or tracing the design onto the stencil and then cutting it out with a craft knife.

Apply the stencil to the glass piece to be etched. Make sure that the stencil is applied flat onto the surface without any folds or bends around the design area. Also make certain that it is secured to the glass to avoid any leakage of the acid product when it is applied.

Shake the acid product thoroughly before using it. Apply it according to the instructions on the bottle, making certain to keep the acid off of areas that aren't to be etched. Be certain that the application is thick enough to properly etch the design into the glass.

Let the acid set on the product for the amount of time indicated within the product's instructions. Then remove the remaining pieces of the stencil.

Rinse and dry your glass piece. It is now ready for you to use or for you to give as a gift.


Your stencil choices should be the right size and shape to accomplish your planned design. Your options could be somewhat dependent upon the etching stencils you can find in the market place. Use blank stencil paper to draw or transfer and cut out your own designs.


Do not apply the acid product if it is too runny since this is likely to seep underneath the stencil as well as run onto areas of the glass that are not meant to be etched. Do not apply the acid product if it is too thick or grainy. That indicates that the product is no good and will damage your glass. Be sure to apply the acid product with the appropriate type of brush as outlined within the product's instructions. Use only the approved stencil material for acid glass etching.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass piece(s) for etching
  • Glass etching kit or individual pieces (stencil, brush, acid product)
  • Design idea
  • Transfer paper
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About the Author

A business and education specialist for 30 years, Chantel Alise also owned a management and marketing training company. She has written newsletters and training manuals as well as business articles for Enid News and Eagle's Business Journal. She is principle writer for Beauty Biz. Alsie attended Thomas Nelson Community College (Virginia) and Phillips University (Oklahoma).