How to Frost Jars

Updated November 21, 2016

Frosting jars is a relatively easy endeavour that can save you money. By using etching cream and a stencil, you can create customised designs on glass jars you can use for decorative storage, vases or votive holders.

Clean the glass jar with soap and water and rinse well. Thoroughly dry the glass jar with a lint-free cloth.

Rub the jar down with rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth to remove any residual soap and grease. Allow the glass jar to air-dry.

Mask off any areas of the glass with contact paper that you do not want to etch. Apply the contact paper and rub it with the edge of a wooden Popsicle stick to ensure that the adhesive is stuck to the glass and has formed a seal that the etching cream cannot penetrate.

Etch a design into the jar, if desired, by transferring that design to contact paper using a pencil and cutting it out with a sharp utility knife. Do not push too hard with the utility knife so that you do not score the glass.

Remove the contact paper in the areas of glass where you want etching to occur and make sure the cut edges of your newly created stencil are securely adhered to the glass jar.

Put on your rubber gloves and safety glasses. Using a 1-inch sponge brush, apply a thick, even coat of etching cream to the areas you want to etch your glass jar. Allow the cream to sit as long as the manufacturer's instructions require, as exposure time varies by brand.

Wipe away the etching cream with a clean paper towel after it has sat for the indicated amount of time. Immediately discard the paper towel to ensure that the etching cream doesn't get on you or any surrounding items.

Rinse the glass jar and wash any residual etching cream off with soap and warm water. Remove your gloves and discard.

Remove the contact paper stencil. Wash your glass jar with glass cleaner and a lint-free cloth to finish.


If the pattern you are etching has very fine details, use your utility knife to remove the small pieces of contact paper from your stencil and use a cotton swab to apply the etching cream.


Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the etching cream you purchase. Etching cream is caustic. Do not allow etching cream to touch your skin or any surfaces you don't want etched. Use in a well-ventilated area.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass jar
  • 2 lint-free cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Contact paper
  • Popsicle stick
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • 1-inch sponge brush
  • Etching cream
  • Paper towel
  • Glass cleaner
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