How to Make Etching Stencils With Contact Paper

Written by alexis rohlin
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Contact-paper etching stencils are used to etch or frost designs onto glass. You can draw your own design and then etch it into the surface of glass mugs, mirrors or glass containers with glass-etching cream. Practice etching by creating a simple stencil with contact paper and etching the design into rinsed-out glass jars. Once you learn how to make stencils with contact paper, you can make any design you like and etch it into glass.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Glass
  • Drawn design or pattern
  • Contact paper
  • Tape
  • Carbon paper or wax-transfer paper
  • No. 2 pencil
  • Sharp utility knife
  • Newspaper
  • Disposable gloves
  • Etching cream
  • Foam brush

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  1. 1

    Measure the design or pattern. Cut the contact paper to that size plus 1 inch on all sides. Tape the contact paper to your work space. Place a piece of carbon paper or wax-transfer paper on top of the contact paper and tape it down, too.

  2. 2

    Place the design or pattern over the carbon paper or transfer paper and tape it in place. Press firmly with the pencil as you trace over the design so that the transfer paper or carbon paper makes clear lines on the contact paper. Remove the design and transfer paper from the contact paper.

  3. 3

    Cut out the design that you want to be etched into your glass with a sharp utility knife. Trim the contact paper so that it will fit on your glass. Remove the backing of the contact paper and carefully place it on the glass. Press the contact paper down and rub it until it fully adheres to the glass. Smooth out air bubbles or wrinkles with your fingers.

  4. 4

    Cover your work space with newspaper. Put on disposable rubber gloves. Apply an even thick layer of the etching cream with a foam brush on the exposed glass in the openings of the contact paper stencil. Wait 15 minutes or whatever time your brand of etching cream directs.

  5. 5

    Place the glass under running water to wash off the etching cream. Remove the contact paper and thoroughly wash the glass.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear gloves when working with etching cream as it is a harsh chemical that can irritate the skin.
  • Take care when handling utility knives as they are sharp.

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