How to Embellish Wine Glasses

Written by amanda courtney
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How to Embellish Wine Glasses
Transform a plain wine glass into a work of art with simple paint, beads and crystal or elaborate etched designs. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Embellishing wine glasses with paint, glitter, beads, crystals and etched patterns can be a fun activity for a girl's night, bridesmaids or just for friends to get together and enjoy being crafty. Decorated wine glasses also make excellent party favours, door prizes, gifts and place markers. Use etching cream to make customised patterns and monograms for a wedding or quinceanera, or to reproduce a company logo for an awards banquet. Make tags or beaded hoops for wine glass bases that you can reuse on any size or type of glass and as a way to temporarily personalise the glasses.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Beads
  • Beading wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Shellac
  • Etching cream
  • Vinyl adhesive or contact paper
  • Craft knife
  • Stainless steel basin
  • Warm water
  • Ribbon
  • Crystals
  • Paper towels
  • Glass cleaner
  • Dust cloths or lint-free cloths
  • Paint markers or pens
  • Dish soap
  • Scissors
  • Scrapbook embellishments
  • Dust sheets or old tablecloths

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  1. 1

    Purchase wine glasses from garage sales and thrift stores for funky, mismatched pieces, or in bulk from a restaurant supply store for a more uniform look. Coloured glasses in rose, cobalt or amber work well for weddings, while classic crystal is ideal for a corporate event. Buy enough extra glasses for mistakes and other mishaps, as well as a few to practice on beforehand.

  2. 2

    Wash the glasses, by hand, in warm soapy water. Be sure they are thoroughly rinsed and dried before handling with the vinyl adhesive to ensure the vinyl adheres properly. Dry each with a lint-free cloth before placing upright on a counter or work table.

  3. 3

    Assemble the necessary supplies for each decorating style before beginning -- this helps avoid issues such as leaving the etching cream in place too long because you do not have the steel basin prepared. Cover your work space in a dust sheet, old tablecloth or simple newsprint to protect against spilt paint or etching cream.


  1. 1

    Practice painting on an old, chipped glass or one of the extras you purchased. Consider sketching out a pattern or following a stencil for a more organised appearance. For a dynamic or organic style, freehand works best.

  2. 2

    Use a variety of paint brush sizes to paint everything from large flower blossoms or funky polka dots to intricate details like miniature Eiffel towers. Depending on the type of paint used, and the effect you want, you may need to apply several coats, allowing maximum drying time between each coat.

  3. 3

    Add glitter or decorative crystals to accent your painted glass. Craft glue lets you accessorise your design with coloured or clear crystals, while sprinkling glitter over tacky paint, or mixing glitter into the paint, adds a fun shimmer. Finalise the glass by spraying with shellac or other sealant.


  1. 1

    Apply the adhesive vinyl or contact paper to the glasses, smoothing it to press out any bubbles or ripples in the vinyl that will mess up the pattern. Practice this on old or spare glasses before attempting your first glass.

  2. 2

    Cut the image, pattern or graphic out of the vinyl using a craft knife. You can do this freehand, using a pattern, stencilling with a pencil or a combination of the three.

  3. 3

    While wearing gloves, use an old or disposable paintbrush to apply a thick layer of etching cream over the pattern. Be sure to ventilate the area -- the acidic or caustic etching cream creates potent fumes.

  4. 4

    Allow the cream to sit for the maximum time recommended by the manufacturer. In a stainless steel sink or bowl, rinse the cream off of the glass with warm water, remove the stencil and rinse again. Wash the glass in warm soapy water and let dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Make your own wine glass charms with beads, charms and buttons strung on simple wire or stemware hoops.
  • Be sure to use the etching cream, paints and shellacs or sealants in well-ventilated areas.

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