Do-It-Yourself Etching Project


04112 designer_caroline_baker

Design tip from Caroline Baker, assistant designer

A Touch of Tradition

7313 Carroll Road, Suite D

Sorrento Mesa

760-633-4474 x 1


Caroline Baker is the assistant designer for A Touch of Tradition Home & Garden Shop, a full-service design studio, and furnishings, lighting and accessory shop. From exclusive fabrics and window coverings to ready-made and custom furnishings, lighting and accessories, TOT-HOME offers stylish interiors with enduring appeal for every style of decor. 

When you need to make a change to glass, try an easy do-it-yourself etching project. Privacy can be added to bathroom windows with an etched design rather than a window covering. For a kitchen update on a budget, etching a design into glass cabinet doors is an ideal solution. Don’t have glass? Take out the inside panels on two doors and add some. Even glass canisters can be etched to showcase kitchen staples and bath salts in a beautiful way. Here is the list of products you’ll need and my step-by-step “how-to” so you can do it yourself. 


Materials List

  • Glass cleaner — vinegar based is best and I make my own
  • Lint free cloth — I recommend microfiber
  • Stencil — from a craft store, stencil supplier or create your own design
  • Smoothing tool or other flat edge — an old credit card works well
  • Masking film — to protect exposed areas
  • Rubber gloves — dishwashing gloves are best since the etching cream is irritating to skin but won’t penetrate rubber
  • Etching cream — I like Armour Etch ($6.25 for a 3-ounce bottle)
  • Paintbrush — with soft bristles
  • Sponge
  • Sponge buckets — one to discard cream and one for rinse water
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • pH test strip


  • Process

  1. Clean the glass to be etched with a microfiber cloth so no dust, fingerprints or old paint remains. 
  2. Apply your stencil to the glass. You can use a peel-and-stick stencil or use masking tape to hold it in place. 
  3. Using a flat edge, run over the stencil to eliminate any bubbles. Make sure that the design edge is flat on the glass.
  4. Cover the area around your stencil with masking film to protect the surface from splashed etching cream. 
  5. Put on the gloves. 
  6. Spread the etching cream over the design on the stencil using the paintbrush. Apply it evenly and move AWAY from the edges to prevent the cream from seeping underneath. Allow 5 to 15 minutes for the cream to work.
  7. Remove cream from the glass with a wet sponge, wiping it into an empty bucket. Working from top to bottom is easiest and keeps the surface cleaner.  
  8. When all of the cream has been removed, neutralize the water from your cleanup with baking soda and use a pH test strip to ensure that it’s safe to toss.
Categories: Home Design