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What is Glass Etching Cream and How to Use it Safely

Glass Etching Cream
Have you ever used a glass etching cream? What are the ingredients used in a glass etching acid cream? Here's all that you need to know...
Smita Pandit
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2017
Do you wish to pursue glass etching as a hobby? If you know how to etch glass, you could create beautiful designs on cups, glasses or other glass surfaces. You could transform plain wine glasses into beautiful etched wine glasses. If you have an interest in arts and crafts, then you must include glass etching in your list of hobbies soon.
Those who pursue glass etching as a business use sandblasting technique for etching glass, but if you just wish to take glass etching as a hobby, then you can make use of an etching cream. You can create delicate patterns and designs on glass by using this specially formulated compound. You could create beautiful artwork and create personalized gifts for your loved ones. Wondering what is this etching cream made up of? Here's some information about the ingredients used in this cream.
What is a Glass Etching Cream?
A glass etching compound defines and highlights the cuts made on the glass surface. You can create permanent etched designs on windows, mirrors or glassware by using this cream. Once you are able to create a smooth, matte surface, you can decorate the surface by adding colors. The etching effects that you see on glass are achieved due to the properties of the chemicals used in this cream. This etching cream contains a mixture of diluted sulfuric acid, sodium bifluoride, barium sulfate and ammonium bifluoride. While this cream doesn't create a very detailed or defined etched patterns, using this is relatively safer.
The areas on the glass surface that are not to be etched need to be masked. You could also use a product called glass etching resist. As the name suggests, this is a compound that resists the etching cream. There is another type of etching cream that is used for industrial etching. This is called glass etching acid cream. This cream is made from hydrofluoric acid. It helps in creating a well-defined etched finish on the glass surface. You must not try to make this etching cream using this acid on your own. Handling hydrofluoric acid can pose certain health risks, so, use a simple etching cream that doesn't contain this dangerous acid.
How to Use a Glass Etching Compound
If you are very keen on learning how to etch beautiful patterns on glass, here is a list of things that you would need for this art project along with the instructions on how to use etching cream for glass etching.
Things You Need
  • Etching cream
  • Latex gloves
  • Glass etching stencil
  • Contact paper
  • Cutter
  • Glass
  • First of all, you need to clean the glass surface. Use a soapy solution to get rid of stains or dirt.
  • Use a clean towel to dry the glass. Once the glass is completely dry, check it again.
  • Get hold of a self-adhesive glass etching stencil. If you don't have a stencil, cover the glass with a plain white contact paper and place a carbon paper on it.
  • Trace the design on to the contact paper and remove the design as well as the carbon paper.
  • Cut the design out of the paper with a sharp knife to create a stencil.
  • Stick this stencil to the glass and apply a little pressure so that there are no air bubbles.
  • Make sure that the areas that are not to be etched are masked.
  • Wear latex gloves and protective eyeglasses and apply the etching cream evenly as per the instructions given by the manufacturer.
  • Leave the cream on till the time given by the manufacturer. After that wash the glass with water and peel off the contact paper.
  • Wash the glass under water again. The artistic task of glass etching is complete. Wasn't that simple!
Now that you know how to etch glass using a specially formulated etching compound, you can use these instructions to etch patterns on glassware. So what are you waiting for? Create etched patterns on glass, and use them to decorate your home or give these personalized gifts to your loved ones.