My Adventures with Glass Etching – Or When DIY’s Don’t Work Too Well

After seeing this DIY on A Beautiful Mess on how to do pretty glass etching patterns on bits of glass, I thought this would be a fun little DIY to prettify those random jars and candle holders we seem to have collected over the years. I’d also seen their large polka dot jars and carafe and glass set so thought it couldn’t be that difficult to get a good result. Hmm.


So, I assembled my tools. Four glass tumblers from Wilkinson cost just 85p (That still doesn’t seem quite right), a set of brushes from Wilko that included two sponge applicators like this one for £4, large circle labels for 35p, paper reinforcers which I already had and Armour Etch, which I bought from this eBay seller. I couldn’t find any shops in the UK that would sell this stuff, so it looks like eBay is your only choice.


After putting the glasses through the dishwasher, I started to stick my stickers on them. I did two of them with the reinforcers, and two with the large spots.


Once done, it was time to get painting! (Blue peg in background because I was painting outside and didn’t want the paper to blow off the table!)


I spread a thick, even(ish – I’ll explain that later) layer all over the glasses with the big spot stickers (I wanted the stickers to be a negative space) and inside the holes on the reinforcers. The instructions say to leave this for about 10-15 minutes, but I left them for a few hours, thinking that the longer time on would give a stronger effect. (I had already tested this on some older glasses that we had – leaving them overnight! – and there hasn’t seemed to be any problems – the glass doesn’t seem any weaker, and they’ve been through the dishwasher a few times!)


So, once your time is up, you wash off the etching cream, and are left with glasses that sort of look like this:


Sort of? Well, yeah. Despite trying to keep the cream to a thick even layer, some of the circles were only partially etched on these. I ended up going over them again freehand with a little paint brush and that has helped even up the spots (although you can see where it’s been done twice, like the glass on the right). The bottle of Armour Etch says not to use it to cover large areas, but I thought “Well, if A Beautiful Mess got such a good result, why wouldn’t I?”


This was the *good* glass. Patchy, blotchy, rubbish – it makes me wonder how A Beautiful Mess managed to get such a uniform look on their items!

So, glass etching? Fun, but don’t expect to get results like the “professionals”.

Edit: I’ve just been informed that the best craft shop in Bristol ( I LOVE that place a little too much) now stocks Armour Etch, so if you’re interested in trying this, you should visit them! (You should visit anyway. It’s the land o’craft happytimes.)


  1. Sarahmia says

    To be honest even AMB’s versions don’t look that great! The carafe is mega patchy and their polka dot glasses aren’t stellar, they’re streaky and thin. Maybe it just takes practice and a REALLY thick layer?

    • Cara-Mia says

      I agree… a lot of their DIYs (or recipes) end up looking “professional” so you shouldn’t be hard on yourself about it. :)


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