Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Etched Glass Centerpiece

Glass etching is easy. Really, really easy. In this tutorial I'll show you how to etch designs onto glass using pre-made stencils or using stencils you can create yourself.

A while ago, my mom asked me to make a centerpiece, and it's taken me until now to figure out what to do. Though it took me forever to come up with an idea, my timing couldn't be better - it's right after my parents' anniversary and right before Mother's Day. The candle centerpiece in this tutorial is going to her!

The finished product will have a ring of flowers at the bottom. If you're wondering what it says, it's "don't worry, be happy." 

  • Armour Etch (or, another brand of glass etching cream)
  • Glass - for this project, I etched a glass jar
  • A paintbrush
  • Vinyl stencils. You can buy pre-made stencils, or, you can buy a blank sheet of vinyl and create your own. Craft stores sell vinyl specifically for etching
  • A sink to rinse the etching cream
Step One

Make sure your glass surface is clean. Place the stencils on the glass and make sure they are completely flat. 

You can overlap the stencils to make sure you don't get lines in between.

 Step Two

Use a paintbrush to coat the stencils in etching cream and let them sit for about 5 minutes. When it comes to Armour Etch, more is more. I paint a thick coat onto each stencil to make sure the glass etches  evenly.

I'm not sure about other etching solutions, but Armour Etch doesn't run. You can leave your glass standing up while you wait for it to set.

Step Three

Rinse the etching cream off with water and then peel off the stencils. If necessary, continue etching; I had to do a few rounds so I could re-use certain letters.

Yes, it is this easy. Stick stencil, apply armour etch, rinse with water.

The Centerpiece

My original plan was to put a candle in the jar and be done with it, but I decided against that. I found a bag of glass rocks (is that what they're called?) and separated all of the warm-colored ones to match the color scheme of my parents' house. I filled the jar about halfway, added an oversized tea light, and then surrounded the tea light with the remaining stones. I made sure not to go past the etching so it's readable when the candle is lit.

The jar looks awesome when it's lit because the candlelight bounces off the stones

My mom mentioned that she wanted me to incorporate my fabric flower frills, so I'm planning on creating a ring for the bottom. I'll post pictures when it's 100% finished.

Advanced Etching

You can also purchase a blank sheet of vinyl and create your own stencil. I've done this once before...the stencil was awesome, but I accidentally destroyed it when I tried to use it a third time. Helpful hint - be extra careful when etching onto rounded surfaces.

To create my own stencil, I drew the design I wanted onto the vinyl. Then, I used an exact-o knife to cut the design out. You may recognize the logo :)

Happy crafting!


  1. WOW!!! Awesome! I love the look of the glass rocks with the candle! What a beautifully creative Idea!

  2. That is incredibly beautiful! Now you have to make the centrepieces ALONG WITH the tile favors for the wedding! Good thing Matt and I are procrastinators...gives you plenty of time to finish em :D

  3. I want to try a wave pattern on a candle with blue/green stones next. The etching is SO easy to do, I could easily knock out a set of wedding centerpieces in a day, especially during the summer!