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How to Etch a Pyrex Glass Baking Dish

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One of my favorite things to make for a bridal shower or wedding gift is etched glass baking dishes. They’re also the perfect gift item for Christmas gifts, house warmings, or as a hostess gift. Whether you use a generic design or create your own designs and personalize them with a last name or monogram, they’re always a big hit. In this step-by-step tutorial, I’ll show you just how easy it is to etch a pyrex glass baking dish. You’ll probably want to make a few for yourself too!

What You’ll Need:

Some of the products used in the tutorial were provided by etchall, but all instructions and opinions are my own.

What is Pyrex?

Pyrex is the brand name of a line of laboratory glassware and kitchen glassware that includes baking dishes, measuring cups, mixing cups, and storage containers. When Pyrex was originally introduced in 1915, it was made from borosilicate glass which could withstand extreme temperature fluctuations without breaking.

Since 1998, pyrex bakeware no longer contains borosilicate glass. It is now made from soda-lime glass and the term “pyrex” has become almost generic for glass bakeware.

Nowadays when you hear someone mention “pyrex dishes”, they are not only referring to the pyrex brand of glass dishes but Anchor Hocking and other brands as well (similiar to how tissues are referred to as “kleenex”, lip balm is called “chapstick, and frozen ice pops are known as “popsicles”.)

Tips for etching glass bakeware

Etching cream works by removing a small layer from the surface of the glass. Over the years, I’ve created a lot of etched glass projects, including glass casserole dishes and pie plates using this method. After trying several different brands, I’ve found that etchall is the best glass etching cream on the market. It’s the only one that I now use or recommend. (You can read about my experience with other creams in this post.)

Another thing I’ve discovered along the way is that not all glass bakeware is created equal when it comes to success with etching. It all has to do with HOW the glassware is made and what it is made FROM.

I’ve always had great results with glass bakeware I’ve purchased from Walmart, Target, and the Dollar Store. I’ve never had a problem with pyrex, Anchor Hocking, or even the generic brands. However, the borosilicate glass found in vintage Pyrex that’s touted for its safety features also makes it resistant to etching, so keep this in mind if you’re shopping flea markets, thrift stores, or estate sales.

Steer clear of IKEA glass bakeware for your etching projects. I’ve found that it does not etch at all, no matter how long you let the etching cream set. (Other glass items from IKEA, including drinkware and plates do etch well, just not the bakeware.)

How to test the “etchability” of a Pyrex baking dish

If you’re in doubt as to whether or not etchall will etch the bakeware you’ve chosen for your glass etching project, you can easily test its “etchability”.

Use a toothpick to apply a little bit of etchall (a tiny dot is all you need) in an inconspicuous spot on the outside of the dish. Let the cream sit for 15 minutes, then rinse with water. Once the surface is dry, check to see if the etching is visible. If so, you’re good to go!

Now let’s get on to our project!

Step 1: Measure the bottom of the baking dish

Don’t just assume that the measurements on the baking dish label are the same measurements you need for the glass etching stencil. This is especially true for pie plates.

The size that you see on the pie plate label is the diameter of the top. Because a pie plate is smaller on the bottom than the top, you’ll need to measure the bottom of the dish to figure out the right size for your stencil.

As you can see in these photos, the 9.5 inch pie plate I used only measures 8 inches across the bottom.

woman measuring the bottom of a glass pie plate

Step 2: Create the glass etching stencil

I used Silhouette Studio to create my stencil but you could do something similar in Cricut Design Space or other cutting machine softwares as well. If you don’t want to make your own glass etching stencils, check out your local craft store for pre-made stencils.

First, draw a circle the same size as the bottom of the pie plate (8 inches).

Open the cut file in your design workspace, resize it, and center it within the circle.

Screenshot of design in Silhouette Studio

Looking for more designs? Check out these free kitchen SVG files.

Step 3: Mirror the design

The vinyl stencil is going to be applied to the outside of the dish. This will keep the inside surface of the baking dish smooth to resist staining and provide an even baking surface.

You want the design to be going the right way as you look at the pie plate from the top, so you’ll need to mirror the design before you cut it.

screenshot of mirrored design in Silhouette Studio

Step 4: Cut the design

Place a sheet of etchmask stencil material, Oracal 651, or stencil vinyl on your cutting mat and use your Silhouette machine, Cricut, or other digital cutter to cut out the design.

oracal 651 on cutting mat loaded into Silhouette Portrait digital cutter

In Silhouette Studio, use the Vinyl, Glossy cut settings.

Step 5: Weed the design

To weed the stencil, remove the positive space (the text and design elements) from the adhesive vinyl. This is the area that will be etched. The negative space (the background) will protect the areas of the pie plate that you don’t want to etch. (This is the exact opposite of weeding a vinyl decal.)

I’ve found that it’s much easier to weed the vinyl if I leave it on my adhesive cutting mat.

woman weeding a vinyl stencil for glass etching

Step 6: Apply the stencil using the Hinge Method

Wipe the pie plate (or baking dish) with a small amount of rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth to remove any dust and debris.

If your pie plate has handles (like mine), make sure that the design is aligned properly. The easiest way to do this is by using the hinge method to apply the stencil. This allows you to easily adjust the placement of the stencil before actually sticking it to the pie plate. 

  1. Remove the adhesive vinyl from the mat and apply an etchall etchmask transfer sheet or a piece of transfer tape over the top of the stencil. Lift the adhesive stencil from its backing.
  2. Place the stencil back onto the paper backing. Make sure to put the sticky side of the vinyl on the shiny side of the backing and not on the paper side so it doesn’t stick to the paper and mess up the stencil! (Removing the vinyl from the backing and then replacing it onto the liner keeps it from being so sticky when you trim away the backing in the next step.)
  3. Trim away the excess backing and transfer tape around the circle, cutting as close to the edge of the circle as possible.
  4. With the paper backing still intact, place the stencil onto the pie plate. Take a strip of painter’s tape and apply it horizontally across the middle of the design to hold the stencil in place.
vinyl stencil decal taped to a pyrex pie plate
  1. When the stencil is aligned to your liking, gently fold down the top half of the stencil (the painter’s tape will serve as your “hinge”), and remove it from the backing.
  2. Using scissors, trim away the backing from the top half only. Apply the stencil from the center of the design outward, smoothing out all air bubbles with your vinyl squeegee.
woman using a squeegee to apply a vinyl stencil to a pyrex pie plate
  1. Remove the painter’s tape. Slowly peel away the remainder of the backing as you apply the bottom half of the decal, smoothing out all air bubbles as you go. Remember to work outward from the center!
  2. Optional: Use a heat tool to seal the stencil to the glass.
woman using a heat gun to seal a vinyl stencil onto a pyrex pie plate

Note: Most of the pie plates and baking dishes I use have a logo on the bottom of the dish. I don’t feel like it detracts from the design when I’m etching so I just ignore it. I I have seen some that don’t have a logo so you may want to shop around if it bothers you.

Step 7: Apply the etching cream

Before you apply the etching cream, it’s a good idea to cover your work surface to protect from any accidental drips or spills. You may also want to wear rubber gloves, but I’ve never found this necessary.

Cover any exposed edges of the pie plate with painter’s tape, taking special care to seal all the edges of the stencil.

photo of etchall etching cream and a Pyrex baking dish with a glass etching stencil applied

Use the etchall squeege to apply a thick layer of etching cream over the stencil. Don’t be afraid to be generous with the cream because it’s reusable!

woman using a squeegee to apply etchall etching cream to a glass pie plate

Be careful not to scrape the cream across the stencil, which could lift the edges of the stencil and allow etching cream to seep underneath.

Pro Tip: When applying the etching cream, think of it as frosting a chocolate cake with white icing. You don’t want to scrape so hard that you get chocolate crumbs in the icing, so you glide the frosting (etching cream) over the surface, leaving a layer of cream between the squeegee and the glass dish.

Let the etchall etching cream sit for 15 minutes to fully activate.(It doesn’t hurt if it sits longer, but you do need to wait at least 15 minutes to get the best results.)

Step 8: Rinse & reveal

After at least 15 minutes have passed, gently scrape off the excess etching cream and return it to the etchall container. (etchall is reusable, but should never be stored in an unmarked container. By law, etchall has to remain in it’s labeled bottle.)

Rinse the pie plate under warm water to thoroughly remove the remaining cream, stencil, and painter’s tape. Admire your beautiful handiwork!

pyrex pie plate etched with the secret ingredient is love quote

Pro Tip: Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see the etched design right away. The etching does not usually show up very well when the glass is wet, but is fully revealed as soon as the glass has dried.

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With the help of etchall glass etching cream, the process of etching a pyrex baking dish is simple and easy but the results have a big WOW factor! There are ton of design options to choose from and they make great gifts. I hope you’ll give it a try!

If you have any questions, leave a comment below or come visit me over in the Silhouette Crafters by Design Facebook group. I’m always happy to help.

Until next time,

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