How to Make Your Own Glass Etching Stencils

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Today I’m sharing a glass etching tutorial with a twist! In this step-by-step tutorial, I’m going to show you how to make your own glass etching stencils using a dingbat font and then etch your design onto a glass decanter.

Now you may be asking – what exactly is a dingbat font??? A dingbat font is a font that has symbols or pictures in place of letters and numbers. What’s really cool about these fonts is that many of them can be used to create cuttable designs – just like the one that I’m going to use for my custom stencil.

I created the stencil design in Silhouette Studio and cut it on my Portrait, but you could do something similar in the Cricut Design Space app to cut on your Cricut machine.

Why is etchall the best glass etching cream?

Using chemical etching cream is an easy way to create permanent designs on glass items. It’s great for almost all types of glass, including wine glasses, mirrors, and other decorative glassware.

You’ll find other brands of etching cream in your local craft stores and online (with one of the most popular being Armour Etch cream) but etchall is the only brand of etching cream I use and recommend. I’ve tried the others, but (as I shared in this post) the results left a lot to be desired, not to mention the fact that those creams have a strong odor and make a lot of mess.

What You’ll Need:

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

Step 1: Create the Design in Silhouette Studio

Note: Detailed instructions are included in the video tutorial below.

Measure the area for the stencil on your glass decanter bottle (or other glass blank) using a flexible measuring tape.

Use the drawing tools in Silhouette Studio to draw a rectangle the same size as the glass decanter bottle.

Fill the rectangle with symbols from the dingbat font. You can rotate them, resize them, and flip them vertically or horizontally to create your own custom design. (For specific instructions on how to access the dingbat images (also known as “glyphs”), check out this post: How to Use Glyphs in Silhouette Studio.)

how to make a glass etching stencil in Silhouette Studio

Pro Tip: When you’ve finished creating the design, print it out on a piece of paper and wrap around the blank to double-check the size and placement of your images before cutting the stencil.

Cut the stencil out of etchmask stencil material using your Silhouette machine or Cricut. (Contact paper or removable vinyl can also be used as a stencil, but I’ve had the best results using etchmask, stencil vinyl, or Oracal 651)

Step 2: Weed the Design & Apply Transfer Tape

To weed the glass etching designs from the stencil, remove the areas that you want to be etched. It’s a good idea to compare the stencil with a printed copy of the design to make sure you don’t miss any areas that should be weeded.

weeding a glass etching stencil

Use etchall etchmask transfer sheets to remove the adhesive stencil from its backing.

Step 3: Apply the Stencil

Clean the glass surface of the decanter with rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth.

Carefully apply the stencil to the blank, smoothing out any air bubbles as you go.

Once the stencil is applied, cover any remaining exposed glass with painter’s tape, taking special care to seal all the edges of the stencil.

Step 4: Apply the Etching Cream

Apply a thick layer of etching cream over the stencil.

Let the 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 a good etch.)

applying etching cream to a glass bottle

Return any unused etchall to the etching cream bottle. (Don’t store it in another container. By law, etchall has to remain in it’s labeled bottle.)

Step 5: Rinse & Reveal

When the time is up, scrape off the excess etching cream and return it to the etchall container. (Yes, etchall is reusable!!!)

Rinse the decanter under warm water to thoroughly remove all of the etchall from the surface of the glass, removing the vinyl decal and painter’s tape as you go.

Pro Tip: Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see the etched design right away. Most of the time, the etching doesn’t show up very well when the glass is wet, but will be fully revealed as soon as the glass dries.

etched glass soap decanter with bottle of etchall etching creme

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DIY glass etching projects are a fun way to exercise your creativity. They make wonderful home decor items as well as great gifts. I hope you’ll give this one 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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