How to understand the glass etching process

Glass etching is a process that creates permanent and decorative designs. It is done as follows:

  • Preparation: Clean the surface of the glass to ensure it is free of dust and grease.
  • Design: Apply an adhesive stencil or vinyl tape with the desired design to the glass.
  • Etching: Apply an etching cream or use a sandblaster to carve the design into the glass. Etching cream is an acidic substance that lightly eats away at the surface of the glass, while sandblasting uses abrasive particles to carve.
  • Rinse: After letting the cream or sandblaster act for the recommended time, rinse the glass well with water to remove any residue.
  • Finishing: Remove the adhesive stencil and clean the glass again to reveal the etched design.
This process allows you to create fine, personalized details on a variety of glass items, such as tumblers, stemware, and plates.


The final etching finish on a piece of clear glass, as shown in the image, produces a colorless but clearly visible design. This "white" effect is achieved by etching the surface of the glass, creating a sharp, long-lasting contrast that highlights the details of the design without adding pigment. This technique is ideal for achieving an elegant and sophisticated finish, resistant to wear compared to painted areas.

  • Cost: $0 

  • Glass Colors: Clear

  • Cleaning: Windex  / Cotton Shirt


When working with transparent glass in light solid colors such as yellow, teal, or white, the etching may not be easily visible. To enhance the visibility of the engraving, it is necessary to paint over the etched area with a dark or solid color, like black, to create contrast and make the design stand out. This method ensures the engraved details are prominent and clearly visible.

  • Cost: $5 each
  • Glass Colors: White, Orange, Yellow, Teal, etc.
  • Cleaning: Chemical cleaning removes paint over time. Instead, use a cotton t-shirt to clean.

Metallic Gold / Silver

Metallic paints, such as gold or silver, are applied to dark solid-colored glass to provide a professional finish and accentuate the intricacies of the etched designs. These metallic colors highlight every detail carved into the glass, ensuring a striking and refined appearance.

  • Cost: $8 each

  • Glass Colors Recommended: Dark colors such as Black, Blue, Red

  • Cleaning: Chemical cleaning can fade the paint over time. Simply use a cotton t-shirt for cleaning.

Etch Process Samples


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