How to get the look of glass etching without the mess

One of the first projects I planned to complete with my new Cricut Maker was to cut out stencils to use for glass etching. After doing some research, I became concerned about the risk of this project because the glass decanters I intended to use are no longer available for purchase and therefore irreplaceable if I mess up the glass etching process. While looking for the appropriate Cricut stencil vinyl, I came across an alternate approach to using glass etching cream. Keep reading for an overview on how I used my Cricut Maker to get the look of glass etching without the mess. 

Decanters with labels
Decanters with labels

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Overview

My husband received a set of five matching decanters for Christmas last year. We display them above the wet bar in our newly remodeled basement. They look great, but the problem with matching decanters is that they make it very difficult to determine what kind of liquor each contains. As most alcoholic beverages are either clear or caramel-colored. So, it was almost impossible to tell the gin from the vodka or the rum from the bourbon. We initially came up with the idea to etch the name of the alcohol into each respective glass decanter. 

After doing some research, my initial plan was to use my Cricut cutting machine to cut out a stencil using Cricut stencil vinyl and my desired font. I would then place that stencil on the decanter and use a glass etching cream such as Armour Etch. You can find numerous tutorials online for how to use this glass etching cream. I was a bit concerned about the likelihood of success of this approach. Specifically because the decanters are round. I was concerned my stencil might not seal to the glass appropriately. This might allow some glass etching cream to seep out of the desired stencil area and leave my decanters looking a mess. 

The new plan

However, because I didn’t have any other ideas, this was my plan until I was shopping at the crafts store for supplies. While there, I stumbled upon another option that would give the same look. I found that Cricut sells opaque permanent frosted vinyl. The sample project featured on the label of this product even shows it being used on a glass pitcher to give an etched glass effect. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but I decided to buy it and try it on the decanters. I knew that I could remove it if it didn’t look great so there was little risk to trying it out.

Once we picked our desired font and size, I used the Cricut to cut out the labels using the frosted vinyl. Full disclosure: I found this vinyl extremely difficult to weed (it is clear after all). After weeding, we used transfer tape to place them into position on each decanter. I was really happy with the end result. This vinyl absolutely gives the look of etched glass without the risk and mess of using glass etching cream. We could also potentially change out a label if we decide to use any of the decanters for different alcohols in the future. 

Evaluation

Obviously, if you touch the label you can easily tell that it is not etched into the glass. However, when viewing them on their shelf you would never be able to tell that it is a vinyl decal and not etched glass. Brian was happy with the end result and I think they look amazing. Plus, this project was way less work and way less stress than using the glass etching cream. 

Using permanent vinyl does mean that these decanters should not go in the dishwasher, but we would hand-wash them anyways. This approach, however, has the advantage of not being limited to glass. Armour Etch is not recommended for certain types of glass or acrylic. The frosted vinyl, however, can work on any smooth glass or acrylic surface to give an etched look. I did originally purchase the Cricut stencil vinyl and will probably try the glass etching cream in the future. I will just probably use it on a lower-risk project (like a wine glass that can easily be replaced if I mess it up).

Tools Used

You only need a few supplies for this project:

  1. A glass (or even acrylic) piece such as a wine glass, decanter, or vase; (Although our decanters are no longer available, I found similar ones online here, here, here, and here).
  2. Cricut opaque permanent frosted vinyl
  3. Cricut or Silhouette machine (and basic tools) 
  4. Transfer tape

Here is the link to the file I used in Cricut Design Space in case anyone wants to replicate this look: https://design.cricut.com/landing/project-detail/5fef7bd47366ca04ccffa5a8

Have you ever used the opaque permanent frosted vinyl or the Armour Etch cream? If so, please share your projects and opinions on these product. I look forward to hearing from you!

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