Glass Etching

Hello Crafty World!

As you may already know, we here at Homespun are really psyched about handmade; handmade products, the handmade movement, and the creative process. Most of us on staff here are makers ourselves. My name is Lee, I’m the Social Media Manager, and I will be writing two new blog series’ for our website: the “How-To” Craft Series and the “Meet Your Maker” Interview Series. This is me:

I am a graphic designer and bookbinder working under the business name Read Write Books (you can find my work at Homespun, of course). I love to make stuff. It’s in my nature. But I think even if it doesn’t come naturally, making stuff can still be a ton of fun. It’s a great experience that also helps you to appreciate the complexities of the creative process. Because, after you’ve thrown away your first five attempts at making a book, you’re ready to go to Barnes and Noble and buy one like everyone else!

But that’s kinda what crafting is all about- the process. There is value in the process, whether you are a beginner or a skilled craftsman. It represents dedication, hard-work, traditions from the past, love, fun and so much more. Everything we carry at Homespun embodies this and we love supporting creators and teaching others how to experience the process of creating, too.

And so we begin!

To help decide what my first project would be, I grabbed one of our how-to books off the shelf: Super Crafty: Over 75 Amazing How-To Projects by Susan Beal, Torie Nguyen, Rachel O’Rourke and Cathy Pitters. There are some funky projects in here! I loved how this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill book and I thought the skill level for a lot of the projects was often just above basic, which I like; a challenge but hopefully not a disaster.

So our first project will be: glass etching! Art and function in one. Love it.

First step: get some glass. I stopped at a secondhand shop to see if they had anything that might work. It was a big place and I was starting to think maybe they didn’t have any glasses, but then I turned the corner:

THERE THEY ARE! A huge selection. I also took some photos of other etched glasses in case I needed some inspiration later.

Then the nice woman at the check out gave me a discount and I only paid $1.28 for a beer mug and four tumblers. Sweet!

Next stop was the hardware store for some “glass etching cream.” This is a thing?

Turns out, it is, but I couldn’t find it at the hardware store. Of course, Martha knows all about it. I found mine at Michael’s* (and bring a coupon, ‘cause it ain’t cheap).

*Turns out there may be a better option. Check around for Armor Etch- it would also be at an art supply store but something more like Prism Art Supplies rather than a chain.

Next step is planning. I decided to start with a simple design: the Homespun “H”. The book recommends using contact paper, and after working on this I also recommend it, but all I had was blue painter’s tape so I went with it. I printed out our logo, put some blue tape down on a cutting mat, then taped the paper with the printed logo over top of it and cut through both layers at once.

Remember: think opposites. I wanted the logo to be etched, so I put the tape left from around the logo onto the glass.

Then cover in a thick layer of the etching cream.

Safety Moment: gloves are highly recommended. Full disclosure: I did not wear gloves. If you are like me, and feel that gloves really limit your dexterity and prefer to generally live life in the fast lane, at least remove any jewelry you may be wearing.
Leave on for 15 minutes.

It turned out well! There was a little bleeding, so I made a note to press down extra hard on the tape edges for future glasses. Then I gave it to Amanda, Homespun owner extraordinaire, as a special present from her favorite employee!

Next, I searched online for mid-century patterns to start planning my set of four tumblers (because I’m on the cusp of new trends, of course!) and was inspired by this one:

I liked that it was a free-form design, which I thought would be easier and more forgiving for a beginner. Here’s me struggling through:

Then I used the cut-out pieces for the next glass, which was a much easier process. I recommend this if possible.

Next I decided to go geometric rather than organic. Inspired by this design:

I actually found this process easier for me. I just kind of winged it- cut strips and laid them on one at a time. No sketch or template. I did the same for the next one (bottom right corner) with even less of a plan. I wanted to do something that would be a lot quicker to execute and still maintain the geometric theme, so I just cut out rectangles of tape and placed them around the glass.

Here they are as a group.

I think it went pretty well! Something like this would be a really cool and cheap party favor or housewarming/wedding gift. I could imagine making a few of these and having them on hand for such occasions.

Thanks for reading along! Hope you enjoyed our first How-To post. If you have any questions or ideas for projects you’d like to know how to do please don’t hesitate to contact me at or post in the comments below. I would LOVE to hear from you!

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