My love of crafting has prompted me to take dozens of art classes through the years. I have a vague recollection of trying glass etching during one of those sessions. It was a quick lesson and probably part of broader class covering other techniques too. The only reason I even remember was because with little idea as to what I wanted to create I ended up making a simple ornament design on a stemless wine glass and I bring it out every Christmas. Otherwise, I think I’d have completely forgotten I even took the class.
What I do remember, is that the etching process itself was extremely easy. It was picking and executing the perfect design that was the hard part. For this second round of glass etching, I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted for a design. My youngest daughter turned twenty one this past November and is enjoying drinking more adult beverages these days. She went back to school with wine bottles in tow but no glasses and no cork screw. While she’s on her own with the cork screw, I had a plan to create some memorable wine glasses for her.
My daughter has many passions but one great obsession. She loves all things Taylor Swift so picking a theme was easy. I searched the internet for some basic silhouette images of Taylor Swift. Glass etching does not allow for a lot of nuance so I wanted something simple. I picked an image of Taylor in sunglasses from her 1989 album release and one of her on the cover of Reputation.
I printed the images onto repositionable vinyl shelf liner. After printing I covered the image with packing tape since the ink would not fully dry on the slick surface. This allowed me to work with the printed images without smudging or messing them up. I pulled out my x-acto knife and started cutting. It took a little bit to get into the grove and I had a few failed attempts before getting the hang of it. I used the images more as a general guide as I knew I couldn’t get into a lot of detail.
The key when cutting is that whatever you’re removing becomes the negative space that will get frosted or etched. My templates complete, I held them up to the light to get a sense for what the etched image would look like on the glass. While not a perfect likeness of Taylor Swift, I felt you could at least have a sense for who it was. That was probably the best I could do.
I removed the backing paper and stuck my template to the glass.
In reading up on glass etching, the number one thing that I kept coming across is that it is much easier to do etching on a flat surface. Wine glasses are a little more complicated as the template bunches up in places allowing for the etching cream to seep outside the confines of the template edges. Glad I went with curved on this one!
I knew the risk but pushed on. I pressed the edges as firmly as I could while trying to remove the creases wherever possible. I then lined the outer edges with painters tape so as to not have any stray markings from the etching cream.
I had researched how to use the etching cream and a few YouTube videos later, I tried my first etch. I got some cleaning gloves as the etching cream is acidic and can burn your skin. Using a paintbrush, I slathered on the etching cream on all the open areas of my stencil. For the first five minutes, I kept brushing in various directions working the cream into the openings. I left a final coating on top and let it sit for five more minutes.
I rinsed off the cream and then removed the stencil and was happy to see that it had worked. I had an etched image. I did have some seepage so a few unintentional areas were frosted but overall I was happy with my images and felt they gave off the appropriate Taylor Swift vibe.
For the reverse side of the wine glass, I added lyrics that aligned with the images I had selected. I picked “Shake it Off” and “Look What You Made Me Do” as I liked the double entendre vibe of lyrics that take on a different meaning when applied to drinking wine.
In some ways etching the lyrics was easier as I didn’t have to free hand cut anything out. I pulled out my trusty Cricut™ . I again used the vinyl shelf liner as my base and cut out the phrases using the die cutting machine.
The harder part was that these templates had more places for the stencil to buckle. I placed it on the wine glass and did my best to remove any spots that I saw that might cause the etching cream to run. As with my first attempt, I missed a few so my lines weren’t perfect, but they also weren’t too bad for a first try.
It was hard for the perfectionist in me to let go but in the end I was happy with how they came out. I wrapped them in bubble warp and shipped them off to college.
They arrived safely on campus and now she has one of a kind wine glasses to enjoy those adult beverages. I hope she figured out the cork screw situation.
Do you have a favorite wine glass?
I’m participating in a Blogging A-Z Challenge for April 2021. I will be posting new content every day this month except most Sundays. Each post is associated with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z. My theme for the challenge is Craft Projects for my Home. To read more of my A to Z posts from this year, click HERE.