Cricut glass etching is an easy and fun way to personalize all sorts of glassware! Find out how to use vinyl to make an etching stencil and then how to apply Armour Etch cream.
I have a lot of requests for some projects involving Cricut glass etching. And I was more than happy to oblige because using my Cricut to make a vinyl stencil to etch glass with is one of my favorite crafts!
A few years ago I posted my tutorial on DIY etched glass but I have been meaning to make a video to show you how easy it really is to etch… and I finally got it done!
So I have a step by step tutorial here on etching glasses and at the bottom, I have a full YouTube video that explains everything in real-time in case that helps more than the sped-up video at the top.
I will use my Cricut to cut out vinyl stencils and then show you how to apply them to glass and then apply the etching cream.
First, a few answers to questions I get all the time…
What is Best Vinyl for Glass Etching?
This might vary on who you ask, but I find permanent or outdoor vinyl to work the best. The adhesive is slightly stronger so I feel like it adheres better and prevents leaks.
Permanent vinyl takes 72 hours to cure so you do not run the risk of having an issue getting it off the glass when you are done etching.
I use Cricut Permanent Vinyl or Oracal 651 Outdoor vinyl. Cricut also has flexible Cricut vinyl stencil.
If you do not have a Cricut vinyl cutting machine, you can purchase premade stencils off of Amazon.
What is the Best Glass Etching Cream?
I’m not sure if this is the best but it’s the only one I’ve ever used and it gets top-rated on Amazon. It’s called Armour Etch and a large bottle will last a long time!
This etching cream creates permanently etched designs on a variety of glass including glasses, mirrors, and windows. I have read that it does not work on Pyrex though. I have never tried it because Pyrex always already has a brand already etched into the glass.
You can also find Armour Etch etching cream to use on a glass item at local craft stores like Joann and Michaels.
Does a Cricut Etch Glass?
No. Neither the Cricut Explore Air, Cricut Maker, nor the Cricut Joy etches glass. The Cricut Maker has an engraving tip that can etch acrylic but not glass.
Also, there is frosted adhesive vinyl you can use that looks like etched glass but it’s not permanent or dishwasher safe.
Ok, let’s get into our project!
Materials Needed for Cricut Glass Etching
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- Armour Etch and old paintbrushes
- Permanent Adhesive Vinyl
- Weeding Tool
- Transfer Tape
- Glass to Etch – I found all of these cute glasses at the Dollar Tree
- blue painter’s tape (optional)
- isopropyl alcohol
Designing a Monogram
The first thing you’ll need to do (and is the part that takes me the longest!) is to figure out what you want to etch into your glass.
For the four glasses I will be etching, I found three images that I liked in Cricut Access. For the flamingo, I sliced out my name.
For the monogram, I love using Monogram It Lite app! It’s a free app on phones, but it does have an option to upgrade for more options for $1.
Let me show you how to use it:
- Download the Monogram It app and open it up. Click on the + button in the top right to start a new Monogram.
2. Tap on the ABC button at the bottom and then choose which Monogram style you want. Scroll left to find more.
3. Once you’ve picked one, type in the letters you want. And click Done.
4. Then click on the surround button at the bottom and choose which shape you want.
5. Then click the Save button at the top.
6. You are done with the Monogram It app. Now open up the Cricut Design Space app on your phone and click on New Project.
7. Click on the Upload button at the bottom and then choose from Photo Library.
8. Select the Monogram you made.
9. Then you’ll need to clean it up. Select Remove and tap your finger on all the white parts so that they turn to the checkered background. You’ll see the outline up in the left hand corner.
10. Once it looks like this, click on Next.
11. Make sure the left image (cut image) is highlighted in green and give your file a name. Then click Save.
12. Now click on it and then on insert. Now it will be on your canvas!
So once you have all the images you want to use as stencils you’ll need to cut them out. I like to turn them all the same color so they’ll cut out on one mat.
After you hit Make It, click on each image and move it so that it’s not right next to the edge and so that there are about 2 inches in between the images. You’ll want some vinyl around the image to protect the glass.
Place permanent vinyl on a regular mat and select vinyl as your material setting. Load when prompted and then press cut when the light blinks.
Preparing and Applying Vinyl Stencils
If you cut multiple stencils as I did, cut around each of them so that they have an inch or so on every edge.
Now you’ll need to be careful when weeding your stencil. Since this is going to be a stencil, you need to weed out the sections that you want etched. (The first one I did, I peeled off the surround…oops… had to cut another!)
So you’ll be leaving the vinyl piece around the edges. I wanted the space around the monogram letters to be etched, so I removed that vinyl and left the initials.
Make sure to watch the video at the bottom or side if you need to see how I weeded them.
Here are what all of my vinyl stencils look like after I weeded out the extra vinyl.
Make sure all of your glassware that you will be etching are washed and dried! Then I like to place my glass into something so it doesn’t move around. For this, I used a loaf pan with a towel in it!
Put some transfer tape on the stencil vinyl and scrape it down. Peel the back off the vinyl and set the vinyl on the glass.
I try to push down the center of the stencil first and then pull on the sides a little and lay them down.
Push down the vinyl well with your fingers.
Then pull off the transfer tape.
Curved surfaces are a little tricky. I make small slits with my scissors around the image so that I can pull the transfer tape in separate directions. Watch the full YouTube video at the bottom for this part in action!
There will probably be some bumps under the vinyl. Use your finger or a scraper to press them down as well as you can. The etching cream can leak under any little openings so you want to make sure to seal them off.
If you don’t have enough vinyl on the edges, place blue painter’s tape around your design to protect the glass.
I use my fingernail and really press down any that are close to where I’ll be etching. I talk about this in the video at the bottom, so make sure to watch to see what I’m talking about.
If you are applying to curved surfaces, this is really important because most likely the vinyl didn’t lay down perfectly! The glass beer mug was actually a great surface since it was uniform. The small glass mug was the hardest!
How to Apply Etching Cream to Glass
So now we’re ready to apply the Armour etching cream. I use some old paintbrushes but you can also use wooden sticks.
Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and read all the warnings on the bottle. I always use the etch cream outdoors. Armour Etch recommends to do this process in temperatures over 70F and to wear gloves and a protective eye shield.
Shake the etching cream bottle well and then scoop some out with a paintbrush or wooden stick until all of the inside of the stencil is covered. You should not be able to see the lettering or Monogram on the glass, it should be fully covered.
Once it is covered, I let mine sit for about 5 minutes. The cream shouldn’t run much, but you can lay it’s on its side, right side up or upside down.
I was doing this on a pretty hot day so mine started running a bit. Just watch it to make sure the cream isn’t running onto any exposed glass!
After five minutes, I move the cream around a little just to make sure all the outer edges were covered. This is an optional step though!
Then I let it sit another 5-10 minutes. Now it’s time to rinse!
I moved everything inside to my sink. Keep the vinyl on and rinse off all the etching cream thoroughly. I use my fingers to rub it around so it all comes off.
You should be wearing gloves to wipe it off… sometimes I forget like in the video!
Once all of the etching cream is off, peel off the stencil vinyl and wash the glass with soap and water. Hold it up to the light and admire your new permanent custom etched glass!
Here are the rest of the etched glass pieces. I love my new flamingo glass, perfect for my Let’s Flamingle party!
But I do have to admit, this etched wine glass is my favorite! I love how the etch stands out on the colored wine glass. It comes out a little silver when the light hits it!
It’s my new favorite wine glass!
As I mentioned before, this glass mug was the hardest because of the curves but it still came out cute. Sometimes with the larger spaced etching, you can see the striations of the glass and since this is a cheap Dollar Store mug I think the imperfections are a bit more apparent.
How to Etch Glass Video Tutorial
I know the first time making glass etching projects might be a little bit scary, I know I was! So sit back and watch this video tutorial on my YouTube channel here on the best ways to etch glass and then jump in and just try!
If you are interested in learning more about stencils, make sure to check out our post all about making reusable stencils with a Cricut.
If you’d like to save this glass etching tutorial with a Cricut machine for later, simply hover over the image below and PIN It now!
Here are some printable instructions.
Cricut Glass Etching with Armour Etch
Make your own personalized etched glass pieces with a Cricut and Armour Etch. Make vinyl stencils for glass with any Cricut cutting machine and use them to etch glass in under 20 minutes!
- Glass Wine Glasses, Mugs, etc
- Armour Etch
- Permanent Vinyl
- Transfer tape
- Create a cut file design in Cricut Design Space or design a cut file Monogram in Monogram It app. (see blog post for detailed instructions)
- Size design to fit glass. Place piece of vinyl on cutting mat and cut vinyl decal out of permanent vinyl leaving about an inch of space around the image.
- You'll be using the negative space, so weed out the parts that you want etched and leave the vinyl on the surround.
- Use a piece of transfer tape to transfer entire image and surrounding vinyl to cleaned glass surface. Press down with fingers to ensure good adhesion everywhere.
- Remove transfer tape. Press down any air bubbles, especially ones that are close to the edges of the image or monogram. Apply blue painter's tape or masking tape to edges if there are any slits or not enough edge to protect glass that you don't want etch on.
- In a well-ventilated area, shake Armour Etch to mix thoroughly. Use old paintbrush or wooden stick to apply etching cream so that the entire area of weeded out stencil is covered.
- Let sit for 5 minutes and then for best results move the cream around some. Let sit another 5-10 minutes.
- Rinse off etching cream with running water.
- Remove vinyl stencil and wash again with soap and water and dry with paper towel.
See post for full detailed YouTube video and step by step pictures.
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Thanks for stopping by and have a creative day!
Do you have tutorial for painting the etched area?
You’re site is amazing! Its a one stop shop for all types of crafting ideas and instruction. Thank you for making it available!!
Thank you so much! I have never figure out how to paint the etch or get it darker. From what I looked up before, there wasn’t really a way to tint or enhance the etch.