How To Make Etched Glass Stand Out? Tips for Newbie

how to make etched glass stand out

If you’re a DIY fanatic and are looking for the perfect customized gift for your loved one, and an etched glass item is one of the nicest things you could go for!

For those of you who don’t know what glass etching means, it basically is a type of caustic, abrasive, or acidic cream that you apply on glass surfaces. This cream leaves a permanent texture on your desired glass areas after a certain time, creating a design of your choice.

Etching is also done commercially by cutting the glass in different depths to create designs and patterns on the glass.

Now imagine you did manage to perfectly etch your glass project, but the design isn’t as prominent as you’d like.

In order to prevent such a disappointment, you need to know how to make etched glass stand out so that it proudly shows off your personalized symbol by making it pop!

How To Make Etched Glass Stand Out For DIY Glass Projects

1. Painting The Etched Area

This is the most common method of making your etched design pop once the glass etching has been completed. All you need to do is to paint the etched areas of your design with the correct type of color.

Since etching cream removes some layers of glass to leave behind a frosted pattern which is later washed off, you cannot add color to the etching cream. This is because once washed clean, there will be very little or no color left behind, requiring you to repaint all over again.

Hence, allow your glass to get etched before moving on to the painting step. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the etching cream to get the perfect frosty design on your glass surface.

Once etching is complete, move on to the painting step. Now choosing the ideal type of paint is crucial as or else you won’t get the perfect opacity and durability.

Basic watercolors or the usual paints can get the job done but are not long-lasting. They are also prone to get washed off over time. This doesn’t mean you absolutely can’t use these colors; because if you look on the bright side, you can glam them up again with a new color for a fresh new look.

When it comes to painting etched glass, permanent markers are the topmost choice to beautifully color those textured surfaces. The range of colors available and the flexibility to mix and match means there are no limits to your creativity.

Simply color the etched areas with the markers of your choice and keep wiping off the excess ink while you do so. This will ensure a thinner and smoother layer while facilitating faster drying of the ink.

Depending on the opacity you desire, keep applying layers of ink repeating the wiping process. The ink particles will settle in beautifully on the textured surface, making your design scream attention! If your glass is colored, choose a contrasting color for the etched design to make it prominent.

Do keep in mind that permanent marker ink is not suitable for consumption and hence should be used only on the exterior surface of the glass. For decorative glass items only, you can use these markers to paint both the exterior and interior.

2. Painting The Un-Etched Area

This is another impressive way to create a contrast to make your etched design stand out from the crowd and for this method, we’ll do things in reverse.

Instead of painting the etched design, this method involves coloring the background or the rest of the glass surface excluding the etched area. This method requires a little more work but is a great, decorative way to make special pieces such as glass lamps.

For this method, your only option is to paint the exterior region of the glass, and you’re about to see why.

Once again, you are free to use any type of paint including alcohol paints if it’s just for decorative purposes and won’t be washed frequently or at all. Permanent markers remain as a color option too.

  • Follow the same etching procedure as usual as per your etching cream instructions.
  • Once that’s done, wash the cream off and dry your glass object.
  • You now need to cover up the etched areas with any type of masking paper. For this step, the paper needs to be the reverse of the stencil design you used to apply the etching cream. 

This is mainly because now, instead of exposing parts of the glass for the etching cream to work, you’ll be masking the etched areas so that they don’t get painted over.

  • Securely attach the reverse-stencil paper on the etched design to cover them up.
  • Paint over the glass with the colors of your choice and allow the paint to dry.
  • Once the paint/color has dried up fully, gently peel off the stencil paper to reveal the clean etched design untouched with any paint.

The contrast of the colored glass and the uncolored etched design will make your etching seem more alive than ever before!

3. Painting The Glass Interior

If the glass object is not a regular object used for consumption purposes, you can simply paint its interior surface with your desired paint or color to make the etched design more visible.

How To Make Etched Glass Stand Out For Professional Glass Projects

1. Deep Etching

Deep Etching

This method involves using a Dremel device or anything similar drill device with an appropriate tip to create deep, and sometimes, even 3D engravings on the glass surface. Though more difficult and sensitive to do, the depth of this type of etching makes the designs more eye-catching.

2. Reverse Etching

Reverse Etching

This type of etching can be done both for the DIY methods using the etching cream or via the professional deep-etching methods.

It basically involves reversing your stencil so that you get more of the etched area. The larger area of the frosted or etched area will make the intricate details of your design such as letters, numbers, patterns, etc. more distinguishable.

3. Flashed Glass

Flashed Glass

Flashed glass is a kind of clear glass that comes with thin layers (one or more) of colored glass on top.

In order to etch them, you simply use a stencil to cut out the design of your choice. Once that’s done, you remove the unwanted colored glass pieced and sandblast the glass object to seal in the new design.

Flashed glasses can come in single or multiple colors and sandblasted, the glass will provide a chic translucent finish.


Glass etchings create a sense of individualism that you cannot find in objects available in stores. Hence, whether done at home or professionally, it is no doubt an art form that sets our glass projects apart from the rest.

Choosing the perfect design and completing the etching process is not all it takes to get the perfect end product. So in order to prevent your etching efforts from going in vain, you need to know how to make etched glass stand out.

Once done so, you are certainly to fall in love with your elegant work of art that solely bears the mark of your uniqueness!

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