How to Etch Glass with Cricut - Step by Step Tutorial

Created on:

June 2, 2024

Updated on:

June 4, 2024

Written by Kelsey Sergi

Etching with Cricut is such a fun and easy way to add a permanent design to wine glasses, beer mugs, and truly any glass!

Close-up of a beer glass with a personalized etched design made using a Cricut.

I have been wanting to try out etching glass with my Cricut for quite a while (like 2 years) but I have been hesitant to but theres no more of that! I was able to do this design for fathers day twice and learn each time. I love working with Cricut machines and growing by making mistakes and turning to the craft community for ideas. So here is what I have learned while etching! I promise it's easier than you think once you work out the kinks.

This blog post contains affiliate links that help me earn a small commission at no charge to you - read my full disclosure here.

Mobile users turn your phone or watch my full youtube tutorial here.

Materials and Tools Needed:

  • Cricut or Silhouette Machine - you can use any Cricut machine for this or Silhouette because we are going to need to make a stencil design so really the only limit will be from the size of the machine.
  • Armour Etch cream - truly you can use any etching cream for this but I am using the Armour Etch Etching cream, now I want to mention (to me) this cream isn't cheap so bonus tip here: you can reuse it which I will show you later in this blog.
  • You can use removable vinyl or stencil vinyl to create your glass etching stencils. I have been told that permanent vinyl works as well but I have not tried this for myself yet. I happened to have Cricut vinyl stencil and it worked really well.
  • Weeding tool - you can use a weeding hook, tweezers, or pen
  • Transfer tape - I love the low grip transfer tape from Teckwrap
  • A squeegee - anything to move your stencil film over to your glass
  • A glass - I tested my glassware with a small dot to make sure it would work. Some colored glass may not etch well so just keep in mind when purchasing your blanks. I got my beern mug from the Dollar Tree. You can etch wine glasses, casserole dishes, beer glasses, mirrors etc. This technique is so versatile so you can make so many great gifts.
  • Paper towel roll - I used a lot of paper towels for this craft
  • A paint brush or a paint spatula - I used a spatula to get the etching cream on really well
  • Gloves - glass etching cream can burn your skin so please wear some protective gear
  • Access to water - you will need to rinse the excess cream off
  • Optional: Painter's Tape or masking tape (you can also just use extra vinyl
  • Optional but great to have: a heat gun or hair dryer - this will help you get rid of any of those pesky air bubbles.

​I wanted to make something for father's day and you can check out my free SVG files here or you can grab the SVG bundle from Creative Fabrica that I used!

​Making the Stencil

Whether you are using Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio, the set up is going to be the same. You are going to want to make a stencil design yourself or upload your SVG file to the canvas.

If you are placing the etch on the outside of the glass surface, you will just leave as is and cut like you would with any vinyl. I actually ran my Cricut Maker twice so that my cut was nice and clean. This is the best way to make sure weeding will be easy peasy.

Step-by-step process of applying stencil vinyl to a beer mug for etching.

If you are making a glass casserole dish or cake stand and etching you will want to put it on the bottom of the glass surface, this means you will want to make sure you mirror your vinyl decal so that the lettering or image is backwards. This way when you look through the glass it is the correct way.

Tip: when cutting out your glass etching stencils, move your SVG files to the middle of the stencil vinyl rather than just leaving it up in the corner. This will give you more of a boarder around the design so you have more wiggle room and don't have to worry about getting the etching cream on a spot you didn't want to.

Be aware - when picking an SVG file you might want to pick something that doesn't have a ton of small bits (my leaves were quite tiny) - it worked but you also want to make sure that the decal will not have too many bumps or moving bits.

​Etching Glass Steps

Step 1: Clean the Surface of the Glass

You can use some alcohol or water to clean off your glass - I failed to film this of course but I promise I did clean it off before applying anything.

Step 2: Cut and Weed Your Stencil Design

I cut out my etching stencil on my Cricut machine and then got to weeding. My stencil was pretty easy to weed out but some things to keep in mind - if you have lettering, make sure you aren't losing any of the middle pieces like the triangle in the middle of a capital A. Also, you are sort of reverse weeding here - we are taking out what we want to be etched onto our glass item.

Step 3: Transfer the Design

I am using my low grip transfer tape and scraper tool to move the etching stencil over to my glass surface. If you are working on flat surfaces then this should be easy. If working with a rounded or tapered work surface you may need to have a bit more patience. For wine glasses it might help to put some cuts into the sides of the decal to help apply it to the rounded surface.

Applying the vinyl stencil to a glass surface using transfer tape..

​Before we move on to adding on our etching cream, we want top make sure there are nearly NO air bubbles in our stencil design. The first time I did this on the beer mug, I did not take the time to look for air pockets and moved vinyl. This should be the number one thing you are doing to have great results with your glass etching compound. It is a good idea here to use the hair dryer or the heat gun to remove any places that might be wonky. When I make the decal the first time, I was left with places where the etching cream seeped under the vinyl which made my lettering not clean. The second time though was fantastic because I took the time to make sure my design was flat.

Applying the vinyl stencil to a glass surface using a heat gun to remove air pockets.

Step 4: Put on the Glass Etching Cream

Make sure you have your protective gear on. If you did not leave some decent edge of the vinyl then this is the time to put some painter's tape around the edges of the design. This is just a fail-proof tip to make sure you don't get etching cream where you don't want it.

Armour Etch cream being applied to a glass surface with a paint spatula.

Now you can take a small paintbrush or a paint spatula to add on your armour etching cream. Be generous with this cream and make sure you are covering the entire design with the cream. I put on a thick layer and looked inside my glass to make sure I didn't miss any part of the cut file.

Step 5: Allow the Cream to Sit

You want your Armour Etch Cream to sit for 1-3 minutes. I went for the full 3 minutes to make sure it will yield better results.

Step 6: Remove the Etching Cream

Removing the excess etching cream from a beer mug before putting under running water.

If you are saving the etching cream, I used that same paint scraper to get as much of the cream back into the jar as possible. Then I went to the bathroom and rinsed off the rest of the armor etch using room temperature water. I made sure to run the water for a little while after to make sure its down the drain and gone. Please be aware that any etching cream left in your sink could also stain them!!

​After I rinsed it off, I made sure to wipe the glass clean with a paper towel.

Step 7: Remove the Vinyl

Removing the vinyl from the beer mug after the etching cream has set.

Now, you can go through and remove your stencil from the glass and reveal your new etched design on the glass! Such a fun way to make a craft.

If you are worried about ruining glassware and want practice my suggestion is old pasta sauce mason jars and Dollar Tree wine glasses or vases. Practice, practice, practice. This is how you make progress in any craft. Once you have done it a bunch of times, you won't be as nervous.

Finished etched beer mug with a personalized design for Father's Day.

I have to say, it does make me feel better knowing I can reuse the etching cream over and over and over because at $14 for a small bottle, this hobby would become very expensive for me very quickly.

​Thank you for crafting with me! I hope you have much fun as I did Cricut glass etching!

Stay Crafty!

Kelsey Sergi - the owner and crafter at Dinosaur Mama.

Hi crafters! I'm Kelsey and I am here to bring you new original craft projects and free SVG files for your cutting machines every week!

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