Acid Etched Cups
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Handmade Holiday: Acid Etched Glasses

My friend loves games, characters, cards, dice—whatever is cartoonish and fun. So I made these cutie petootie Acid Etched Glasses last year for his birthday! Follow our tutorial and you can etch mirrors, picture frame glass, windows, cups—anything your heart desires!

There are a few ways to do it, but the easiest, most professional route for beginners is the contact paper and acid method. You could definitely paint a texture or pattern onto your glass—but the stencil gives you more control of the design. The process is simple if you stay safe, requires minimal supplies, and yields one gorgeous handmade result! I made each glass in under 3 hours once supplies were on hand.


Armour All Glass Acid Etching Cream—find in a hobby or art store
Hobby Knife and Blades
Contact Vinyl Paper
Drawing Paper
Soap & Water


1.) Sketch your design on paper. Think about what parts will be etched, and what will remain clear. As you can see from my sketchbooks, it may take a few comps to solidify your plans, but it makes it easier down the road.

2.) Transfer your design to the contact paper by rubbing a soft graphite pencil across the back of your sketch. Taping your sketch scribble side down to the front (non-sticky) side of the contact paper. Use a harder pencil or pen to go over your sketch again. The graphite on the back of the drawing will transfer to the front of the contact paper! I fill in all the parts I intend to remove.

3.) Wash your glass – there can’t be oils or residues leftover. For beginners, flat glass is easier to work with than curved. But you can do anything you set your mind to! So peel the back off that contact paper, and position it where you’d like, getting rid of as many air bubbles as possible. Use a bone folder or hard, smooth tool to help. Not all the air bubbles must be removed—but the less, the better.

4.) Cut out the areas to be etched using your exacto blade knife. The blades must be super sharp, and you will need approximately 4-5 per glass if you made an etching like the mario figures. You’ll know when to change the blade, as it will begin dragging the contact paper instead of cutting it. And every little mark made in the contact paper gets etched, so change dem blades often!

5.) Apply the cream—and do it outside, or get heavy ventilation going indoors. It’s very important you don’t inhale or touch the acid etch cream—it’s toxic. Wear gloves, and use a clean, dry brush to apply dabs of cream evenly across your design. A lil’ dab will do ya!—it may run if you apply it too heavily, and you don’t want it dripping. But if it is too heavy, you’ll have to keep brushing it back onto your design, that’s all.

6.) Rinse and Rinse well. Hot or cold water matters not, but I like to do it in 2 steps— First, a cold water rinse where I remove the contact paper and try not to splash acid on myself, then a soapy hot water rinse to really remove the acid thoroughly.

Final Results

Bam! You have amazing little handmade etchings that took about 3 hours to make altogether. The etching is permanent, and the cups are dishwasher safe. We hope you found this tutorial easy and exciting! Keep following our 12 Happy Days of Handmade Gifts postings for more tutorials of awesome DIY Projects you can do last minute this 2014 season! Happy Holidays!

Acid Etched Glasses—Mario 1 Characters

—Catfight Craft

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