Updated: Jan 18
If you're like me you occasionally come across a bottle that is so cool looking that you are compelled to save it...right? Maybe that's just me, but none the less, a good bottle can be worth keeping. I happen to hunt through thrift shops and swap meets hoping to find an interesting decanter or rocks glass set lingering around waiting for a new day. I will say I am not a fan of the over textured glass work that leaves no room for creativity, I like as blank of a slate as possible. Part of the reason is that I like to re-bottle whiskeys into bottles I like, or keep a special liquor in a nice decanter. On occasion I even like to gift a set of rocks glasses to a friend. Antique stores can be a great source of tools for the forgotten art of dressing up your liquor. I prefer the simple bottles because they can be customized as gift sets or to treat yourself with. Nothing says man-cave like having a personalized decanter and rocks glasses to show off. Personalized and etched glass has always had a classy look. Now you could go out and purchase an expensive glass etching machine, take hours of training and waste through tens of glasses trying to get the skilled art of glass etching down, which still means you need somewhere to store the machine and hide the destroyed glasses, no evidence. I opted for method number two. If you just want that frosted look that makes your initials visible so you can point them toward the guys during the poker night, I have the solution for you. Years ago I purchased a glass etching compound and have gifted many items out, and made my own glasses, jars and bottles over the years...still haven't ran out. A little goes a long way. The etching compound couldn't be easier to use.
Things you'll need...
*Your favorite bottle, glass or decanter. (Don't have one? look here). * You'll need to buy the etching compound which comes in a small pill like bottle. * You will want a paint brush. * Lastly you will want to choose a stencil set. There are so many options here it's insane. You can pick from a variety of fonts if you decide to do initials or names. You can find almost any pre-made shapes such as grapes or symbols et cetera. You can also purchase a blank decal that you can cut with an exacto knife and make your own custom stencil. There are also single use stencils and reusable stencils. the reusable stencils are thin rubber and can be washed and reused such as the Over'n'Over again brand.
1.) Applying the stencil: If you purchased the one-time-use lettering decal it comes on a plastic sheet where you can cut the letters you want to use out. Using something like a pop-scicle stick you can place the decal on the glass, with the plastic sheet toward you. Using the pop-scicle stick you can scrape the back of the plastic sheet to apply the decal to the glass. The pressure from the stick will secure the stencil to the glass, you will see the back of the plastic become opaque which will indicate that the stencil is coming off of the plastic backing.
2.) Etching the Glass: Next you can open your etching compound. Be sure to take care with this as it is a mild acid and could burn eyes and sensitive skin. I have never had an issue, but be sure to read the bottle to better understand the safety precautions. Dip your paintbrush into it. The compound is thick and unlikely to run off the brush. Give it a stir to be sure the compound is uniform. It needs to be applied to the glass fairly thick so don't go to thin. Be careful not to get outside of the stencil and onto the glass where you don't want to etch as it definitely doesn't erase!
3.) Wait for 60 seconds...all sixty. This was the wait time for the Armor Etch brand I used, be sure to check the bottle for wait times if you bought something different.
4.) Rinse your glass off for about a minute in hot water, scraping off the decal materials and wiping the glass down toward the end.
Let dry and enjoy a glass of bourbon in your newly etched glass!
Click through the photo to Amazon and buy an 'everything you need' kit to do your first glass etching adventure. For $20 you can get started yourself and help support our site!