How to Use Vinyl as a Stencil for Glass Etching

Supplies Needed:

Adhesive Vinyl or Stencil Film (631 or Stencil Film works best, any color)
Brush (any kind will work but I normally use a sponge brush)
Glass Surface to Etch (Note some Pyrex brand glass will not etch)
Glass Etching Cream
Weeding Tool
Transfer Tape
Masking Tape
Rubbing Alcohol


1. Gather all your supplies.

2. Get your design ready to cut in your cutting software.
NOTE: Mirror your design if you are etching the opposite side of the glass like on a 13x19 dish or a cutting board.

3. Cut your design leaving lots of space around the design. This will be the area that masks the areas of glass that you do NOT want to be etched.

4. Weed out your design opposite of normal so that you are removing the areas of vinyl where you want the glass to be etched. For example, if your design has words, you would weed the letters and keep the vinyl around the letters.

5. Once your design is weeded to where only the areas you want etched are exposed, add transfer tape and trim the excess transfer tape off.

6. Line up the decal where you want it on your glass. 

7. Apply the decal to your glass item. It may be helpful to secure your glass item so it is easier to apply the decal.

We recommend using the hinge method with the following steps:

A. Once your design is lined up where you want it, take a piece of      masking tape and secure it in the middle from top to bottom. This forms a hinge to hold your decal in place.

B. Peel the vinyl away from the backing on one of the sides until you get to the hinge. Cut the paper backing off. 

C. Squeegee from the hinge to apply the exposed vinyl area to the glass. Remove the hinge tape. Repeat on the other side.

D. Once the decal is completely attached to the glass, squeegee really well to make sure all pieces are adhered.

8. Remove the transfer tape.

9. Use masking tape to tape any other areas of the glass that is exposed that you don't want etched.

10. Apply the etching cream to the glass over the stencil. You don't want a super thick or super light coat but you want to make sure all areas of the stencil are covered.

11. Let the etching cream and stencil sit for approx 20 minutes. The time you let it sit isn't specific and it won't hurt if it sits for more than 20 minutes. During this time, the etching cream is eating away at the glass only in the areas it is exposed to.

12. Wash the etching cream completely off the glass surface. You may need to use gloves or a brush to fully remove the etching cream.

13. Once the etching cream is removed completely, dry off the glass to remove the excess water so it is easier to remove the stencil.

14. Remove all of the vinyl stencil.

15. You may wash the glass another time at this point. If the areas that are etched get wet, they won't be as vibrant, but will go back to normal after they are dried off again. The glass can be washed in the dishwasher and it won't affect the etched design.

Our full instructional video is below:

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  • Donna Scholz on

    Thanks for the quick tutorial! Now ANOTHER way for me to get involved in a new craft!

  • Donna Scholz on

    Thanks for the step-by-step! I just might make one of these as a gift!

  • Donna Scholz on

    Thanks for the step-by-step! I just might make one of these as a gift!

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