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Glass Etching for the Holidays

This is one of the easiest, most elegant crafts I’ve done. It’s just messy enough that kids can help and the applications are vast. I love crafts like this, because I bought a small jar of glass etching cream for 8 bucks; it’s lasted through several holiday seasons. Unadorned glass can be found at open stock warehouses and sometimes at the big box stores. 

For this project, I chose to use a large cookie jar I picked up at Hobby Lobby and a cake stand/dome that I had been given as a gift. The only sad part is that I don’t have any red and green candies to put in the cookie jar…yet. 

Prime Parents Club Supplies for glass etching

Glass Etching Project 

You’ll need:

Clean, dry, plain glassware

Etching cream

Gloves or a paint brush

Contact paper

Sharp blade

Word processing software



Prime Parents Club Glass Etching CraftChoose your saying or graphic. You could use seasonal decorations like snowflakes or ornaments, or choose a large, elaborate monogram. I wanted something silly on the cookie jar and I wanted whimsical dots on my cake dome. 

Even though I despise crafts that involve measuring, I did take the time to find the clear surface area of the glass. I created the designs I wanted and cut them out in vinyl using my circut, but an alternative is to design what you want on your computer word processing software and print it out. 

If you print out your design, you’ll then need to trace and cut it out of Contact paper; I suggest a light color that you can see easily. Use the sharp craft blade to cut out the words or graphic. This is obviously a job for a parent, and should be done over a cutting mat. 

When done, place the image, sticky side down, on your glass. Remember to keep the centers of letters like A or O (as you can see, my “cookies” was not perfect). Use a tweezer to center these. With the back of a spoon, burn the contact paper onto the clean and grease-free glass. 

Next, using a sponge brush or your finger with a glove on it, apply a generous layer of the etching cream to the glass, taking care to spread it evenly on all surfaces to etch. The bottle suggests 5 minutes. This is hilarious. Please give it at least 20 minutes. Just let it sit until it dries, and then let it dry some more. 

Finally, rinse the etching cream from the glass using warm water. I used an old toothbrush to gently scrub the cream from the glass. Then remove the sticky stencil. Dry and voila! 

Prime Parents Club 'Hands Off My Cookies' etched cookie jar

Ideas for gifts: the cookie jar, of course. Decorate a cake plate as a hostess gift, which is presented with a lovely cake or treat. Make a glass plate with cookies for Santa, or find a favorite team’s logo and etch it to barware. I’m a big fan of the mustache pilsner glasses. A quick internet search should uncover anything you could possibly want to etch. 

A few tips: keep the images simple and clean-edged if you plan to use the craft knife. It will save your sanity. Buy more etching cream than you think you’ll need; soon you’ll be etching your mirrors and windows and anything else you can think of.  And keep that cream away from the babies.


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[author_info]About the Author

Jennifer Luitwieler is the Prime Parents’ Club regular arts and crafts contributor. She likes to sew, knit, embroider, crochet, papercraft and make jewelry. She also enjoys watching kids find their own style as they play with arts and craft supplies. Jennifer’s book, Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo, is available on Amazon. Find her on her blog at, or on Twitter as @jenluit and on Facebook. [/author_info][/author]


I'm a Pittsburgh transplant in Tulsa, OK, where I live with my husband of 17 years and our 3 wild things. They are 14, 12 and 8. I keep my feet, fingers and head busy running, crafting and writing. My first book, "Run With Me: An Accidental Runner and the Power of Poo," is available on amazon and b&n.


  1. Elizabeth

    December 3, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    What a great idea for taking a semi-nice gift to wow. Personalization is always a good thing. Inexpensive but looks expensive is an added bonus.

    • Jen

      December 4, 2011 at 10:40 am

      Thanks Elizabeth. I LOVE personalizing things. I’d put a giant J on everything if I had the time! If you make something, will you send us photos?

  2. Jackie (WritRams)

    November 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    These may be silly questions, but is the etching ‘stuff’ (technical term, heh) safe to do on food containers? Can you put the stuff you etch in the dishwasher?

    Super cute stuff!

    • Jen

      November 10, 2011 at 6:59 pm

      Yep, absolutely safe. Well, I mean, don’t eat it or anything, but I have etched barware, plates, anything glass. And yes, it comes through the dishwasher. It will basically leave a dully scratched surface on your glass. Good question.

      • Prime Parents' Club

        November 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm

        Could I have said “STUFF” one more time?!? //sigh//


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