Glass etching is done to create a frosted design on clear glass using acidic substance. Mainly this technique is used for decorative purpose & can be achieved easily at home.

The art of glass etching has been practiced since the 15th century when gold leaves were scratched. About two hundred years later, the etchings were made using diamond points.

In around 1725, copper wheel engraving was first introduced. In this technique, the glass is cut using a cooper disk. The glass was rotated in a lathe which had abrasive surfaces. The glass was slowly moved and offered to the fixed copper disk which made the cuts. This technique aided in mass production.

Acid etching was developed in the 1860s and the cutting was finer and more exquisite using this method of etching. Acid reaction results in the removal of some of the silica from the surface of the glass object from the oxide matrix, leaving a roughened, frosted appearance.

In the 1920s a new mould-etch process was invented, in which art was etched directly into the mould, so that each cast piece emerged from the mould with the image already on the surface of the glass. This reduced manufacturing costs and, combined with a wider use of colored glass, led to cheap glassware in the 1930s, which later became known as Depression glass.

Typically, “glass etching cream” available from art supply stores consists of fluoride compounds. The fluoridation of the glass causes the characteristic rough, translucent qualities of frosted glass.

There are other methods used for etching process like abrasive sandblasting  &  Leptat acid process. These methods are not commonly used for home based craft.

Reference from


  1. Glass item to be etched
  2. Rubbing alcohol to clean the glass surface
  3. Stencil & masking tape to seal the stencil as well as cover surrounding area or vinyl with adhesive back to create a stencil of your own
  4. Etching cream & paint brush

The technique used for glass etching is simple & can be achieved easily at home. Please refer to the external links below to understand step=by-step method


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