Etching and Painting Glass
I have created a few projects using etching creams but I have perfected my technique and want to share something new that I found to make etched projects even better: Rub’n Buff. Rub’n Buff is a mixture of wax, metallic powders and pigments to add a permanent metallic finish to surfaces. It is designed to add dimension or change the finish of metal objects but I thought it would be a great way to dress up some glass too, so I set out to try using this in combination with etching cream. The results are amazing and completely professional looking, perfect for gift giving, party favors, and so much more.
Table of Contents
1. Gather your supplies
2. Create a design or stencil
3. Using etching cream
4. Painting your etched design
5. Other project ideas using this technique
Gather your supplies
You will need some things for this project, so I suggest that you gather them before you start your project, so that you have everything that you need readily available to you, as this project can be completed within 15-30 minutes. You will need:
– Glass to etch on (I am making candy containers, so I used a mason jar with a lid and a small jar)
– Armour Etch or other etching cream
– Small foam brush to apply etching cream
– Rub’n Buff metallic paint
– Soft, disposable hand towel to “buff” the paint
– Stencil (either purchased or created using cutting machine, I used my Cricut Maker)
Creating a design or stencil
I decided for this project to make containers to hold candy. These can be given as gifts to others or to sit on your own desk at work, and are fun, easy thing to make. I wanted to add witty sayings to my candy holders but I wanted to keep the wording simple and easy to read. I choose 2 different sayings for my glass jars and designed them in Cricut Design Space. I used the fonts “Prague Std” from Cricut Access and “Rainbows Starmoon” by YanStudio. I choose both of these fonts because they are easy to read, easy to weed out, and made a good “stencil” for this project. I cut them on scraps of permanent vinyl paper, as they will be thrown away after the project is done. Remember that you have to remove the cut lettering and leave the excess vinyl that will act as your stencil for this project.
You can also purchase pre-made stencils and sticker stencils that work well for a project like this. I found several online but could not find any at my local craft store.
INCORRECT WEEDING (will not work as a “stencil”)
CORRECT WEEDING (will work as a “stencil”)
Using etching cream
I learned that not all etching cream is the same, and I also learned that not all glass works well with etching cream! I tried an off-brand etching cream from my local craft store and I was not a fan. I applied that cream for 3, 5 and 10 minutes and it only partially etched my stencils. Lots of time and material was wasted. I used Armour Etch and it was so much better! I applied the cream for 5 and 10 minutes, although the directions said 1-3 minutes and it worked wonderfully. My images looked great even before they were painted.
Some glassware has been treated with oven-safe chemicals that make etching creams less effective and do not work as well for etching creams. I tried etching with Armour Etch on a ceramic glass coffee mug, a mason jar and a glass candy jar from Dollar Tree and all worked well).
Etching cream is permanent, so once your image has been etched, it is safe to use in a dishwasher or an oven.
Painting your etched design
I discovered Rub’n Buff paint while making shot glasses for a wedding. I wanted to make a custom gift for the bride and groom, and knowing this bride and groom, I thought personalized shot glasses would be perfect gift for them. I etched their initial and wedding date into a set of shot glasses but thought it needed to be dressed up a little more. I wanted some color. Since the bride’s favorite color was rose gold, I wanted to add that color to the shot glass. I tried a variety of ideas, like metallic paint pens, chalk paint, and even a loose gold leaf but I didn’t like any of the outcomes. I found Amaco Rub’n Buff in my quest for paint that would last on glass, so I bought a small tube to test it out. It worked exactly as I had hoped.
It’s very simple to apply and work with, but you must act quickly as it dries fast and is hard to remove once it is dry. I applied it by dabbing a pea-sized amount onto my fingertip and swirling it onto the etched design and using a soft cotton washcloth to remove any excess paint. Then I used the washcloth to firmly rub the image to “shine” up the lettering and remove any remaining paint that wasn’t inside of my stencilled design. I absolutely love the effect that it gave.
I did find that if you immediately washed the paint with water, it was permanent but if you used a magic eraser cleaner on it, it wiped off instantly and had to be reapplied. I used mineral spirits and rubbing alcohol on the outside of my glass after the paint was dry and it didn’t smear or remove the paint. I didn’t test to see if it was dishwasher safe.
Other projects using this technique
I made candy dishes with this sample project, and as I mentioned, it can also be applied using shot glasses, but there are so many other things that painted etching can be used for. If you are going to be painting anything that is going to be used in the oven or dishwasher, I suggest that you test it before you gift it and if you are going to use this technique on something that food or drinks are served in, I suggest etching and painting on the outside of the dish, such as the bottom or sides.
I hope that you enjoyed learning how to use etching cream and Rub’n Buff to create an amazing colored glass project. If you try this project, drop a photo in the comments section to share with everyone what you created. I would love to see your work. Happy Crafting!