Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Etching

I originally came up with a clever title about Etch-A-Sketch when I started this post earlier this week, but decided to avoid those references since my political friends appreciate how the term has lately. ;)

I'm so excited about this project - I've wanted to try glass etching cream for months, but never made it a priority.  I drool over gorgeous creations like these (via Pinterest, of course):

Those blogs make it sound quite simple, so I decided to give it a try in order to create a personalized birthday gift for a dear friend.  (Dear friends are the ones who stick around even if your handmade birthday gift turns out terribly so it's safe!)  I had this lovely bowl from IKEA...

 ...but I couldn't find the etching cream at Michael's, despite repeated visits in search of it.  That's when I made a wonderful discovery: Arizona Art Supply.  I've driven by this store countless times - it's next door to the all-important Goodwill!  I've never gone inside until this week, though, and I'm thrilled to have found an alternative to Michael's.  I try to keep my complaints to a minimum on this blog (no, seriously, I do!) so I will just state that Michael's is always a hassle.  The parking is a nightmare, employees are rarely friendly even when I can find them in the store, and about 30% of the time I can't find what I need.  So there.  Arizona Art Supply, on the other hand, was filled with wonderful employees who were helpful not not hovering, and they had the glass etching cream I sought.  I considered the small bottle for $10 and went with this ambitious size for $20.95...I had such confidence in my still-to-be-done project that I was already planning for more.

Since I didn't have adhesive vinyl necessary to do etched letters like this,

I opted for the etched-around-the-letters approach like the cute "dill" planter I showed you earlier.  It seemed easy until I realized this meant creating perfect straight lines on a sloped surface - this turned out to be more difficult than those stripes I painted in the hallway!  Eventually, with the use of a ruler, fabric measuring tape and level, I had tape and letters in place - add my trusty foam brush, and I was ready to etch!

Why am I etching "mess" into a bowl, you ask?  My goal was to personalize it to my friend's cooking blog, Tales of A Messy Cook, which is one of the few blogs that inspires me to actually cook.  The etching cream was easy to use, though the warning label wasn't kidding when it said you needed good ventilation - wow, it's strong.

I did two coats because I was concerned about the bottle's warning that it might not be even...because of that concern, I also ignored the advice to dilute the cream with water.  I'm glad I didn't.  The etching came out pretty even and I'm not sure how water would have changed the outcome.

I was horribly disappointed when I first peeled off the letters (with gloves - those warnings on the label made me take them seriously!) because it didn't appear to have turned white at all.  Within 30 seconds, though, it had darkened into the perfect white, with the clear glass letters shining through just like I'd hoped they would.  My camera failed me when I tried to show how nice this is, so you'll have to take my word for it: it looks a lot like the "dill" one I tried to copy!

I added some fun kitchen supplies, including these personalized wooden spoons...another Pinterest inspiration!  I used stick-on letters and black craft paint, then sprayed them with Bullseye Shellac - it's food-safe and non-toxic.  I loved the way the shellac made the wood darker and shiny!

Happy (belated) birthday to my favorite messy chef!


  1. I've always wanted to try that! I'm glad to know it works that well.

  2. Aww I love my personalized bowl and spoons! Thank you !! How cool am I that I get featured in your blog!! :0)