Etching glass is an easy and fun way to start out working with glass.
Within a few minutes you can decorate your glass item of choice and it is a great way to create personalized presents.
All you need to get started is some etching paste for glass which you can easily buy online. But if you are a true DIY enthusiast, you might be tempted to make your own homemade glass etching cream.
What Is Glass Etching Cream Made Out Of?
As you can probably tell by its name, glass etching creams are a form of acidic liquid that you can use to etch away parts from the glass surface.
This can be used to create a smooth matte surface or designs and patterns on windows, mirrors, glassware, etc. A great idea is to use it in combination with a glass bottle cutter to turn your old wine bottles into glass art.
The active compound in these creams is normally an acid such as sulfuric acid or hydrofluoric acid.
You probably learned in high school that working with acids is dangerous and you should always wear adequate protection such as safety glasses, gloves and a lab coat.
Fortunately, the concentration of these acids in glass etching creams is normally relatively low. But we still suggest you take all the needed safety precautions.
Besides using the acid, etching creams include other chemicals as well. For example, the main ingredients used to make the well-known Armour Etch cream are:
- Barium Sulfate
- Sulfuric Acid
- Sodium Bifluoride
- Ammonium Bifluoride
Dangers Of Making DIY Glass Etching Cream
If you are curious to learn how to make glass etching cream at home, you might try mixing the chemicals listed above.
But if you are not a trained chemist or you are unfamiliar with these chemicals, please do not try this at home.
Especially, hydrofluoric acid poses a big risk to your health and probably shouldn’t be used outside of a chemistry lab.
So if you dozed off during your chemistry classes like the most of us, you should stay far away from making your own glass etching cream at home.
Which Glass Etching Creams To Use?
Or maybe you were disappointed by commercially available variations and were looking for a glass etching solution recipe.
It is true that not every etching solution has the desired performance. This is because they normally include only small amounts of acid for safety reasons.
Unfortunately, you can’t make everything from scratch. And when it comes to glass etching creams it is much safer, faster and easier to just buy it.
We recommend the Armour Etch if you want add a glass etchant to your glassworking kit. It is safe and won’t break the bank either.
The instruction tells you to apply the cream for 5 minutes before washing it off. But if you feel that it isn’t strong enough, you can experiment with longer exposure times.