Thursday, September 1, 2011

Etch Etch

I started using Pinterest several weeks ago. Basically it's a virtual bookmark board.  I have come across many, many awesome crafts and recipes and photos and style and...well you get the picture...since joining the site.  However until the other day I hadn't really made use of many of the DIY projects or crafts that I've pinned so this week I decided to remedy that and got crafty.

One of my latest pins was about etching your own glass.  Michael's sells a product called Armour Etch and basically you paint it onto glass, let is sit so it can eat away at the surface and then clean it off to reveal an etched design.  Since I had the Cricut here and had just cut out some fun designs for my mixer, I decided to use the other part of the vinyl as stencils and try my hand at glass etching.  Oh, and let me just warn you that Armour Etch is not cheap, so if you read this and decide "I so need to do this!" be prepared to spend money.  There were three sizes at Michael's, the largest bottle was $36.99.  I opted for the medium size $29.99.   You need to really want to etch glass and have plans to etch a lot of it to make the purchase worthwhile. The bottle also had some pretty serious warnings about safety with this stuff, so I wouldn't consider this a kid friendly project.  I guess anything strong enough to eat away glass probably isn't for children.
Recognize the designs?  Leftover pieces of vinyl from my mixer decorating experiment. I'm thrifty like that.
 I selected some Pyrex that I had in my cupboard to experiment with.  This way if I screwed it up, it didn't really matter, but if it looked fabulous then I was going to etch my Pampered Chef trifle bowl.  I was hesitant so I started with the Pyrex.

The bottle said to paint horizontal and then vertical to cover the area that you wanted to etch, but I found that this caused some of my vinyl to move, especially the really thin areas, so I ended up dabbing it on with a sponge brush sort of the same way you stencil.
See where that tiny little arm is sticking up?  Yeah...etching cream got under there.  
 I realized after I got the cream in place that I hadn't really smoothed the vinyl down enough, so I had a few places where the cream went underneath the vinyl. Once applying the Armour Etch, there is nothing you can do about this but let it be and deal with the odd places in your design. Lesson #1 - smooth down the edges of your vinyl really, really well.  I used my fingernail, and I turned the glass so I could see the backside of the vinyl and could tell that there were no more air bubbles under there.  Otherwise your piece will have leaks, like this:
 The bottle said to leave the Armour Etch in place for 5 minutes.  This sure didn't seem long enough to me, but I went with it.  After 5 minutes, I took the bowl to the faucet and rinsed one little area away and was not happy with the amount of etching, so I reapplied cream to that bowl and left them for another 8 minutes or so.
 You can see from my first two pieces that these were my first two pieces.  By that I mean they aren't great. The flowers on the bowl have spots where the etching is not as uniform.  Lesson #2 - When the bottle says a thick, even coat it means a thick, even coat.  Despite the price of the cream, don't be stingy.  You can also see where the cream seeped under my vinyl in a few spots, but since these were just practice pieces I am not too worried about it.  Overall, I was just excited that it actually worked.  I wasn't thrilled with the brightness of the etching cream on my bowl, but on the square dish below it was a lot brighter.  This piece had the cream on it longer than the bowl though.
 I felt pretty confident that I had the process down, so I decided to move forward with etching my trifle bowl.  This was a big deal...I love that bowl.  I rubbed every edge of my vinyl with my fingernail until I was confident that I had a really good stick.  Then I began to apply the cream.
 I intended to leave it on for about 15 minutes, but then I sat down at my computer and about 35 minutes passed before I pulled myself away.  I'm actually really glad I did because I think the etching is the perfect amount.  Lesson #3 - Leave Armour Etch on product longer than bottle recommends.  At least in the case of my Pyrex and trifle bowl, they definitely needed longer than the 5 minutes on the bottle.  I think 35 was perfect for my trifle bowl.
Isn't she pretty??
Overall the glass etching process was very easy.  I definitely recommend practicing on something that you don't mind screwing up before you take the chance on a piece that you want to be perfect.  There is a bit of a learning curve and this is permanent..so if you screw up there is no way to fix it. I think glass etched piece will make really cool gifts for people.  That means that if you are reading this and you are someone I might normally buy a gift for...well, you just might get something etched. After all, I have a whole bottle of etching cream that was too expensive to go to waste. I can totally see putting a last name on a pretty dish to give as a wedding shower gift. I need someone I know to get married now.

1 comment:

MoODFoto said...

very cool project! I've yet to venture over to Pintrest... I can't add more to the list I'm already not doing, and I know I will. LOL!