Etched glass vases are not only gorgeous and timeless, they’re also a perfect way to add unique character to your home décor! Moreover, these elegant vases can prove to be the the perfect gift for someone special! In this step-by-step tutorial, we’ll walk through the (easy) process of etching in glass. And in case you prefer not to DIY, we’ll also explore gorgeous etched glass vases that you can buy!
About a year and a half ago, I had these super inexpensive glass vases sitting around (thank you Target Dollar Spot!) that had beautiful shapes, but otherwise, were somewhat basic, aka blasé.
So I thought to myself, “They need more character…and more of a vintage French feel.” If you follow along with me on the blog or social media, you’ve probably noticed that I love to incorporate subtle French Vintage details into my décor wherever I can.
Fortunately, I had just gotten an adorable tri-mesh adhesive stencil called “Le Petite Boutique” in a crafting bundle.
This particular stencil has several different sections, so there are so many different ways you can create your etched design. Five of which have these beautiful French Typography designs, while the other two have elegant scroll motifs.
With this simple technique of glass etching, we can transform any basic piece of glass into a masterpiece! But if the French font isn’t your style, don’t worry! By just swapping out the stencil you can get a completely different look!
This DIY is Perfect for You If:
- The flower vases you see in stores are just too basic for your exquisite taste and style.
- You enjoy the creative process and putting your own creative spin into your home décor.
- You take pride in giving unique and thoughtful gifts to the special people in your life.
- You enjoy having unique décor pieces that have all the vintage appeal of real antiques, yet don’t break the bank.
Benefits of Etching your own Glass:
Because this DIY is a the type of project that is elegant and timeless, it seems it would be uber complex with tons of steps. But, shhh, (our little secret) it’s actually not!! This is one of those few & far between craft projects with minimal effort and MAJOR reward!
Besides creating something that’s one-of-a-kind and beautiful, this project is also very budget-friendly — especially if you make multiple vases from thrifted finds!
Because once you have the etching cream and glass etching stencils, you can make tons of them! (Just as long as you make sure to wash out your stencils as described below.)
And, you can use this technique to create a variety of beautiful home décor pieces! From glass candle holders to pitchers, from wine glasses to mason jars, or from cloches or plates, there are SO many options of gorgeous decor items you can make!
Supplies for Etching Glass:
One of the many reasons that I love this simple project is that though it may look tedious, it’s actually pretty straightforward and the supply list is fairly short. In fact, you probably have a few of the necessary supplies on hand already!
To do this project, you will need:
- etching cream
- small dense paint brush
- rubber gloves
- masking tape (or painter’s tape)
- protective eyewear
- glass items
- etching stencils
While some crafters’ call for armour etch etching cream, but I’ll be using my favorite, A Maker’s Studio Glass Etching Cream. It works the same way, and I love that I can order it when I order my adhesive stencils!
I’ll be sure to provide links to all the necessary supplies toward the bottom of the post for your convenience.
Sourcing Glass to Etch
Another reason I love this DIY so much is that are loads of potential glass vases (or other glass items), most likely, all around you!
From the blasé glass vases that are just collecting dust in the attic to a pile of empty food jars headed for the trash bin to a stash of glass you’ve been meaning to haul to Goodwill, there are probably tons of options at your disposal. And if not, no worries!
This can be a great way to save an item from your local thrift store or yard sale. And if want to get really thrifty and eco-friendly, perhaps even consider saving old pickle, jam, or spaghetti sauce jars!
And if you don’t see your ideal vase type at home, dollar store or at the thrift store, then can choose from countless vases online. I’ll be sure to link to several types of vases at the bottom of the post for your convenience.
Sourcing Glass Etching Stencils
The real key to success with this DIY project is to use high-quality adhesive mesh stencils. The adhesion and mesh properties will help you to etch with much better results (aka cleaner, crisper lines) than you could ever get with conventional stencils.
While there are tons of stencils on the market today, not many are ideal for etching for a few different reasons. The stencils linked at the bottom are from the brand that I personally use and consider to be the best stencils for glass etching.
Today, I’m going with French-inspired etched designs. These are perfect for those of us that love French Country or French Cottage interior style or French Chic design lovers!
Today I’ll be using:
- Le Petite Boutique – Mesh Stencil 8.5×11
- Bon Bon Bunny – Mesh Stencil 8.5×11
- Café Chocolat – Mesh Stencil 8.5×11
Keep in mind that most of these stencils have various sections that can use in different ways.
Some are perfect for a larger area of a vase, while others are perfect for smaller details. You can also mix and match elements of different stencils to customize your overall design.
But there are some other adorable French style stencils, also from this brand, that I also love that I’ll be sure to link below.
Please note: I will put all the links to the necessary supplies at the bottom of the post for your convenience.
But what about those of you who love this project but aren’t a fan of all things French? The good news is that there are tons of beautiful stencils in all kinds of different styles including:
- Flower design stencils
- Stencils with cute quotes
- Farmhouse style stencils
- Animal stencils
- Various pattern stencils
Etching on Glass Instructions:
Prepping Your Space
First things first, you’ll want to prep your space. But don’t fret, this is the easiest “prep work” ever! Just make sure that set up a well-ventilated area. After that, just put down some type of protective paper or drop cloth over your work surface.
Prepping the Glass Vase
First, you’ll want to decide which stencils are the best fit for the vases you’ve gathered.
Next, you’ll want to make sure that all the vases you plan to etch are nice and clean. Typically, you can wash your glass vases in regular soapy water — just like you would with your dishes.
After that, give the glass item you plan to etch a good wipe-down with isopropyl alcohol. This will ensure that your surface is squeaky clean and perfectly etchable.
Prepping & Applying the Stencil
Next, remove the backing of your adhesive stencil, but don’t trash it because you’ll want to reapply it to store your stencils afterward.
Then, carefully line up and place your stencil over your vase, making sure that you don’t get any air bubbles between the glass surface and the stencil.
If you have trouble wrapping the stencil around the curved surface of your vase, you can, depending on the design of the stencil, snip a tiny slit in the solid part of the stencil to give it some “slack”.
Finally, place your painters’ tape around the edges of the stencil. This will ensure that you don’t get the etching cream right where you don’t want it.
Fail-Proof Tip: For best results, considering taping the edges of the stencil with painter’s tape. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally get etching cream in the negative space—where you don’t want it.
Applying the Etching Cream
Now, before you begin to etch, you’ll want to grab your gloves and protective eyewear for safe etching.
Note: The active ingredients in etching cream are designed to be corrosive. Therefore, it’s a good precaution to keep the cream away from direct contact with your skin and eyes.
Next, take a paint brush or an old popsicle stick, and stir up your etching cream well.
Then, dip your brush into the etching cream and start to paint the etching cream over the stencil. I like to do a thorough thin coat to begin, being careful not to “paint” the etching cream past the edge of the stencil.
Keep working the etching cream over the opening of the stencil, as if you were painting it over and over for a few minutes.
Then, go back on with a really thick layer of etching cream over the edges of the design. On lots of projects, less is more.. however, not on this one. Here more really is more, so feel free to apply a thick coat.
After you have a nice thick layer, start your timer for 5- 10 minutes and walk away. I say walk away so you won’t be tempted to rinse it all off prematurely. Trust me, you will be tempted! lol
Removing the Stencil & Washing your Etched Vase
Once you’ve waited for that etching cream to do it’s magic, with your gloves ON, carefully remove your stencil and set in a dish of water. (Alternatively, you just be sure to wash the stencil thoroughly as soon as you can.)
Next, take your vase over the sink, with running (slightly) warm water, start to rinse away the etching cream from the surface of the glass and the stencil.
If the cream is not washing away, the best way is to use the paint brush (that you just used) to gently scrub the cream off of the stencil. Alternatively, with gloved hands, you can gently scrub the etching cream away under the running water.
Now, wash and dry your vase again in soap and water.
And finally, admire your genius, creative mind and your new, gorgeous etched glass vase!
After you’ve washed the dried etching cream away, your results should look something like this. I think the subtlety gives it such an elegant finish!
Preserving Your Supplies
Now, before the residual etching cream is dried up in your stencil, you’ll want to give it a good wash with good ol’ soap and water.
You can slightly rub the stencil as you suds it in soap. Then shake it off and let it air dry sticky-side up on a paper towel or hand towel.
Finally, replace the backing you took off initially and store it in its plastic sleeve. If you follow those steps, you’ll be able to use your stencils again and again!
Styling Your Glass Etched Vase
A lot of the décor DIYs that I make here on the blog are seasonal, meaning that they work best for an intended season or holiday. However, these gorgeous glass etched vases are different–they work for virtually any holiday or season!
Because of that, I just love that they’re décor pieces that I can enjoy all year long! (Annnnnd that I don’t have to worry about moving them in and out of storage — because that is the bane of my existence. Anyone else?)
Not only do they work for any season, they always work in just about any room in the house! Without further ado, let’s take a look at a few ways you can decorate with these beauties!
Seasonal Centerpiece with Etched Vases
These etched glass vases are perfect for creating the most stunning centerpieces for any tabletop!
To create these rose arrangements, I simply added a grid of clear floral tape over the top of the vases. Then I mixed a mixture of purified water and flower food into a container and poured it into each vase.
Next, I trimmed the roses are arranged to my liking. Finally, I arranged the etched glass vases on our table to create an aesthetically-pleasing centerpiece.
Whether you’d like to create one large arrangement of your favorite fresh flowers or a grouping of beautiful bouquets, this centerpiece idea is sure to wow your guests!
Vintage-Inspired Vignette with Etched Glass Vase
While this heading is titled, “Vintage-inspired vignette”, it could also be called an “Perfect for Everyday vignette” because it’s exactly that, too!
You don’t have to create a lavish seasonal centerpiece to enjoy the beauty of these etched vases. Just pop a few of your favorite blossoms into one the vases and style it with a few vintage books for an irresistible vintage-inspired vignette.
Here, the Parisienne design of the glass etching paired with the aged, antique books create a subtle, French Vintage look. While the lit candles with scattered rose petals add to the romantic, vintage feel.
Gorgeous glass etched vases are be the perfect addition to elevate your everyday home décor.
Light it UP
If you’d like to make the etched design really pop, this idea is for you! There are inexpensive LED light bases, that make an excellent pairing with etched glass. Now, without knowing which vase you’ll be using, I can’t guarantee that your vase will fit on the base. But, it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
These types of LED bases come in a variety of colors, from white lights to bright neon lights.
Above, I shared how I styled the etched vases for a seasonal tablescape, but these vase are, truly, perfect for creating a beautiful centerpiece ANY time of the year.
Here, I simply arranged a few David Austin roses in this etched French mason jar to create an easy, yet elegant centerpiece.
The Vintage French feel of the design of the etching is the perfect way to bring a bit of French charm into your home–no matter where it is!
Gift a Glass Etched Vase
Another use for these custom etched glass vases is giving a memorable gift to a special someone! Don’t you think a gift is even more meaningful when it’s been lovely crafted by the giver’s hands? I do, too! And, I think anyone lucky enough to be recipient would have to agree!
Perfect Gift for a Francophile
If a loved one in your life is a Francophile, someone obsessed with all things French, a vase etched with the Le Petite stencil would make a very thoughtful and cherished gift. One they could use for years to come.
A Meaningful Mother’s Day Gift
An etched glass vase would also make an absolutely perfect gift for your mom, nana or mother-in-law for mother’s day!
For this arrangement, I clipped blooming peonies from our backyard and arranged in the etched glass vase that was originally from Goodwill. (Shh, mom will never know how inexpensive of a gift this is.. because it looks like a million bucks!)
Then, I tied a tied a velvet ribbon around the neck of the vase, but a bow in your mom’s favorite color would be even more special!
Here a beautiful vase with fresh florals is topped with a bow to be given as a heartfelt, handcrafted gift!
A One-of-a-Kind Christmas Gift
Perhaps my favorite DIY gift idea ever, an etched vase would make an affordable, yet extremely elegant DIY Christmas gift! And the best part is that with just one stencil and a bottle of etching cream, you could make so many–making it one of the most budget-friendly gift ideas!
Sources for Etching Supplies
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Stencils, Etching Cream & Paint Brush
- Le Petite Boutique – Mesh Stencil 8.5×11
- Bon Bon Bunny – Mesh Stencil 8.5×11
- Café Chocolat – Mesh Stencil 8.5×11
- French Script – Mesh Stencil 9×12
- Mon Petite Lapin – Mesh Stencil 12×12
- Paris Script Stencil- Mesh Stencil 12×12
- Carte Postale – Mesh Stencil 8.5×11 8.5×11
- Paris Toile – Mesh Stencil 12×12
Other Stencils Designs to Love:
Alphabet Stencils With an alphabet stencil set, you can create your own saying to etch a monogram design.
Animal Stencils From regal rams to chic insects or adorable dogs, there are tons of cute animal stencils to choose from — for virtually any style!
Quote Stencils From thought-provoking thoughts to seasonal sayings to cheeky quotes, there are beautiful stencil designs for everyone!
Scripture Stencils There are a variety of meaningful bible verse stencils with beautiful fonts and designs.
Pattern Stencils From classic to modern patterns, from Parisian chic to timeless country to Asian-inspired, there are a vast array of pattern stencil designs.
Holiday & Event Stencils From festive Christmas stencils to Valentine stencils to beautiful Thanksgiving stencils, there are options for every holiday and/ life event.
Other DIY Supplies
Don’t forget your protective gear, including protective eyewear and gloves:
Vases to Etch
Most Affordable Vase Options:
Footed base Vase Options:
High-End Look Vase options:
Prefer to Buy: Beautiful Etched Glass Vases on the market
If you’re not really the DIY type, I completely understand! Sometimes, there’s just not enough time in the day! Thankfully there are lots of beautiful etched glass vases for sale online.
There are both pre-etched vases available, as well as vases that you can have the etching design customized.
Vases you can have customized:
The vases below are available to order through small shops on Etsy. Most of these have the option to add your personalized message, name or monogram of choice in the text field.
Etched Glass Vases:
Below are clear glass vases with beautiful etched designs.
Thank you so much for joining me for making these gorgeous etched glass vases! I hope this easy project tutorial gave you all the knowledge you need to etch glass with confidence and create your own one-of-a-kind stunning statement vase!
Don’t Forget: Pin for Later!
Scroll down to see the images below that you can pin at the bottom of this post! Or you can scroll up, hover over any image and pin to your Pinterest boards!