Etched Glass Snack Plates Using a Vinyl Stencil
Have you ever done an etched glass project with your Cricut? I tried my hand at it recently and found it to be quite easy. It was fun, too. I have wanted to try this since I first heard about etching cream, and that was one of the first things I bought after I got my Cricut. It just took me a while to actually do anything with it. When I recently found some clear glass plates I liked, I was inspired to finally create an etched project.
Clear glass plates
Armour Etch etching cream
Cricut Maker or Explore machine
Cricut Machine Beginner Vinyl Bundle, Grip Mats, Tool Set, Premium Vinyl Pack,
which includes the following 5 items, which can also be purchased separately:
Standard Grip Mat
I bought 2 dinner plates and 2 lunch plates. I would use one of each for this first project. I wanted to use the plates for serving appetizers and decided to cover the bottom of the large plate with all different names for snacks. I used an online thesaurus to come up with some of the names to make sure I had enough to cover the plate surface.
Tip: It is always better to do glass etching on the bottom or the outside of a blank, especially if it will be used for food. Otherwise, it could be hard to clean and might even stain, depending on the type of food that comes into contact with it.
After washing and drying my plates, I used rubbing alcohol to remove any lint particles, so my vinyl stencil would stick to it well. Then I placed pieces of painter's tape on the bottom of the plate to mark the circle where the stencil would go.
Then I measured the width of the stencil area and inserted a circle onto my Canvas using the Shapes function on the left panel and sized it to match my plate to create my stencil.
Next, I started adding text to the Canvas using the Text function on the left panel and typing each word individually.
Once I had all the words on my Canvas, I chose the font I wanted for them. I used 'A Child's Year' for this project.
I knew the words canape and crudite should have had an accent mark over the 'e' at the end, but I could not figure out how to add those in Design Space, so I just left that out. That might have required using a different font, but I really liked this one. I knew this plate would be for my own use, so I was not concerned about it.
Now it was time to place the words inside the circle template to position them for the stencil. I right clicked on the circle and selected "Send to Back", so the words would be visible.
Since I had just learned how to use the Curve function in Design Space, this was a perfect opportunity to take advantage of that. I would place all the words around the plate in a circle, having the lower words right side up to be readable. I just moved the dot within the Curve function to the right to curve the text down to line up with the edge of the plate. I would move the dot in the opposite direction to make the bottom words curve up instead of down.
I continued placing the words in the circle template. I also decided to add a small shape to go between the words to make it more interesting. I opened the Shape menu on the left panel and selected the shape I wanted. Then I did my best to space each word and the little shapes evenly around the circle, rotating the shape as necessary.
It took a while to get all the words curved and in place. Here is my final design once I finished doing that. It is certainly not perfect, but I was satisfied with it.
Now I was ready to cut out my design, so I made sure to Group and Attach the entire thing. This is how the design looked on the Canvas just before cutting.
Although I mainly used the circle shape as a template for placement of the words, I also wanted the Cricut to cut out the circle, so I did not hide it like I usually do with templates.
Tip: If you use a template in your design that you do not intend to cut with your machine, remember to hide it in the right layers panel before cutting the design, so the Cricut knows not to cut that part.
I used removable vinyl for the stencil, so it would be easier to remove from the plate once I applied the etching cream. I placed the vinyl onto my cutting mat in preparation for cutting and used my brayer to burnish it.
The vinyl color didn't matter since it was only being used as a stencil and would later be removed. I chose yellow, as it is one of my least favorite colors. That way I would not mind using some of it up.
Tip: When applying a design to the bottom or the wrong side of a blank, always mirror the image in Design Space before cutting it, so it will be facing the right way on your completed project.
Here is my stencil cut and weeded.
I applied some transfer tape to the stencil to adhere it to my plate. I had to do this slowly and carefully to prevent getting bubbles underneath the transfer tape since the design was rather large.
Then I burnished the transfer tape over the vinyl stencil to be able to remove the stencil from its backing.
Once that was done, I removed the backing. In some places, the inside of the letters stuck to the backing, so I burnished those a bit more to get them to stick to the transfer tape better. Then I was ready to apply the stencil to the bottom of my plate.
As I placed the stencil over the plate, I was careful to keep the edges of the circle inside the painter's tape guides I had stuck to the plate. Once the stencil was applied, I removed the pieces of painter's tape.
Then I used my extra-large scraper to burnish the vinyl stencil to the plate before removing the transfer tape.
Here is my plate with the stencil applied and ready for the etching process to begin. This image shows the plate right side up, so the words are readable.
Tip: Place some painter's tape around the edge of your stencil to avoid getting etching cream outside of your design and ruining your project.
Although I had seen this recommended, I did not do this. I'm usually very careful and figured I didn't need to bother with this. Ha. Bad decision. I did not ruin my project, but I did get a little bit of etching cream along the edge of the stencil in one spot. I realized it right away and wiped it off as fast as I could, but it still left a mark. It is not very noticeable, but I learned my lesson this time.
Next, I applied the etching cream to the bottom of the plate over the stencil. I did not take photos of this process with the first plate, but I did with the second one, which you will see later. Once the cream was applied to the entire design, I rinsed it all off with water and started removing my vinyl stencil.
Even though I had used removable vinyl, it was a little difficult to remove it from the plate. I just took my time and eventually got it all off. I did not want to scratch the glass in spots where it was not etched or even where it was etched. Sometimes I used my fingernail instead of my weeder tool to prevent this.
Here is my completed plate. I have it on the desk and over a placemat to try to show it better. If you look above the word "appetizer," you should be able to see where the etching cream got on the edge of the stencil and left a thin line. If this had been a gift for someone, I would have had to redo it.
I think I could have used more etching cream to get the etching a bit deeper. It would probably show up better that way. The bottle said to use a lot, but a post I was following said not to use too much. I didn't want to overdo it my first time, so I used less, but now I know to use more next time.
Now that I had some success with the first plate, I proceeded to do the other, smaller plate. This time, I picked out a bunch of words to describe how tasty the snacks are (because of course they are).
Tip: When working with etching cream, it is recommended to wear gloves and protective eyewear.
With this plate, I used more etching cream to try to get a deeper cut that would hopefully show up better. I also used painter's tape to protect the edges outside the stencil before applying the cream.
When applying etching cream, you need to keep brushing the cream over the stencil the entire time, moving it in different directions. The bottle includes the instructions for this.
I started with a flat foam "brush" and then switched to a regular paint brush. Once I was satisfied that I had applied the cream long enough, I let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinsed all the cream off with some water.
Once the plate was done, I removed the vinyl stencil. It was a bit disappointing because the etching on this plate did not seem any deeper than the other one and almost seemed lighter. I wondered if the small size of the letters in the design limited the etching process.
Tip: Be sure to use plenty of etching cream and brush it on in different directions to ensure good coverage. A regular paint brush seems to work best for this.
Here is the plate on top of some red paper, so you can see it a bit better.
All in all, I am pretty happy with how my snack plates turned out. I can't wait to use them the next time we have company!
It's not who you are that limits you, it's who you think you're not.