Etched Glass Beach Bowls

My boyfriend and I travel a lot and we always end up near beaches, so we thought we’d make memory bowls of all the places we’ve been to. These are the first two but we have about 5 more to make. I thought it would be a good Idea to etch the glass with the place and year we visited. Above are Plymouth Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts. It’s kind of hard to photograph but they actually came out really nice.

Materials Needed

Etching cream- I bought mine at Hobby Lobby for $12. It’s a bit over priced if you ask me but this was 40% off and you only use a tiny bit so over the amount of projects you can make it justifies the price a little bit. Hobby Lobby has 40% off coupons each week and you can pull it up on your phone so make sure you utilize that!

Glass Cleaner- I use Invisible Glass you can find it in the automotive aisle at Lowes or at an AutoZone and this is hands down the best glass cleaner I have ever used

Paper Towels


Etching stencil- Hobby Lobby for $6 each. These are reusable which was a big selling point. You can also make your own designs out of adhesive leather or anything the cream won’t eat through

Bowls or something glass to etch on- My bowls were $3 at Hobby Lobby

A popsicle stick- this is to put the etching cream on (honestly I used a broken pencil)

Sink nearby- you wash the cream off in the sink so It’s good to work near a sink

Gloves- etching cream can badly burn you, I didn’t wear gloves but that was a dumb move. Please use gloves to avoid burning yourself!

Something to protect your work space

Here’s How to do it

1. First clean your glass surface. You want it to be as dust and finger print free as possible

2. I took the edge of the stencil page and taped it across the widest part of the bowl. I made it as straight as possible then drew a line across with the sharpie (sharpies wash off glass).

3. I then lined up the stencils along the line. Press down and make sure all air bubbles are out and I overlapped the stencils a little bit and pressed those edges down solidly so the cream didn’t leak through. Because it’s round I didn’t bother finding the center of the word, but if you are working with say a square bowl, measure the length of the word and start from the center out. When measuring remember not to just count the letters because some letters are bigger than others. For example “i” takes up less room than “m”.

4. Then I added the year lining it along the bottom part of the line. I centered the date under the word this time.

5. Now it’s time to add the cream! Wear your gloves, and take little bits of the cream and place it over the open areas of the stencils with the popsicle stick. You can use masking tape around the stencil for an added buffer, I don’t have any tape at home so I was just very careful with where I put the cream.

6. Let the cream sit for about 3-4 minutes. The cream instructions said 1 minutes, but I did that for “vineyard” on the other bowl and it didn’t come out as nice and as even.

7. Rinse off the cream in the sink. I used cool water and rinsed as much as I could off.

8. Peel off the stencils. I put them on the back of the stencil page for a few minutes while I finished the bowl.

9. Wipe off any remaining etching cream with a paper towel

10. Immediately clean bowl with glass cleaner

11. Run stencils under warm water to clean off any cream that might remain on them and put back on stencil page and store for later use!

12. Fill bowls with memories. I used sand and rocks from Plymouth and sand and seashells from Martha’s Vineyard. If you use shells from the ocean be sure to soak them in soapy water for a day. This will clean them and get rid of that ocean smell. Also if your sand is damp let it sit out for a few days to dry out.

And you’re done! It was hard to photograph the etching but it came out very nice and in real life the difference is very evident. You can etch pretty much anything that’s glass.

Here’s a few things to be aware of:

1. Etching is permanent! Be careful that your design is really what you want before you put the cream on. The cream actually eats away at the glass causing the etching effect. This also means it’s dishwasher safe (bonus!)

2. Etching cream doesn’t work on all Pyrex for some reason. I thought it would be a cute Idea to etch my cousins name on to a pyrex pan but there is the chance it won’t work out. Don’t ask me why it just says that on the etching cream.

3. When the etched part of the glass is wet it doesn’t look very different, so when you rinse off the cream don’t panic if it doesn’t look like the glass changed, once the area dries and you take off the stencils and clean the glass it will be very evident

4. Again just be careful with the cream, it can burn you so keep it off your skin and don’t get bored and stick some in your eyes, it’ll turn out badly, I promise.

I hope you enjoyed this one, I sure did. Glass etching is so simple it will surely become one of my favorite things to do! Thanks for stopping by!




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