Window Etching

I recently completed three different projects where I etched some glass windows. With each of these projects I used a different technique, and thought I’d share these three techniques with you. I used EtchAll Cream for these windows and found it quite easy to use. The Cream is thick and does not drip or run like thinner brands that are available. The people at EtchAll are very helpful and provide some excellent technical support if you have any questions.

Etched WindowThis is one of four long windows that Susan Siefer and I etched recently for a restaurant. The owners wanted most of the view blocked, so we designed these canvas window treatments that covered 3/4’s of the window. To allow some light to filter in, we etched two rows of 3″ diameter circles.

lg circles in progHere you see Susan applying the adhesive vinyl circle templates to the window. We purchased the vinyl by the foot, cut out our circles in the studio, and applied the vinyl to the windows in sections, to make it more manageable. You need to burnish the vinyl well and mask out any areas that you do not want etched. The EtchAll cream is then applied thickly, with a spatula. After 15 minutes, the Cream is scraped off (and put in a container to be reused later!), and the windows are cleaned well before pulling off the vinyl. The EtchAll site has step by step directions and tips.


This door project was a quick and easy fix for my own back entryway door. I wanted to bring some interest to this small space, allow some light to shine in, but also give myself a little privacy.

sm circles close

To get this look, I purchased a package of 1″ diameter circles from an office supply store, and just placed them randomly on every other pane of glass. Again, burnishing is key. You want the dots/circles to really adhere to the glass so they are not coming off when you apply the EtchAll cream. I used the small, plastic trowel that EtchAll sells. This smaller trowel worked well, since the panes are small, but you would need something larger for larger areas of glass.

damask etchLastly, Susan Siefer and I etched part of a giant Damask design onto the window of this door in another restaurant we recently did.

We covered the entire window with a piece of adhesive vinyl and laid our stencil pattern on top and traced the design. The design was then cut out of the vinyl, directly on the window. The small trowel worked well for this application, since our design elements to be etched,  were not very big. The overall look is pretty neat, with the stenciled design carried onto the glass with etching instead of paint!

damask etch in prog

If you have never etched glass before, be sure to do a lot of experimenting on some sample pieces before trying this on your own windows. It is permanent! Susan and I were taking some very deep breaths while working in the two restaurants!


  1. alex says

    Thank you so much for this post! Someone tagged the windows of our new office with etch and we’ve been trying to figure out ways to etch over it and cover it up because the glass is so expensive to replace, and so far nothing has worked. Not only did your beautiful examples inspire us, but I called the people at EtchAll on your recommendation and spoke to one of the owners. He was the nicest person ever and extremely helpful. Thanks again and good luck on future projects!

  2. says

    I am sorry to hear about your windows being tagged with etching, but glad my post led you to get some helpful info from the great staff at EtchAll. A local art supply store in Boston told me the police asked them not to carry etching supplies because they were being used to vandalize storefront windows, which explains why I cannot find it anywhere locally! Good luck with your windows. I’d love to see some before and after pics!