If candles are going to grace your table or bedroom this Valentine’s Day, consider etching glass votive holders as part of the holiday’s decor. Votive holders can be etched with any design you choose and will remind your sweetheart of you throughout the year.
Before etching, spend some time deciding on your design. Hearts might remind you of the season, but they are not your only option. Consider etching a letter on each holder that when combined with others spells out a special word or phrase. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that the best designs are often simple so the size of the votive is not overwhelmed.
Once you have decided on your design, it is time to select your glassware. You will need a votive holder that has a smooth exterior with glass that is clear enough for your etching to be visible. Inexpensive glassware can often be found at dollar stores and flea markets. It’s also a good idea to plan on buying several more than you think you will need in case of an accident.
In addition to the votives you will need a utility knife, plastic gloves, contact paper, a paintbrush, and etching cream. All of these items can be found in a craft store. Find a place to work on the votive holders that will be well ventilated, and plan on protecting the surface you are working on. Etching cream is actually a mild acid, so it can ruin fabric and wood quite easily.
To begin, first transfer your design onto the contact paper and use a utility knife to cut out the parts you want to etch. A stencil can be traced directly onto the contact paper if you choose to make letters, but do not forget to save the inner cutouts of some letters like O and P to complete the shape. If you do not have a stencil, you can use a printer or photocopier to create one.
Next, get a glass jar to try your design on. It is important to wash and dry the surface you will be etching. Peel off the back of the contact paper and affix it to the jar. Rub hard and pay particular attention to the edges of the design. Put on gloves to protect your hands for the next step.
Using the paintbrush, carefully apply a thick layer of etching cream. Be careful not to spill the cream, it will stain the glass. After 5 minutes, or according to the package instructions, rinse off the jar with warm water. Remove the stencil, and take a close look at your work. Practice until you can create the same effect several times in succession. Etching cream must be applied liberally and evenly for the best result.
Once you are confident in your etching ability, begin working on creating the same designs on the votive holders. If you are working with letters, it is important to make certain that the design is placed in the same spot. This is easily accomplished by running a ring of masking tape around the top of each glass before you begin. When applying the letters, you simply need to ensure that the top of the letter is flush with the bottom of the tape guide. This method will also help protect the glass from accidental drips.
After the etching cream is removed, your votive holders are ready to be used. This same technique can be used for other items as well. Champagne flutes, vases, even an unused jar can easily be transformed in a few minutes, and unlike flowers and chocolates can be reused for the next year.