How to Create an Etched Glass Door

What You'll Need
glass cleaner and rags
glass etching creme (available at any good craft store)
a pre made stencil or contact paper if you make your own
rubber gloves
box cutter type knife
masking tape

Etched glass doors can be very expensive to buy and if you want a custom design instead of standard 'stock' designs they price will be even higher. With a little work you can create your own etched glass door for a fraction of the cost.

Prepare your door

The easiest way to make your etched glass door is to remove the door from the hinges and lay it on a flat surface such as a table top, a work bench or sawhorses.  If you are working on a surface that could be damaged, be sure there is a drop cloth or other protective coating on that surface. The creme used to etch the glass is an acid and can damage wood and other surfaces. Clean the glass you are going to work on and make sure it is free of all dust and lint. Use masking tape to protect the edge where the glass meets the wood.

Preparing your design

If you are a beginner at glass etching, I would suggest using a pre cut stencil of a simple design for your first attempt. When purchasing your stencil be sure to have the measurements of the glass you are using so you can select the correct size for your project. You may also be creative and purchase stick on decals such as the popular 'wall words' and use them as a reverse stencil type of design. Remember, if you are using a monogram letter you will want it turned to the side of the door facing the street when the door is re hung on the hinges.

Creating an original stencil is a bit of work but the idea of having a unique design appeals to many people. You can sketch a design you would like and take it to a copying center such as Kinko's and they can print it to size on sticky paper or on regular paper (so you can cut it yourself onto contact paper). Again, you will need the correct size of your door glass.


Apply your stencil to the glass from the center outward or from top to bottom.  Work out any air bubbles as you go as the stencil must be perfectly flat and all edges securely stuck to the glass or the creme can run underneath and ruin your design. Before beginning, be sure you have good ventilation in the room and read all instructions on the etching glaze as there are some variations with different manufacturers. Put on your rubber gloves as the etching creme can burn your skin. Apply according to the directions and make sure all uncovered areas has a good coating of cream. Allow the creme to work per the instructions.  This can take from a few hours to overnight.

Once the creme has done its work, remove it and dry the glass. Slowly remove the stencil from the glass, usually from upper left to lower right is best. Hang your door and stand back and admire your work and think about all the money you have saved!