Dec 14 2010

Silhouette Etching Tutorial

Published by at 10:56 am under Crafts,How To,Silhouette

Finished etched low ball glasses

I’ve put together a tutorial for how to etch glass using the Silhouette machine to make stencils. It’s super easy! I’ve also put up a video which shows me doing all the steps since sometimes it’s easier to see someone do it.

Let’s get started . . .

Get your monogram ready

The firs step is to get your monogram ready. There are a couple ways to do this.

One is to find one in the Silhouette online store that you like and just download it.

Alternatively, you can make one yourself.

Either way, you’ll want to make a box using the box tool (look like a little square below the line and above the ellipse). I made mine about 2 in by 2 in.

Screen shot 2010-12-12 at 3.26.05 PM.png

Then put your letter in it, whether you downloaded it from the Silhouette online store or you just typed a letter. I played with a bunch of different fonts before I found one that was just the right mix of fun and classic.

Also note that I’ve put my monograms all the way to left so that it will print on the edge of the vinyl so as to waste as little vinyl as possible.

Print on the vinyl

Loading the Silhouette

Load your vinyl into the machine. You don’t need a mat when using vinyl. Also make sure to put the blue cap on.

Screen shot 2010-12-08 at 11.58.26 PM.png

In your design, click the icon that looks like a printer with an “A” on the sheet and this will open up the “Send to Silhouette” dialog.

Make sure it says that you’re printing to vinyl. If not select the cutting settings and adjust. You’ll also get a reminder to use the blue cap here. Click “Send to Silhouette” when you’re done.

Finally, click “Cut page” and let the Silhouette works it’s magic.

Transfer the design to your glass

After you are done printing with your Silhouette, cut off the part of the vinyl with your shapes on it.

Cut vinyl

Weed out the parts of the vinyl you don’t need. That means anything not a part of your 2 x 2 square. Feel free to use the inside letter on something else!

Cut off an equal sized piece of transfer paper.

Lay the transfer paper over the vinyl and secure it well. You’ll want to use a scraper. I’m too cheap to pay $6 for a scraper so I use an old credit card. That’s what we use for applying screen protectors to our phones and it seemed to work pretty well.

When the transfer paper is firmly attached, peel off the vinyl backing.

If you have three monograms on one piece like me, now is the time to cut them apart.

Stencil before application

Take one of your monograms and lay it carefully on your glass where you want to etch. Use your scraper (aka credit card) to firmly adhere the vinyl to the glass. Try to remove all air bubbles.

Glass with stencil

Finally remove the transfer paper. It should come away easily, leaving behind your stencil.

Etch your design

Take an paintbrush and paint a good layer of etching cream over your design. Be careful not to get it outside your vinyl or you’ll have etched marks where you don’t want them.

Glass with etching cream

I used Armour Etch cream because that’s what they had at Michael’s when I went. Silhouette sells another one. I’m not sure if one is better than the other, but I was happy with the Armour Etch and one jar will last a while.

Armour Etch cream

Let the cream sit on your design for 5 minutes (or however long it says).

Glasses with etching cream

Rinse off and you’re done!

If some spots weren’t fully etched, you can do the etching again. Sometimes this will also “smooth” out the etching if it looked a little rough before. I find I usually like the look better after doing it twice.

I recommend washing the glass in the dishwasher if you can (or just with soap if you can’t) before using just to make sure you really got all the etching cream off if you will be using this for drinking.

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “Silhouette Etching Tutorial”

  1. […] Update: I posted the tutorial. […]

  2. Courtney - Pizzazzerie.comon 20 Mar 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Hi! I was wondering where to get the transfer paper? Is this the transfer paper that Silhouette sells? In the craft store, all I could find was the “iron on transfer paper” meant for fabric projects. It doesn’t look the same so I’m guessing it’s not. Would love to know! —

  3. Pigleton 07 Apr 2011 at 4:41 pm

    This stuff happens to be the transfer paper that silhouette sells which is different than iron on transfer paper. It’s kinda like less-sticky vinyl. I got mine at a local Paper Source. Vinyl shops like H & H (where I like to get heat transfer) also sell it from different brands.

  4. Dianeon 09 May 2012 at 11:20 am

    Thank you for the tutorial. What font did you use?

  5. Pigleton 09 May 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Hi, Diane, glad you liked the tutorial! I used a font called Lightfoot and I used the wide extended version.

  6. juliaon 29 Aug 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Dear Piglet (love your name)

    liked you tutorial on youtube and this website

    Question 1: can you do letter stenciling with the silhouette ie using a smaller font size. Like a saying on a jar or mug.

    Question 2: Can I purchase additional fonts for the silhouette

    Again thanks for your tutorials

  7. Pigleton 29 Aug 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Hi. Julia,
    Answer 1: Yes, you can do the stenciling with whatever size font you want and to say whatever you want. If you go too small, you may have difficulty weeding the cut letters after they’re cut, but you have to go pretty small for that to be a problem.

    Answer 2: Silhouette has fonts that you can purchase through their website, but you can also use any fonts that are on your computer. That’s what I did in the example above.

  8. tamaraon 01 Nov 2012 at 11:49 am

    Hi I just got my silhouette and I do not have a blue cap for my blade. I have 2 qs. First where can I purchase one? And the second as I attempt to follow your tutorial w/o using the blue cap and it would not transfer onto the transfer paper. Is it bc I did not use the cap?

  9. Pigleton 22 Dec 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Sorry for the delayed response! I only just saw your comment today.

    The cap determines how deep the blade can cut. So if you’re not using the correct cap, you may not be cutting all the way through your vinyl. Did you weed your vinyl after cutting it? How did that go? If that was okay, then your cutting was probably fine. If the transfer paper just didn’t pick up your design after weeding, then perhaps you didn’t press down hard enough? The transfer paper isn’t as strong as the vinyl.

    You can purchase a new blade from the Silhouette store ( They only have the new ones which have the “cap” built in that allows you to select the depth based on a number. But if you update your Silhouette software to the latest, it should give you that option.

  10. Meridethon 26 Feb 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks so much for the tutorial. I was wondering about the thickness of the etching cream. Do you lightly cover the glass surface or put a heavy coat? Thank you!!

  11. Pigleton 26 Feb 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I use a thick coat so that I can’t see any glass through it. I’ve heard you can scoop it off and reuse it, but I haven’t tried that.

  12. Meridethon 26 Feb 2013 at 8:14 pm

    Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge. My first coat is on now! 🙂

  13. Hananon 04 Jul 2013 at 11:04 am


    I saw your video on youtube, I’m curious about this technique and would love to try it.
    What’s the name of your machine, I’m really considering ordering it from or any other website..

    I’d bea really glad if you help me with that,


  14. Pigleton 30 Jul 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Hi, Hanan, I use a Silhouette SD. The company’s website is, but the machines are available at amazon and many online craft stores. Look for a bundle to save some money.

  15. Brittanyon 15 Aug 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Is it just regular vinyl that you are using or a special kind? I can’t seem to find anything that is specifically called etching vinyl.

  16. Pigleton 15 Aug 2013 at 4:38 pm

    Hi, Brittany, it’s just regular vinyl. You don’t need any special etching type.

  17. Wendyon 19 Nov 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Do you have to use designs from the Silhouette system or can you use your own?

  18. Pigleton 19 Nov 2013 at 2:50 pm

    No, you can create your own designs using the free Silhouette software. The “P” I used in the tutorial was just a font I had on my computer.

  19. Ericon 14 Oct 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Just discovered your site and I love it! I am reaching out to sites I like and want to see if you would provide feedback on my etching supplies if I sent them to you free. Will you please let me know by email? I will try to come back to this page later to see if you replied in the comments too. I will ship the supplies to you all for free with cream and stencils. Urgently, waiting for your reply. Thanks in advance for your reply. Eric

  20. Pigleton 14 Oct 2016 at 1:06 pm

    Hi, Eric,

    I’d be happy to try out your supplies. I’ll send you an email.

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