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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I make multiple custom glass etching designs?
A: We carry a wide range of Glass Etching stencils, but sometimes you might have an unique design you wish to create.. If you have the artwork available to you, we can offer you a system that takes your artwork and creates a custom glass etching stencil. See "MADE TO ORDER" section on the left side of the home page to submit a request for a price quote. You MUST be able to supply us with Black & White artwork. NO Photographs please.

Q: What is the difference between Rub'N'Etch, Over'N'Over, Peel'N'Etch and Sand Etch Stencils?
A: Rub'N'Etch stencils: These stencils are highly detailed, one time use stencils that are rubbed down and ONLY used with Armour Etch Glass Etching Cream Over'N'Over stencils: The latest edition to our stencil family. These are stencils that contain a moderate amount of detail and can be used with Armour Etch or Sand Etch. This self-adhesive stencil is re-usable up to 20 times. This means just wash them off, pat them dry and return the stencil to the carrier sheet for use again later. Peel'N'Etch stencils: These stencils are die-cut 4 mil vinyl stencils with moderate detail, that can be used with Armour Etch or Sand Blasted. You can either us a positive or negative image depending on which stencil pieces are removed. Please reserve etching the background, design area clear or un-etched, for Sand Blasting only. Sand Etch Mylar stencils: These reusable stencils are laser cut mylar with moderate detail. The can be used ONLY with Sand Etch for glass etching applications. Just like any other Mylar stencil they can also be used with paint, markers and other stenciling techniques when working on different surfaces other than glass.

Q: Will Armour Etch or Etch Bath work on my Pyrex, ovenware glass or hurricane glass?
A: Armour Etch and Etch Bath will not work on SOME Pyrex items. Some Pyrex (ovenware) is manufactured by a heat process that fortifies the glass for use in your oven. This process can be decorated with etchants. Another process to create ovenware is to bond a plastic coating to the outside of the glass object to also fortify the glass item. This process will NOT allow the etchants to work as the etchants are not strong enough to break through the plastic coating. The only way to tell the difference between the two manufacturing process is to place a tiny dot of the etchant in a place on your overware where the dot, if it should etch, will not be an issue for you. Let the dot stay on for one minute, wash it off and dry the area completely before you determine whether or not you have a success.

Q: Is it safe to put as etched glass into the dishwasher or should it be hand washed?
A: Items etched with Armour Etch, Sand Etch or Etch Bath can be washed in your dishwasher just like any other piece of glass. When a glass is Engraved (scratching into the surface of the glass) or deeply carved with a professional sand blaster, you will have to hand wash these items. When the surface of the glass is broken with an engraved line or sand blasting, the glass becomes weakened. The temperature of the dishwasher and the force of the water swirling against the weakened glass might cause the glass to break.

Q: Are the etched designs permanent and do I have to seal the glass after decorating?
A: All the designs created with Armour Etch, Etch Bath and Sand Etch are PERMANENT and are dishwasher safe. Nothing further is required. After you wash and dry your finished project your are done. Since all are PERMANENT, you must be absolutely sure that you selected the design you love and have placed it in the perfect location on your glass. Once you have finished your etched project, no changes can be made. You can add to your design, but you will not be able to remove it.

Q: Will the finished etched design be susceptible to food staining?
A: Glass is a non porous surface. So when you place food on a glass plate there is no need to be concerned about staining the plate. When a glass plate is etched, the areas of the etched design are now porous and foods that contain color (like spaghetti sauce) will most likely stain the plate. I always recommend that the bottom of plates be etched, especially when the plates are going to be used for food. If you are going to etch a plate for display only, then it does not matter which side you decorate.

Q: I made a mistake. How can I fix it?
A: Etched designs are permanent. The only things you can do is get creative and add something to your design like a tiny butterfly strategically place to cover a booboo. If you have made a serious mistake or simply dis-like the design you choose, you will no other choice but to replace the glass. For small mistakes, try a small dot of clear nail polish to cover a small mistake. The etching error will not go away, but the clear nail polish will cover the mistake and your eyes will not see the obscure etched area.

Q: Does Armour Etch work on ceramic items or ceramic tiles?
A: Armour Etch will take the glaze off of a ceramic item or ceramic tile.

Q: Why did Armour Etch not work well on a solid etched area?
A: We consider anything larger than 1"x1" too large for solid etching. Armour Etch is NOT made to etch solid large areas of glass. It is stated in all of our instructions and books. It is impossible to evenly coat a piece of glass all at the same time. Therefore, wherever you apply the Armour Etch to first will start to etch immediately upon contact. The brush will leave brush strokes and the trail of where you etch first, then second, etc, will show up in the end results. Also, when glass is manufactured sometimes stains occur due to the type of process used to make the glass. We do not see these stains because we are looking through them. When you etch the glass, these stains become visible as Armour Etch is only creating a surface etch, which is not deep enough to go past this stain. In some cases, certain window cleaner can create a stain on the glass. Especially the cleaners that advertise a reduction in fingerprints. These cleaners are actually putting a coating onto the glass, thus eliminating fingerprints. If you take a piece of scrap glass and place you finger onto this glass firmly you will leave a fingerprint. Paint the Armour Etch over your fingerprint, wash off the etch, dry completely.... and you will see that the finished end results will be blotchy where you placed your fingerprint. Therefore, it is extremely important that the glass you are etching is completely clean and free of lint, dirt, fingerprints, window cleaner residue, etc. The only way to etch glass SOLID and have professional looking results, is to Sand Blast the glass or mirror.

Q: Why are there fibers/crystals in my Armour Etch Cream?
A: It is the nature of Armour Etch Cream to contain particles (crystals). The particles are necessary and add proper potency for Armour Etch to work properly. Occasionally hot spots (darker etched areas) develop when these crystals are allowed to remain in contact with the glass. It is recommended that you continuously brush Armour Etch around while waiting. Use your brush to move these particles to an area of the stencil where there is no design. If Armour Etch contains too many crystals or fibers, place the entire CLOSED bottle into a warm to hot bath of water a few hours before using. Remove jar occasionally and shake well to re-blend the etching cream.

Q: What is the difference between Armour Etch & Etch Bath?
A: Armour Etch cream is made to be brushed onto a stencil covered glass or mirror item. Important: Armour Etch is NOT intended to etch a solid panel and should NOT be used for this purpose. You will see blotches (which are usually manufacturing defects or stains) and brush strokes. Etch Bath is made to dunk or submerge a glass item into it to frost. In order to be able to drink out of these glasses, you will have to protect the inside of the glass from getting etched. I would also leave a small amount of the rim of the glass clear or un-etched. If you decide to submerge the glass into Etch Bath, you will have to fill the glass will something like sand to make the glass want to go down into the Etch Bath liquid. Definitely wear plastic gloves, as you will have to hold the glass in the bath for 15 to 20 minutes. All in all, this is going to be a labor of love, as this is not going to be a fast project.

Q: Can I use your stencils with Etch Bath?
A: We have a small collection of Peel'N'Etch stencils that can be used to do reverse etching with Etch Bath. Part #19-2701, #19-2702,, #19-2703, #19-2704, #19-2705 Another alternative is to use stickers purchased from a store.

Q: Can I use your stencils on paper?
A: Only the Sand Etch Mylar stencils can be used successfully on paper with paints. The Over'N'Over stencils will have moderate success, but might stop working well if they retain residue from the paper.

Q: How can I make the finished etched design appear darker or add color?
A: Due to the nature of the Armour Etch chemical the final etched results will always be a surface etch. When you are etching clear glass, you will be able to see the light through the etched design which gives the final results a translucent appearance. Mirror on the other hand appears to be darker simply because the light is not going through the mirror and the image is reflected back off the silvered layer. A metallic wax can be rubbed into the etched design that will enhance the finished etched project. It is best to use this special effect for display pieces that will not require repeated cleaning. Washing, especially in the dishwasher, will remove the brilliance of the wax, and eventually, the entire layer. Rub'N'Buff Metallic Wax (part #61-3329) or Pinata paints (part# 61-4500) can applied to the etched area. Another brand name of metallic wax is? Treasure Gold

Q: I want to etch my glass shower door or entrance door for privacy. How can I achieve this?
A: Armour Etch is NOT made to etch solid large areas of glass. It is stated in all of our instructions and books. It is impossible to evenly coat a piece of glass all at the same time. Therefore, wherever you apply the Armour Etch to first will start to etch immediately upon contact. The brush will leave brush strokes and the trail of where you etch first, then second, etc, will show up in the end results. Also, when glass is manufactured sometimes stains occur due to the type of process used to make the glass. We do not see these stains because we are looking through them. When you etch the glass, these stains become visible as Armour Etch is only creating a surface etch, which is not deep enough to go past this stain. The only way to professional etch your glass for privacy that will give you complete coverage is to Sand Blast the glass. Since this is quite messy and costly, we have a few other alternatives for you to consider that do not involve etching or sand blasting.
Part #31-0570 Privacy Film (professional end results)
Part #31-0571 application kit for privacy film above
Part #61-2726 Frosted paint?. Not my first choice for a bathroom

Q: How can I Armour Etch a design on a glass door or panel that is already installed?
A: Armour Etch is NOT intended to etch a solid panel and should NOT be used for this purpose. To etch a solid panel you need to sandblast the glass. You will see blotches (which are usually manufacturing defects or stains) and brush strokes. If you are going to etch a design into the glass on the inside panel of a door glass, just take extra care to cover the furniture or surrounding items inside your house with plastic drop clothes. (Cut open plastic garbage bags to create drop clothes). Decorate the glass using already prepared Glass Etching stencils or create you own custom design. Be careful to keep any open areas of the design under one inch by one inch. Follow the directions on applying Armour Etch Cream. You will need a plastic bucket with water, plastic gloves and sponge. Wash off the Armour Etch Cream with a sponge. Clean the sponge frequently with the water in the bucket. For large projects, you might need to replace the bucket water with clean water. Dry off with paper towels and remove the stencil. Baking soda can be added to your waste water to neutralize the water. ph strips you can purchase at a pool supply or drugstore. The ph strip will indicate when the water is neutralized. Once neutralized, the water can be flushed down the toilet. Stainless sinks are the only ones that are impervious to the Armour Etchant. Ceramic sinks will start to dull if repeatedly subjected to the etchant. If you drop a large amount of etchant onto a ceramic sink, the clear protective layer of the sink will be removed. So avoid using sinks that are NOT stainless or plastic utility sinks.

Q: Why did my stencil not stick well to the glass?
A: One thing that we have found to help adhere the stencils to the glass is to be sure that both the glass and the stencils are warm. You can easily warm the glass and stencil with a hair dryer. Tape the stencil to the glass or mirror. Take your hair dryer and warm both, on a low setting, for a few minutes. Then rub the stencil with the stick provided. Also, please avoid using glass cleaners that advertise finger print resistant. These cleaners leave a residue on the glass that make it difficult for the stencil to adhere to the glass surface. A commercial quality glass cleaner works best when cleaning glass in preparation for etching. part #15-0315 Super Glass Cleaner

Q: Will Armour Etch or Etch Bath affect my septic system?
A: Accumulate the waste water in a plastic pail or tub. Baking soda can be added to your waste water to neutralize the water. ph strips you can purchase at a pool supply or drugstore. The ph strip will indicate when the water is neutralized. Once neutralized, the water can be flushed down the toilet and not affect your septic system. Stainless sinks are the only ones that are impervious to the Armour Etchant. Ceramic sinks will start to dull if repeatedly subjected to the etchant. If you drop a large amount of etchant onto a ceramic sink, the clear protective layer of the sink will be removed. So avoid using sinks that are NOT stainless or plastic utility sinks.

Q: Do I have to protect my sensitive skin when using Armour Etch or Etch Bath?
A: I highly recommend that you use a pair of plastic gloves to cover your hands during the very short time you are applying and rinsing off the etchants. You can use any plastic glove like the ones used to wash dishes. See part #08-9999, or #85-2400 Disposable gloves

Q: Why isn't my Bottle Cutter tool cutting the glass?

A: The round cutting blade must be turning freely. Sometimes the people who assemble the units tighten the area that holds the cutting wheel too tightly. Please follow the directions for replacing the cutting wheels to adjust the wheels so they are freely turning.

There are two wheels in every unit. One is visible and the second one is inside the blade housing. Instruction link is below for changing out the cutting wheels.

A tiny drop of oil needs to be placed on the cutting wheel for lubrication. Be careful no to over oil, this can cause the wheel to be slippery and not score.

The cut line should be made only ONE time. This scoring does not cut the glass, but only scores it. The tapping from the inside of the bottle creates the "cut". So going over and over the scored line only wears out the cutting head and will not cut the glass no matter how many rotations are made.

The bottle cutter unit needs to be put on the edge of the table so that the front leg of the unit hangs over the table. Put your hip into the bottle cutter unit, while turning the bottle or jar with consistent pressure to create one even score line.

Glass is unpredictable and sometimes you will get a perfect cut and sometimes you will not. Since the glass was rescued from the recycle bin, the only thing lost will be some of your time. I recommend patience and perseverance. Once you build up a technique, your success rate will increase.

Q: How do I cut out my design from the blank Over N Over stencil material?

A: Please be advised that the artwork for this type of stencil is crucial. ALL THE FLOATING PIECES NEED TO BE CONNECTED IN THE ARTWORK.

You can cut out your design from the Blank Over N Over material by putting the blank onto the glass or mirror. Be careful to apply just enough pressure on the knife to cut the stencil. Refer to the custom cut procedure at http://www.etchworld.com/cms-display/custom-manual.html

You can also use large craft punches of a fairly simple design (like a heart or flower). Remove the blank stencil material off the backing sheet, punch and then cut design off the rest of the sheet leaving at least 1/2" border of solid material around the design. Store on the backing sheet.

Q: I just read a blog of people claiming to have used your Armour Etch material to eliminate scratches in plastic eye-wear lens. Have you ever heard of doing this and if so what kind of results are people having?

A: Unfortunately it is not possible to control BLOGS from being posted by people who think they know everything, but in reality are totally "mis informed".

Plastic glasses are coated with a protective layer to STOP scratches to the plastic surface of the lenses. When you apply Armour Etch to the glasses, yes it removes the protective layer, which gives you the ILLUSION of removing the scratches from your glasses.

BUT, without the protective covering you are going to experience major scratches to the reading lenses.

There is a product called "Liquid Lense" (google it) that fills in the scratches of the protective coating on your lenses.