Sometimes you want more intensity from an etched design than just the frosted look. The question of coloring etched designs comes up quite frequently from our crafters. Filling in the etching with colored medium is a great way to enhance the visual dynamic of a piece, however, not all products will work.
Can you add colorants to the etching cream? No. We realize the idea of etching and coloring all in one step has great appeal but it does not work. Anything you might add to the cream as a pigment can cause chemical interference with the etching properties of our product. Further, etching cream is corrosive. Once applied, it actively breaks down the surface of the glass from the moment it makes contact until it is washed off. Any colored stain or residue being left behind in the etching would not be possible.
Is there anything that will permanently fill in the etching with color? No. Not without the use of coatings or sealants. All the methods of adding color to etching, including what we list here, will wash and fade out over time. How much and how fast will depend on handling and use. To keep colored fill in place for an extended period of time it must be covered in a clear coat such as polyacrylic. That said, when the coloring does fade or come out entirely, the coloring medium can simply be reapplied.
Please keep in mind, adding colorants, fillers, and coatings to any etched surface that makes direct contact with food or drinks is never recommended. Also, never use colorants and/or sealants on items that will be heated.
Saturation of color varies with each coloring medium. Some products require a certain amount be applied to achieve the full richness of color and tone. Etched designs are not very deep and cannot hold a large amount of product. This can cause some colors to appear faded, translucent or pastel instead of deep and vibrant. Testing on a sample piece of etching before using on a final project is strongly suggested.
Art Waxes are available in a wide variety of colors, including metallic. A small dot on a clean surface can go a long way so don't be discouraged by the small size tubes they usually come in. With a low lint paper towel, rub the wax into the etching. Wait a few minutes before wiping away the excess. Some waxes take longer than others to set inside the etching so you may need to leave it a little longer before wiping while others stick to the smooth glass rapidly and require quick and firm rubbing off from the surrounding glass. Each project is different so test a small area or a sample piece of etching first.
Colored Pencils. Good quality colored pencils are a great option, particularly for those with limited artistic ability. They come in a wide range of colors, including metallic, are generally non-toxic, less messy, easy to use, and fairly easy to find. For a chalky look, turn the pencil sideways and gently shade in the etching. For darker or deeper color saturation, apply slightly more pressure and keep shading until the desired look is achieved.
Inks add color while working with the nature of glass in light. Inks are very watery and a little goes a long way. Ink colorants are applied to etching with a fine tipped brush. Because inks can be difficult to remove from the surrounding glass, a steady hand for good results is necessary. The color effect of inks range from translucent to more opaque depending on the amount of product use in the etching. Ink lightly brushed into the etching will tint and allow light through for a look similar to stained glass. Heavier concentrations will decrease the translucency and make the color closer to opaque but not completely.Acrylic and Enamel Paints offer another way to color in etched designs. Both are applied into the etching with a brush and, similar to ink, they can be difficult to remove from the surrounding glass requiring a steady hand for application. Paints can be used to make designs on glass by themselves and do not need an etched surface to do so, however, paint is not as easily scratched or peeled off from inside etching as opposed to a smooth glass surface.
Article Posted: 05/11/2018 11:59:06 AM