DIY: Etched Milk Jar Vase

I’ve kept a number of glass milk jars we’ve gotten over the years from the grocery store. I love the look of them, and think they make cute vases around the house in the summer. But I wanted to fancy one up a bit for spring, so I tried etching for the first time, and love the results!

My first step was to decide I wanted to paint the jar. I went & had some paint mixed, grabbed my foam brushes, paint tape and some brown paper to work on. I painted 3 coats on over the course of a day, only to realize that afternoon that regular ol’ paint actually does not stick to glass. I learned this because I took the tape off my stripes, and the paint came right off with the tape.

But this is why sometimes a failed craft turns into a better craft! Determined to do something with this jar & not to spend another penny doing it, I remembered that I’d had a bottle of etching cream in my craft room for years, unopened. Then I thought, “Polka dots!”, and got to work all over again.

I grabbed a new piece of paper to work on and a clean foam brush. I found my etching cream buried in the abyss of the “someday I’ll surely use these craft supplies, ha ha not likely Beth, but go right ahead and stash away!” bin. Then I grabbed a sheet of circle stickers I had.

I wrapped a line around the jar with my painter’s tape, and put my stickers on randomly to make polka dots.

Then I brushed on my etching cream. Let me tell you, this etching cream did not follow it’s own directions. The bottle said to leave on for 5 minutes, but I left this on for over an hour in order to get the results I was looking for. Also, I learned a helpful tip online – DO NOT rinse off the cream when you are done. Turns out that etching cream doesn’t go bad, so scrape off what you can when you are done and put it right back in that jar. Six years later when you have another etching project to do, you can pull that cream right back out of your craft stash and feel ok about hoarding it all over again!

It may not have turned out how I originally envisioned, but I like it even more than the original design anyway. Isn’t it great when your ruined plans turn into even better ones? I think this idea would look great on vintage glass too, and you could do lots of different & easy designs with painters tape and different shaped stickers.

Since this was only my first time using etching cream, if you have any tips for me or anyone else reading this, please share in the comments!