How to Do Etching on Plastic Champagne Flutes

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In addition to champagne flutes, water glasses can be etched.
In addition to champagne flutes, water glasses can be etched. (Image: Markus Hofmann/Hemera/Getty Images)

Take party planning creativity beyond the usual centerpieces, right to the stemware. Plastic champagne flutes are inexpensive and simple to decorate using etching cream. The etching cream creates a frosted look where it is applied to the champagne flute. You simply mark out the pattern with stencils or stickers, apply the cream, and wipe it clean.

Things You'll Need

  • Contact paper
  • Etching cream
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife
  • Orange stick or skewer
  • Wide paintbrush or sponge brush
  • Optional
  • Painter’s tape
  • Stickers

Simple and Spectacular

Clean the champagne flute completely. Any oils or dust on the glasses will prevent the etching cream from working, leaving blotches.

Trace the design onto the contact paper. Cut carefully with the craft knife. Clean lines are important to a crisp etched image. Save pieces that belong to the interior of the design, such as the center of a flower or the inside of a letter.

Peel the backing off the contact paper and apply to the champagne flute. Be sure there are no bubbles or air pockets. Make sure all areas not to be etched are covered completely. Smooth the edges and corners of the contact paper down with the orange stick.

Put on the rubber gloves. Etching cream has an acid base that can burn skin. Apply the etching cream with the paintbrush. Use a thick layer of etching cream. Leave the cream on for 5 to 30 minutes, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Rinse the cream off the champagne flute.

Completely remove the contact paper stencil.

Wash the etched champagne flute with soap and water.

Tips & Warnings

  • Etching cream can be bought at craft and hobby stores.
  • Completely cover any area of the champagne flute not being etched. Cream can rub off on the surface from gloves while applying the cream. It can also leave marks when rinsing the cream off the flute.
  • Practicing on a spare plastic flute can aid in adjusting wait time for the desired results.
  • For an etched background applying stickers as a stencil works well.
  • Painter’s tape can be used to create geometric patterns such as squares, rectangles, or triangles.
  • The frosted look of etching is created when an acid dissolves a part of the surface of the champagne flute. That acid can damage skin, clothing and work surfaces so take precautions. Wear gloves while using the cream. Cover the work surface with oilcloth or several layers of newspaper and wear old clothing. Always work in a well-ventilated area.

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