How to Use Armour Etch

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Armour Etch is a caustic cream that is great for creating stenciled designs in glass surfaces and mirrors. When applied over a special etching stencil, Armour Etch will quickly etch the surface of the glass, revealing a beautiful design in only a minute. Etchings are great for decoration, ornamentation, and as one-of-a-kind gifts. The process requires a few special supplies that can be obtained at most craft stores, and due to the toxic nature of the chemicals, should always be used in a properly ventilated room with the proper safety gear.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass cleaner
  • Scissors
  • Glass etching stencil
  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Masking tape
  • Wooden rubbing stick
  • Armour Etch
  • Gloves
  • Protective eyewear

Clean the surface of the glass or mirror to be etched thoroughly with window cleaner to remove any fingerprints, dust, dirt, and other contaminants. Be careful not to touch the area to be etched, and dry the surface completely.

Choose the design you wish to etch, and cut its stencil from the stencil sheet. Stencil paper designed for etching has a frosted backing sheet covering the tacky surface of the main stencil, so be sure this piece is in tact when cutting out your stencil to avoid touching the back of the stencil.

Measure out the location of the etching, peel the backing from the stencil, and place it with its sticky side against the surface to be etched. Use masking tape at each of the four corners to keep it from moving.

Use a wooden rubbing stick to transfer the design from the stencil with even, deliberate strokes. Do not rub too aggressively, as this may rip the stencil or misalign it. As the stencil transfers to the glass, the color will change from dark to light blue.

Remove the masking tape and peel off the clear stencil carrier sheet, leaving the stencil transfer applied to the glass.

Apply a border of overlapping masking tape around the entire perimeter of the stencil. Be careful not to overlap the design. Rub over the design with the frosted sheet that was peeled from the back of the stencil. Inspect the design transfer for any holes and cover them carefully with tape.

Shake the Armour Etch thoroughly and apply a thick and even coat over the stencil while wearing protective gloves and eyewear. The coat should be thick enough to completely conceal the stencil design. Stay within the tape borders while applying the cream.

After one minute, run lukewarm water over the design to wash off all of the etching cream. Remove any bits of tape and stencil that did not wash off with the Armour Etch cream.

Clean the surface of the glass and etching and dry completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • For best results, the temperature of the Armour Etch, the etching surface, and room should be around 70 degrees F.
  • Armour Etch is a highly caustic substance that will cause burns and irritation if it comes in direct contact with skin, eyes, or is ingested. Flush off any cream that comes into contact with bare skin immediately and consult a doctor if irritation persists.

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