I’m not gonna to lie to you, Halloween is not my favorite holiday–probably because there isn’t a traditional meal associated with it, and I am a fan of the traditional meal! But I know a lot of people get really into decorating, maybe creepily so? The other day I saw a house that had not one but TWO real coffins in their yard, and that is just three coffins too many. We should all have fewer than zero coffins in our yards! I do love having trick-or-treaters come to my door, so at least a little bit of decoration is required … and what’s better than some luminaries to help the little kiddos get safely to their mini-Snickers? I bought some glass-etching cream a long time ago, so I decided to try it out by etching large letters onto jars purchased at my local dollar store. But if you don’t want to take the time to etch the glass, don’t worry–you could also decorate jars with bats, ghosts or other scaries you’ve cut out of black contact paper!
What you need:
image or letter to stencil
Before you begin: Etching cream requires a lot of caution — wear gloves and long sleeves, and be careful not to get any of it on your skin. Do NOT rinse the cream into a porcelain sink, because that will damage it. Read all of the instructions before doing anything! If you want to etch letters, just print some off of your computer –for anything else you can print out clip art or draw it free hand.
1. First, clean the surface of your jar and make sure there’s no gunk or dust on it. Cut a piece of contact paper about the height of your glass container/jar and peel off the paper backing. Carefully press it onto the jar, making sure to push out any air bubbles.
2. Tape your image or letter over the contact paper, making sure it’s centered.
3. Using an xacto knife, trace around the image. If the letter has any center pieces, do those first.
4. Take off the paper template and look at what you’ve cut–if any parts look like they haven’t been cut through, take care of that now. Next, pry away the contact paper you just cut out, using the edge of the exacto knife and peeling away very slowly, making sure not to peel up anything that should stay down.
5. Repeat with remaining jars. Once everything has been cut out, make sure to wipe off any fingerprints or sticky bits – those will interfere with the etching cream. Press down around the edges of everything to make sure the contact paper has a good seal to prevent bleed through.
6. Put on your gloves and get out the paintbrush — you want to brush on a nice thick coat of etching cream inside of your cutout area, making sure to cover everything evenly. Follow the instructions for the cream your using regarding how long to leave it on.
7. Rinse very thoroughly. Again, be sure not to get any of this stuff on you as you wash off. Rinse, then remove the contact paper and rinse some more. If anything remains, use a wet paper towel to scrub it off. Then rinse it off again! It’s some kind of crazy chemical that can transform glass, so you can’t be TOO cautious!
8. You have a lot of options now … I found jars of sparkly black rocks at the dollar store, and you could use those with either fake or real tealights. Or, for something different, fill the jars with water and use submersible LED lights inside … add some drops of green or purple food coloring for an even spookier effect!