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Dual-Sided ‘Dad & Grandpa Established’ Etched Glass

Who doesn’t like personalized stuff??  I mean, seriously.  It’s the best thing since sliced bread.  I especially love giving personalized gifts because it shows you took the time to really think about the recipient….that extra thought means so much.  And super bonus points if you make the personalized gift yourself!  Hooray for all the DIYers out there!

That’s just what I did for my dad this past Christmas when I made him this dual-sided Dad & Grandpa Established etched glass.  It lists my and my two brothers’ birthdays on one side (you know, the dates he became a Dad), and my son and niece’s birthdays on the other (both times he became a Grandpa).

This was also the perfect reason for me to give glass etching a try, something I’ve been dying to do ever since I got my Silhouette Cameo last spring.  Plus, it would be a very easy (and inexpensive) DIY project….I just love those!

 Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass

My Inspiration

I knew I wanted to etch my dad a glass for Christmas but I was having a difficult time decided on just what to etch.  Something with the Cincinnati Bengals or Reds, perhaps?  Maybe a UK or Notre Dame one instead?  Nahhh, I wanted something more personalized.  So I did what I usually do when I need some inspiration: check out Pinterest first, then hop on over to Etsy.

My search proved fruitful and I found the perfect idea from this Etsy listing.  I loved how it listed all the birthdates of the father’s children and would be a sweet gift for any dad.  I decided to spice my version up a bit more, though, and also added a Grandpa Established to the other side since my dad now has two grandkids….I can’t believe how old we’re all getting!

I could have paid the $32 (including shipping) for my inspiration glass and just got one side etched….instead, I’d rather DIY it and made my own dual-sided one on the cheap!



  • Etching cream
  • Pint glass
  • Rubbing alcohol & paper towel
  • Applicator (I used a plastic knife)
  • Gloves
  • Stencils
  • Timer

I snagged a bottle of Armour Etch etching cream from Amazon, and also picked up a pint glass at the Dollar Tree.  The stencils were designed in Silhouette Studio and then cut out in some Oracal 651 vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo.

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been

***Safety Alert!:  Make sure you read over all the safety precautions that are listed on the bottle of etching cream before starting your project.  This stuff is no joke, so please wear your safety gear, including gloves, glasses, and long sleeves, and also keep kiddos and pets away.


Cleaned The Glass

The first thing I did was put on my (super stylish black) gloves and give the entire outside surface of the glass a good cleaning with some rubbing alcohol.  This was just to remove any dirt or finger prints and allow for 1) the vinyl to get a nice, solid adhesion, and 2) the etching cream to fully activate on all exposed areas of glass.

Note: I’ve read online that popular glass cleaners like Windex actually leave a slight film on the glass once dried (who knew!), so that’s why I used rubbing alcohol.

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


Applied The Stencils

Next, I added some transfer paper to my vinyl stencils and then applied one (the Dad version) to the glass using the hinge method (you can read more about the hinge method of applying vinyl here or here).  Make sure you work from the inside out to avoid air bubbles and wrinkles….those are the pits!

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


I then measured and aligned the second (Grandpa) stencil to the other side of the glass, making sure it was centered opposite the Dad side….this took some time thanks to my perfectionistic tendencies.

What if it was even *slightly* off-centered??…the HORROR!  I wouldn’t be able to live with myself!  Yes, I need to take a chill pill. ;)

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


Applied the Etching Cream

Next, it was time to apply the etching cream.  Like I said, this was my first time doing etching of any kind, so I gave the bottle a good shaking then twisted off the cap….and powder went EVERYWHERE!  Literally.  Dried etching cream powder POOFED all over the place.  It’s a good thing I was wearing my gloves, glasses, and long sleeves (once again, always follow proper safety precautions, folks).

After an impromptu powder cleaning session, I then grabbed my applicator: a plain ol’ plastic knife that was leftover from my son’s first birthday party (which is why it’s cool and green).  Some people use popsicle sticks or small brushes, but this is what I chose to use and it worked great.

After giving the contents a stir, I was a little surprised at the consistency of the etching cream.  It’s rather thin and runny and has small crystals in it, which are apparently necessary for all the fancy smancy chemistry going on.  It reminded me of ranch dressing with chunks of coarse salt (mmmm, appetizing!).

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


Before applying the etching cream, I first covered the entire exterior surface of the glass outside of the stencils with painter’s tape.  I didn’t want to chance any etching cream being accidentally dropped or smeared someplace it wasn’t meant to go….I am quite clumsy after all.

Looking back now, though, my glass’s full bio-hazard suit was a little over-kill and I probably won’t do it again on future etching projects….so you don’t need to be as panicky as me. ;)

I then started scooping out some etching cream and placing it on the stencils.  I covered one stencil completely then did the same to the second one.  Once both were covered, I went back and kept smearing the cream/crystals around and around with my knife….I wanted to make sure the final etching was smooth and even, and I figured this wouldn’t hurt.  I’m not sure if this is necessary, but it gave me some piece of mind….and also made the five minutes fly by!

Speaking of the five minutes…. The bottle has absolutely zero directions for how to use the etching cream.  NOTHING.  Just the usual safety precaution stuff, but nothing regarding how to apply, for how long, how to clean, etc.

So I asked the Oracle (a.k.a. Google).  According to Armour Etch’s website, you’re *supposed* to leave the cream on for “one minute only.  NO LONGER!”  {Shouty capitals!}  All the other sources I reviewed, however, said anywhere from 2-5 minutes, and since every recipe I cook always takes longer than the stated time, I decided to use the same philosophy here, so I left the cream on for five minutes.

So ye see Missy, it's more what you'd call a "guideline" than an actual rule.


Once the timer on my iPhone alerted me when the five minutes had passed, I scraped off the excess etching cream from both sides and returned it to the bottle….horray for reusable craft supplies!

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


Washed the Etching Cream Off

I then raced over to the kitchen sink, turned on the warm water, and started rinsing off the rest of the cream.  Sorry, no pics of this step….my Assistant Photographer (a.k.a Husband) was too slow and “couldn’t step away from the game!”  Whatev.  Thanks, bud.

As the water was running over the glass, I started to get disheartened….it looked like nothing had happened.  Like any etching that had occurred had just been washed right off.  What the WHAT?!?

However, after I dried the glass off with a paper towel, I could see that etching had in fact taken place and was still in tact….BAM!  It actually worked!

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


Removed the Vinyl Stencils

I then removed my gloves and started peeling up the vinyl stencils….and I could really admire the wonderful etchiness now!  The vinyl created perfect stencils and there was zero bleeding underneath…just crisp, clean lines.  Successful first glass etching project for the win!

After both stencils were removed, I cleaned the glass once again.

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


The Final Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass!

And here it is!  A custom dual-sided Dad & Grandpa Established etched glass for my daddio.  Now he can drink his beverage (usually an ice cold RC Cola….he likes his Becks Dark beer from a bottle) and think of his three kids and two grand babies with every sip.  Plus, now he has no excuse to ever forget one of our birthdays!!  HA!

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


Since this was a gift for my dad, I had to hurry up and take my blog photos before we packed and wrapped it up for Christmas.  Therefore, my slow-poke Assistant Photographer/husband served as a hand model for some of these shots.  He really just wanted to drink the Sam Adams….

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


….after a couple shots, he said “This hand modeling stuff sure is taxing….I think I need some hydration.”  Then he promptly took a huge swig of beer before returning to his modeling gig, which then caused me to huff at him and grumbly say “Way to go…now you can’t see Rowan’s birthday!” because he drank too much.  *sigh* Men….

Dual-Sided Dad & Grandpa Established Etched Glass | Where The Smiles Have Been


This gift idea could easily be adapted for any and all types of family members, not just Dads and Grandpas: Mom/Grandma, Aunt or Uncle, Big Brother or Sister, Cousin, God Parent, etc.  It would even be nice for occupations, too.

So have you made any super cool things with etching cream??  I think I’m hooked now and am already mentally creating a list of things to create!


More Father’s Day Fun!

Check out my Project Gallery for all of my other creations and freebies, including these!

This is the sweetest gift for Father's Day! All About My Daddy Interview with FREE Printable! | Where The Smiles Have Been


DIY Kentucky Bourbon Etched Glass Set | Where The Smiles Have Been


Colorful Grandkids Make Life Grand Wood Sign Photo Display | Where The Smiles Have Been


Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.


Saturday 25th of December 2021

you did a great job on these glasses!!!! what is the brand name of the vinyl you used? was the vinyl a heavy duty type of material?



Sunday 26th of December 2021

Thanks, Jack! This project and post was done ages ago so I can't remember exactly, but I'm pretty sure it was Oracle brand, either 631 or 651. Hope this helps!

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Wednesday 24th of May 2017

I bookmarked this because I'm in love with them and then I read how you made the stencils. I don't have to resources to make them. I just wish there was another way.

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Tuesday 23rd of May 2017

[…] Photo Credit: Where the Smiles Have Been, Dual-Sided ‘Dad & Grandpa Established’ Etched Glass […]