Thursday, 16 June 2016

Etching a Kilner jar for Coffee

Etched coffee jar using a Silhouette Cameo

Hi folks. It is Hilary again, and today I am going to show you how I personalised a Kilner jar for my coffee by using etching paste. Using etching paste is really simple, and yet the outcome you get looks professional, and your friends that receive an etched gift from you will be super impressed! I once hosted a birthday party for my closest girlfriends, and I etched a glass with each of their names which they got to take home at the end of the night. Etching on a curved surface makes the process a little more complicated, so for this tutorial I chose a flat sided Kilner jar That also meant I could have fun with all four sides. Oh - and before you ask, the butterfly was Photoshopped in place. I couldn't resist it :)

Etching paste, such as Armour Etch, which is easily available on line.
Spare vinyl or Silhouette special stencil vinyl
Transfer tape
Scraper or lolly pop stick
Small paint brush
Newspapers, plastic gloves, wet cloth and drying cloth
A glass Kilner jar or something similar
Files by Nic Squirrell - Moonlight Hare gift bag #72615 and Leaping Woodland Hare card #68621
A font such as SNF Party Script #114250

1. Side one (the writing).
Choose a font to stencil. I used SNF Party Script, because the words I wanted to use, "Hilary's Decaff" had very few islands to sort. By "islands" I mean the bits that would fall out of a cut stencil See the image below. I needed to attach the centres of the little "s", the two "f"s and improve the connection to the centre of the capital "D".
1. The writing
Type the words. Select them and Ungroup. Merge the letters that overlap. You may need to move individual letters a little bit to get them to overlap, or you may need to make small joining pieces such as tiny rectangles. I selected the small letter "s", and using the smallest rubber, and selecting "solid" I rubbed out a piece to connect the middle area. I did the same thing for the other letters mentioned above. You may get a jagged edge, so select that letter, select Edit points, zoom in and delete or drag points to improve the outline. See the image below. The "f" on the left has already been tidied up. Now you are ready to cut these as a stencil from vinyl. I used ordinary vinyl left over from other projects, but you can buy special stencil vinyl from Silhouette if you intend to make many stencils.
2. Preparing a font for stencilling

Pop your vinyl on the mat and load into your machine. Pick the Vinyl cut settings and adjust your blade in the Silhouette to 1. Cut out the words and weed the bits not wanted, using the hook and tweezers. You should now have your vinyl stencil ready as in the first image below.
3. Preparing and using a vinyl stencil
Apply transfer tape as shown in the second photo, and carefully remove the white, shiny vinyl backing paper to expose the sticky surface. Your stencil should now be attached to the transfer tape and looking back to front as in the third, top image. Clean the glass surface with alcohol to remove any grease from fingerprints and the like. Give it a polish with a soft, lint free cloth and do not touch the surface you want to etch with your fingers.

Apply the vinyl to your glass surface (image 4). Smooth out the vinyl and get rid of any lumps and bumps. Pay particular attention to fine detailed areas, using a nail to make the vinyl adhere well to the glass, and stop etching paste from going under the stencil. You want crisp outer lines.

Prepare your working area, protecting any surfaces (including your skin) from etching paste. Wear some plastic gloves. If you get any etching paste on your kitchen surfaces, or table, the etching paste will mark it. Wipe and wash away any paste that is not where you want it to be, immediately you notice it. Apply paste according to instructions, on top of the cut out areas. Do not get etching paste onto areas where it is not wanted! Leave a minute or more. Remove excess paste with a spatula or wooden lolly stick. Return to the pot for use later. Pick off vinyl and wash and dry jar. When the glass is wet it will look like nothing has happened, but as you dry the glass your work of art will appear like magic! I work on one side at a time.

2. Side two.
Using the Gift bag file, Un-group and delete unnecessary pieces of the bag. Adjust the size of the hare and flowers to fit the side of the jar. Etch using the method outlined above.

3. Side three.
Adjust the size of the hare. Using one of the stemmed flowers, copy it twice and adjust the height so the hare will look as if he is jumping over them. Etch using the method outlined above.

4. Side four.
Select the least detailed flowers from the Woodland card file and delete the others.

Copy them several times and keep to one side. Make a circle around the hare as a guide. Arrange the flowers around that guide line, and when you are happy, move the circle to one side. Group the hare and moon, and keeping them to one side, group the circle of flowers. Centre all the pieces and make the circle bigger so it will be the cut line around the picture. Cut it from vinyl. See the multiple images in #3 photograph above.

Etch using the method outlined above.

I now have this jar at my window, and I can't tell you how much pleasure I get from it first thing every morning. I hope you will have a go at etching on glass. If you take simple precautions, there is nothing to be scared of!



  1. Lovely jar and a very useful tutorial.

  2. Love it Hilary - I was googling etching paste last night and wondering how to use it, now I know.