Three round etched glass ornaments with festive designs

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Learn how to create festive etched glass ornaments with pretty metallic coloring to hang on your tree or give as gifts!

Glass ornaments are a special and unique way to commemorate the holidays. Store-bought ornaments are nice, but there’s nothing quite like a homemade ornament, especially one that you made yourself! But how about an etched glass ornament? You’ve all told me how much you love etching glass and I totally get it — it’s like magic! For these ornaments, I wanted to combine some popular themes and new etching techniques I’ve tried. Ornament crafts are super popular during the winter holidays so I thought this etched glass ornaments project would come in really handy to help you prepare.

Watch the full step-by-step video showing you exactly how to create personalized etched glass ornaments with a VIP pass to Maker Academy Weekend 2022!

Get the free SVG cut file for this project

Another thing I love about etching projects is that once you’ve gathered the supplies for an etching project, you’ll be prepared for several more since the materials stretch so far. You make a great personalized project and have left over supplies to make many more. Sounds great to me!

Glass ornament etched with cardinal design hanging on pine tree

Glass etching is a fun and easy way to add a personal touch to your holiday decorations. All you need is some etching cream, a few stencils, and a little bit of time.

When it comes to etching ornaments, the key to make the etching successful is to get your stencil stuck really well to the surface, especially if its curved like these ornaments. Any wrinkles could let the etching cream seep, making your design hard to see. My tutorial shows you my best tips for perfect etching results. Seriously, you don’t want to miss it!

Glass ornament etched with a "do you believe in magic?" design

Look at how cute this ornament looks! I love a good pop of color to add that extra special touch. These etched glass Christmas ornaments would also make perfect personalized gifts for the holidays and they’re sure to be cherished by the receiver.

Etched glass ornament with red ribbon on top

Here’s a supply list of what you need to make custom etched glass ornaments! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.

Materials to Make Custom Etched Glass Ornaments

View my Amazon shopping list with the exact items we used to make this project

Free Etched Ornament Design JenniferMaker


How to Make Your Own Etched Glass Ornaments

Etched Glass Ornaments

Etched Glass Ornaments

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5-$10

Learn how to create festive etched glass ornaments with pretty metallic coloring to hang on your tree or give as gifts!




First, download my Etched Glass Ornaments SVG/DXF/PDF files from my free resource library. It's Design #412. There are several options, but I'll show you how to customize the snowflake design. Upload the SVG file to Cricut Design Space and add it to your Canvas.

TIP: If you are not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you are on an iPad or iPhone, here is how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.

This is what my Etched Glass Ornaments snowflakes SVG file looks like on my Canvas.

A screenshot of the Cricut Design Space canvas showing the etched glass ornament snowflake design at 6.178 inches wide by 3.603 inches tall


The snowflakes design is sized for either the 2.75" or 3.125" glass ball ornament from the materials list. It will make an etched design that is about 2" square on the front and several smaller 1" snowflakes on the back.

If you are etching the design on a larger ornament, enlarge it accordingly. I don't recommend putting these designs on smaller ornaments, as they have some small details that may get lost when etching. To enlarge the design, you can click and drag a corner of the bounding box, or type a new dimension into the width ("W") or height ("H") box at the top menu under Size.

NOTE: Remember to keep the Lock icon locked to maintain the design proportions! And if you make your design larger, use larger pieces of vinyl and transfer tape.

If you need help resizing a SVG in Cricut Design Space, you can check out my resizing guide where I explain exactly what you need to do to resize any design to fit your needs.

I'll show you some customization steps for this design, but the others are ready to cut.

You'll notice that the large snowflake has a blank space in the middle of the design. This is where we'll put our text! Start by clicking UnGroup at the top of the Layers panel. Next, click the Text icon on the left hand side of the screen. A box with "Text" highlighted in it will appear on the Canvas. Without clicking anything else, type in the text you want. I'll use "The Makers."

Click the box that says "Cricut Sans" under Font in the top menu to see your font options. I'm going to use the font Timberly, which you can download from Remember to click the System section to find fonts you've downloaded.

Zoom in so you can see the details.

Move your text into the blank area and resize it to fit. Make sure your words don't get too close to the other elements or the stencil may tear.

A screenshot of the etched glass ornaments snowflake design on the Cricut Design Space canvas. A textbox with The Makers in it is selected in the center of the design.

If you need a little more space, click the top snowflake piece and use your up arrow key to move it just a tiny bit. Once you're happy with the layout, hold Shift and click the snowflake pieces and name, then use the Align menu to select "Center Horizontally." Then, click "Weld" below the Layers Panel to bring them all on to the same layer.

A screenshot of the Cricut Design Space canvas showing the words The Makers added to the center of the etched glass ornaments snowflake design. The three layers for the snowflake top, snowflake bottom, and text are selected in the layers panel.

To make it easier to weed and apply to the curved surface of the ornament, I enclosed my design in a circle. Here's how!

Use the Shape icon to add a circle and resize it to 2.75". Then, use the Arrange menu to Send it to the Back. Hold Shift and select both the circle and the snowflake in the Layers Panel. Center Align the layers, then click "Slice" below the Layers Panel.

You'll see three layers named Slice Results appear in the Layers Panel. Click and delete the two layers without circles, leaving the circle with the snowflake shape cut out of it. Your Canvas should look similar to mine when you're done.

A screenshot of the Cricut Design Space canvas with the words The Makers added and positioned in the center of the large snowflake design. The large design is centered within a dark gray circle that is 2.75 inches wide and tall.

NOTE: My Cardinal stencil uses reverse etching, meaning that the birds will be clear and the rest of the ornament will be etched. If you want to change the design to a normal stencil, use this circle method to reverse it!

Select the correct machine in the top menu and click "Make It" to move to the Prepare screen. A pop-up window might appear asking how you want to load your materials. Select "On Mat" and click "Continue" unless you're using Smart Vinyl.

On the Prepare screen, make sure your design is laid out correctly on one mat. Do not Mirror your design, since we need it to face the right way on the ornament. Click "Continue" to move to the Make screen.

The Prepare screen in Cricut Design Space showing a large snowflake design and four smaller snowflakes, all centered within circles and evenly spaced from left to right on a black mat.

Under Set Base Material, I am choosing "Premium Vinyl - Permanent Glossy", which means permanent vinyl. Make sure your Cricut Fine-Point Blade is clean and in Clamp B as indicated on the screen. I always change my Pressure to "More" for a cleaner cut.

NOTE: If you're cutting this project on the Cricut Joy, I highly recommend using Smart Vinyl as opposed to Premium Vinyl for the best results.

Put your vinyl shiny side up on your machine mat, making sure it covers the correct design areas visible on your screen. Use a brayer to get the vinyl as smooth as possible on your mat.

Then, load the mat into your Cricut and press the flashing button to begin cutting. When the cut is complete, unload the mat. Flip it over on your workspace, and gently roll a corner back to release the vinyl.

TIP: If you have any trouble cutting the vinyl, check out my Cricut Tips & Tricks for Cleaner Cuts.


Stencils require the opposite weeding approach from traditional vinyl projects. Since we want the etching cream to create the design, we need the vinyl to protect the area between and around our snowflakes.

NOTE: Weed the Cardinal design as you normally would since we're using it to reverse etch that ornament.

Instead of removing the vinyl around the snowflakes and words, you’ll be removing the snowflakes and words themselves. Be sure to leave the centers of any letters and the center pieces of the small snowflakes in place. If they accidentally come off while weeding, just put them back in place carefully. Also remove the vinyl around the circles.

Five weeded snowflake stencils on black vinyl for the etched glass ornaments project

Then cut around each design with scissors so you have five separate pieces, or fewer if you don't use all the small snowflakes.

Next, prepare to move the vinyl stencils from their carrier sheets to the ornament using my Taco Method. Cut pieces of transfer tape slightly larger than your stencils. Remove the backing from the large piece of transfer tape. Apply it to your customized snowflake stencil by holding the transfer tape in the shape of a taco, or a "U" shape. Then put the bottom of your “taco” onto the middle of your design. Smooth the tape over the decal from the center outward to minimize wrinkles and bubbles. Repeat for the smaller snowflakes.

With the transfer tape in place, run a scraper tool or other hard and flat-edged item (like a store loyalty card) all over the project’s front and back with medium pressure.

Starting with the large stencil, flip your design over and remove the paper backing from the vinyl. If your stencil is still sticking to the backing paper, replace the transfer tape and burnish again.

Your first stencil is now ready to use! Prepare the smaller snowflakes the same way but leave the backing in place since we'll use them in the second round of etching.

Let's make our ornament easier to etch. Remove the metal hanging hardware and set it aside. Next, clean the ornament's outside with isopropyl alcohol and a lint-free cloth or a coffee filter to remove any dust or oils that will make the vinyl stick less. Place an extra roll of painter’s tape on its side to hold your ornament still. Avoid handling the glass with bare hands and let it dry in the tape holder.

A blank glass ornament placed inside a roll of pink painter's tape lying on its side on a work surface


Before you apply the vinyl to the ornament, cut small slits around the outside edge of the transfer tape. This allows the transfer tape and vinyl to bend around the ornament and curve to the surface, preventing bubbles and creasing. This is super important for an etching project because you don’t want any of the cream to get under the vinyl.

The etched glass ornaments snowflake stencil adhered to a piece of transfer tape. A pair of scissors is being used to cut slits around the edge of the transfer tape.

TIP: Wear gloves while applying the vinyl. This will prevent fingerprints from getting onto the clean glass and will protect your hands from the glass just in case it breaks.

Now bend your design up in a taco shape over the ornament and lay the middle down on your glass, gently smoothing it from the middle outward.

NOTE: Be very careful when pressing the vinyl onto your ornament. Glass ornaments are fragile and will break if too much pressure is applied. Press lightly and go slowly.

Don't worry if some wrinkles form at the outer edges of the stencil. They're hard to prevent on such a small curved surface! Just make sure you don't have any wrinkles or bubbles right next to your snowflake designs or words.

Glass ornament inside painter's tape roll with black vinyl stencil and transfer tape applied to the front

When smoothing your design, start with the center words, as that's the area with the most detail and requires the most precision. Once you get to the edges of your snowflake, you can lift up the vinyl and reapply it if it gets too wrinkly.

Once your stencil is smoothly adhered to the ornament remove the transfer tape. If some of the vinyl comes up with the transfer tape, just push it back down and try again.

Check your vinyl to be certain all areas around the design are adhered well to the glass. This step is important as it will stop your etching cream from bleeding into areas you don't want it to etch. Just go around all parts of the design with your fingers and gently push the vinyl down well, removing any bubbles or creases as best as you can.

The etched glass ornaments snowflake design stencil applied to the front of an ornament positioned inside a painter's tape roll

Before applying the etching cream, cover the rest of the ornament area around your stencil with painter's tape to avoid getting the etching cream where you don't want it. Add a piece over the top so none of the cream gets inside while you rinse it off.

The etched glass ornament snowflake design stencil applied to the front of an ornament with the remaining parts of the ornament covered in pink painter's tape

NOTE: If you're using the snowman design, it's separated into two pieces (one for the top and one for the bottom) for easier application. Make sure to overlap the vinyl in the center just a bit to prevent etching cream from getting on to the glass in that area. You can also apply a thin strip of vinyl or painter's tape to the glass in that area for extra protection.

A glass ornament placed in a painter's tape roll with two pieces of black vinyl applied to the surface. The vinyl pieces are overlapping in the center and have a snowman design cut out of them.

IMPORTANT: Read the etching cream's instructions and guidance on accidental exposure before proceeding. Etching cream is caustic and you don't want to inhale it or get it on your skin or in your eyes. Before opening the etching cream, be sure to put on a pair of safety goggles, rubber gloves, an apron, and a fitted respirator. If you do come in contact with the cream, follow the bottle's directions immediately.

An overhead photo showing a black vinyl apron, pink disposable gloves, a full face respirator, and a bottle of etching cream

Be sure you're in a well-ventilated area or outside with a flat surface on which to work. It's also a good idea to cover your work surface with butcher paper before you begin, as you don't want to get any etching cream on it. Shake your etching cream really well before you open it. And set your timer for three minutes!

Apply the cream to the glass with a regular paint brush (avoid foam brushes), using your brush to move the cream on top of your stencil. Brush on enough etching cream that you can no longer see the outline of your design underneath. Once it is on your design, brush the etching cream around for about three minutes. Move it up and down, side to side, and diagonally. Keep the cream moving around your design, getting it into every nook and cranny.

After the three minutes are up, apply more cream in areas where it looks thinned out and then let it sit for another 5-10 minutes. Letting the etching cream sit on the glass for longer gives a more uniform and deeper etch.

Etching cream applied to the front of a glass ornament with a snowflake stencil underneath and painter's tape covering the surface

NOTE: Since the Cardinal ornament is reverse etched, you won't have the taped areas to hold it while you apply the cream and let it sit. Instead, hold it by its neck and do your best to avoid touching the cream.

Etching cream being applied with a brush to a glass ornament with a black vinyl cardinal stencil attached

When the timer chimes, you can remove the cream. Keep your protective equipment on. If you used a lot of cream, scrape it back into the container to be reused. Rinse the remaining cream off of the glass under running water into a plastic or metal sink. Be sure to get all the etching cream off the glass before you remove the vinyl stencils. You do not want to accidentally touch it or get it on your work surface.

Dry the glass well and remove the painter's tape and stencils. Give the glass a final rinse after all the stencil pieces have been removed, and dry it off.

Two gloved hands holding a finished etched glass ornament with a snowflake design and the words The Makers etched on the front

Now you can apply the small snowflakes to the back and sides of your ornament for the second etching round. Apply each one using the same technique as before, making sure to space them evenly around the ornament's surface. Again, you may have wrinkles around the stencils' outside edges, but that's OK as long as you smooth out the areas right next to your designs.

When applying the painter's tape, be sure to press it down well around the outside of each stencil so the etching cream doesn't seep underneath onto the glass.

A small snowflake vinyl stencil applied to the back of a glass ornament, with the rest of the ornament covered in painter's tape

If you placed your stencils far enough apart that some of them will be covered by your roll of tape when you lay the ornament back down, you may want to hold the ornament in your hand at the top as you apply the etching cream. Use the same method as above to apply the cream, moving it around all the stencils for three minutes and letting it sit for another 5-10 minutes. Once the time is up, rinse off the cream under running water, remove the tape and vinyl, and dry the ornament. This is what the back of my ornament looks like after etching the small snowflakes around it.

A gloved hand holding a finished etched glass ornament with a snowflake design

Make sure to clean off any etching cream from your brush before you put everything away. Now you can remove your safety equipment.


The etching is nice already, but you can use Rub n Buff wax metallic finish to make the designs stand out more. You’ll also need clean gloves, a dry paper towel, and rubbing alcohol for this technique.

Squeeze a tiny amount of Rub n Buff onto your gloved finger and pat it over the etched design. Buff it into the etched areas with the dry paper towel. 

Silver Rub n Buff being applied by gloved hands to the surface of an etched glass ornament

You can wipe the excess off of the plain glass, but the wax dries quickly, so you may need to dampen the paper towel to get it all off. If it’s really stubborn, try a bit of rubbing alcohol. Here's what my ornament looks like after applying the Rub n Buff.

A closeup photo showing a silver colored snowflake on an etched glass ornament

You can also add crystals to your design to make it sparkle. Apply a tiny amount of glue to the back of each crystal and place it on the ornament. I used a thick tacky glue, which helped the crystals stay in place on the curved surface while it set. You may need to use tweezers to apply them. Allow the glue to dry before moving or using the ornament.

Etched glass ornament inside painter's tape roll with crystals applied to its surface

Once you're done, insert the metal hanging hardware back into the top of the ornament so it's ready to hang.


You're done! This is what my finished ornaments look like.


Note for those using the cardinal design: For this ornament, I used a technique known as reverse etching. This is where you apply etching cream to the entire ornament except for the design. When weeding this type of stencil, you can remove the vinyl around the design like you normally would.

Fonts used:

Timberly Script (Snowflake and Snowman Designs)

Amastery Hand (Snowman Design)

Large Ornament Finished Size: 3.125" sphere

Small Ornament Finished Size: 2.75" sphere


The detailed step-by-step assembly video on how to create etched glass ornaments debuted during Maker Academy Weekend 2022, held online November 3-6, 2022. Get an on-demand pass to watch all 20+ workshops, each with a printable handbook, transcript, audio files, design files, and support with a VIP pass below:

VIP All Access Pass to Maker Academy Weekend

One important note I want to mention is how important it is that the ornaments are made of glass, not plastic. Etching does not work on plastic so the material is super important when it comes to making this awesome project. Look at just how stunning this one came out!

Etched glass ornament with "do you believe in magic?" design etching

Answers to Your Questions About How to Make Etched Glass Ornaments

Q: Where is your tutorial for this project?
This is a special project we made for our free Maker Academy Weekend 2022 event! A complete and detailed step-by-step video premiered during the event November 3-6, 2022 — specifically, this tutorial video was available to watch for free for 24 hours beginning November 4 at 3:00 pm ET! You can get access to the full video, the printable handbook that details how to make this beautiful project if you get a VIP Pass to Maker Academy Weekend 2022, which comes with other perks and bonuses, too! 

Can you etch a plastic ornament ball?

No, we tried several times and could not find a way to etch the plastic ornament. Armour Etch etching cream is for glass, not plastic.

How do you stencil on glass ornaments?

The best way to do this is to create vinyl stencils, place them on your glass ornament as smoothly as possible, then apply your etching cream.

What kind of vinyl is used for glass etching?

Use permanent adhesive vinyl or stencil vinyl to create stencils for chemical etching on glass. I recommend you avoid removable vinyl, as it won’t form as tight a seal and may allow the etching cream to seep underneath.

Does this technique work on colored glass?

I haven’t tried it yet! You might get a striking effect with a daub of white Rub n Buff on etched colored glass.

How can I test the etching process and stencil?

If you want to try out a stencil for etching glass, you probably have some suitable glass jars in your recycling bin! Just clean the surface of the glass extra well.

Can you make frosted glass ornaments?

You can put etching cream all over your glass ornament EXCEPT in certain spots, and that will produce a lovely frosted glass ornament. My cardinal ornament is frosted like this, and I show you how to create this look with stencils in the tutorial.

How do you get pictures in clear ornaments?

Those are what I called Floating Ornaments and you can do it with a little twist! Here’s a tutorial on how to make floating ornaments!

Get my free SVG files to create these beautiful etched glass ornaments!

I love seeing what you make with my designs and how you use them! Please share a photo of your etched glass ornaments in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.


Want to remember this? Save this DIY Etched Glass Ornaments Tutorial to your favorite Pinterest Board!

How to etch glass ornaments with festive designs and crystals

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