Or as my friend Holly and I like to call it, the “fatal etch cream.” Wow. Don’t you just love being brave enough to try something that has the words: “Danger: May be fatal,” right on the bottle? (Well, me neither, most of the time.)
In this instance, the product is a small bottle of cream containing Amonium/Sodium Bifluorides used to etch glass. Sure this matte finish on glass could also be achieved in a tumbler with some sand from the beach, but today I was going for more instant gratification.
I never really thought about etch cream until I took a lampworking class with my friend Holly at the end of February in Rockland. Some of our more creative attempts at making glass beads produced colors we didn’t really like. Virginia Slawson, of Playing with Fire, said, “You know, those could have a whole different look if you etched them.” We discussed different ways to etch glass and the last time I was at A.C. Moore in Bangor I picked up a little bottle of fatal etch cream.
I am not set up to make my own glass beads (yet), so I love to buy them. One of my favorite glass bead artists is Sue Kennedy of SueBeads. I’m always checking her blog to see what she has added recently to her Etsy site. The beads I am most drawn to are the ones with a matte finish; the ones she has etched.
Below a pair of Sue’s etched glass beads with a pair of copper beads I made last week.
I also bought some shiny glass beads in shades of purple. I especially love how the light comes through the beads in front.
But see the ones in the back of the photo above? (I know, they’re out of focus.) Here is a better shot:
I bought these beads specifically to try etching myself. I’m sure Sue would have done it for me if I had asked her when I ordered them. I had a hunch that I would really like how the lines and colors showed up if I etched them.
et voila! I left two of the six beads un-etched for comparison. Also, if I ruined the ones I altered, I would at least still have 2 that I liked. The cream took longer to work than I thought it would, and it still makes me a little nervous to use it, but I’m happy with the results.