Chemical etched glass has a distinctive, uniformly smooth and satin-like appearance. Etched glass admits light while providing softening and vision control. It can be used in both residential and commercial settings (doors, shower screens, furniture, wall paneling, etc.).
Early Egyptians made glass since 1500 B.C., but it wasn't until the 7th century A.D., that the Germans developed glass that was well suited for cutting and etching. By the 1600s, etching techniques were used to create decorative windowpanes. During the Victorian Era, acid etched glass became popular on mirrors and windows in England. The end of the glass tax in 1845 made glass cheap enough that shop owners used it for large windows. Local pubs didn't want to have their patrons exposed to public view so they added etching to hide the identity of those drinking inside the pubs.
The etchings at that time were created using beeswax-coated glass. The artist would scratch designs into the wax or paraffin using small knives and chisels, then submerge the glass in hydrofluoric acid to etch. The acid would settle into the pattern and form everything from landscapes to portraits, figures, and animals. Because the hydrofluoric acid was so dangerous, etching creams were developed in the early 1900s thereby reducing the danger to the artist. This formula may have been responsible for the rebirth of glass etching in Victorian homes. Etched glass adorned windows in the grand entryways of many lovely turn-of-the-century homes. It enhanced the beauty of the window without obscuring daylight as stained glass windows did.
During the early 1970ï¿½s, pre cut, rub on stencils were developed. When combined with the etching cream, this easy-to-use method inspired many at-home crafters to take up the art. These pre cut stencils are available in a wide variety of sizes and patterns making it easy to recreate designs and motifs. Now even dabblers in the art can enjoy the finished effects of glass etching on virtually any plain or colored glass surface, from decorative boxes and goblets, to windows, mirrors, and so much more!