Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to Make an Etched Glass Water Bottle

There are few water bottle companies that sell water in glass bottles. Voss is one of them. The bottles are these beautiful, tall cylinders. You can get them individually at your local grocery store or buy a case from Amazon to save money - this is a great option if you want to make these for gifts as the cost per-bottle goes down to less than $3 this way! I picked up a large bottle at Natural Grocers and used adhesive silkscreens and glass etching cream to transform the bottle into a beautiful work of art as a gift for my sister.



Step 1: Prep Glass
Please note: I recommend keeping the lid on the entire time you work with the bottle to prevent paint chips, soap or chemicals from getting inside.

The Voss bottles come with their labels silkscreened on with paint. To remove them, you will need to scratch it off with a razor blade. To do this without scratching the glass, hold the blade at an angle and gently use it to chip away the paint. 

Once the paint is removed, wash the outside of the bottle with soap and water. Check to be sure you removed all the paint and re-scrape problem areas if needed and then re-wash. Set aside to dry.

Step 2: Prep silkscreens
The silkscreens come as one large sheet. Remove the sheet from the protective backing and cut each individual piece from the sheet, following the lines.

Step 3: Place Silkscreens.
Wipe the bottle down with rubbing alcohol and cotton ball to remove any grease, fingerprints or soap residue. Allow to dry.

Select a silkscreen and place it on the bottle, rubbing it to be sure it is well adhered with no bubbles or gaps. You may choose to use painter's tape to adhere the edges as well. I live on the wild side and did not use tape.

Continue adding silkscreens as desired. I wanted the bottle to be covered in the floral motif, so I added all the large stencils and stopped when I ran out of room.

Step 4: Etch Glass
Put on your gloves. Seriously. This stuff is acid capable of eating through glass. You don't want even a tiny bit on your skin.

Stand the bottle up on its end and set on a protective surface. 

Scoop some glass etching cream out of the bottle and glob it onto the silkscreen.

Continue globbing cream onto the silkscreens until all the design areas are covered. Be careful not to let any get on areas of glass you do not want etched.

Rinse your brush while your gloves are still on. Remove gloves and set brush and bottle aside for 15-20 minutes or time indicated on the label. When the time is up, put your gloves back on and head over to a sink to rinse. (I used the bathroom sink to avoid any over-splash onto dishes or items that might come in contact with food).

Run the silkscreens under the water and rub with your gloved hand to remove all etching cream. The silkscreens might fall off while you are rinsing and that's ok. Just rinse and rub the etching cream off the silkscreen and set aside adhesive side up to dry (you can re-use it again later). Once all the traces of etching creme are gone from the bottle, gently wash the outside with mild soap and water and set aside to dry.

Like I said earlier, I wanted pattern everywhere so once the bottle was dry, I used smaller silkscreens to fill in some of the empty places on the bottle and repeated the process again.

Step 5: Give!
Once your bottle is clean and dry, it's ready for giving. My sister got hers for her birthday but I think this is a great gift idea for Christmas or any occasion. And you can't beat the price! These water bottles sell for $20 or more in stores and online. I paid $3 for this water bottle and if you were to buy the etching cream on sale or with a coupon at Michael's or Jo-Anns, you could pay as little as $1 per bottle for the cream bringing the price to about $4 per bottle - which is super affordable!

Looking for more ways to personalize water bottles?
I'm surprised I haven't seen more people personalizing these water bottles - they seem like the perfect blank canvas! But great minds think alike and just last week my real-life blogging friend, Breanna from Dollar Store Mom re-did one of her Voss bottles with glass paint. Check her project out here:

Have you ever given a glass bottle a makeover? Let me know in the comments. I'd love to feature you!

Do you like this post? Consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter!

disclosure: I received Martha Stewart Glass Etching Cream and silkscreens as free samples from Plaid Crafts in the hope that if I liked them, I would consider them in a future project. I was not asked to write about these products nor was a compensated in any way for this post by Plaid or Voss. All opinions and instructions are my own. I love this etching cream as a way to give new life to glass bottles to allow them to be loved and re-used over and over again instead of simply recycled. See my full review policy here. 


  1. I love this! I've etched lots of glass, but never thought to do water bottles. Just a tip- you can reuse the etching cream if you carefully scoop it back into the bottle. :)

  2. so cute! I may have to try that with some of the glass jars I use in the pantry. I bet it would make a cute label.

  3. I've always wanted a glass water bottle but I am too afraid I will drop it!

  4. This is so pretty, and I use water bottles all the time. Thanks so much for sharing the step-by-step!

  5. Ooh what a great idea- I love it! I would also love to link to your directions in an upcoming Daily DIY if you didn't mind.

  6. What a great idea! You could even do names and initials to keep the glasses straight.

  7. Ordered a 24ct of the glass Voss bottles from for $66. Etching them and filling them back up with a flavored liquor and the gift tags will hold drink recipes. Christmas gifts for every coworker for under $120 :]

    1. What a fun idea! I love the idea of filling the bottles with something else - two gifts in one!

  8. I ordered a 24 count of glass Voss water bottles on Amazon for $66. I'm in the process of etching them now. Then I will fill them with a flavored liquor, and the gift tags will hold a drink recipes. Christmas gifts for every coworker for under $120. I'm edging their initials on to the bottles too. Great idea thanks for the inspiration!

  9. So glad I ran into this idea! Just happend to get "stuck" with two cases of Voss Glass Water Bottles and the silk screen label was keeping me from trying anything with them, but ill be getting etching supplies this weekend.

  10. Any thoughts on how 'green' the etching creme is?

    1. That's a great question. You can see the MSDS for the product here:

      The main ingredient that etches the glass is Ammonium Bifluoride. It is not known to cause cancer or other reproductive harm, although it is an irritant to the eyes, lungs and skin so care should be taken while using it - wear gloves and work in a ventilated area.

      It is 100% solvable in water. For a project like this, you are using a small quantity and I am personally unconcerned about run off from it into the sewer. If you want to make a very large project, I would consider first scraping what you can off the glass and putting it back in the bottle and THEN rinsing it.

      I hope that answered your question!

  11. I just finished making mine with peacock feather silkscreens. It's so pretty. I've been wanting to do something with one of these bottles for some time now. Thanks for the post!

  12. Can you use other stencils or does it have to be the silkscreen kind?

    1. I think the silkscreen kind work the best. If you had other ADHESIVE stencils you could probably do it but it will not work well with normal stencils.

  13. where did you get the mini razor scraper?

    1. If you click the link to "mini razor scraper" in the supply list, it will take you to a place you can buy one from Amazon

    2. If you click the link to "mini razor scraper" in the supply list, it will take you to a place you can buy one from Amazon


I love comments! I may not be able to respond to each one but I promise I read them all.

Please note that posts more than 10 days old have comment modification turned on so if you don't see your comment right away don't panic! It's probably waiting to be approved.

Thanks for stopping by!