There are several supplies that you will have to have ready before you can make your own personal etched mirror. Even though some mirrors look elaborate and difficult-and cost a fortune at that, you can create your own etched mirror with any design you desire on any size mirror you desire-and it should cost you less than 20 dollars when everything is said and done! Here are all of the supplies that you will need to complete this project, you may even have some of these already laying around the house! Be sure to have the following on hand, you can't finish the project without any of these items:

Streak-free window cleaner

Rubber gloves

Tracing paper

Transfer (carbon) paper

Masking tape

A stencil (either pre-made or your own creation)

Enough adhesive vinyl to create your entire etched design.

Exacto knife

Armour Etched Glass Cream (usually found at craft stores)


Start by removing the mirror from any frame, placing it on a flat surface, face up. Try to keep all of your supplies handy so that you don't have to search for the supplies in each consecutive step. Prepare your mirror by cleaning it with your streak free window cleaner. Do not use paper towel, as these can leave small fibers on the mirror, and you will want to clear the mirror surface of any dust, dirt, finger prints, etc.

Now, while letting the mirror surface dry, take your adhesive vinyl sheet and place it on your flat surface-with the paper side facing up. At this point you are ready to trace your mirror pattern onto your adhesive. Take your tracing paper and lay it on the paper backing of your adhesive sheet. Next you will take your stencil and lay it on top of the tracing paper.

** Important detail: if your design includes things like words or symbols, you have to remember to reverse your image when tracing, this is because you will be flipping the image over before applying the adhesive vinyl to your mirror surface and anything that you traced will be reversed.**

Once you have your stencil made and reversed in necessary you can lay it on the tracing paper and use your masking tape to secure all of your layers together. By securing all of your layers together, you are avoiding mistakes caused by your different layers moving midway through the tracing process and causing dis-proportionate images or simply confusion when cutting the image out.

Once you are confident in your traced image, you are ready to cut the image out of the adhesive paper. Make sure that you are cutting on a surface that will not be harmed when you cut all the way through the adhesive paper. You will have to apply pressure to get a clean cut and avoid ripping the adhesive when cutting the image out.

Once you have a nice clean image cut in your adhesive sheet you are ready to apply the temporary masks to your mirror surface in the desired position on the mirror. This step may be easier if you have two sets of hands to place this adhesive on the mirror without wrinkling or bubbling the vinyl-which can cause skewed proportions, or the etching cream could seep under wrinkles that pop up on the cut edges. To be sure you have no bubbles on the edge, push out the wrinkles as best you can, and use the tip of your exacto knife to pop bubbles, or slice wrinkles to flatten them.

Lastly comes the actual etching process, because the etching cream is toxic to the skin, eyes, and internal body-you must be extremely cautious when applying the cream to the mirror. I highly recommend wearing long sleeves (an old shirt of course), wearing some sort of eye protection such as glasses or safety glasses, and keep a large bowl of water, and a telephone just in case you need to call poison control and wash any affected areas if the situation arises. Also, the most important safety precaution-rubber or latex gloves that you can dispose of after this process.

Once you are safely covered up and have your supplies readily available, you can begin to apply the etching cream to the open spaces within your cut out vinyl design. If the whole mirror is not covered, be sure to keep it clear of etching cream-or mask it all off with masking tape. There are different brands of etching cream, so its best to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions very carefully for the best result from that particular brand. However, with any brand you must leave the cream to dry completely before you are able to wash the substance off and reveal the etched pattern on the mirror surface. The drying time usually varies between 5-15 minutes depending on the amount of cream applied, and the size of the surface covered.

To complete this mirror etching process, and you are confident that the etching material is fully dry, you can wash the etching cream off. To remove the cream (your manufacturer instructions will also explain this) take a sponge or soft cloth soaked in only warm water-it doesn't have to be hot it just shouldn't be ice cold, and do not use any chemical cleaners as they could have a reaction with the cream. Gently wipe the mirror clear of any etching cream, make sure that it is fully dry before removing the masking materials.

To reveal your final design, you must remove the adhesive vinyl and any masking tape. Your manufactures instructions may have easy ways to remove the vinyl, but you should be able to simply pull up a corner and pull the vinyl straight back over itself SLOWLY-this is important to the removal process because it makes tearing of the vinyl avoidable, and keeps residue from sticking to the mirror-which is a hassle to remove in some cases.

Once you have your mirror cleaned and the masking/vinyl removed, you can now display your personal creation for everyone to admire and want!

**End note: always properly remove of chemical materials because they could be harmful to the environment, other humans or even the wildlife.**