Simple Acid Etching on Dichroic Glass

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Okay…you bought some dichro to try…now what do you do with it?


First…..take some small pieces and experiment with it…..and learn to have fun with it! I will be doing a talk during the NOVEMBER general meeting to give people some more insight into dichro and many fun ways to use it and some tips on what works – and what doesn’t, but here are a few ideas to start with:
Acid etching is a very quick simple way to make unique designs and also to personalize something. My basic go-to acid is Amour Etch from Michael’s. I’d suggest using a coupon to purchase it…. but it goes a long way and lasts a very long time!

I do not use gloves to protect my skin….but you might prefer to. (it does burn if you have a cut). For these examples I am using some of my dichoic glass coated on smooth machine rolled thin Uroboros glass…from Spirit of Glass, who is one of our sponsors. Dichro is a very thin metallic coating…..different metals create the different colors. Most colors on this glass etch quickly…in 30-45 seconds, but you should test each color dichro you use…it can sometimes take much longer.

If the coating is on black glass, because the background is DARK…the color will appear more brilliant. On clear glass…. the reflected color is what you usually see in a finished piece. If you can hold it up to light….the opposite color on a color wheel shows (transmitted light), so sometimes you can use this color change to your advantage in a piece of art or jewelry. ALSO…very important….. dichroic coatings not only change color when you look at them at an angle…..but they ACTUALLY change when they are FIRED! If you look at a piece of unfired dichro at about a 45 degree angle (with dichro on clear it is easier to see with black paper behind it) THAT is the color it will FIRE to…(and when that fired color is looked at straight on)…and then that fired piece will also change color at an angle.

Acid etching is very quick and easy! Tape , decals and contact papers can also be cut or punched to use a s a resist (anything that protects the dichro from the acid). You don’t have to be a great artist.…..just make some fun patterns and even layer the different dichro sheets for even more interesting pieces!

Using Amour Etch….a simple SHARPIE pen will work as a resist so you can draw or write something special and have it show up in the dichro! This ink is thin of course…so if you wipe off the acid too soon you must rewrite over the sharpie before etching again. If you can find decals with the correct size letters….that works really well too and protects the dichro more than the Sharpie. I find a small soft toothbrush really works well to remove the acid quickly and gently, under running water .

These ideas can be used to add a little sparkle to almost any project. Add a name…write a thought…… make some accent parts for a larger piece… added touch to a plate, add some sparkle at the center of a flower. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Also, with the dichro on clear….the dichro can be fired either up or down which also gives you some variations in the finished look.

(Greta will be presenting this method via Zoom at the November 14th General meeting on Holiday Ideas)


1) Just scotch tape to protect part of the dichro gives crisp clean lines.
2) Etch center then remove tape. (**using dichro on clear you can see on the back side when the colored dichro coating has etched away).
3) Your “frame” can be used as-is or you can etch a design into it.
4) Sharpie design quickly drawn.
5) After next acid etch on frame art
6) Butterfly decal on dichro on black.
7) Acid over butterly.
8) Decal removed after etching.
9) Add mica colors if desired………. remember the mica will only stick where it touches the glass!
10) Butterfly and mica fired. Dichro is brighter when it catches the light.
11) Any frame art could be fired onto the back piece with the butterfly.
12) A small decal heart and MOM written in Sharpie.
13) Heart and MOM after acid etching….on clear….may be used to cap other dichro or some opal glass.
14) Just a quick loose design done with a Sharpie…..and fired…shown here as it would look over opal glass.2-3 different color designs in dichro stacked up can be very pretty!