American Glass Guild




Acid Etching: Tips on setting up a safe and effective etching station:

This discussion will focus entirely on the subject of creating a safe, effective, and efficient environment for acid-etching on flashed glass. 

Etched glass can add an entirely new dimension to stained glass; variations of etching and engraving have been used for centuries to add intricate detailing and texture to both representational and graphic elements in stained glass.  This presentation will attempt to give the artist some tips on the safe handling and use of hydrofluoric acid when etching.

Among the topics to be covered will be:

  • Where to buy the materials needed to start.  This will include chemicals for etching and neutralizing, etching trays, spill mats, rinse trays, ventilation systems, and the materials needed to build a self-contained ventilation station for the actual etching. 


  • The safety equipment needed for working with acid.


  • The dos and doníts of working with HFL, including the frequently asked concerns about wearing rubber gloves, and other safe handling procedures.


  • Tips on creating an etching station (similar in ways to a sandblasting box) that will expose the user and his/her studio to the least possible exposure to fumes emitted from the acid.


  • How to continually reuse and re-fortify the etching solution (much diluted from its original strength), and how to best store the acid solutions when not in use.

The presentation will include photos of a working etching station, and if time permits, photos of a new one under assembly. A complete list of all suppliers, with phone numbers and websites will be given to all participants.  When feasible, samples of some of the materials (such as matting and safety equipment) will be on hand for viewing.

Finally, a large proportion of the discussion period will be left open to questions and answers; in fact, pertinent questions may be asked at any point in the discussion.










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Last modified: 6/24/08
Copyright 2008