Sunday, April 15, 2012

Glass Bottle Etching

I have some OCD tendency's and these reflect in my brewing.  I also like to be uniformed in my equipment.  Like labeling the kegs, carboys and taplines.  I really don't know why, but a unpolished corny keg would drive me crazy.

After tossing out all my bottles swearing never to bottle again, (long live the keg) I learned to love sour beers.  This presented a problem.  I hate buying bottles, It's a waste of my hard earned money when I can buy them full at the liquor store.  This kind of competes with my OCD tendancies.  I really want all the bottles to match, I know it is a far fetched idea, stupid non the less.  Knowing that I can't buy a case of The Bruery's bottles, which in my opinion are the best commercial bottles in craft beer.  I need something else to link my bottles together as a whole.  I guess it is my personal way of "Branding"

 A easy way of doing this is to etch your homebrew bottles.  Plus, if you share your homebrew it is more likely to make its way back to you. (Empty and clean, I hope)  All you need is a plotter or a sticker shop to get your logo cut.  Have your logo reverse cut on vinyl material, then stick it to the bottle.  This is more important if you use text vs my simple logo.

Reversed cut vinyl

Almost ready for glass etching

Material is cut and ready

Once it is on the bottle and ready, take your finger and make sure the material is on the bottle correctly and little to no air gaps are visible.  

Homebrew glass etching

I used Armour Etch, I bought it on Amazon for about 10 bucks shipped.  My local Michael's does not carry it anymore do to people stealing them and tagging glass.  I used a pad brush to dip and cover the sticker area.  

Finished homebrew bottle etching

After 2 minutes you just wash the bottle off in the sink and peel the sticker off.  Above is the result.  As of today I have about 50 bottles etched.  A very cheap and cool addition to your homebrewery.


  1. You'd explained the process of etching those bottles to me, but the simplicity of it didn't really sink in until I saw the pictures. It's genius. Your logo is clean and looks good on the bottles. I didn't realize you expected those bottles back (and cleaned). I'll fill them back up and get around to returning them one of these days...

    1. Yeah the glass etching is really simple. The hardest part would be getting the material cut. Other than that it's just brushing it on and waiting.

  2. Lewy - I have been meaning to do this on my 5 gal and 1 gal carboys for the gallon marks.

    Your timing is great since I just bought some of the stuff to repair my wife's sunglasses (it worked pretty well)

    I think I'd like to do this for my sours as well. Do you have a local source that can do the stencil?

    And for bottles, a lot of mine for sours are from Martinelli's cider. Yes, the bottles are green, but I store them in cases. The labels are easy to clean, take a normal sized beer cap and are cheap and easy to collect around the holidays.

    1. At our old shop location we were next to a sticker shop. I am having him cut the vinyl logos on old sticker stock in colors that will not sell. I also asked him not to ween it (the process of taking the unwanted vinyl off the sticker paper) So I can reverse the image myself. I tried having a plastic stencil cut and it didn't work to well. The etching solution soaked in behind the stencil and made a mess. It might work on a flatter surface.

      I used Anytime Sign, normally he is not cheap because it is not his business to cut stickers. He just had the material and the cutter.

  3. AnonymousJune 25, 2013

    Hey. I found your blog when researching etched beer bottles. I'm etching a bunch for my husband's brewing hobby. Did you use anything else to get the bright etching? The etching cream that we used (not armour etch) only gave us a very light etch, nothing as bright as what you have, and I would love for ours to stand out more. Wondering if we need to invest in a bottle of armour etch instead or if you did another step to brighten the etch.

    Thanks for your help :) Your's looks great!

  4. Thanks for your comment. I would use Armour etch personally. I also washed, then reapplied the etching cream 2 times without taking off the stickers.

    Good luck.

    1. AnonymousJune 28, 2013

      Thanks. We've now used armour etch and even tried applying multiple times but we still are having trouble getting a deep etch. I've determined that our bottles must have a coating over them (to help prevent breakage) that is preventing us from getting a good etch. We'll have to invest in a different case to see if that solves our problem. Thanks for your advice :)


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