How To Use Etching Cream To Make A Frosted Lantern

So I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I’ve been kind of on a lantern kick lately.  Maybe it’s the beautifully creepy way they light up the area around them, or maybe it’s because I get to finally use up all of that vinyl I bought in bulk last year.  Either way, lanterns are my current jam.  Since Halloween has (unfortunately) passed us, I decided it was time to make a nerdy lantern that could stay up all year long.  Thus I present to you: the nerdy frosted lantern.

Materials I Used:

IKEA Lantern

  • Lantern (mine was from IKEA, it’s always cheap and fairly good quality)
  • Etching cream
  • Gloves for safety
  • Brushes
  • Vinyl
  • Transfer paper

Creating a Stencil

Slytherin vinyl stencil

Being the proud Slytherin that I am, I choose to rep my Slytherin pride whenever I can.  For this lantern I opted to include our house crest and the Slytherin quote from the sorting hat.  For this I used my trusty Cameo Silhouette (my go-to for most projects that involves cutting vinyl or paper), but as I’ve stated before you can use an exacto knife instead. If you plan to use an exacto knife I would suggest choosing patterns that aren’t super detailed – for example a Jedi symbol would work well, but trying to cut out words or phrases would be exhausting.

When creating the stencil it’s important to keep in mind that you’re keeping the parts of the stencil that you want to stay clear/unfrosted. So for me, I wanted everything to be frosted except the crest and the quote.  If you wanted the opposite effect (you want the quote/crest to be the only parts frosted on the glass) you would keep the ‘outer’ parts of the stencil.


Attaching the Stencil

Before you start this step, thoroughly wash and dry your lantern’s glass to get a more even finish.

When transferring vinyl that has a lot of little parts to it, I prefer to use transfer paper to ensure it all moves as one piece.  Transfer paper is essentially just one big sticker, so you peel off the backing and place it over the image you want to transfer.  Make sure you press hard so all of the pieces lift off easily; I usually use the handles of my scissors to rub over the design a couple of times.  When you’re sure the image is tuck to the transfer paper, you can slowly peel it away.

How to use transfer paper

Then you stick the image onto the lantern, being careful that it’s aligned properly.  Press the vinyl onto the new surface (again, I usually use my scissor’s handles) to ensure that it comes off the transfer paper.

Use vinyl and transfer paper to DIY your lantern

And you know what?  Maybe you stop here… it actually looks kind of nice with just the vinyl.  So if you don’t really care for the frosted look, put your lantern on display and feel free to call it a day.

DIY vinyl stencil lantern

Frosting the Glass

But for those of you who prefer the frosted look, it’s time to bust out the etching cream.  And now a quick warning: please wear gloves when using any type of etching product. This stuff is strong enough to etch glass.  You do NOT want it near your skin, your kids, or your cats.

How to DIY a frosted lantern

The directions will vary depending on your product.  Mine was a fairly thick cream that I spread evenly and left on for 15 minutes.  The directions said to wash it off so I ran water over it until I was sure all of the cream had come off.

Using etching cream on a lantern

Once the lantern was dry I peeled off the vinyl and wiped off whatever residue was left.

DIY a frosted lantern

The finished product looked okay in the daytime…

DIY frosted lantern

But what’s a lantern without a little light?

DIY frosted lantern

It’s especially cool to see the crest and the quote get projected onto the wall behind it.

DIY frosted lantern

And that’s it!  I’d love to put these out at night and see the Slytherin crest light up my porch, but I’m thinking I’ll have to make one for my Hufflepuff husband to keep it fair.

We’d love to see your finished creations! If you decide to do this or any of our other DIYs, please show us your works on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.  Happy crafting!

Mindy Jang

Writer and Techie at 6NC. An avid computer gamer and devout Slytherin. Mindy can usually be found cooking veggie friendly meals, binging reality TV shows, or herding her clowder of cats.

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