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I bought a fixer upper home and it has a shower that was etched so bad with hard water spots, so bad that a steel wool pad and a drill with chemicals did not do the trick. I didn't want to replace the glass, had lots more money to spend on other things. So I went to a craft store and bought glass frost/etching acid. I bought a roll of painter's tape and stencils. Figured out a pattern that I wanted.
I put a "Fleur D'Lis" on the top of each glass pane, with the stencil that I bought (could be butterflies, flowers, etc.) and ran the tape along the edges of the glass panes (length wise). Then I striped the glass with the tape (horizontally), measured with little pieces of the tape below the fleur d'lis design and ran a piece of tape from edge to edge, using the little pieces of tape as guide to make the stripe level. Then more small pieces of tape at the bottom of the first stripe of tape then leveled off another stripe.
Standing in the shower, adjust the tape and stripe pattern so the personal parts of your body are covered by the frosted glass. I etched the entire part of the glass where the "never-you-mind" areas are, then I started striping again to continue the pattern from the top of the shower glass panes. In the middle of the glass pane, I etched another design but I had to tape that off to not overlap the frosting, which was a pain in the never minds, but it came out good.
You might want to try it. I saved myself a bunch of money and it doesn't look too bad for a cheap quick fix. Now I can concentrate on other things to buy for my new...older...home, and this will do until I can get another shower stall along with a water softener system! Good Luck. I am very happy with the outcome and semi-filled bank account.
Source: TOO frugal to get a new shower and had to come up with something inexpensive.
By Suzette from Ripon, CA
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We just installed CLEAR GLASS doors in a new tiled shower. I didn't want clear because I knew it would be hard to clean. I was told we needed to show off the pretty tile with clear glass. So I agreed to the clear glass. Bad move! I read on this site about the "Bar keepers friend", I will try that. But I would like to etch designs in the glass. What is the best kit to buy for this purpose? Is it easy to do? thanks
NVJody from NV
I worked for an architect, and we etched doors regularly. It's not hard, just time consuming if you want to do a nice job, which is vital since it cannot be redone if you make a mistake. First we drafted the pattern we wanted, then we enlarged it to fit the area we were going to use it on. We taped it to the door, then we covered the area we wanted etched with clear contact paper (be careful to overlap slightly because if you leave a tiny strip between panels, it'll get etched). We CAREFULLY cut out the pattern -- anything to be etched was removed. burnish the edges to make sure the etching gel won't get under the contact paper. Apply the etching gel, spray, or whatever form you are using, and follow the instructions. When done remove the contact paper and admire your work.
Be sure to try the pattern on a large piece of glass your first time so you can make sure you understand the method and see how the etching will look. Some etching gels may look streaky if applied certain ways, and a mistake on the original door may be costly. Make sure you etch the correct side of the glass--for a shower, I'd etch the outside, allowing the water to run along the smooth inside surface. If doing a window, I'd etch the inside, leaving the outside smooth glass. Make sure to use a straight edge when cutting any straight lines in a pattern out. Good Luck!!