Glass Etching

Have you ever done any glass etching?
Well, neither had I before today.
But wow.  Such an easy, yet sweet little touch that you can add to any glass.
Check out my new and improved etched Trifle Bowl.
The perfect bowl for desserts of all kinds…..and even a great place for fresh fruit on the counter.  And I kind of adore that little bird perched on the branch.
Glass etching is also a great way to stamp your name on your pyrex dishes, to make sure they come back to you.
And how about adding a little extra detail, just because……
(Edited to Add: The font used here is called Smiley Monster and I downloaded the font for free here.)
Sweet in every way.

Are you wanting to make your own? 


(This technique permanently etches your glass.  You cannot remove it once you’re done.  With that said, your creation will not rub or wash off, and will stay put as long as the dish lasts.)

First, you’ll need a piece of vinyl with an adhesive back, like the vinyl you buy for vinyl wall decor.  You can buy rolls or sheets of it at craft stores (if you must have some today) or you can buy some great vinyl much cheaper from one of my sponsors, Expressions Vinyl.   If you don’t have a craft cutter of some sort to cut the image for you (like I did), then you can trace an image, shape, or letters on the vinyl and then cut it out with an exacto knife, or utility knife.  (And I haven’t tried this but I think you may be able to do the glass etching technique with a piece of contact paper, if you’re going to be cutting out your shapes free hand with an exacto knife.)
Then peel away the shapes, leaving the negative space all in one piece.  (Keep in mind if you are using an exacto knife, to not cut through the negative space.  Cut away the shapes/letters, but leave the main piece together, without cuts or tears in it.
The Silhouette code for the bird/branch is: bird_on_branch_C00044_23067 01/18/2010
Then place a piece of transfer paper (you could use contact paper for this too I’m guessing…) that is sticky on one side, to the front of your vinyl.
Then peel the vinyl backing away.  (The red side that you see below is the sticky side.)
Then place your vinyl against your glass, making sure to center the image just where you’d like it.  Press down firmly, then pull off the transfer paper/contact paper.
See how there are air bubbles?  Press those down firmly with your fingers.  If they are far from the opening of your image, don’t worry about them.  You just don’t want the etching cream to get in under the edges and mess up the image.
Then apply a layer of your etching cream on the exposed glass.  (I found this cream at Michael’s.)  Follow the instructions on the bottle and allow the cream to sit and rough up the glass surface.  (I left mine to sit for about 10 minutes.)
**Again, this process makes the etching permanent.  The cream is an acid, and etches away at the surface of your glass…….transforming the look of your glass permanently.  So you cannot rub or wash the etching off.
Then I rinsed off really well with water and used my fingers to rub it all off.  Then I peeled back the vinyl and rinsed again with soap and water.
Dry your glass and admire the beautiful etching, all done for you by the cream.
(Edited to Add: The font used here is called Smiley Monster and I downloaded the font for free here.)
Good luck!
 Such a great technique, right?
And just think…….you could put together some pyrex dishes for a newly married couple, etched with their new last name.  Then throw in some hot pads, cooking utensils, and your favorite recipes.  Perfect gift.
. . . . .
  Now that you can dress up the glass in your home, you might enjoy these projects and show off your new skills!
paint old chandelier-2


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Filed under Gift Ideas, Miscellaneous, No Sew, Silhouette Craft Cutter


451 Responses to “Glass Etching”
  1. 1
    Sisters of Grace says:

    That is realy neat I had no clue how to do that!


  2. 2
    Amanda says:

    does the cream just make it look etched, or is the glass really changed?

  3. 3
    Ashley says:

    Amanda, I just added a better explanation of this to the post, but yes, it is really etched. The cream is an acid so it etches away at the surface of the glass, making this a permanent transformation to the glass. hope that answers your question.


  4. 4
    bethanndodd says:

    love it! i want to "enhance" some glass right now!!!

  5. 5
    Amanda Dale says:

    I was just thinking about doing this on our mirrors in the master bathroom. They are those large, builders mirrors and we don't want to hassle with taking them down. Glad to know it works so great!

  6. 6
    Carlie Sue says:

    we did this a little while ago – here's some of our finished projects- thanks for the tutorial!

    we did it on a glass pitcher- it didn't show up as well with the water in it…

  7. 7
    Domesticated-Bliss says:

    That is really awesome! I love the idea of etching your last name in dishes so no one is tempted to keep them when you loan them out :)

  8. 8
    kpmattingly says:

    I love this idea….especially for the glass dishes….it would be a cool wedding/bridal shower gift!

    • 8.1
      jneely says:

      There’s so many ideas you can do w/ glass etching! I’ve put my name on pyrex dishes, but I’ve also done champagne flutes, wine glasses, and beer mugs for weddings; glass plates (for use or decoration) for anniversaries and a new home; as well as glass blocks for weddings, anniversaries, and Christmas decorations. What’s also fun is working w/ mirrors! I love my Cricut! But you can also get patterns and letters at Hobby Lobby & Michael’s, although there’s not a large assortment to choose from. For glass pieces to practice on, hit up the Dollar Store. If the piece looks good, you can use it. If not, you only spent $1.00! HAVE FUN! :)

  9. 9
    Mardi says:

    Ashley! I am in love with this! How awesome. I would have my name on everything, if I had a cricut! You are so talented!

  10. 10
    Beverly @ says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE! Oh the trifle bowl is too cute! Thanks for the inspiration – I can't wait to give it a try. :)

  11. 11
    Kimi says:

    I love the pattern that you used. Which cartridge is that from?

    I'm just now starting to play with my cricut, and have a lot to learn.

  12. 12
    Billy says:

    My cute hubby makes wedding glasses for all his family. He has always used contact paper and an exacto knife … he has now added the date to the stem with the cricut as it can cut smaller letters than he can. I love the pyrex idea … cute wedding gift.

  13. 13
    JKGROSS says:

    That is so pretty!

  14. 14
    Annie-Staten says:

    Great idea for not losing your dishes at church potlucks anymore! lol

  15. 15
    Jessica says:

    I LOVE this! I have a silhouette and love finding new ways to use it! I also am obsessed with my pyrex so when it gets lost I get very sad!


  16. 16
    Tracy says:

    I have done etching before, but I love the name idea, you would never loose your dish at a party!

  17. 17
    BECKY says:

    super cute!

  18. 18
    Ashley says:

    I love the bird, he is so cute! What cartridge did you use?

  19. 19
    Emily says:

    I have been doing etching for a couple of years now and love it! Be careful with vertical surface when using the cream. If it starts to run down the side you could end up with spots or streaks outside the patterned area. I also got a glass engraver for Christmas so I've been working on some freehand work as well. Great post!

    • 19.1
      Darlene Olsen says:

      You can mask off the area below and around with masking tape, to protect the area you do not want etched

  20. 20
    ~*~ says:

    I'm assuming from everyone who has done this before that baking/dishwashing/microwaving doesn't mar the image since it's permanent?

    I love the idea but was wondering about the wear and tear of it.

    • 20.1
      raija says:

      no it wont mar the image at all … whats great is with etching you can even run it through the dishwasher and not have any problems where dishes that have been engraved could explode cause you are cutting the glass and with etching your only putting an acid base on the glass.

  21. 21
    Lisa and Daniel says:

    this is random! have you ever heard of a Microwave Potato Bag? I have been hearing a lot about a bag that you could make to mocrowave potatoes in and they turn out just as good as in the oven! If you have heard of this, I was wondering if you could do a Tutorial? I would love to learn how to make one!

    • 21.1
      Debbie says:

      I’ve never heard about a Microwave Potato Bag, but it sounds interesting. Pampered Chef makes a Microwave Chip Maker that makes great, healthy chips! Check out my website, if you’re interested.

      Have a great day!

    • 21.2
      Steve says:

      My mom makes these all the time and I use them constantly. They work great and I tale them to work and use them there also.

    • 21.3
      Missy K says:

      I have one and really like it! My daughter likes her potatoes peeled and this seems to make it easier to peel, too.

    • 21.4
      Pcaker says:

      You can poke holes in any potato with a fork on all sides and wrap it in a paper towel. Microwave on high for five minutes. As soon as it is done cooking, have a square of tinfoil ready and wrap it quickly and tightly (over the paper towel is fine). Set aside. Wait an additional five minutes for it to finish cooking inside the tinfoil. They are just as good as the oven, and quick! :-)

  22. 22
    Kami says:

    I need to buy a new trifle dish, but was wondering if I would ever use it. Well I am going to buy one today! So cute. Just like everyone else I am wondering, what cartridge you used.

  23. 23
    Katie says:

    love the look! i have done glass etching before and it is super easy! love your idea for wedding gifts!

  24. 24
    [email protected] says:

    Wow! That's so cool! I stink at crafts, but since the etching cream does the work for you, I think I could do this!

  25. 25
    lesli says:

    i love this idea!! thanks for sharing it :) so creative!

  26. 26
    Tauni says:

    Love, love, love the trifle dish! What a cute idea.

    I've tried this before, but I am loving your darling design. Feeling inspired.

  27. 27
    Lisa says:

    This is so pretty! I love the idea of putting your name on it so you can always find it : )

  28. 28
    Molly says:

    OH MY GOSH!!! I have done lots of etching at my house. I have used the etching cream and the frosted spray paint. You can see some of my creations here:

    But…I am totally in love with the idea of putting your name on a dish. How stinking cute is that! And then you really wowed my by simply suggesting to give it as a wedding gift. I can't say enough about it. Precious, simply precious

  29. 29
    Uska B Hope says:

    óoooooootima dica!!! Lindo!

  30. 30
    Julie says:

    I use to do this alot, I even etched on my semi truck windows. It's been a long time since I've done this, thanks for reminding me. You did an excellent job.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Take care and God Bless!!!

  31. 31
    The Julanders says:

    Just played with etching last Christmas. We STAMPED our image, then embossed it. We used contact paper as a circle stencil of sorts and etched inside the circle. Once done, we scraped off the embossing and were left with a clear imagine inside an etched circle. Kinda a fun alternative. (sorry I don't have a picture, my last plate is tucked away with Christmas deco, we used the plates for neighbor/friends gifts.)

  32. 32
    Jenine says:

    very very very cute. I'm assuming you used your cricut, how did you get it to cut only the top layer of your vinyl?

  33. 33
    Jenine says:

    very very very cute. I'm assuming you used your cricut, how did you get it to cut only the top layer of your vinyl?

    • 33.1
      raija says:

      try setting your cricut blade depth to 3 and your pressure to med. and your speed to med see if that works…you just got to play with the blade depth.

  34. 34
    Kami says:

    Jenine- I saw your problem and thought I would add my 2 cents. If you are cutting through the vinyl and the backing paper your pressure is too high. At the right pressure it should just cut the vinyl.

  35. 35
    Robyn says:

    My friends got 15 pyrex dishes with their name on it for their wedding. No one needs 15 pyrex dishes when they're first married. Sad thing is they couldn't return any of them and they couldn't re-gift them either…

    • 35.1

      I realize this is an old post, but I was thinking about the problems this could cause, too. We received several dishes with the wrong initial in them, because people made assumptions on what our last name would be and guessed wrong. Since it was just an inital, I was able to give the items away on Craigslist… I think this is a great idea, but perhaps no more than a handful of items — and make sure you double-check to make sure you have the right name!

    • 35.2
      may says:

      Effort went into each gift – I wouldn’t see this as a problem – say thank you, and use them to freeze lots of pretty casseroles!

  36. 36
    Nelson Family says:

    So Darling, I will have to give it a shot with some of our glass dishes!

  37. 37
    Victoria Haveman says:

    Did you use a cricut machine? If so what cartridge for the bird and limb?

  38. 38
    Krystle says:

    Another great place for vinyl lettering is!1063498%2Cp_4%3AWall%20Sayings%20Vinyl%20Lettering&page=1 They have great prices! I love getting my vinyl from them! Or if you're ever near Bountiful, UT you can visit their store, JUST A THOUGHT. Love all the great ideas you have!

  39. 39
    2 Giggle Boxes says:

    That is LOVELY! It would make a fabulous gift!

  40. 40
    Alaina says:

    I absolutely love that idea! I didn't know you could do that on your own! I have got to try that out!

  41. 41
    Kelli says:

    I've etched things before but this technique is much easier than what I tried!

    ~Kelli @ Smidgens

  42. 42
    Josh and Cambree says:

    What a great idea, and SO much more simple than I ever thought! (P.S. I know your friend J.Getz in Rexburg!)

  43. 43
    brandy says:

    The girls at our church did glass etched plates for a girl's camp fundraiser. We had them coming out our ears! Contact paper works exactly like vinyl and is much much cheaper. You can cut contact paper with a cricut as well. Yours turned out darling!

  44. 44
    Jenn says:

    That is awesome! I especially love the trifle bowl! And I have to say I love your blog

  45. 45
    Refugee Crafter says:

    You are brilliant!

  46. 46
    Kimberly says:

    I LOVE glass etching! But your trifle bowl is the cutest thing I've ever seen!! Yes, contact paper works just as well and can be a lot cheaper.

  47. 47
    D'Anna says:

    So cute! I love the wedding gift idea! Maybe instead of their name you could do a sweet design . . . that way it can be re-gifted . . . just in case! : )

  48. 48
    Courtney says:

    Wow, I love glass etching! I've always wanted to do it, but it looked so hard. You do such a good job and make it seem easy. I saw this on Martha Stewart and you beyond showed her up!!! Can't wait to try this!

  49. 49
    cole says:

    no more lost dishes in someone elses house! i have a few of these that my mom gave me for christmas and when i take a meal to someone, i always use one of them. i always have gotten my dishes back!

  50. 50
    PeaceLoveApplesauce says:

    This is fabulous! I've always wondered how to do this. Thank you so much for sharing!

  51. 51
    Aly says:

    I've always used contact paper too, but I just lightly sandblasted the image instead of using the etching cream. Works too.

  52. 52
    gr5coat says:

    I have etched inexpensive beer steins with first names for a rootbeer gift basket. I love being able to transform a cheap gift into a really neat one, everyone LOVES their name on a glass.

  53. 53
    @Home-Mom says:

    wow, this is so martha stewart (whom I secretly adore) without all the complicatedness. thanks I have tons of pyrex too. I'm just thinking of all the great gifts you could make for the holidays

  54. 54
    Ashley says:

    I just stumbled upon this and im so glad I did! This is such a great gift idea! CANNOT wait to try it! :)

  55. 55
    Carol says:

    Etching a casserole dish is a brilliant idea! Hey, that would make a cute wedding present too…

  56. 56
    [email protected] says:

    Aww, your bowl is so cute! And I love the casserole dish. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

  57. 57
    Country Girl in the City says:

    I love this! The little birdie is so cute and now I want to go out and get a trifle bowl just so I can make one like it. Love the pyrex dishes and I will certainly be doing this one day! Now I just need to make it out to Michael's sometime for some etching cream. I did glass etching waaaaay back in high school at class and I would love to give it a try again.

    If you ever have a minute, stop by my blog and say hi.

  58. 58
    Paige says:

    I'm teaching this at church this month. I bought the vinyl cling sheets for stencils and cut some designs using the Cricut. They stick to the glass well. And if you handle it carefully they are reusable.

  59. 59
    RootsAndWingsCo says:

    That is so funny you chose those two things to etch on! Great minds must think alike because we did those things too! I love both uses! This is our trifle bowl we did with thanks:
    Here's our pyrex dishes:
    [email protected]

  60. 60
    coreysmom says:

    Try they have very nice ideas with vinyl and very good prices as well. I have ordered all my vinyl fom them as well as at boutiques and craft shows throughout the valley ;)

  61. 61
    Bethany says:

    I love this- especially your design on the trifle bowl- whimsical and sweet!

  62. 62
    Hanneke Nelson says:

    I love the idea of etching pyrex dishes! I etched a little glass myself the other day and made a few mistakes here and there that taught a valuable lesson or two. Best one: glass etching cream can be reused! I wrote them down for you here


  63. 63
    Crafty Batches says:

    Simply amazing, probably the easiest tutorial that I've seen so far! ~Sam

  64. 64
    Josie Dean says:

    This would look real cool on your shower glass! Or could you do it on mirrors??????? Just endless!

  65. 65
    Creekermom says:

    I did this "way back" in high school but recently purchased some glass mugs and wanted to do the glass etching on the to give as a set and since it has been a quarter of a century I am really thrilled to have found your site and the step by step instructions.

  66. 66
    Becky Whitney says:

    I my daughter would love the Rhinestones but I love the etching and the wall art!

  67. 67
    Megan says:

    I think it's funny you posted this, we use a cricut and etch gifts for weddings and bridal showers. We etch pyrex all the time and use sayings like "Lovin' from Megan's oven". We've also etched water goblets and mirrors. They make great gifts!

    • 67.1
      Denna says:

      Hi. I tried the etching today on a pyrex bowl. It didn’t work. Then I noticed on the front bottom of myArmour Etch bottle
      It says it won’t etch some types of pyrex. Does anyone know what types of pyrex to avoid? I thought pyrex was pyrex.

      Anyone have any ideas why mine didn’t work?

      • 67.1.1
        Anonymous says:

        I’m wondering same thing!!! Looks like others are doing it on Pyrex
        Guess I’ll give it a shot.

  68. 68
    Megan says:

    I think it's funny you posted this, we use a cricut and etch gifts for weddings and bridal showers. We etch pyrex all the time and use sayings like "Lovin' from Megan's oven". We've also etched water goblets and mirrors. They make great gifts!

  69. 69
    southernscraps says:

    These are awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  70. 70
    CapriOrca8 says:

    I have also used contact paper in my cricuit and it worked well. You have to be a little more careful with tranfering it onto the glass.

  71. 71
    The Haggerty Family says:

    LOVE the glass etching! What a great thing for gifts. Much easier than I have tried to do in the past.

  72. 72
    evolve by mona says:

    That turned into a really great piece. Did you do it with a cricut?
    I have one and need to learn how to use it that is a beautiful piece.

  73. 73
    ~JeNn ChErRy~ says:

    I love it! I had some lady at Roberts trying to explain this to me and in my head I thought the machine was cutting the glass…I totally didn't understand. This makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE! Thank you for your pic!

  74. 74
    jeremy and steph says:

    LOVE this!!! How long do you think your bottle of etching cream will last? Did you use it all for this one project?

    • 74.1
      Liam says:

      The cream is reusable. Once the etch is done, scrape it off with a wooden stick (I use wooden coffee shop stirrers) and put it back in the bottle. This means you don’t need to be shy with the cream, ensuring a good etch.

  75. 75
    Angie says:

    I adore the pyrex! (The triffle bowl, too!) I am making the pyrex, a recipe book, and the cute hand towels you added fabric to for a house warming gift for some friends, and a wedding gift for some other friends. Thank you for the great ideas! I will try to add some pictures to the "you made it" section! :)

  76. 76
    Ashley says:


    I have the small bottle and have used it on several more projects than the ones shown here. I read on another site that you can scrape the cream off and re-use it on other projects. That's what I have done and it still has worked great for me.

    Hope that helps!

  77. 77
    Maggie Reno says:

    These are adorable. What font did you use on the pyrex dish? I'm working on the vinyl for a friend.

  78. 78
    Ashley says:

    Maggie, I'm pretty sure it was 'smiley monster' that I got for free from this website:

    Good luck!

  79. 79
    Anonymous says:

    So I've tried etching and it works but in your pictures the etching is much brighter and visible. Am I doing something wrong?

    • 79.1
      Angela says:

      Yes, same issue here: etching is light, not as “white” as the pictures here. Anyone have tips as to why? Thanks.

      • 79.1.1
        Randa says:

        Is there anyway to add color??

        Great idea and I’m doing this for christmas gifts this year.


      • 79.1.2
        Sheena says:

        If you want a “darker” etching: after you etch it the first time and wash the cream off, dry your item off really well then apply more etching cream, wait another 10 mins or so, then just wash it off. You can do this a couple times and it works really well. On one dish I did, I etched it 3 times before I liked the way it looked!

  80. 80
    Mollie says:

    I did an etching project in an art class – we used cheap shelf liner (he called it contact paper, so whatever term works best for you) and it worked pretty well. Yo just have to be careful apply it around edges so that it doesn't pull up or anything. I got points off because the paper slipped because I brushed too hard.

  81. 81
    Jeromy and Meghan says:

    Where can you find the pictures to etch? Is it a software or something?

  82. 82
    Ashley says:

    The images that I used to cut into the vinyl is with the software that came with my Silhouette machine. (Craft and vinyl cutter) You can create your own images with an exacto knife, and a lot of patience, or purchase vinyl cuts from a vinyl seller. It's up to you! But the Silhouette cutter is a lot of fun and does a lot of great stuff! :)

    Hope that helps!

  83. 83
    Miss says:

    We are making these for our ladies church group activity next month! I am so excited. Thank you!

  84. 84
    CaseyMarie says:

    Ironic… My mother just this past week brought me over a couple of glass etching books. I have many bar stemware glasses that are in need of being decorated. I was thinking of painting on them, but my mother offered another idea. Love it! That beautiful Silhouette would be so helpful in aiding me through my glass etching journey… not to mention the uber awesome greeting cards I have been working on! ;)

    Thank you for this post!!!
    ~Casey Marie

  85. 85
    Lindsay says:

    I made some of these and referenced your post here on my blog. Check it out at:
    Thanks for the great blog!
    Lindsay @ Diary of a Crafty Lady

  86. 86
    Carsmystical says:

    Looks fantastic, so want to make a few as presents…..just got to find a place in Australia that sells the etching cream…..

    Beautiful design also love it

    • 86.1
      Nicwith2 says:


      I did this many years ago to the glasses used for my wedding, instead of hiring glasses, I bought cheap glasses and etched guest name on one side and our names and date on the other. Ending up using them as place-cards at the reception and as a bonaire (?spelling) in one. Everyone loved ’em!

  87. 87
    Wren says:

    Re: Transfer paper…

    I don't understand its function. Why is it needed?

    -Thanks to anyone who can answer.

  88. 88
    Ashley says:


    Here is a video tutorial on how to use transfer tape. I think it will make a lot more sense to you to watch a video on someone using it.

    (Scroll down and you will see the title "Using Transfer Tape" as one of the video titles.)

    Hope that helps!

  89. 89
    Tammy says:

    This is an awesome idea- I've never seen etched pyrex and now I can't wait to try it!

  90. 90
    Hannah says:

    Do you have any tips for not getting streaking in your etching?

    • 90.1
      Liam says:

      Put the cream on nice and thick and leave it on at least as long as the directions state on the bottle. Remember you can scrape off and re-use the excess.

  91. 91
    Throckmorton Jones says:

    When applying the vinyl, start at one end or side and use a credit card or squeegee to press it down gradually. You won't get air bubbles that way. I used to work with vinyl cutting and application on a daily basis.

  92. 92
    Beverly says:

    This is really great! I have wondered how to etch glass. I am book marking the page!

  93. 93
    Heather says:

    I hate to be a wet blanket but I recently looked into using some etching acid I had around and read the label carefully. It's VERY toxic – both to use and to dispose of. I decided not to tackle the project and am not even sure of the best way to dispose of the jar of cream. Even sand blasting is dangerous because of the glass dust it creates.
    Just an FYI.

  94. 94
    Bernie says:

    Can you etch Acrylic or Lucite?

    • 94.1
      raija says:

      the armor etch cream will let you etch most surfaces including rocks and ceramics so you can just test objects and see if you like the results.

  95. 95
    Loo says:

    Maybe painter’s tape with small designs cut out, like leaves would be easier for new crafters. Great idea, adhesive shelf vinyl sheets. Along this same idea, save your Arbor Mist wine bottles, scrape off the labels, using a heat gun helps, then using glittery embossing powder to decorate the bottle. Love your blog.

  96. 96
    Sharon says:

    I tried to etch wine glasses and other “round” objects – extremely difficult. Would NOT recommend.

  97. 97
    Amanda says:

    This is super cool! Found you on StumbleUpon and I’m glad I did! Will be looking through the rest of your site! :)
    Another idea might be to use this technique on canning jars for yourself or for personalized gifts of salsa, jam, etc… :)

  98. 98
    Ana says:

    This is amazing, I can’t wait to try etching some of my own glass projects. Thank you for sharing!

  99. 99
    Lady A/ says:

    I have done this on small stand up mirrors, it really gives the etching a 3-D appearance. Great gift for men. I do things like 3 mast sailing ships, golf clubs (if they play of course), etc for men. I’ve also done the mirror in the bathroom (which has a nautical theme) with a lighthouse and seagulls, and a small round mirror on the wall with seashells.
    Remember, this IS permanent, so if you do something like the bathroom mirror……..

  100. 100
    Olivia says:

    I tried this last night and it didn’t etch! I did it over and over again for different lengths of time. Is there anything else I should try before giving up?