First, shake up that bottle REALLY well! Shake it until you think it's okay, then shake it some more. Next, GLOB it onto the glass, stroking it in one direction (I used a foam brush). Once you've got a good cover over everything, then go back and stroke it in the opposite direction. I then went over it once again WITH GLOVES and made a circular motion all over the cream. I let mine sit for about twenty minutes to get a good frosty look. I know the label says only 5 minutes, but I've never found 5 minutes to be long enough.
Everyone new to etching should know this information...I've seen so many people give up on etching because their solid areas will be streaky or will be too faint. I have problems with getting detail to show up on glasses (I'm impatient, and used to etching on mirrors)...it can be frustrating to put a lot of effort into a design and have it turn out less than absolutely glorious.
That said, I LOVE your project...and that's just my craftiness speaking (my nerdiness is squealing with joy as well...)! Ambitious, too, considering the size! Looks very nice, and will serve it's function well. Too cool! I'm now looking around my house to see what all needs a good etching...*laughs*