Saturday, December 31, 2011

DIY Etched Glasses

There was only one gift-giving rule for our family Christmas this year: everything must be hand-made. Now, that term can be used pretty loosely, but it resulted in some really amazing and most thoughtful gifts I have ever seen.

My next few posts will feature the items we exchanged this Christmas.

Crafty Christmas 2011: Etched Glasses
Of course, I stalked Pinterest for weeks coming up with ideas for gifts for my family. And, if you've never been on the site, has some really fun DIY projects you might want to try - it's like Pinterest for crafts!

Anyhow, I got the idea for etched glasses from J&S at YoungHouseLove. They etched a glass vase for Thanksgiving, and every day of November they wrote one thing they were thankful for on an index card. On Thanksgiving Day, they read every one of them - how sweet! (Tucking that one away for the future)

My adapted idea was both simple and complicated, and while it could have been a major disaster, it turned out great! :) My mom now has a set of custom-etched drinking glasses... fun and functional: win!
All of the grandkids - Todd the bunny, Nikki the cat,
Goober the Shiba Inu, and Mika the Shiba Inu
And because I can't not show you all of their cuteness, here are the grandkids themselves:

If you're going to take on this project, here's what you'll need:

  • Glass tumblers
  • Armour Etch glass etching cream (try Jo-Ann, Michaels, or Hobby Lobby)
  • Painters tape
  • Cardstock
  • Exacto knife
  • Paint brush

Got them all? Good. Now see if you can follow along with the madness.

First, I bought a handful of drink tumblers from Target, $4 for a set of 4 glasses made by Libbey (sorry, I couldn't find them on the Target website, but they have plenty! Promise!).

Then, I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some Armour Etch glass etching cream.

I just did a google image search and found silhouettes of pets that could be dead ringers for the real ones, then printed the black silhouettes out on a sheet of cardstock. It took a little editing in Photoshop to get them to be the same height (2.5 inches). Example:


Once printed, I covered the silhouette with painters tape (green Frog Tape!). Since it was nice and sunny out, I went over to a brightly-lit window and traced the silhouette onto the painters tape.

Using the exacto knife, I cut out the shape of the silhouette I traced and took the negative, peeling it veeeery carefully off of the cardstock.

I lined up the silhouette to make sure it was straight-ish and placed on the glass properly and really tightly... bring on the etching cream!

All of the warnings kind of freaked me out

Then I used the brush to apply the etching cream. First I gave it a thin layer, but then realized that you have to lay it on thick. If you can see any of the glass beneath the cream, then it's not enough etching cream. The silhouette should be all white. 

I let the etching cream sit for about 2-3 minutes, and then washed it off under the sink with water, drying it off with a paper towel. The painters tape came off easily, and I gave it one more rinse, leaving me with a finished glass!

Next: Rinsed and repeated 3 more times for the full set.

If you scrutinize, you can tell it's not perfect, and you can also tell which glasses I worked on later as I learned how to use the etching cream. I actually like that they're a little flawed - they're totally homemade!

Here's an up-close of the finished glasses:


If I did this again, I'd make it easier on myself in a few ways.

  • With a wider piece of painters tape, I would've avoided layering multiple strips of tape for each silhouette.
  • Could wax paper have made the tape removal easier without taking away its stickiness? I wish I'd had some wax paper to try it.
  • A vinyl cutting machine would've totally eliminated any messy outlines and the exacto knife - painters tape challenge. Vinyl, rather than painters tape, could've given me nice, clean, neat lines.
Update: Contact paper! Contact paper could be much, much easier than painters tape and cheaper than vinyl!

And note: if you do this project, you can't just touch up the etched parts-- you have the do the whole silhouette over again, otherwise you'll get spotty etching. Trust me... I tried and failed!

Final result:

My mom loved it (when she wasn't kicking the cat off of her lap)!! When she opened the glasses, she didn't realize they were etched until I made her look at each one... she was really surprised initially, thinking that it was SUCH a funny coincidence that there were Shiba Inu dogs on the glasses she saw first. Of course, then she wanted to know how I did it all, so I'll call that a success! Yep, I'm 27 years old and still makin' crafts for my mom!

Has your family ever done a DIY Christmas? Did you make any of your gifts this year? Let's see 'em!

post signature

Linked up at:

Momma Hens Coop

Home Stories A2Z


  1. Hi! I came over from Thrifty Decor Chick's link party. This is a great project. I'm filing it away to try in 2012. I'm a new fan. Thanks!

  2. I've never tried etched glass but would love to add monograms!! Following you from thrifty decor chick-stop by for a visit!!

  3. Thanks ladies, glad you enjoyed my post. Thank you also for becoming my newest followers! :)

  4. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commentators here! lasik eye surgery Michigan



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...