Last minute gift: $1 etched glass mugs

I had the best intentions of making gifts this Christmas, but a week of stomach flu and the general busy-ness of Christmas did not work in my favor. I was planning to make fabric car organizers for one side of our family, and I even got the fabric and notions and cut out all the pieces—but I ran out of time to sew them.

So instead, as we were carrying on the family tradition by having my small children shop at the Dollar Store for gifts for one another, I spotted some holiday glassware and was inspired.

A few years ago, I made Brooke etched glass plates with a monogram design, and I knew I still had the etching kit laying around. Etching glass creates a permanent frosted effect (and should always be done on the side of a dish that doesn't contact food!).

Also a few years ago, another member of the other side of the fam gave out Santa cookie plates. I figured Santa must be thirsty and pulled out the etching kit!

I didn't have the time to cut out five full stencils from vinyl contact paper like they recommend, so I decided to trace the design freehand (is that an oxymoron?). I made an insert to fit inside these nice glass mugs and drew out a pretty "Santa," inspired a bit by Jaime's friend's script.

I used a Q-tip to apply the etching cream. A combination of a smooth stroke and dabbing on a thick layer of the cream worked best.

When you use a stencil, as long as you cover the glass really well (well enough that it's very hard to see your stencil), you'll get good, solid results. With the Q-tip, in places the etching cream layer was too thin, and would dry about before it had a chance to etch the glass, so there were some broken and spotty sections. I applied another round of etching cream and redid them—but I learned to apply it even thicker than I initially thought, until the last glass I did required no retouching.

Once you've let the etching cream sit for about 5 minutes, rinse the glass thoroughly in warm water and let it dry. Very easy! Note that the "sit" time does vary depending on what kind of stencil you're using (the rub'n'etch kind can only take 1 minute of the caustic cream) and the thickness of the glass (thin glass, such as glass ornaments, might etch away completely!).

I really wanted to add a second line, "Don't stop believin'!" However, I didn't have quite enough etching cream and the lines from the Q-tip weren't quite narrow enough to be able to write something that long on one line.

L to R : A thick enough application (with "guide"), retouched (pre-rinse) and  finished.


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