Saturday, January 07, 2012

Etching Glass

This story starts because I tried to get an engagement gift for my sister from Etsy and it was a major fail. My first Etsy fail actually and I am pretty bummed about it. Long story short, I ordered a special personalized engagement ornament from a well established Etsy shop with hundreds of sales and a feedback rating in the high 90s. As of today the feedback is 69% and drops everyday. Since December 15 there have been 87 negative feedbacks left from people who paid and never received their orders. In there have been a smattering of positive feedbacks. Did some people get their orders? Are those old positive feedbacks? Who knows. It is very sad and from the feedback it is clear that there were a lot of sad Christmases with missing presents. I kept hoping that if I stayed positive and didn't leave negative feedback it would show up in the mail one day. I ordered December 4th and paid by Google Checkout December 5th. I started an official report with Etsy, but one negative feedbacker reported that there is nothing Etsy can do. 

ANYWAY....(I guess that wasn't a short story)

It did, however, give me the chance to try out a new craft! Kristin told me about a neat new craft she tried. As always she was very generous with the tips and ideas! I decided to try to make personalized etched glass champagne toasting flutes for Erin and Wael for their wedding. I figured thought I should practice first so I got two wine glasses as practice and two champagne flutes as the real deal. 

In addition to great tips from Kristin, I used this video to get me started.

glass you want to etch (Kristin says don't use Pyrex)
Glass etching cream found in the glass section of the craft store (bring your coupon!)
vinyl found in the Cricut section of the craft store or online (coupon doesn't work on Cricut stuff)
Cricut or machine to cut with
small paint brush or foam paint brush (I used the foam ones I got 20/$1 at Michaels)
sink (to wash off cream later)
gloves (The cream is some serious stuff, you will want gloves when you touch it to wash it off)
Patience (this cannot be hurried, so don't do it in a rush!)

It was overall a fairly low complexity project, but it does require time and patience. 

LUCKILY a super awesome daughter (read: me) got my mom a Cricut for Christmas. So I was able to cut the vinyl for the stencils with it. It was great because I could try out a variety of sizes. Note: We did realize her Big Kick would cut vinyl too (afterwards) but the Cricut was nice for playing with sizes. 

1. Practice cutting out your shapes so you can see what shapes and sizes you like. We played with different fonts and sizes. Originally I was going to spell out their names but I didn't think it looked as nice on the small champagne flutes. We also played with different flourishes to put on the opposite side of the initial. I tried the wedding date, but it just took up too much room at the smallest size the Cricut would cut.

This is the font I decided on. 

Mom seeing what it looks like on the glass.

2. Cut out your shapes or letters.  You are going to use the "negative" space as your stencil. So you want to cut your vinyl big enough that there is a blank area around the letter or shape. 
3. Peel back the backside of the vinyl. VERY carefully and slowly place it on your glass so there aren't bubbles or creases. (This was actually pretty hard on the glasses as they are curved and the vinyl was hard to lay flat). 
4. Take your time to use your fingernail to work out any air bubbles. Especially around the edges. Any air bubbles means your etching cream will leak and etch where you don't want it to! Kristin's tip was to look through the opposite side so you can see where there are air pockets. That definitely helped.
5. Take some more time to work out the air bubbles.

6. Use your paint brush or foam brush to paint on (rather thickly) the etching cream. I put it on a piece of foil to dip my paint brush.

7. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. The bottle says 10, but Kristin advised that 15 gave a better etch and I agreed.

8. Bring your glass to the sink (with your gloves on) and wash off the cream. Then peel off your vinyl and continue to rinse it until it is all off. Dry off your glass.
9.Voila! You have beautifully etched glass! 


The practice wine glasses turned out very well too! So I did give them both sets (wine and champagne). When I gave the gift to them, they used the wine glasses right away! All the glasses have the same initials, but the wine and champagne glasses have different flourish designs. 

This was a really fun project and I am excited about all of the possibilities for the future! It also felt really good to give them a handmade gift that they can use at their wedding!