One of my pitfalls when it comes to my love of everything DIY is my ability to get really excited about a project, rush out and buy the supplies, complete my first one, and then feel so accomplished that I save the rest for “later” (since I, you know, have TONS of time). I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve done this—sometimes it astonishes me.
So this project came about back in May when I realized that I had so many miscellaneous things to put in my BM gift bags, and all we had for the groomsmen was their super awesome money clips and their ties. I had also ordered some personalized golf tees, but hadn’t decided how to package them yet. And then one day I came across these Martha Stewart DIY instructions on how to etch glass at home! After waffling around the idea for a few days, I decided it was a cute, cheap way to add an extra little something and also package the golf tees! So I went down to the local Dollar Tree and picked up six pint glasses to transform into monogrammed glasses for the guys. But I also needed to pick up the other supplies to get my project accomplished. That Friday night, my mom and I had a “date” to get Mother’s Day portraits done, and I asked her, if we had time, would we be able to stop by Michaels (since I had planned to complete the project the next day and I had a good coupon). We made it to Michaels about 10 minutes before closing, and we rushed around to gather the appropriate tools. After six minutes of searching, we still couldn’t fine etching cream. Frantic, I concluded that it was a Martha Stewart tutorial so there must be some in her section. So after quickly grabbing a bottle of her Frost Etching Effect paint we were in line and out the door.
The next day, as I was working on the project, it soon became clear that I was doing something wrong.
The inspiration for my project / Image via Martha Stewart
My sad first attempt at glass “etching”
Can you see the horrible chipping and uneven lines? This could NOT be right. I tried washing the glass, since etching it should be permanent. But the more I scrubbed it as a test to its durability, the more it became clear I had definitely done SOMETHING wrong. I mean, it was chipping away like paint. And that, my friends, is because I used paint, not etching cream. So back to Michaels I went (earlier in the day so as to not run out of time again and end up with the wrong thing…AGAIN). After another fruitless search, I gave in and asked where the etching cream would be and alas! I finally had the tools I needed to complete my project!
The first thing I did was create contact-paper stencils of the monogram. First, I tried to do a full initials monogram, but after doing the first one for FI as practice I realized that sticking to a simple last initial only was my best bet (especially since I had since decided to also include monogrammed shot glasses!). I didn’t take any photos of this part of the process, but it really is very simple—I just traced the letter onto the contact paper, and since it is small I used a box cutter to cut it out. Next, I carefully applied the stencil onto the glass. Thankfully the contact paper was easy to remove and replace if the first placement was wrong. (TIP: trace it onto a LARGE piece of contact paper—if you make it too small and close to the letter, the etching cream will seep off and create an extra, unwanted line!) Then, with a paintbrush I put a huge glop of etching cream over the letter. I learned after finishing the first trial run that a huge glop is the way to go to get a nice even etch:
Notice how you can’t even tell what letter I’m making?
Now that you have the etching cream on the glass, you just let it sit for five minutes and then wash it off! It’s THAT easy! And let me tell you, even after a couple mess-ups, the project was still a perfectly cheap accomplishment. Now just to highlight the incredible differences between frost etching paint and etching cream, I have included this photo of the finished project, side by side with my original failure.
The one on the left, with the cool etched-glass M, and the one on the right with the peeling off paint
Do my glasses look like I had them professionally etched? No, they don’t. But they still look pretty darn good. And for what I paid for them, they’re definitely the perfect throw-in gift. I’m including the price breakdown for this awesome project in case you’re interested in doing it yourself:
Did you decide to add an extra DIY project, just because? Did your first attempt go smoothly, or did you have to make a couple practice ones before getting it right?