Coffee is my favorite time of day. I love collecting gorgeous mugs to make my coffee drinking even more of an occasion. I’ve seen a lot of interesting DIY mug projects–loads of painted cups and stenciled mugs using oil-based Sharpie markers and other dishwasher-resilient mediums. I thought I’d try my hand at a new technique this time: etching. I’ve never done any etching before, but it turns out its not too complex a process, and only a few supplies are needed. I picked up a large glass mug for $1 as well as a bottle of Armour Etch cream. I found the etching cream online but it can also be purchased at craft stores.

 

Etched Glass Mug

Etched Glass Mug

Supplies I used: glass mug, rubbing alcohol, napkins, a pair of latex gloves, Armour Etch cream, foam brush, letter stickers, and painter’s tape.

Supplies at the ready!

Supplies at the ready!

I began by cleaning the outside of the mug with rubbing alcohol. I put on latex gloves first so I wouldn’t leave any fingerprints on the surface of the glass. Just a quick once around with some rubbing alcohol on paper napkins gave the mug a clean, smudge-free area to work with. Make sure the mug is dry before you proceed!

Clean and ready to be etched!

Clean and ready to be etched!

Etching cream by nature is pretty corrosive, so make sure it doesn’t come into contact with eyes, skin, or other important surfaces. I kept my gloves on for the duration of the project and covered my work table with a brown paper bag.

I set out to etch the word “coffee” in my mug, but the choice is up to you! A personalized name mug would make a great gift. I’m covering the stickers with etching cream, so just the relief of the letters will be visible. To etch letters themselves, you’d have to use stencils or cut out letters using tape or clear contact paper. To center the letters, I started by placing the two middle “ff”s as close to the middle of the mug as possible.

Mug Etching DIY

I added the “o” and the first “e” next. Adding the stickers is a little tricky while wearing latex gloves, but its important to keep the glass surface free of fingerprints.

Mug Etching DIY

I stuck on the “c” and the last “e.” I kept the letters as straight as I could given the curve of the mug. I used the painter’s tape to make a rectangle, the inside of which would be covered in etching cream. I tore off small pieces of tape to make a straight line that bordered the bottom of the letters. If the tape pieces are too large, the line won’t be straight. Be patient, this step takes a few minutes!

Mug Etching DIY

I continued to border the letters with tape until I had made a tidy rectangle. Make sure the tape and stickers are firmly attached to the glass! If the tape isn’t secure enough, the etching cream will seep under it and etch unintended areas.

All set to etch!

All set to etch!

Using a foam brush or something similar, apply a coat of etching cream inside the taped rectangle. Cover the stickers with a generous layer of cream, but not so much that its dripping off the surface.

Don't forget, etching cream is corrosive!

Don’t forget, etching cream is corrosive!

Set a timer for five minutes. That’s all the time that’s needed to make a huge impression!

Tick tock tick tock...

Tick tock tick tock…

Rinse off the cream under warm running water. I used a utility sink, as I didn’t want to take the risk of damaging the kitchen sink with Armour Etch. This is probably an unnecessary worry, but I wanted to be sure. You could also dunk the mug in a plastic bucket filled with water or rinse the item off outside with a garden hose.

I removed the tape first, then it was onto the stickers...

I removed the tape first, then it was onto the stickers…

After I rinsed off all of the cream, I peeled off the tape and stickers. A quick cleaning with a little soap and water made this little guy ready for use!

The best part of waking up...is a copious amount of coffee in your cup!

The best part of waking up…is a copious amount of coffee in your cup!

This project was a fairly quick one, and I’m happy with the results. The possibilities are endless–you could try etching on a variety of glass items and with different styles of stickers. I might pick up a few more mugs to make a set of four so this guy won’t be so lonely in the cupboard.

Fin!

Fin!

Happy crafting! -Olivia

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