Personalized glass
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Quick and Easy Gifts You Can Personalize

What is better than a personalized gift? A quick and easy personalized gift! Glass etching has been one of my favorite “go to’s” for great gifts for many years. It allows you to make beautiful, personalized gifts in literally minutes. And it’s fun!

(This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. I will only link to things we actually recommend. If we tried something and didn’t like it, I’ll suggest something else. Thanks.)

Supplies

Everything on the list except the glassware will be enough to do dozens of projects so, once you have the supplies, your gifts will only be the cost of the glassware. And with everything on hand, you will always be prepared to make quick and easy gifts.

*Optional- Alcohol swabs (https://amzn.to/326gFvm)
Stencil- purchased, hand cut or made with a cutting machine (I use a Cameo Silhouette https://amzn.to/3s5wP3e) OR craft punch (https://amzn.to/3pYdSwL)
Utility (https://amzn.to/3ITYpq3) or craft knife (https://amzn.to/31W0wJi)
Glassware- my favorite source is Dollar Tree! There are great finds here and, if you aren’t happy with the outcome, you’re not out a big expense. I also like glassware from IKEA. I always keep extras on hand for last minute gifts.
Vinyl (https://amzn.to/3DZNPds) or Contact paper (https://amzn.to/3DWYtl6)
*Optional- Transfer tape- if your design is a solid shape you can easily apply it without this. But, if your design has small pieces in the middle, like the center of letters with loops, this makes application quick and easy! (https://amzn.to/30xdaOs) If your design is small enough, you can even use wide painter’s tape if you have that.
Paint brush
Armour Etch- a little bit goes a long way so you’d be fine to start with the small container (https://amzn.to/3EW45O3) but, if you want to do more, the larger container is a better deal and lasts a long time (https://amzn.to/322FbxQ).

Prepare Your Glassware

The first step to creating these beautiful, yet quick and easy gifts, is to clean the glass surface that you plan on etching. I prefer to use alcohol swabs. One swab will clean an entire batch of glassware so a box goes a very long way and costs less than three cents a swab. Once you’ve wiped down the design surface, set the glassware aside to dry while you prepare your design.

Create Your Design

There are many ways you can create your design. Ultimately, whatever you decide, it will need to be cut out of the vinyl or Contact Paper. You can draw it, print a design you love (I have the best luck when I search for silhouettes of images) or create it yourself. But another, REALLY simple solution is to use a fun craft punch like the ones pictured below. I think a star punch or snowflake would make a great Christmas design, a heart punch would be adorable at Valentine’s and a flower would be great for a gift in spring. Craft punches make for the quickest and easiest version of these quick and easy gifts. Once you have decided on your design, cut it out of the vinyl or Contact Paper. (From here on out, I will refer to it as the vinyl because the two are interchangeable for this project.)

Craft punches really make these quick and easy gifts!

Apply Your Stencil

When using transfer tape, apply a piece at least the size of your design to the “right”, front side of your design. Using something like a ruler or credit card, make sure the transfer tape is smoothly adhered to your design and the bubbles are removed. Next, remove the backing from the adhesive side of your design. Once you have determined where you would like to place the design on your glassware, whether using transfer tape or not, press just the center of your design onto the glass. Below are a couple of examples.

Next, you begin to stick the rest of the design down to your glass from the center out. This takes a little patience but is the secret to getting a really clean final design. It is fairly straightforward if you are working on a smooth or flat piece. However, if working on something rounded, like a wine glass, the trick is to start making small cut marks around your design to allow it to adhere to the glass as flat as possibly. The picture on the right is after the transfer tape has been removed but gives you a better view of the cuts around the perimeter.

Once you have most of the design stuck to the glass, remove the transfer tape if you are using it.

Work Out the Bubbles

Continue to stick the design to the glass, working out the bubbles. The important part is making sure you remove any bubbles that are along the edge of your actual design. Bubbles in the adhesive away from the design edges are fine, as long as they are far enough away that they don’t creep to the design edge. It is very common to have at least one or two spots along the design edge where the vinyl bubbles up though. The top of the “f” in the picture above is a perfect example. No worries, we can fix that!

Using a sharp knife like a utility or craft knife, make small slices down the center of any bubbles that are along the design edge, or close to the edge, then lay each side of the splice down flat on the glass, overlapping one over the other. Make sure they overlap because, if there is even a sliver exposed, the etching cream will etch it. No big deal if it happens because you’re probably the only one who will ever notice…but still. And the reason for cutting the bubbles close to the edge is because they can actually move and will sometimes make their way to the edge of the design after you already have the etching cream on the glass. This allows the etching to “leak” beyond it’s borders. Once again, it’s not a big deal but you will know it’s there.

Time to Etch!

The actual etching is remarkably quick and easy! Once you’ve got the design adhered to the glass, all you have to do is paint on the etching cream. This truly is the quick and easy part of your quick and easy personalized gift! Armour Etch is the etching cream that I use. (NOTE: It’s a good idea to take safety precautions- protective eyewear and gloves and a mask, if you’re sensitive to it. But, truth be told, I have never done any of the above other than the glasses that I have to wear in order to see and I have never had any problems.)

Personalized glass
Ready to etch!

I use a small flat paintbrush that is about 1/2″ wide. The more solid the design, the more etching cream it will take. However, even then, it doesn’t take much. A little bit really goes a long way. I make multiple projects a year and I purchased my current 10 oz bottle in December 2017! I shake the bottle and get the etching cream from the lid. Thoroughly cover the open area with the etching cream. Do not rinse the brush out yet though.

Set A Timer

It only takes about 7 minutes, total. Set a timer for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, take the brush and paint the etching cream over the design again. You do not need to add any more etching cream, just move around what is already on the glass. This is to remove any bubbles that can prevent contact between the etching cream and the glass in spots. When you do this, you may notice what feels like sand or pebbles in the cream. That is glass that is being etched off. Set the timer for 3 more minutes.

Remove the Etching Cream

Run the design under water and thoroughly remove the etching cream. It requires more than just the pressure of the faucet so you will probably have to wipe the glass. If you choose to use your hands, consider wearing gloves. And remember, there are pieces of the etched glass in there so be careful!

Remove the Vinyl

The final step is to remove the vinyl, rinse any residue that may remain and dry off your beautiful quick and easy personalized gifts!

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