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Etching is just stencils, and punk rock easy

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Dec. 17th, 2010 | 11:16 am
posted by: dancinglights in happycraftsmas

One of my friends is unashamedly obsessed with some video game and TV/toy brands from our childhood in the 1980s, including giant robots. He's also just started living pretty much on his own and is trying to put together the trappings of a household, which makes for very easy gifting.

I first saw some geeky pint glasses, including Transformers ones, on Etsy. For a single gift and no profit, I didn't mind stealing the idea. Glass etching, after all, can be as easy as making a packing-tape stencil cut out with an X-acto knife, and applying acid etching paste to it for 30 seconds. Bonus? The paste is about $10 for enough to do loads of designs this size, and thrift and dollar stores often have great plain glassware just waiting for decoration. Like these:

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Comments {3}


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from: angel_katchan
date: Dec. 17th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)

This is an awesome idea! I'm going to head to the craft store tonight to search for the paste.

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from: itsgoodtobefree
date: Dec. 17th, 2010 08:55 pm (UTC)

i was always under the impression that etching is expensive and time consuming. do you have any tips or suggestions for a first-timer?

btw i'm obsessed with transformers too, and i LOVE the glasses!!!

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stardust and gin

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from: dancinglights
date: Dec. 17th, 2010 09:49 pm (UTC)

Several methods of etching are expensive and time-consuming, including sandblasting, which can give you better coverage over a wide area. For smaller pieces like drinking glasses and jars, the acid paste works well enough. One can normally find a few stencils for sale near the paste, and vinyl lettering stickers work well, too.

My biggest tips for acid paste etching with a handmade stencil are just to keep in mind that the paste is both gloppy and dangerous: use as thin a tape as you can find for the stencil material on even slightly curved surfaces and rub it down well after cutting, because if the etching cream gets under any bubbles, it'll ruin the stencil lines. Apply the tape and then cut out the stencil *on* the piece itself so that delicate edges stick better. And above all, be careful of any safety warnings on the bottle. If not washed off entirely, it slowly eats organic matter like, say, people. I tend to wear nitrile gloves when I work with the stuff because I'm paranoid. The first time I tried it, I had no idea what I was doing beyond reading the instructions on the back of the paste, and it turned out fairly well.

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