The Silhouette machine, either the Cameo or Portrait is great for so many things. I’m a huge fan of Vinyl, and my collection has grown, thanks to a number of projects, particularly this one. One of the things that you can use the Silhouette and vinyl for is etching designs in glassware. Last month, the Little Monkey’s school was having a fund raising auction, and I volunteered to make school logo wine glasses. The projects were really easy with my Silhouette machine and glass etching solution. Apparently, they were a big hit, and I had some requests from the class parents to make the etched wine glasses for our classroom teachers. I figured if I’m going to etch wine glasses for the Little Monkey’s three teachers, then I should also make some beer mugs for the Big One’s three teachers. ( If you recall, the Big One has male teachers, so I thought I’d go with the beer mugs!) They turned out well, and I thought I’d share the tutorial, in case, someone else wanted to turn a web image on a school website into an etched wine glass or beer mug.
If you have never used a web image with your Silhouette machine before, there are a few things that you should know. First, you need the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition that you have to purchase in addition to the basic version that comes with your machine. You’ll need to find the school logo and save it as a .JPG to your computer. For the Little Monkey’s school, I actually asked and received a file from the school. For the Big One, I just went to the school’s website and saved the school’s logo. (You can do this by right clicking an image on a website, if you’ve never done this before.) Once you have the image saved onto your computer, you will need to open the file up in your Silhouette software. Then, you will need to select your tracing area, and highlight the logo. It is likely after the cut lines are marked that you will need to edit the file a bit. Here’s what mine looked like when I first started:
The shading on the logo caused two different cut lines to appear, and I really only wanted one. To make the file ready for the glass etching, I needed to use the eraser tool and remove the unnecessary lines. (You also get more eraser options with the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio!)
For a logo this simple, the correcting took no time at all, and the logo for the Little Monkey’s school was a sharp black and white image and traced perfectly! Next step after making the design look the way I wanted– cut the files out. (I needed to make 3 beer mugs and 6 wine glasses). I used a roll of black Silhouette vinyl that I had, but the color is not important, as it’s just being used as a stencil for your design.
Now, the interesting thing about glass etching, is the positive part of the design– the part that is usually considered the logo, is weeded out of the design. The positive part of the design is what you want to be etched into the glass. I found that this meant that small bits of vinyl were left in the stencil in order to get the exact details of the design.
After preparing all of the vinyl stencils, I cleaned and prepped all of my glassware. I shop at the Goodwill for these items. By shopping there, I am up-cycling discarded glassware, and I can find great deals. I actually found a set of 8 matching wine glasses for $5. Each of the beer mugs were $1.50. Thus, I spent less than $10 on the glassware. Usually my local Goodwill has a great selection of glasses for etching. I wash them when I get them home, and to remove the grease pen marks on the bottom, I rub the price off with rubbing alcohol.
I used transfer tape to very carefully place the designs on all of the glasses and mugs. I then used the scraper to rub the vinyl down thoroughly. You want it to stick the to glass VERY WELL. Any gaps or areas where the vinyl is not sticking to the glass well could result in mistakes. Smooth out your bubbles. Oh, and think about how you and where you want to place the image– you only get one chance else you’ll have to cut the file again! (Trust me on this one! I know from experience!)
Why tape it? This helps make sure that the Armour Etch doesn’t spread accidentally onto the glass. Armour Etch is the etching solution and is readily available at your local craft store (or you can use this affiliate link to Amazon). The Armour Etch requires a thick coat over the design areas, and actually only take 30 seconds to work. (I never trust this, and always let it sit for a minute because I don’t think it’s working!) Then all you have to do is remove the tape and vinyl and wash the glasses again.
The wine glasses were given to the Little Monkey’s teachers for class presents along with a bottle of red wine. The Beer Mugs I filled with Kit Kat bars and used a star die cut as a tag. On the tag I wrote, “You deserve a break this summer! We hope you get a chance to kick back and enjoy a cold one! Have a wonderful Summer!” (I was playing off the mug and the Kit Kat Bars.)