A Crafty Idea For Stumped Christmas Gift Givers

December 22, 2011

Christmas ornament for roommates featuring the apartment number

Everyone has that one person on their list who is impossible to buy for. For me, that is generally my mom and my boyfriend. But throughout the years, I’ve learned more and more the significance of “it’s the thought that counts.”

I’ve always chalked that saying up to meaning “who cares if its not the best gift for them, at least you thought about them enough to get them SOMETHING.”  The past few years, though, I’ve learned that for me it truly means “it doesn’t have to be that one perfect gift they’ve always wanted, it’s all about showing how much they mean to you, and that you put the heart and consideration into giving them something special”

Being a designer by profession and a crafter at heart, I’ve begun to make at least one gift each year. Something unique, and created specifically for that special someone. While it may be odd, or not very useful day to day, it really shows the people I care about what they mean to me, and that’s what Christmas is all about!

So for those of you who are stumped for one last gift, here is a crafty idea to spark some inspiration:

Glass Etching

Etched glass is a very quick, easy, and impressive gift! It always results in a “Oh, wow … how did you do that?!” response. I’ve etched wine glasses, beer glasses, ornaments, picture frames, mirrors, and more.

All you need is:

  • A glass object of your choice
  • Armour Etch etching cream (available at Michael’s and other craft stores)
  • Tape or vinyl shelving liner (my preference — it makes your stencils reusable!)
  • Exacto knife and cutting mat
  • A cheap small brush, (an old art brush or old toothbrush works fine)
  • Newspaper to protect your work space
  • Sink
  • Gloves (the etching cream can burn)

Custom beer glasses featuring favorite band logos

Decide on a glass item and a design. I’ve etched wine glasses with the Minneapolis skyline for city friends, or a glass ornament (available at Michael’s during the holiday season) for roommates with our apartment number, or beer glasses with favorite bands, or a family brewery logo. It’s all about customization!

Cut out the design from your tape or vinyl shelving liner, and stick it on the glass item (make sure its clean!) where you want it. For etching cream, smaller designs tend turn out better, but too much detail can get lost. make sure to really seal it down! Use the back of your finger nail on edges so that the cream doesn’t leak under.

Lay out newspaper by a sink to protect your countertop. Put your gloves on, and using your brush, paint on the etching cream. Do a thick, even coat but not so thick that it will run down the side of your glass. You have to move a bit quickly, so that it etches evenly, but don’t get sloppy!

A pair of glasses etched with the Minneapolis skyline, and famous Spoon and Cherry silhouette

Let the etching cream sit for about 10 minutes, and then rinse it off under warm water.

Remove your stencil, and dry off your glass. You’re done! You have a unique, specially made gift to impress your friends, in under half an hour.