I’m going to show you a set of personalized beer growlers, and beer mugs, that I designed and etched for my brother’s birthday/christmas. He’s in his early twenties and has been brewing beer with his roommate for a while now. I’ll admit, most of the family thought this was a fad, the first batch would be terrible, and he’d sort of give up on the process. Nope. The first batch apparently sucked fairly badly, but not enough to deter college kids who can’t afford to pay retail for alcohol and his brews have slowly gotten better over the last year or two. He’s started giving bottles away as gifts to family members.
One of the things he was complaining about was that he had to store his beer in either individual bottles or in kegs, neither of which was convenient for him to transport. The keg was hard on a bike, and lets face it, sometimes you don’t want to bring a whole keg to the party, but the bottles were more expensive and easier to break/harder to get back. So I thought I’d buy him a couple growlers – easy to take two in a backpack on a bike, and you’ve only got two bottles to worry about. And then I remembered how my mother can never get her serving dishes back from the relatives (“Oh, this isn’t yours, I’ve had it for years”). So personalized growlers it was.
I do have some oil enamels at home for decorating metal water bottles, but I wanted a classier look, and there’s not a lot classier than etched glass. It’s beautiful and no matter how hard he scrubs the design won’t come off. It’s really easy too which was an added bonus. I perused a few different ways of doing it on Instructables and settled on the version below.
What you need to make your own etched glass
Stick on vinyl – the kind used for wall decals that also peels off easily
Small (cheap) paintbrush
Gloves – Something to protect your hand that can get wet and be thrown away, Armour Etch contains a variety of acids that will try to eat you.
The actual steps are really easy.
1. Select/create your design – I spent some time googling, combining, and sketching to come up with one’s I thought my brother would like.
2. If you’re not an amazing artist who’s confident in free handing your design, use a copier to print your design directly onto the vinyl, then cut out and apply the vinyl to the glass. If you are that confident person, apply your vinyl to the glass object, then sketch the design on with a marker. For both versions it is very important that there are no air bubbles under the vinyl – it must be a smooth as you can possibly get it.
3. Cut out your design with the x-acto knife and remove the portions that you want etched.
4. Gently wipe down the glass if you’ve gotten a lot of finger smudges on it and make sure that the vinyl has no bubbles, or gaps where it’s risen along the edges of your design.
5. PUT ON YOUR GLOVES before proceeding further.
6. Using the paintbrush, stir up the Armour Etch, then dab on to your pattern. Make sure to cover all the glass you want etched with a thick coat of etching solution.
7. Wait 5 minutes.
8. Using your paintbrush, carefully scoop as much of the goop as possible back into the bottle.
9. Hold the bottle under warm running water to rinse off the remaining Amour Etch. You may need to brush at it a little, but I found just rotating the bottle under the warm water got all of the chemical solution off.
10. Remove the vinyl stencil
11. Give the bottle a good scrub – this gets rid of any lingering chemicals and the sticky stuff left by the vinyl.
12. Dry and enjoy.