How to Make Custom Etched Drinking Glasses – Using Your Kids’ Drawings

Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through a link on my blog I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you.

Guess what? You don’t need a Dremel tool or etching machine to etch glass!

You know those super cute custom-etched canning jars, glasses, and glass baking dishes on pinterest and etsy?

Many of them were probably made with etching cream.

I love this stuff, you guys! Your imagination is the limit with it! You can go any direction: classy, quirky, fun, elegant, or something else entirely.

Etched glasses make awesome DIY gifts.

You can personalize a glass or set of glasses for your favorite teacher to celebrate the end of the school year.

You can make a one-of-a-kind Father’s Day gift for your husband or dad. Maybe some custom designed etched bar glasses?

I really want to use etching cream to monogram the bottom of my glass baking dishes! So many possibilities!

The very first project I made with etching cream was a variety of custom drinking glasses to give extended family for Christmas – and all the designs were drawn by my kids. The project turned out so much better than I expected, and we had a great time.

(Warning: Etching cream will burn skin. Do not allow children to use the etching cream, and do not leave the project to rest in reach of young children. When you use the etching cream wear gloves and take care to keep it off your skin and off surfaces others may touch.)

How to Etch Glass with Etching Cream

Materials:

  • Plain glass drinking glasses (we bought a box at Dollar General)
  • Rubbing Alchohol
  • Paper towels
  • Etching cream (we used _)
  • Cheap paintbrushes
  • Disposable gloves

If you’re using precut stencils:

  • Flexible stencils and stencil adhesive

If you’re making your own stencils:

  • Contact paper (a dark color is helpful)
  • Carbon paper
  • Stylus, pencils and/or chopsticks
  • Optional: copier/scanner
  • Plain paper (Thin computer paper is good if you have a copier. Otherwise, use tracing paper.)
  • Pens & pencils
  • Masking tape (painter’s tape or drafting tape is best)
  • X-acto knife
  • Self-healing cutting mat
The plain glasses we etched for our project.
We found plain drinking glasses at Dollar General. Smooth glass work best.

Note: If you have a Silhouette or other craft cutter you could use that to cut designs from vinyl and use the reverse for this project, instead of fooling with the contact paper. I think it was worth it to use the contact paper and transfer the boys’ drawings.

Making Stencils from Contact Paper

I assigned recipients to the boys and told the boys to draw a picture, artistically write each person’s name, or create some other image or pattern that would represent the recipient well.

1) Draw your image(s). Use thick, dark lines for best results. Permanent marker works great. If you don’t have a copier or scanner, then draw your images on tracing paper. (I like a heavier tracing paper like this.)

2) To make your life much easier, use a copier or scanner to print mirror images of the drawings. Make extra photocopies of the drawings in case you mess up and need to start over.

If you don’t have access to a copier or scanner, then hopefully your drawing is on tracing paper. Carefully fill in the drawing on the backside of the paper as needed until the mirror image is clear.

3) Cut a piece of contact paper and a piece of carbon paper, each slightly larger than your image. Lay the contact paper face down on the counter. Lay the carbon paper on the backing of the contact paper. Lay your image on top of the carbon paper. Secure the layers with masking tape

4) Use a pencil or chopstick to trace the image, pressing firmly to transfer the image to the contact paper backing.

5) Once the drawing is transfered, use your Exact-o knife to cut out the areas you want to etch.

6) Set aside all your stencils

Setting up

1) Protect your work area with paper or another covering. Get out all your materials.

2) Put a little rubbing alcohol on the corner of a folded paper towel and use that to wipe down the outside of the clean glasses you plan to etch. Set the glasses aside to dry thoroughly, and be careful not to get fingerprints on them.

Etching the Glass with Etching Cream

1) Working with one stencil and one glass at a time, carefully remove the contact paper from areas of the drawing that you wanted to be etched, and then apply the remaining Contact paper to the glass. Use a chopstick and/or your fingers to press down all the cut edges tightly to the glass.

2) Put on your gloves. (Etching cream burns are no joke! Don’t let the kiddos mess with it.) Use the paintbrush to apply etching cream liberally over the opening of the stencils.

3) Allow the etching cream to set for 15 minutes, or according to the instructions on the package of your particular brand of etching cream.

4) After the setting period, (with your gloves on!), rinse the etching cream off the stencils/glasses under running water. Remove the Contact paper, and rinse the glasses completely. Set them all aside to dry.

It was sure difficult to photograph the finished product! We all love how they turned out!

To wrap these, I inserted Christmas tissue paper in each glass along with a slip we typed up in Publisher which gave the Artist’s name and care instructions.

I then wrapped each glass in tissue paper with the “floof” at the top and a gift tag tied on with a ribbon.

Etched glasses are a simple, fun homemade gift idea. They make a practical gift with a sentimental touch.

Empower Your Child To Be Kind And Assertive

At just three years old, our daughter Bear is very outgoing most of the time. There are times she’s timid, but usually that’s more because she needs food or sleep than because she feels shy.

She usually loves greeting people. And she loves the greeters at Walmart.

We teach our kids a lot about “tricky people” and safety. At the same time, we also teach them about loving our neighbors by being friendly and polite. There is so much to learn about both concepts and all the nuances in between.

One woman who works as a greeter at our local Walmart especially enjoys interactions with Bear. Bear and I made a quick Walmart run the other day, and this sweet woman was on the job. As usual, Bear made a point of getting eye contact, waving, and cheerily saying “hi!!” on our way in.

That day I let her “help” me push the cart for the first time. She felt like a big girl walking around. After we finished shopping and checking out, the greeter saw us heading toward the exit.

“Oh wait a minute! I have something for you!” she called as she rushed to grab a roll of iconic yellow smiley face stickers.

Bear immediately became uncomfortable and pushed close to my leg, looking down at the floor. Maybe it felt less secure to be offered a sticker on the ground when she was used to receiving one while in the cart. Whatever the reason, she wasn’t open to receiving a sticker right then.

The greeter held a sticker out toward Bear.

Bear shook her head and dropped her chin to her chest allowing her long curls to hide her face.

I smiled at the woman and accepted the sticker on Bear’s behalf and placed it on my shirt.

“Thank you! Have a great day!” I cheerily told the greeter.

Disappointed, the greeter pulled another bright yellow sticker from the roll and held it out towards Bear.

“Here, now. Your mama took one. You saw how to do it! Now you take one too!” She insisted, cheerily, but emphatically disapproving.

Bear burst into tears.

I thanked the greeter again, took the second sticker on my finger, and led Bear out the door. She was sobbing.

On the sidewalk outside the building, I stooped down and gave her a hug. Once she was calm enough to talk I asked why she was so sad.

“Were you feeling shy?” I asked.

“I. said. no. and. don’t. want. it. and. she. didn’t. do. it.” Bear sobbed.

It dawned on me that she wasn’t upset because she felt shy. Her tears weren’t about the sticker. They weren’t about the offer.

She was upset because the greeter didn’t respect her “no.”

She saw the sticker on my finger and began tearing up again, saying “I don’t want to have to have that!”

“Honey, you don’t have to have this sticker!” I said with surprise.

Her brow furrowed with confusion and relief.

“I just took it from the woman in case you changed your mind and wanted it after all. You don’t want it?”

She shook her head. I asked if she wanted to throw it in a nearby trash can. She nodded, and we did. Then we hugged and went to the car.

I replayed the scene in my mind on the drive home, analyzing, making observations, and thinking about what we needed to learn from it.

People think they’re being helpful by pushing friendly gestures on “shy” kids.

I don’t know the source of the philosophy but I see it often in practice. Along the same lines of picking on a sensitive child to “toughen him up,” people force interactions and insist on responses from children who appear shy, often in an effort to “get him out of his shell.”

Many really believe they’re doing a good thing.

They don’t realize they’re actually being a bully.

Parents often feel pressure to force their child to take the friendly gesture.

I’m guilty of this, you guys. I have wished so many times I could go back and do things differently with my older kids.

Maybe sometimes we push them out of embarrassment because they’re melting down or rude when they reject the gesture. (Word to the wise: embarrassment is almost always a bad justification for parenting decisions!)

Maybe we’re right there with the camp who’s trying to “break” the shyness. Maybe we don’t know what to do and we’re just trying to be polite in the moment.

We need to recognize the damaging messages this sends the child.

When a child says no to something that’s her right to refuse, and an adult forcefully insists, it tells the child that her “no” doesn’t warrant respect.

When a child says no to something that’s her right to refuse, and an adult forcefully insists, some children will misunderstand and actually think it’s wrong to speak up for themselves.

Notice I said “says no to something that’s her right to refuse.” I’m not talking about parental instructions for the child’s good. I’m all for teaching obedience.

This isn’t refusing to take a bath, or clean her room, or stop hitting a sibling. This is turning down a gift she doesn’t want.

It’s ok to do that.

(I hope you know that it’s ok for you to do that, too!)

It’s ok to refuse a gift. To set a boundary. To speak up.

Some of us understand this when it comes to physical contact. This is exactly why in our home we don’t force our children to hug anyone if they don’t want to.

There are some things people have a right to refuse. There are thigs even a small child has the right to refuse.

I want my children to know this – to practice this.

A healthier response

So you don’t want your kid to break down sobbing when she’s offered a sticker. Or to scream something rude. Or to take a swing at the Walmart greeter. Or be super anxious about going to Walmart because she doesn’t want to be offered a sticker.

The key with this is to teach the child she can choose to say “yes” or “no,” and to teach her how to express her “no” appropriately.

If you teach the child how to express her “no” appropriately you will teach her to be polite. You will empower her to overcome shyness. Those boxes will still get checked.

You will also help her establish a skill that will lead her to have healthier interactions and relationships.

In the long run, that’s better for all involved. (Even the lady with the stickers.)

Later that day, when Bear was back in her usual happy mood, we talked about how she should handle something like that next time.

If she wants a sticker, she can take it and say, “Thank you.”

If she doesn’t want a sticker, or if she’s feeling uncomfortable, she can try to be brave and say, “No, thank you, I don’t want a sticker.”

And if the greeter presses after being told “no, thank you,” then she can say, “I said no thank you.”

And she knows mama will back her up.

We have been roleplaying this and other similar hypothetical situations for a few days now. We’ve thought of times she may need to speak up for herself with her friends, her siblings, and her classmates, and come up with acceptable ways to be kind and assertive.

Maybe next time she feels timid she’ll have the courage to speak up.

Even if she doesn’t – or if she speaks up inappropriately – Daddy or I will model a confident response for her in the moment if one of us is present, and then we’ll just keep working on it.

Feelings are real. Learning takes time.

I’d rather her try to speak up and fail – or speak up rudely – than to think she can’t speak up at all.

Help your shy child speak up and become kind and assertive.

Quick and Easy Mother’s Day DIY Decorated Flower Pots

Posts on this blog may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through a link on my blog I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you.

Here is a simple, quick, and adorable DIY Mother’s Day gift idea that works great in a small classroom setting: Custom decorated flower pots, personalized with photos.

DIY decorated flower pot personalized with child's photo, perfect for Mother's Day or other gift.  It's a cheap and easy activity idea!

Aren’t they adorable? 

It might be a bit much to try with a large class, but with some prepping ahead it worked out perfectly for our small preschool Children’s Church class. 

This project is a throwback to when our oldest three children were in elementary school! 

(Awwwww! My mama heart!)

The church we attended at the time had a Mother’s Day tradition we haven’t encountered anywhere else. In that church, women typically taught Children’s Church and worked in the nursery. (Nothing against men doing so, it’s just the way things worked out there at the time.)

However, on Mother’s day each year, men volunteered to serve in Children’s Church and the nursery so all of the women could be in the main service.

This particular year, my husband taught Children’s Church. He thought it would be nice to do a craft with the kids that would double as a Mother’s Day gift. After some brainstorming, this is what we came up with.*

He did most of the prep work the day before so that what actually had to be done in the short time with the kids was manageable. 

This lower level of involvement was about perfect for preschoolers. If you did this at home, or with older children, you could include the children in more of the process.

Some version of these would be a cute birthday gift, teacher appreciation gift, or any number of other variations. 

You could decorate any flower pot, empty or full. My husband chose these hanging pots because we thought it would be nice to give a plant the mothers could enjoy through the summer. 

Less than 10 mothers were represented by our small class, so that route wasn’t too expensive. For a larger class you might pick up empty pots from Dollar Tree. This project can accommodate a wide range of budgets and needs. 

Personalized Decorated Flower Pot Craft

Supplies Used:

  • One 8″ hanging flower pot per mother (we bought impatiens)
  • 2 pieces of card stock (any color, for templates)
  • Construction paper and/or pretty scrapbook paper
  • Photos of the children, taken ahead of time, printed so that each child’s face fits a 2 to 2.5″ circle
  • Scissors
  • Zip-close baggies
  • White Glue 
  • A hot glue gun and sticks
  • Permanent marker
  • Crayons or markers

Optional: 

  • Acrylic paint (or leftover house or wall paint)
  • Mod Podge

Prep ahead:

1) If desired, paint the exterior of the flower pots using acrylic paint of leftover house or wall paint. We used leftover interior latex. 

2) On the cardstock, print out or draw templates for three different flowers with 4″ diameter, and one or more flowers with 2″ diameter. Also make a template for a 2.5″ circle.

3) Using your flower templates, trace and cut out flowers. For each pot, you’ll need three 4″ flowers and five or six 2″ flowers. 

The children will decorate the 4″ flowers, so a plain color is probably best for them. The 2″ flowers look nice cut from plain or patterned paper.

4) Using your circle templates, trace and cut out circles of photos of each child. Also trace and cut out circles in a contrasting paper color for flowers that won’t have a photo.

5) Lay out a zip-close baggie for each child. Write the child’s name on it with a permanent marker. In each bag, place three 4″ flowers and three 2.5″ circles (either from that child’s photo or from paper). We made 2 extra baggies with plain paper circles in case visitors attended that day.

6) If you want to include a message, quote, or greeting on your gift, you could either type it up or handwrite it on pretty paper. 

We typed up Proverbs 31:28 and printed several copies on little ovals. We glued these to slightly larger ovals cut from contrasting scrapbook paper. 

Proverbs 31:28 is a classic Scripture used to honor mothers.

You could use any number of quotes and messages. For Mother’s Day, something about blooming under mother’s care would be cute with the flowers.

7) Once the paint on the flower pots has dried, use a permanent marker (or paint pen) to draw stems and leaves around the perimeter of the pot. Draw three stems for the three 4″ flowers, and five or six stems for the 2″ flowers. 

Leave room for the message or quote you created in step 6, if you’re take that route!

8) Use a hot glue gun to attach the message and the 2″ flowers.

During class:

1) Have the children sit at a table or desk. 

2) Give each child the 4″ flowers from their baggie and crayons or markers. Allow the children to decorate their flowers however they please. 

Even two-year-olds and preschoolers can make a lovely gift for their mother this Mother's Day.

3) Assist or supervise each child in gluing the photo and/or plain circles to the centers of their flowers. Set aside to dry.

Photos of children make the center of the flowers for the DIY Mother's Day craft.

4) While one teacher engages with the children, the other can use the hot glue gun to attach the three flowers to the flower pots.

DIY decorated flower pot personalized with child's photo, perfect for Mother's Day or other gift. Makes a great classroom activity.

Done! 

The children were so proud to hand the big, beautiful gifts to their mothers!

Note: If you were able to keep these overnight or if you were making them with your children at home, you could finish them with a couple coats of Mod Podge to help them to last longer in the humidity outside.

Ok, now I really want to go grab some hanging baskets for my front porch!!

*Side note: If you do this in a classroom for Mother’s Day, please be sensitive to the particular households who will be receiving these. Thankfully we had two-parent stable homes to work with, but that is not always the case. Just be aware and make adjustments accordingly – some families find Mothers Day and other holidays to be very painful. 

Quick and Easy Mother's Day DIY Decorated Flower Pots. Fun, cheap, and easy. Adorable gift kids can help make.

Friday Favs 3-22-19

It’s Fri-yay!!! Every week I round up a few of my favorite things from the web, locally, and from life, and I share them here:

Tuff Kids Outdoors

Y’ALL!!!!! If the sizes you need are still available, you will flip over these sale prices on outdoor gear for kids! Free shipping, too!

The Oakiwear ran suit I mentioned a few weeks ago is almost too small for bear. (She’s so long in the torso!) I paid full price for it on Amazon. I hope to snag a replacement in the right size from Tuff Kids. Maybe a separate rain pants and jacket set instead of the one piece suit.

(Other than the fit, that OAKI rain suit is awesome. Seriously. We had way too much fun in the rain the other day and I didn’t take any photos. They’re heavy-duty, breathable, and really seem like they’re worth the money.)

Journey Sticks!

First of all, this blog’s Instagram feed is gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. Follow Run Wild My Child on Instagram. You won’t regret it.

Those people are so much more hardcore outdoorsy than I am. I’m both impressed and inspired.

I also luuuuuurve this idea of making journey sticks!What a fun way to encourage narration, and a fun twist for nature study or hikes! Love, love, love!

Flower Crowns

Bear’s class at Charlottesville Waldorf School will celebrate a spring festival at the end of the term, and we’re supposed to make our child a flower or spring party crown for the occasion.

Bear’s teacher distributed patterns for two basic felt crowns we can embellish as desired, but of course I have to look around on Pinterest for further inspiration. (I’m going to have to force myself to stay simple and realistic over here!)

The crowns are supposed to be made from felt or fabric, or could also be made from fresh flowers. No paper crowns here!

I love this floral crown. But maybe I should do something more headband-like? Or use fresh flowers? Something different entirely? So many possibilities!

Seriously…look at this knight and dragon felt crown! So fun! (It was on etsy but is no longer available. I found the image on Pinterest.)

What were your favorite things this week? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Friday Favs 3-1-19

{This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on a link, I might make a small percentage of the sale, at no additional cost to you.}

It’s Fri-yay!!! Every week I round up a few of my favorite things from the web, locally, and from life, and I share them here:

These Alphabet Activities

I’m a big fan of the resources from Hands On As We Grow. The ideas there are soooooo helpful when Bear needs to something to do and I am running low on ideas. (Why, oh why, is it sometimes so hard for me to come up with these simple ideas?)

This OAKI toddler rain suit!

I just bit the bullet and bought one of these rain suits for Bear. One of her classmates in her weekly outdoor preschool class was wearing one, and I was really impressed with the quality. We just received ours a few days ago, and now we’re waiting for a rainy day so we can test it out! After we give it some thorough testing I’ll write a review.

Blue OAKI Toddler Rain Suit

Story Time From Space

Bear loves books. She loves being read to. And she is kinda obsessed with planets and outer space. She’s seen photos and diagrams of the International Space Station, and photos and drawings of astronauts. I can’t wait to see her realize these are videos of astronauts who are actually in space reading a storybook. I love this idea!

What were your favorite things this week? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Heart Shaped Rice Hand Warmer Valentines

One thing I try to prioritize when deciding what crafts to do with my children is the usefulness of the craft.

As cute and easy as little foam shapes are, adorned with pom-poms, glitter, and sequins, they often end up adding more to our clutter problem than to our life.

So when the time comes to create something for ourselves or for someone, I always try to make sure the end result will be useful in some way.

This winter, Bear was part of a weekly outdoor parent-child toddler class. (Which was amazing, by the way. Loved it so much!) The final winter class landed on Valentine’s Day and we ended with a celebration and gift exchange.

We were asked to bring homemade gifts that did not feature commercial characters. Examples of past gifts included everything from greeting cards to candles. 

I thought about just making some kind of card. There are so many creative options to go with there.

DIY Heart-shaped Rice Hand Warmers

Then the idea for hand-warmers hit me.

You know, the kind you warm up in the microwave and stick in your pockets or gloves to keep your hands toasty. (What some of us wished we had a few of the more frigid January class sessions!)

And, of course, for Valentine’s Day, we’d make them heart-shaped! 

There were only 5 children enrolled in the class, so it wouldn’t be an unrealistically long project. We also already had almost everything we needed on hand.

For this project you’ll need:

  • Felt in colors of your choice (we used pink, red, and burgundy)
  • 1 piece of card stock
  • fabric or acrylic paint
  • A sewing machine – OR a quilting needle, if you’re hand-sewing (It’s a great starter sewing project for kids 5 and up!)
  • thread in a color of your choice
  • plain, dry rice (we used Jasmine because it’s what I keep around)

To make the felt hand-warmers:

  1. On the card stock, draw a template for the shape you want to make. A good size for each hand warmer is about 4 inches across. Once you’re happy with it, cut out your shape.
  2. Trace the shape onto the felt, and cut it out. Cut 2 shapes for each hand warmer you want to make. 
  3. Lay down some paper to protect your table. Put a smock or apron on your child, if desired. Allow your child to paint the front of half of the felt cutouts. Allow to dry thoroughly. (Good time for a break – we didn’t move on to the next step until the following morning.)
  4. Place one of the painted shapes on top of one of the plain ones, with the painted side on the outside. Sew around the shape, about 1/3” from the edges, leaving a 2” opening somewhere on the perimeter. Repeat with the remaining felt until all your pieces are sewn in to pouches.
  5. One at a time, fill each pouch with rice (so it’s full, but not so stuffed you can’t close the opening), pinch the opening closed, pin if needed, and sew the opening shut. 
Girl paints felt hearts for making rice-filled handwarmers for Valentine's Day gifts, a project from Mama Rhythm Blog.
Felt shapes for rice-filled hand warmers are sewn together at a sewing machine
Leave an opening un-sewn so you can fill the pouches with rice
Child fills felt pouches with rice to make hand warmers

To include Bear (who won’t be 3 until April) in the pouch-filling I put more rice than we needed into a little bin, and supplied her with measuring spoons and a little pitcher. (I would have offered her our chocolate funnel if could have found it.) I then showed her how to spoon rice into each heart pouch. She spent a long time happily filling the heart pouches and playing with the rice while I adjusted the amount of filling and sewed them shut.

This is as close to a sensory bin as I’ll get. There’s no way two of her older brothers would have ever sat and filled those pouches at her age. At least, not without pelting someone with rice or shoving rice up their noses or something. Gauge your child’s level of involvement based on your child’s particular strengths, abilities, interests, and needs. 

Once the pouches were sewn, we packaged 2 per child in sandwich bags with little printouts of instructions for use. 

We were told to only make tags say “from:” and not “to:” to make distribution easier.

This is brilliant, y’all. Definitely a trick I’m going to remember. 

Whether they use them as hand warmers or bean bags, these are a quick, fun project that the kids really seemed to enjoy. 

Anyone else have a favorite Valentine’s Day DIY gift?? Feel free to share in the comments!