Monday, July 7, 2008

Money Monday! *Updated Twice*

Many of you had the same questions, so I addressed some of them here. If you are going to etch with your MOPS group, see this post first!
Hello MOPS leaders across the country! I see you have been somehow directed here, and I wanted to say thank you for visiting this little place for some inspiration. If you have questions about the project, feel free to contact me. If you choose to do this with your own group, please send me pictures! I'll post them on the site.

And also, feel free to read our other posts, and leave a comment to say hello if you will. I'd love to hear from you.


Extremely low-cost, personalized, creative and beautiful gifts for others...and yourself.

Get thee some etching cream- it has to be the real stuff, not just the white "frosty paint" for glass you may see on the shelf next to it. Get the stuff that's dangerous with chemicals and what not. You can find it at a craft store.
You'll need these.
And some glass cleaner
And some inspiration. Like mine, for all things monogrammed...
You'll need a stencil. They sell some. I think most of them are ugly. Make your own. You can use a punch, like this
And punch out any shape you want on to contact paper- they sell hundreds of those punches.
Know what? They're expensive. I had an original idea one time, out of real desire to not spend any money on my project, and I found that using cardstock stickers works great- for stenciling words or letters, and even shapes. You can use less-nice ones too, but, you'll have to be more careful. Stickers come in hundreds of styles, sizes, and fonts.

Find some stuff to etch. You could go to a store....or your basement. Hmmm... this box looked promising...
Yep. I can use this.
Oh, and I forgot about this...
For this project I cut out a sticker, from a scrap booking sticker sheet (I never use them for scrapping. I use them for this!)
Peel it off.
I want a circle, so I'm saving the negative image (the border.)
I put the positive image back on the paper and I'll use it another time. I save them all in a ziploc bag.
I placed my circle carefully- very carefully making sure every edge is sealed tight.
Then, I placed a letter.
And see? Now I have a negative image I can cut out and use another time.
Place it.
Clean it carefully again to remove all smudges and prints. Important!!
Get some etching cream on a brush- it looks like glue, smells terrible, and is toxic- this is NOT a kid-friendly project. They tell you to wear gloves, but I never do. I've never noticed that it hurts my skin...
Goop it on thick and even, making long strokes, but making sure it's super thick.
They say to let it sit for 5 minutes- In my experience, I think it's nicer if I wait 10.
The moment of truth.... Wash it off.


Adore finished product. Use at will. Give away if desired.
I'm giving this one to my very first Blog-Friend, Kim. Until she left a comment on my blog long ago, I didn't realize there was a world of bloggers out there...I just blogged for our memories and my 4 blogging friends in real life. Kim, if it wasn't for you....I wouldn't be here...showing you all how to make cheap stuff. Love ya, Kim. And, you're fabulous, by the way.
There are 1000 uses for a clear glass vessel. I have tons of them in many shapes and sizes. I'll leave some idea-inspiration at the end, but, just even for these stemless wine glasses, which I got for dirt cheap ($1) on clearance at Pier 1 last year, just for the purpose of keeping around for something like this... you could,
Float a candle, or a flower- always great for a low-key decoration when you're entertaining.
Use it as a vase for a bunch of flowers.
Fill it with mini ornaments or pinecones at Christmas
Fill it with candy and give it away
Use it as a pencil cup or for misc desk supplies
Fill it with leaves in the fall
Actually drink out of it
Or even slip a little black and white wallet-sized picture in there.
You know, whatever.
And, by stroke of coincidence, I made another gift today, for a whole other Kimberly, a new, real-life friend who I was thrilled to hang out at the park with the other day, and who has three awesome kids who are being raised well by two awesome parents, who we loved gettting to know better this week. She's not only sweet, but she was nice enough to say she liked how I decorated my house and asked if I'd help her decorate hers. (She was just being nice, but, I made her promise that she really would and wasn't just getting my hopes up for nothing.)
I made some stuff for myself too, of course, you know, while I was at it...

This was one of the first things I ever etched- I didn't wipe off the smudges carefully enough, so it's not perfect, but, I made it with a friend and she has one just like it, but, you know with their monogram, and it's highly sentimental. Have I mentioned my obsession with monograms??? I have to really limit myself when it comes to placing them all over my house... Here's a jKm, if you can't tell.
This is the first thing I ever etched- a set of these for a friend- the same one, actually. It's a long story, but, I made a set too...and I cry every time we use them.... which is only when it snows and we make snow shakes.

Woof on the treat jar... That's another old project.
I really love to etch- and it's so simple and fast and beautiful. I try hard not to etch too many things I own, or I'll be that lady with all the etched glass that the neighbor kids make fun of... But they do make great gifts... Here's that vase from last week. Another monogram...big shock.
More Ideas:


  • You could make an entire set of customized stemware, or every day glasses- for yourself, or a gift- think weddings! How fun to get some Libby glasses at T or W, then etch them with your own initials, or the newly married couple's new monogram, or names. What a great gift.
Picture Frames:
  • Use a dark mat- like black, red, etc in your frame, and etch a pattern around the edges of the glass, or just a name or single initial or monogram or phrase at the bottom- it will show through beautifully. Think of the possibilities for your own home, not to mention Christmas, wedding, and birthday gifts! A homemade, personalized beautiful gift is so precious!
  • Etch polka dots, butterflies, anything, all over the glass insert in a frame for a fun kids room project.
  • My friend Jen made AMAZING ornaments last year- using clear glass ornaments from HL, then she painted her baby boy's foot in a thin coat of Elmer's glue, carefully pressed it on the ornament, let it dry, etched over it, washed it all off, and there was his print, right there! SO adorable- she etched Baby's First Christmas around the top. Gorgeous. There are many hints and tips to that project (or you can use the idea for inspiration for something else hand or foot print related.) If you want those tips, I can email them to you.


  • Buy a large glass canister with a lid at Target or Walmart and etch whatever you want on it, and store stuff in it in your kitchen, bathroom, office, etc.
  • Same goes for etching cheap vases from Walmart- you can use them for flowers, anything! Walmart has an amazing selection of cheap clear glass vases! You can make something to rival things Pottery Barn sells for $40.
  • You could get daring and etch a monogram, or border, or something on a mirror at home.
You can add personal touches all over your home, it will be lovely, made by you, and no one else will have something quite like it. And what a special gift! It's so simple- yet looks really, really nice!
Get creative! If this inspires you, send me pictures of your project! Or send me the link if you post them on your own blog- I'd love to see your ideas!


Anonymous said...

I'm on my way to the craft store! How fun! I'm so going to do some of this. Thanks Megan!

Ris said...

VERY inspired! Maybe can make a cool wedding gift for my mom. Thanks so much! Itching to try it!!

anne said...

GREAT project!!! I love this. I'm definately hitting up Hobby Lobby this week!!!
ps- is that your wall you were refering to about the frames up the stairway??
I thought about your idea and putting frames all the way up the wall (ours is tall too). I'm not sure how I would get them up there without 1. killling myself 2. hanging them completely crooked!
I think yours looks the way :)

Kaylyn said...

I love this idea! Thanks!

amanda said...

seriously love it!!

i think i might even be able to master this etching thing!!

very cool friend :)

About Brandon said...


Thanks for teaching Jennifer this a while back. We have some cool stuff around our house thanks to you. Nice!


Rachel said...

Fabulous! I LOVE it! Thanks for taking the time to share these creative secrets! I'm so in love with your blog. And Kim is pretty cool too. :)

Anne Elizabeth said...

That is such a great idea! I want to make some now:)

A Crafty Mom said...

So cool Megan!!! That's a terrific idea. You're inspiring me now to share some of my home-made gift secrets :-) Thanks for the tutorial!

New Girl on Post said...

Wow! I am amazed by your craftyness! One of these days I'm going to have to try that. I love how all of them turned out. Very sophisticated looking.

Grammy Staffy said...

I am overwhelmed by your cleverness and craftyness. You are AMAZING..AMAZING...AMAZING!!!

Jenn Boerger said...

Fabulous! i love this idea. I should start looking for things around my house to etch, they just look so classy!

Andrea@Sgt and Mrs Hub said...

Kim is FABULOUS! Love her, love her, love her.

You are so stinkin' creative!! I love coming over and learning from you. You and your girls are going to have all kinds of fun when they are a bit older!


Ashley said...

I'm going to have to try this one as well ... I've been on a centerpiece kick for awhile and could use some fresh ideas ...

Some other glass sources: clearance shelves at hobby stores and secondhand stores, particularly if you're looking for something with a funky shape. I love 'em.

Kristen said...

Oh my Megan!

I am just plain impressed with how long it must have taken you to do this post, let alone the etching!

Seriously girl, you are just the best. I think you should hire out to do gifts for people! :)

Love it! My favorite might be your Life Every Day one!

What a great idea!

stacey said...

LOL~ you definitely don't want to be that lady with all the etched glass that the neighbor kids make fun of... HAHAHA you are not only crafty but SOOO funny!

What a great idea!!!! I LOVE this & you can do SO much with it!

d.a.r. said...

Okay, I am definitely going to have to take this project on. I am so far from artistic that it is rather embarrassing, but a dear friend of mine is getting married soon and I want to do something unique for her shower!! I'm actually really excited about this now, thanks for sharing!

Eva said...

Cool. I will have to try it someday...

Lisa said...

I want to try that, but I'm afraid I'll fail miserably.

How are you so good at so many things? And how do you have time to do all of this stuff? You are amazing!!!

Jane said...

Very impressive!
Thanks so much for the detailed tutorial. I hope to do this myself sometime!

Unknown said...

Oh pish posh. The neighbor kids just make fun of the lady with all the CATS.

Not the lady with all the GLASS.

silly you.

(sweet talented you)

Heidi said...

Love this idea more than life it's self! I am sooo not crafty, but the pictures make it easy, even for a goober like me. Thanks so much, I am going to be the bell of the ball with these ideas. Love your site by the way.