Having a hard time coming up with a cool gift idea? Wanting to create something fun and uniquely yours? Why not try your hand at glass-etching! It might sound a bit daunting, but as some Twitter users in Japan are finding, it’s a lot easier than expected, and a lot of fun to make your own anime (or anything!) goods. All you need are a few basic items, a steady hand, and some helpful tips to make your own awesome, customized etched glass! Follow us after the jump to get started.
All right, let’s get to it! First here’s what you’ll need:
-A glass cup
-Mini rotary tool with diamond-tipped bit
-Mask, goggles, and gloves
Since you’ll be etching glass, you’ll be creating glass dust and possibly glass splinters in the process, so as a precaution it’s a wise idea to use a mask, goggles, and gloves for protection while creating your handiwork. Glass splinters are NO FUN.
Now, for the image. If you’re a bit more artistically inclined, you can simply free-hand your preliminary sketch right onto the cup with marker. You can also print an image and tape it on the inside of your cup to trace over. Then goggles on, and start etching away with the rotary tool! (For those of you in Japan, Daiso sells very inexpensive mini rotary tools and replacement bits, called mini ruutaa, ミニルーター, in Japanese).
▼A simple mini rotary tool
If you need some inspiration, check out these awesome anime designs done by creative Twitterers.
Some seasoned glass-etchers also share their tips to help things go more smoothly and get a better end-result:
“Hold the rotary tool as you would a pencil. Hold the bit lightly against the glass, and only apply pressure from the bit.”
“It will etch more smoothly if you move the rotary tool from right to left, instead of left to right. You can help stabilize the cup by placing something to the right of the cup so it doesn’t roll.” (This will probably be the opposite for you lefties!)
“Before making your preliminary sketch, wipe the glass with a cloth soaked with nail polish remover, then draw the design with magic marker. When you’re finished etching, wipe any remaining marker away with the nail polish remover.”
“Let the etched parts represent areas of light, and unetched parts represent areas of shadow on your picture. When etching, using a light will help you see the shading better.”
With the rotary tool, you’re not limited to only class cups. Here are a couple other cool ideas for etching projects.
▼Customized smartphone case!
Going to give glass etching a whirl? Let us know what you’re making and how it turns out!