If you are like me, you feel compelled at the holidays to give everyone a gift. Even when I am supposed to draw a name, I usually make something for everyone else in the group as well. Generally, I court marshal my sister into making dozens of cookies which I take into the office and take credit for, but to be fair, she got most of the cooking skills while I’ll stick to the craftsy stuff. If anyone asks, I do tell them my sister made the cookies. I am not completely sneaky. Only about 75%. 🙂
Anyhow, if you want to do something a little more personal, I have discovered a fairly simple gift for a fairly minimal price. Here’s what you need:
- Etching cream (Armour etch can be purchased at Michael’s or other places, but since Michael’s ALWAYS has a coupon, you can usually get it for about $5-6.)
- Alphabet stickers (depends on what font you want but these can be found for around $2)
- A glass beer mug (Dollar tree has gorgeous mugs for $1!)
- Masking or painter’s tape (again $1 at the Dollar Tree or you may already have it)
- Popsicle stick, plastic knife, any flat utensil that you don’t mind discarding
The best thing about this is once you’ve got the etching cream and stickers, you can generally make several mugs.
First thing you do is put on whatever sticker letters you like. If your boss is named “John Smith” and you want to make a mug for him, put on “John” or “JS” or “crap weasel” (if you don’t want an annual bonus.)
Once you have the letters situated where you would like them, tape off a square around them. I usually like to leave about.5 inches on each side.
Now apply your etching cream. MOST IMPORTANTLY, make sure to shake the bottle! If you don’t shake it, you probably won’t get a very frosted look. Do not go sparingly on the cream. Use your plastic knife/popsicle stick/whatever to really lather it on. Give yourself a nice thick layer and make sure you don’t have any bubbles.
I am extremely impatient so I am always tempted to wash off the cream fairly quickly but I find the bare minimum to get a nice frosted look is 30 minutes. After your time has passed, simply wash off the etching cream with warm water. It won’t hurt your hands so you can just rub it away. Pull off the tape and rub away your letters and viola! Your finished product should look something like this:
If this process seems a bit overwhelming to you or you don’t get the results you’d like, feel free to purchase a custom mug here. Your craft and mine will both be dishwasher safe and are sure to impress. Fill them with some candy or wrap them up as is, but either way you’ve got an excellent present!
And as always, I have to finish up with a little humor that my mother, the high school English teacher, would be proud of: Are Santa’s elves just a bunch of subordinate clauses?