Friday, July 13, 2012

DIY: Etched Coffee Canister

I love containers. I love boxes, and drawers, and cupboards. I save jelly jars and little candy boxes. Seriously, I have a drawer full of little boxes and jars. When I worked in an art supply store my favorite day was Tuesday because that's when the new shipments would come in and they let me take home the little cardboard boxes the oil paint tubes came in. Usually, I try to limit my collection of containers to things that I've saved from the trash, but I also love that wall in the kitchen section of Ikea that's covered in shelves of jars and canisters. I eyeballed that wall for a long time before I finally decided that I really did need to put my coffee in a nice canister, instead of letting it languish in the bag like I was some kind of coffee heathen.

And of course, I couldn't just put the coffee in the new canisters and be done with it, I had to fancy them up in some way and glass etching is a craft I've been meaning to try. There are plenty of other tutorials on how to do this, so I just included what worked best for me.
glass canister or jar
etching cream
contact paper
template (printout or hand drawn)

First, wash and dry the canister so it is totally free of any moisture or oils it may have picked up from your hands.

Next, create whatever you want etched on your canister in Word or Photoshop. Or you can go the old fashioned way and draw it by hand. You might want to experiement with fonts. I started with a fancy schmancy font with a lot of swirls on it and then broke the blade on my exacto knife trying to cut out all those curves. 

Tape your printout to the contact paper and the contact paper to your cutting mat/ work surface so it doesn't slip while you're cutting.

Make the template by carefully cutting around the letters. Be patient and take your time with this part, maybe have some soothing music playing in the background, it can get frustrating and tedious.

After all the letters are cut out, very carefully remove the paper baking from the contact paper, making sure not to tear the more delicate parts of the letters. Put the template on the canister and smooth it, making sure it sticks all around the edges of the letters. You want to create a seal so the etching cream doesn't leak underneath.

Paint a thick layer of the etching cream over the stencil. The packaging on the cream says to leave it on for one minute. I've experimented with different times and for the glass I'm using one minute barely left a mark. What worked best for me was 5 minutes on, rinse, then applying a second coat and leave on for another 5 minutes. 

Rinse off the etching cream by running under tepid water.

Finally, peel the stencil off. Fill with your favorite coffee and you're done.

I decided to make a whole set of jars and canisters for dark and light roasts of coffee and for loose leaf teas. Now everything is matching and contained instead of spilling out of plastic bags all over my kitchen shelves.

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