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arts and crafts

For Z's birthday/housewarming, we painted a custom set of drinking glasses.  This is actually pretty easy to do, and it's a great way to spend an afternoon or two with friends.  We painted a combination of things Z likes and our own personal styles.  There's a lot of Futurama, but also some of Z's many pets (guinea pigs, Gouldian finches, sewing machines) and activities (hiking, finding cows at the end of hiking trails, finding bird poops at the bottom of drinking glasses), and C made one cool spatter-pattern glass.

FolkArt makes sets of "enamels" (actually, they're acrylics, and unlike true enamel paints they're non-toxic) with instructions for painting glass.  It's surprisingly easy to paint something that looks pretty good, but difficult to paint exactly what you had in mind.  But the end result usually goes over very well as a gift (we did the same a few years ago for C&B's wedding).

There are other glass-painting paints besides FolkArt, pricier and possibly better, but these work pretty well and are conveniently available at Hobby Lobby.

Choose a drinking glass with a good flat surface for painting.  I lucked out and got a set of 16 "Ice Cube" glasses (8 tall and 8 short) at Shopko for a steal, and they're nice, functional glasses:  sturdy, bottom-heavy, and easy to hold.  I recommend the tiniest brushes you can find (or even toothpicks for detailed lettering), and painter's tape around each rim (the paint may be non-toxic, but that doesn't mean you're supposed to eat it, or let it touch food). 

If you want to paint something from a picture, print it off and tape it on the inside of the glass; that will at least let you paint an accurate outline and then you'll probably need to freehand the rest.  Some well-placed outlining after all the other painting is done can really help things stand out.  A bit of wet paper towel wrapped around the end of a toothpick is good for removing small mistakes.  D would work on 2 or 3 glasses at a time, so he had something to do while waiting for a layer of paint to dry.

You can also paint on the bottom of the glass, but that needs to be done backwards (so, to paint a flower, paint the center first and then the petals).  The glasses were square-ish.  I had good luck painting wider pictures around two sides of the glass instead of sticking to just one side.  The spatter-pattern glass looks very cool, but paint got everywhere.  It can be cleaned up if you get to it soon enough. 

We used the baking method to set the paint.  No fumes or smell.  After they'd baked the designated amount of time, I just left them in the oven overnight to cool down as slowly as possible.  Once baked, they're supposed to be top-rack dishwasher safe.  C says they've held up pretty well over the years, but the red colors seem more prone to flaking.

K wanted a picture of an angry cow.  I googled "angry cow clipart" and sure enough there were hits....


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