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DIY Glass Etching: A Semi-Dangerous How-To with Laurie Notaro

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Laurie Notaro is an author, crafter, and expert at finding a good cocktail. She grew up in Phoenix, but is currently based in Eugene, Oregon. Each week, she'll be joining us to share a crafting adventure, draw a flowchart, or remember a few of her favorite things about Phoenix. Today, she shares a how to on one of her favorite DIY projects (and not just because it involved drinking an entire bottle of something) -- glass etching.

Would you like to see my etchings?

My mother used to buy liter glass bottles of Coke every week when I was in grade school. She knew when to buy more mayonnaise when the butter knife clinked along the inside of the glass jar, sounding a little like a wind chime.

We kept leftovers in Pyrex containers when I was little, and if you dropped a bottle of ketchup on your foot, you knew you could say goodbye to a toenail or two for a couple of months. I like the fact that I won't bleed out if I drop a bottle of orange juice anywhere near my neck, but at the same time, my compulsion to hang onto objects I feel are fleeting has turned my basement into something of a glass catacomb.

See also: - Laurie Notaro on Recipe Theft, Cheap Toilet Paper, and Not Being Invited to a Close Friend's Party on Facebook - Laurie Notaro's Existential Showdown on Yelp - Laurie Notaro's Five Reasons Why Haboobs Are Awesome

I love jars--you can make lanterns, button containers, vases out of them--but I have to admit I love liquor bottles more. So when my neighbors returned from England with a fat, squat Scotch bottle, I rubbed my hands together evilly. I had plans for that bottle. Oh, did I.

I was going to etch.

You don't need a Scotch bottle for the following fun; any bottle will do, a nice wine bottle especially (come on over. I have about 400).

This is what you will need: Tiny paint brush Scotch tape Card stock A computer, printer An unhealthy and stupidly expensive obsession with fonts Armour Etch, glass etching cream (10 0z or smaller bottle) X-Acto knife Quick access to life-saving water

Everybody has all of this stuff in their kitchen drawer, right? Right. Awesome. Let's proceed.

Directions: 1. My neighbors expressed a need for a water vessel, so therefore the idea was born--and if you feel like going the asshole extra mile, etch it in a foreign language! If you feel like reaching super asshole heights, do it in a language you don't understand, or for supreme asshole heights, French. Hopefully, "eau" means water in French, since I took the word of the first online translator that popped up on Google. Who needs fact-checking in etching? It's not like you're pouring acid onto glass. Or anything.

2. Stencil time! To create your stencil for the French word you hope means "water," use your favorite font (I used "Channel Slanted"), and depending on the font itself, bump it up to the point size you need. In this case, "Eau" is at 100 pt.

3. Print it out on something heavier than paper--I used cardstock. If you like the way it looks and it's the right size, it's time to carve it out with the trust X-Acto knife that is the reason you had to get a tetanus shot because you keep it in the junk drawer and it repeatedly stabs you. (Yes. I know I should move it to someplace safer, but I can't because I know where it is NOW. If I move it, I risk losing the X-Acto all together, although this would greatly cut down on the amount of annual blood loss at our house.)

4. Once your stencil is ready to go, cut it to the size you require and slap it on the bottle (cleaned with Windex or other environmental-destroying chemical solution), secure it with tape.

5. Using a small brush, cover the cut out area thickly, with the etching paste. (Hint: Use a Michael's 40 percent off coupon for this. I bought the smallest size, and it was still about $13. Surely, you still know someone who still gets the paper. No? Worst case scenario is that you might actually have to go to Safeway and buy one.) Pay close attention that the paste does not seep under the stencil, and if large areas of the stencil are cut away, you may have to hold your finger down to make sure that the paste doesn't seep under the stencil.

Also, should you happen to stick the end of the brush into your mouth after it has come in hearty contact with the paste, burning should be expected. If you rinse your mouth out relatively quickly, I doubt you'll die. I hesitate to report what your chances of acquiring mouth cancer will be, since I only did this yesterday and am still relatively hopeful about the long-term effects. Regardless, amazing progress is being made with mouth pencils and keyboards, and I also think having a robot voice might actually be kind of cool if my tongue has to be removed as a result. (I try to stay on the positive side in regard to crafting accidents/poisoning.)

6. The instructions on the etching paste say to wait five minutes. LIE. Wait an hour. WAIT AN HOUR. Then rinse it under the faucet in your kitchen sink.

7. Dry off with a dishtowel, and watch as it comes to life in the next several seconds.

8. Take it to your neighbors' house and watch as they say, with furrowed brows, "Well, sure, 'ewww' can mean water....in French....in a way.....". But whatever. It's done, and most Americans won't know the difference. I'm American. I don't care. Looks like a fancy water bottle to me. I might lose my tongue over this water bottle, so I'm delighted to say, while I can, "please pass the 'ewwwww.'"

Stay tuned for new adventures with Laurie Notaro, and catch up on a few classics in any of her books including The Idiot Girls' Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life,It Looked Different on the Model, I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies), There's a Slight Chance I Might Be Going to Hell, and An Idiot Girl's Christmas at Changing Hands, on Amazon, or through her website.

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