Reversed Etching A Christmas Window DIY

No time for fall crafts this last month; the beautiful late summer weather motivated me to start a garden project I’ve been waiting to do. Although it’s a WIP, I’d like to tell you a bit about it before we get on to the etched window.

Last year, I got rid of the five year old trumpet vines on my garden trellis because new vines were popping up everywhere and taking over. Wanting the trellis covered, but not with vines again, I got the idea of weaving willow branches through the steel frame. Thanks to my niece and sister’s tree trimming, I was able to gather, and weave, two big batches of branches. It needs a lot more branches, but I’m very happy with the way it’s shaping up. I guess I’ll just have to be content for now, until next spring when the weather is more accommodating, and someone starts trimming again.

With the temperatures dropping and Halloween passed, I’m ready to shift straight into Christmas crafting mode.

The idea of reverse etching on old window panes came about after I noticed some little brass embossing stencils in my daughter’s scrap booking supplies. They were so cute! Out of curiosity, I laid one on the overhead projector just to see what it looked like in a larger scale, and that’s all it took, I wanted to get the designs on a window somehow.
Easily a weekend project, they’re great for gift giving, vendor shows, or your own Christmas decor. I used an old window, an enlarged snowflake stencil pattern, small clear ruler, matte contact paper, exacto knife, template pencil, large snowflake paper punch, hole paper punch, 10 oz. Armour etching cream, 3″ wide chip brush, E6000, small beveled glass star sets, and clear glass globs. My pattern was planned around the small glass bevels I had on hand.
My window looked a little rough, so after giving it a good scrub, it got a couple coats of white paint.

A snowflake pattern was used to redraw the design with the glass pieces I had to use.

Copies were made of the pattern, then a window was used as a light box to trace the patterns on their backside.

Arrange the patterns to your liking, on the front side of the window, and tape them into place.

  

 

    

Flip the window face down. Clean the glass thoroughly. Apply matte contact paper down over your patterns. Use an old plastic gift/credit card to help apply it smoothly and work out any air bubbles. Trace the patterns on to the glass with a template pencil.

Remove the paper patterns from the front, then, use an exacto knife and a small clear ruler, or straightedge, to cut the snowflakes out of the contact paper.

  

  

I used a large Martha Stewart Snowflake Punch and a regular hole punch to punch more shapes out of the matte contact paper. I found it worked best if the paper was inserted into the punch sticky side up. Card stock was punched a couple times in between each large snowflake to keep the punch from getting sticky and causing the contact paper to bind.  My hole punch was pretty sharp so I didn’t have to punch the card stock much to keep it clean.

Peel the contact paper from the punched shapes and arrange them around the snowflakes.

   

I stood my window up, in a window, to get a good look at it. Tiny pieces of painter’s tape marked where more dots were needed.

The etching process goes quickly. You will want to be near a water source where you can rinse the etching cream off easily. I hook a short length of garden hose to my sink faucet and rinse over the old drain in my basement, works like a charm.
Lay the window on a flat work surface. I usually lay a big piece of cardboard over a 33 gal trash bin, and use it as a table near my sink. With your fingers, or fid, make sure all your pieces are burnished down well. Spray a paper towel with glass cleaner and lightly wipe your window again to remove any fingerprints or sticky residue, especially around the edges of the contact paper shapes.

For good coverage, the etching will be done with two coats, one horizontally, one vertically. It doesn’t make any difference which one you do first. Use a soft, natural bristled 3″ paint brush. When working with etching cream, work in a well ventilated area, wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Shake the etching cream well. If it has sit for a long period of time you may want to stir it first to make sure there is no sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Pour about half of etching cream into a wide mouth lidded container.

  

Brush on the first coat of etching cream over the contact paper shapes, horizontally, in long, straight, even strokes. Do not over brush. Let the etching cream set 2 minutes.
Rinse out the brush and wipe it dry. Cover the container so the remaining etching cream doesn’t dry out.

After 2 minutes, gently rinse the etching cream off of the window by running water over it as you rub very lightly with your hand. Don’t disturb the contact paper shapes. Let the window glass dry naturally, or put a fan on it for a few minutes.

  

Lay the window flat again and apply the second coat of etching cream, vertically this time, in long, straight, even strokes. Let set 2 minutes, then rinse the window clean. Some of the contact paper shapes will probably start coming loose with the second rinse.

  

Put any remaining etching cream back in the bottle, wash the brush and container. For safety reasons, please remember to mark all your work containers and bowls, and keep them in a separate area far away from any food containers.
Peel off the contact paper to reveal your design. Use an exacto knife to carefully pry up stubborn edges if needed. After all the contact paper is removed, clean the window with glass cleaner.  Repair any glazing if needed.

  

After lightly distressing the paint on the window edges (which I should have done when I painted the window), a hot glue gun was used to add some greenery and pine cones to the front, upper left corner.  Lay the window flat, face up, to glue on the glass embellishments with E6000, matching them to the shapes in the snowflakes underneath.  Let the glue dry at least 12 hours.
Eye hooks can be added to the top for hanging in a large window, but, I think they’re prettiest leaning in a lit Christmas display on a mantle, console, or buffet. You can decide.

  

I know Thanksgiving is not even that close yet, but, I’m really excited for Christmas. Our youngest daughter has returned home from teaching in South Korea for a year, which means we will have everyone home for the entire holiday season! I’m looking forward to crafting, playing games, holiday movie nights, shopping trips, and hopefully some snowman building.
Some pretty white owls caught my daughter’s eye at a craft store the other day, so we picked out a couple. It looks like we’ll be going with an out-doorsy, nature theme on our tree this year. In anticipation, hydrangeas have been hung to dry, and the grand kids and I have been foraging for materials. It’s going to be fun to see what we can make for the tree. I can hardly wait to get started!

 

 

Advertisements

My Vintage Style Christmas Tree – Part One

“Kitschy” – 1) A style of decorative art and design in which ordinary objects have vintage appeal, “old-fashioned” characteristics. 2) Art, decorative objects or design considered by many people to be ugly, lacking in style, or false but enjoyed by other people.

A lull in activity, last week, afforded me some much needed time to catch up on a few Christmas orders and start making a little something special for myself too!

Over a year ago, while making garden garlands, the vision of a smaller, beaded, Christmas garland began forming in my mind.  I could just see it draped on one of those little foil trees; not the bright silver one, but the darker, tarnished looking one.  Ideally, it would be glass and metal, with a vintage, bohemian, kitschy look.  But, although I had plenty of beads, crystals, and such, I didn’t have an outstanding metal element.  That was, not until I set eyes on a lovely old, tarnished silver necklace in a popular local shop, Reclaimed Treasures on Main, in Haverhill Iowa. It could not have been more perfect!  Isn’t it sweet?

DSC08871

I loosely draped a string around my tree, and measured it, to determine that my garland needed to be about 90″ long to look it’s best.

Not wanting to disassemble the necklace before having some sort of plan, I laid out a mess of beads and baubles, in the colors and sizes I thought I might use, and gave them a good look over.

DSC08893  DSC08909

I decided the best way, for me, to approach this project was to break it down into small steps, and watch my progress as I went along.

I removed the jump ring that connected the necklace ends together.

To add some length quickly, I linked together 9 beads that I liked.  There were enough beads to make six identical lengths, but I wasn’t really concerned about them matching exactly, I would have substituted some if needed.  I inserted one of these beaded lengths after every other solid orb in the necklace.

Most of my beads already had wires, which was a huge plus. If there wasn’t a wire, I robbed one from another bead or made one. Some reclaimed crystals were added between the other silver orbs, and two of the little floral ovals were moved to each end.

DSC08945  DSC08957

I loved the look of the grungy pearls, so I went back and added another one beside the small purple crystal beads.

Repeats of some of the beads I used were added to each end before going back and securing all the connections.

I thought I was done here, but as I was putting things away, I came across some awesome pale green pearls, and couldn’t resist tucking them in next to some of the red crystal beads.  Now, its finished, well … for this year anyway.  I have a sneaky feeling this piece will be a tempting one to keep adding to, don’t you agree?

DSC08963   DSC09403

garland with watermark    DSC09874

We’re not done yet, the real fun is just beginning!  There’s decorations to find, a tree skirt to make, and ornaments to get in the kiln.  I hope you’re able to join me as it all comes together this week-end for Part Two of My Vintage Style Christmas Tree….  Enjoy Your Week!

 

 

In The Spirit of Christmas!

A friend and I were visiting the other day and trying to decide exactly what you would call our obsession with saving scraps and bits.  The term “junk collector” isn’t really fitting and sounds so cold.  We are more like “gatherers”.  We like to gather and save all kinds of intriguing things, big and small, until we discover or create a way to use them.  With a husband in the scrap business, I may get to do more gathering than most, but I really enjoy the challenge of creating with my finds.

After pinning another great Pinterest post on crafting with Epsom Salt, I figured it was time to give it a try.  But, what was I going to put it on?

During short breaks from glass work the last couple of weeks, I’ve been having fun rusting wire, bells, and a few other tidbits.  Looking through them. I found a couple large notebook spirals that rusted nicely, and thought they would look good as flocked wreath ornaments.

9303 watermark 9294 watermark

I started with a large rusted spiral approximately 12″ long.  Shape in a circle and clip ends together to determine the diameter of the wire circle you will need for an inner circle, to prevent sagging.  Pre-shape a length of rusty wire into the circle size needed, with a little extra on the ends.  Scrunch the spiral in your hand and thread wire through.

DSC08762 DSC08769 DSC08776

Trim off excess wire and form small hooks on wire ends.  Cross hooks over and connect the spiral together to form the inner circle.  Pinch hooks tight.  Wrap the loose coil ends of the spiral to the coil opposite of it (right to left, left to right) to complete the outside edge of the circle.

DSC08800 DSC08808

Not wanting fumes to choke everyone out of the house, I moved to the garage for spraying and coating my wreaths. Using long tweezers to hold the wreaths worked like a charm, and they cleaned up easily with a wipe of  mineral spirits.  Spraying over the garbage bin kept sticky overspray residue at bay.  Adhesive sprays may differ; please follow manufacturers directions.

After spraying, coat wreath well in a shallow container of Epsom Salt.  I waited about 10 minutes, then sprayed the wreath again, before sprinkling it with crystal clear glitter.

You can stop here if you like the look.  Wanting a heavier, fuller appearance, I waited about 20 minutes and repeated the coating step. Then moved the wreaths inside to dry thoroughly.

DSC08821 DSC08683 DSC08829

Flatten a small piece of textured scrap aluminum for the holly.  Trace first leaf, then flip the pattern before tracing the second leaf.  Cut them out with tin snips or all purpose scissors.  Be Careful Please … edges may be sharp!

DSC09161 DSC09164 DSC09165

Re-flatten the leaves and punch a small hole for a wire.  File the edges, sand with steel wool, and paint them with a Christmas green craft paint.

DSC09169 DSC09175 DSC09177

Sandpaper the leaves to distress the green paint.  Spray lightly with adhesive and coat them lightly with glitter.  If the glitter gets too heavy, brush it off with a soft bristled brush.  Let dry well before using your fingers to curve the tips of the leaves, to add dimension.

Many small gauge wires will work for the leaves and bells.  I used Christmas hook wires because they were on my workbench and easily accessible.

Form a small circle on the end of a straightened, long green plastic coated Christmas hook.  Bend it to the side.

DSC09183 DSC09201 DSC09204

Over lap the ends of the holly, lining up the holes, and clip them together.  Insert the shaped wire.  Squeeze a little E6000 in the gap, where they meet, on the backside.  Let dry.

DSC09208 DSC09212

Spray two 3/4″ rusted round bells with a clear sealer.  Wire them tightly together.  Hold leaves and position the bells as you view them from the front.  Hold in place and hot glue them enough to hold them in place on the backside of the leaves.  Lay them down to secure with more glue.  If there is a lot of adhesive and glitter on the leaves, you may need to lightly sand the area before gluing.

DSC09217 DSC09223 DSC09225

Push the long leaf wire through the coils of your wreath, from the front, covering the spiral connection.  Keep leaves firmly positioned while wrapping the long wire around the inner circle wire and coils.  Use small pliers to help thread it through the coils and keep it pulled tight.

DSC09231 DSC09237

Do any additional shaping on your leaves.  As a finishing touch, give the crown of the bells a quick spritz of adhesive and a little sprinkle of glitter.

9297 watermark 9272 watermark

Hope this little project has inspired some Christmas crafting.  If you’re willing to share, I’d love to hear how you are using Epsom Salt in your creations.

For now, I guess it’s back to a little glass work for me … there’s candy canes to be make!  glassicartistry.etsy.com

8368 watermark

Thanks for visiting glassic touch!