Step 1: Gather Materials
The materials I used are as follows:
Large mirror (I purchased mine at Wal-Mart, they had many cheap and decent looking ones)
Armour Etch (found mine at etchworld.com)
Foam paint brushes
Contact paper (kitchen section at Wal-Mart)
Step 2: Preparation
Next, I measured the "body" of my letters (feel free to correct my letter terminology). By "body," I mean the distance from the line the letters are written on to the tops of the main parts of the letters. For example, the lowercase "o" fills the distance I measured. In my font's case, it was 32mm. Then, I measured the distance the "tails" stretched from the top and bottom of the letters. For example, a "y" has a tail that hangs down, and letters like f, t, and h have tops that rise above the main line. For my font, the top and bottom each extended 10mm above and below my main font line.
Knowing this gave me a knowledge necessary to properly align my font (though the pictures still show I didn't quite get it perfect).
I gave each line of text 52mm of space to ensure that it would not run into the letters above or below it. My pictures show the lines that I used to align my text.
Step 3: Print and Transfer Text
Once I had the text printed out on paper in the desired size, I held it up to my contact paper and made small tick marks along my baseline to let myself know how far apart to space the letters. I then began the longest and most tedious step-- the cutting and tracing of the letters.
Since my printer wouldn't print directly onto the contact paper (believe me, I tried), and I was too cheap to buy a professional stencil (I priced a custom one with this exact message for 55 dollars), I could only think of one option. I cut out each letter that I had printed off, and I traced it onto the contact paper. This is where the lines come in. With these, your individual letters maintain a straight line and uniform look. Though you may continue on to the next step (cutting) at any point, I finished all my tracing before I began cutting the contact paper.
Step 4: Cut Out Excess
With your xacto knife, simply cut around each letter, being careful with the corners and portions of letters like "o" and 'e" that will remain on the glass. I found a sharp new blade was a good idea at this step.
Step 5: Apply Etching Cream
With the foam brush, apply a thick layer of etching cream. I poured the cream across the lettering and then used the foam brush to smooth it across it. Use up and down, left and right motions to get the cream to fully cover the stencil. Allow the cream to sit for 5-10 minutes.
In my picture, the cream doesn't look very thick. In fact, it isn't. I actually applied a thicker layer, but I neglected to take a picture of it.
Step 6: Reveal Your Creation
When I first hosed mine off, I was rather disappointed. The wet mirror didn't look like the etching cream made any difference at all, but as I dried it off, the results were quite pleasing.
This is a relatively easy project with very pleasing results. This project is going to be a gift to my girlfriend **awwww**. There is relatively little cost, but the results look like a million bucks!!