Introduction: Mad Science Stemware Glasses

Picture of Mad Science Stemware Glasses

Love science?  Love stemware?  Love radioactive looking beverages?  This may just be the instructable for you!

I am a Mad Scientist, and love the idea of drinking out of lab equipment.  However, I am also a Mad Scientist, and know that this is a really Really REALLY bad idea.  I wanted to have a scientific glass to pour my favorite radioactive looking beverages into this Halloween season!

My husband is quite fond of anything fancy or formal, so when I came across these glasses I knew I found the perfect start for my Mad Science stemware!

What You'll Need
Glass Stemware (I found these cuties at the Dollar Tree for $1 each!)
Armour Etch (Glass Etching Cream - In the Stained Glass aisle at Hobby Lobby)
Paint Brush
Teaspoon 
Tablespoon
Washrag
X-Acto Knife
Contact Paper
White Painter's Pen
Acrylic Gloss Coating
Masking Tape
Paper Towels
Sharpie
Water

Step 1: Taking Measurements

Picture of Taking Measurements
This step is not absolutely necessary.  HOWEVER, if you want your Mad Science Stemware to be truly scientific, you'll want to do this.

What gives science laboratory glassware its classic yet awesome look are the etched-glass lines on the side used to measure the various substances and chemicals.  While you can create the look of science laboratory glassware without turning your drinking glass a functional scientific measuring tool, I strongly recommend doing the measurements.  If nothing else, you get to say "Look, I made a functional piece of scientific kitchenware!"

Depending on the size of your glass, decide what increment you are going to use for your measurements.  Easy ones are 5mL, 10mL, and 25mL.  For my glasses, I went with 10mL intervals.
 
For Easy Measurements:
One Teaspoon = 5mL
One Tablespoon = 15mL

Add one increment of water to your glass to bring the level up to the first measurement. I added 10mL of water to my glass, or two teaspoons.  Once the water is still, mark the line on the glass with a sharpie or other permanent marker.

Keep adding water, marking each increment, until you have reached the desired volume or the top of the glass.  I stopped at 200mL, which was almost to the top of my glass.

Step 2: Making the Stencil

Picture of Making the Stencil

Cut off a piece of contact paper that is as all as your design and much wider.  Fold it in half, so that the peel-off back is facing outward.  Tape onto the glass using masking tape.

Using your sharpie, extend the measurement lines onto the contact paper, making sure to get them straight.  Mark which side of the contact paper is toward the bottom of the glass.  Untape the contact paper and unfold.  Using the measurement lines on the contact paper, draw out how you want your measurement lines to look on your finished glass.

Once you have your stencil all drawn out, carefully trace out the design with the X-Acto knife (cutting through both the contact paper and peel-off backing).  Remove all of the lines that you want to show up on your glass.

This will be your stencil.

Carefully cut two slits down your stencil on either side of your measurements about 1-2" away.  Peel away the backing between those two slits, exposing the adhesive of the contact paper stencil.

Step 3: Setting the Stencil

Picture of Setting the Stencil

Clean the outside of your glass with some Windex or other ammonia-based window cleaners to remove all markings except the lowest marking (1st measurement)

Line up the bottom of your stencil with the sharpie line for the 1st measurement and make sure the stencil goes straight up the rest of the glass.  If you don't line up the 1st measurement on the stencil with the 1st measurement  line on the glass when you're putting on the stencil, your measurement lines will be off on the finished glass.

Carefully press the stencil onto the glass, making sure to leave no air bubbles or loose edges.  Any air bubbles or loose edges might  end up with those areas etched as well!  

Use masking tape to cover about 2-4" around the edges of the stencil, depending on the size of the glass.  You don't want to leave any space for drips to get to the glass!

Step 4: Etching Your Glass

Picture of Etching Your Glass

Cover your workspace with newspaper.  This stuff is NOT GOOD to get on, well, anything.  

You will also want to rock a pair of rubber gloves (I use the nitrile kind) and some safety googles.  Better safe than with nasty skin damage or permanent blindness for the rest of your life.

Using a paintbrush, you'll want to set a thick coating of Armour Etch on your stencil, being careful not to get it on any glass that you do not want etched.  You'll need the coating to be thick enough so that you do not see the outline of your stencil.

Set the glass so that the stenciled side stays upright and it does not roll around.  Let the armour etch work its magic for about 20-30 minutes. (I know other instructions say otherwise - for this project, stick with this)  

Rinse off the cream using hot water and a washrag, making sure all traces of the cream are gone.  Dry off the glass.

Step 5: Frosting the Lines

Picture of Frosting the Lines

Etched glass doesn't usually show up very well on its own.  You can make it show up much better by frosting the etched areas.

Using a white paint pen (I used Elmer's brand), carefully mark over the etched lines of your glass.  Its okay if you get it messy.

Let the paint dry about 10 minutes, then wipe the excess off using a very-slightly damp paper towel.  The paint should easily come off any non-etched glass surface and stick to the etched lines.  If it doesn't stick to the lines, recoat the lines and leave for 20-30 minutes before wiping off.

This step is also not completely necessary.  However, it will make your lines show up MUCH better.

Step 6: Finishing the Glass

Picture of Finishing the Glass

As you can see before, while the etching is completely waterproof and permanent, the paint you used to frost your lines is not.

You'll want to seal the outside of your glass with an acrylic coat.

In a well-ventilated area (like outside) lay down a bunch of newspapers.  (This spray is also something that you don't want to get on stuff.)  Place your glass, rim down, on the newspaper.  Gently spray all around the outside of the glass with the spray, following the sprays directions on distance, time, etc.

You'll want to do at least 2 coatings.  This will make the frosted lines washable without coming off with scrubbing.  Note, I have not tested this in a dishwasher, I do not know if it is dishwasher safe.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Scientific Stemware

Picture of Enjoy Your Scientific Stemware

Now you have scientific stemware!  Use for entertaining, or just enjoy with your lab assistant on special occasions.

These are great for Halloween parties, gifts for your favorite geek, or just having around your kitchen (or laboratory!)

For more awesome crafts and fun projects, visit my blog, The Procrastibaker!

Comments

Swansong (author)2017-10-18

This is such a cool Halloween idea! It's super simple and looks really fun and creepy :)

twighahn (author)2012-10-12

i could do this with any glass tumbler

Right you are! This works equally well on most assorted barware and glassware.

MaryT8M (author)2012-09-13

VERY cool

dreadengineer (author)2012-09-13

Nice project. Reminds me of Germany-- all the wine glasses in restaurants have a "0.25L" mark so you know you're getting the exact right amount! (Definitely an engineering culture)

Beergnome (author)2012-09-13

you can drink out of lab ware! I do it all the time!...

then again... I'm a brewer....

but really... just keep the lab stuff and the kitchen stuff seperate. I keep a set of beakers around just for the tours I give of the brewery, makes sampling out of the bright tanks seem "official" :) then we toast off with "FOR SCIENCE!!!!


that reminds me. is glass work still part of a chemistry degree? I'd like to see a stem and base fabricated, then "welded" to a test tube for a nice shot glass.

sand blasting would be awesome, but you need to make a stencil for that. this method, making the incremental marks the using the etch insures accuracy.

daredesign (author)2012-09-13

I love this idea! Got to make a couple of them, though I might try sandblasting it instead of etching cream. Thanks!

That sounds awesome! I would love to see the end results.

Judith756 (author)2012-09-09

Makes it easy measuring for mixed drinks...lol. Love this.

ChrysN (author)2012-09-09

Nice and very geeky, I love it!

kcli (author)2012-09-09

Really fun idea! I've been wanting to try etching and now it's time to put great ideas into action....

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Bio: I am a Mad Scientist and IT gal with a passion for projects. I love figuring out puzzles, solving problems, and finding out new ways ... More »
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