I have to say, that after a while, my appreciation for the free, chipped (and even cracked!) mugs, so generously donated from garage sales and the backs of everyone's cupboards to stock the YuKonstruct Makerspace kitchen, was waning, and so, I decided to purchase some brand new (inexpensive) mugs and bowls, and make them our own!
Step 1: Materials
- ceramic glazed dishes
- design file for etching
- access to a laser cutter
- painters masking tape (easier to remove)
- permanent black marker (light glaze colours)
- gritty hand cleaner (optional)
Step 2: Create Print File and Prototype
Working in CorelDRAW, I created two files using the dimensions for the height and circumference of the mugs and bowls, and then imported the YuKonstruct Makerspace logo, positioning it about an inch down from the top edge of both.
Before etching the ceramic dishes, it seemed like a good idea to test things out with a disposable paper coffee cup first. The metal clothespeg like clip, held the light paper coffee cup perfectly in place and gave me a pretty good idea of how it would look. I decided to move the logo up a bit closer to the lip, so adjusted the logo position in my files, and then set the jig up to etch the mugs.
Step 3: Etching Darker and Lighter Glaze Colours
I started with the mugs that had darker colours of glaze (green, black and red), thinking that I would get the best contrast and results. I was quite satisfied, but wasn't yet sure how I would get the etch to show up on the lighter colours of glaze.
I decided to mask the area to be etched on the lighter coloured mugs using painters tape, to try and take advantage of the stencil that would be left behind after etching, and see if i could somehow cleanly colour in the etched area.
Step 4: Colouring the Etch on Lighter Glaze Colours
I ended up using a black permanent marker to colour in the etched areas on the lighter colours of glaze. It turned out to be a very easy solution and worked well.
When I first started filling in the etched area with the marker, I was careful to 'stay in the lines', but soon realized that the non-porous glazed parts would not likely keep the ink permanently. Being less concerned about neatness, made it much faster to colour in the etch. I made sure to completely cover all the small details in my design, so they would show up.
I then removed the masking tape, and revealed my crudely coloured in logo.
The next lucky discovery, was that the orange gritty hand cleaner we keep at the sink, turned out to be the easiest way to clean up the mugs and remove any tiny bits of remaining masking tape or ink left on the glazed parts.
Success, all the tiny details of the design were revealed!
Step 5: Etching the Bowls and Finishing Up!
Having figured out my technique, I completed the rest of the etching (10 mugs and 5 bowls!) by masking the area to be etched first, and then inking the etched areas on the dishes having lighter colours of glaze, by using a permanent black marker to create better contrast.
To finish up, I removed most of the masking tape and used the gritty hand cleaner to get off any remaining bits of tape and/or excess ink and with a little bit of dish soap and warm water, our new dishes were ready to use!
Step 6: Using Our New Dishes!
Before our awesome new YuKonstruct mugs and bowls even made their way into the kitchen cupboards for the first time, they were happily being used by some of our members!