I wrote an instructable for a $50 Sand Blaster in an Hour which was very well received and sparked some great projects. Add a 6-year-old infomercial game-changing product, the Cricut personal craft cutter, now in yard sales for $40, and you have a new side business.
Cricut is not the only personal craft cutter. They are simply the Kleenex of die cutters and vinyl plotters. The oldest version is perfect if you are doing small items like glasses and mugs. Look around your local thrift stores or Facebook "Buy, Sell, Trade" groups (which are now a much better way to move random clutter than Craigslist) and you will find an amazing deal.
I randomly bought an old Cricut Personal Cutter for $40 which was collecting dust in a stay-at-home mom's garage, but still functioned well. She included enough to get started cutting cheap 6"x12" strips of vinyl. You DO NOT need their over-priced $50-100 font cartridges with the awesome "Make The Cut" hacked software.
Wrap the vinyl around a $2 beer mug from Walmart and throw it in the sand blaster for a minute, and you have an awesome gift.
This instructable is to help raise money for my Maker family at Geekspace Gwinnett if you are able to use this, please consider donating to their amazing efforts of education, innovation, and inspiration for the next generations.
Step 1: Tools and Supplies
You can etch the glass with chemicals if you are doing a small, simple logo. I am not about the wimpy way, but brute, raw force.
You can also sub out anything you want here, to save money (blue painters tape instead of transfer tape, stickers instead of vinyl, etc)
- Optional (but awesome) DIY Sandblaster for $50 in an Hour $50
- or just the Sand Blaster Sandblasting Kit $20
- Old 6" model of the Cricut Personal Craft Cutter $40-50 used with no cartridges Ebay Search
- Hobby Knife or Razor blade-Techni Edge #1 Hobby Knife with Cap and #11 Blades
- Make The Cut software V4.1.1 (OLD VERSION if using cricut machine) Use in free demo mode to save $50 article from 2012
- Gift card, Popsicle stick, putty knife, or anything to smooth the bubbles
- 6"x12" Vinyl sheets for craft cutter Vinyl Ease 30 Sheets of Permanent Adhesive Backed Vinyl for Craft Cutters, 6 by 12-Inch, Assorted (You can buy this by the sheet for $1 at some craft stores or beg for scraps at a local sign shop)
- Blank Beer Mugs or Wine Glasses Pilsner Glasses, Set of 6 (Walmart mugs are $2beer mug set (buy single in store)
- Masking Tape3M Painter's Tape
- or Transfer TapeVinyl Transfer Tape 4 12-Inch-by-24-Inch-Sheets
- Blades for cutter tool or knife
Step 2: Design and Prep
In Make The Cut (MTC), you can trace raster(JPG) graphics in vector SO much better than with Adobe Illustrator. I equate it to using a back-hoe to plant a rose bush. This is the shovel that is just right.
Set your platform. MTC has settings for many of the top brand die cutters on the market. I set mine to the 6"x12" sheet I am cutting.
Lay out your design based on the size of the mug. My open space was 3.5" tall and 10.5" in circumference.
Click Cut. (Awesome CAUTION) If you are in the free demo mode, it will simply make a slice from one corner to the opposite. IF you were making scrapbook pieces, this would be bad, but since we can ad tape over the cut, this is not an issue. With an extra minute of "sweat equity" you save $50 in software costs.
Remove the sections of vinyl from the cut design sheet that you want to turn to frost on the mugs (I save these and kill two birds with one stone by making a negative mug at the same time.)
Apply Transfer Tape or Masking Tape to the remaining sheet which helps hold the design together when transferring it to the medium. I know this seems like an extra step, but it really holds everything together for placement.
Apply a small amount of soapy water to the mug so the vinyl will not immediately stick, but can give you extra time to ensure proper placement.
Squeegee out the excess soapy water when placement is perfect.
Add extra masking tape where your vinyl is not able to cover. For example the handles, inside the mug, and the bottom
Add a signature or logo to the bottom for fun.
Step 3: Sand Blast
Check my other instructable for more info on this step.
Simply spray the glass for about a minute or two as if you were painting it. The sand will quickly scratch the glass while the vinyl will protect the parts you want to remain clear.
Make sure to check your blasts every time you think you are done. I will commonly leave some places on the mug not fully sanded. Once you pull the vinyl, you have to start over to fix issues or have fun with masking tape.
Step 4: Peel and Clean Up
Dunk the mugs in hot soapy water until the masking tape or vinyl feels soft.
The vinyl will peel off easily to leave a gorgeous design.
Go build an Etsy store and start dreaming up more designs.