Instructables
Picture of Scrimshaw Etching

Scrimshaw, engraving, scratch art. Call it what you

like. While it is not actualy engraving, since i don't

use typical engravers tools. Most do not consider it

true scrimshaw, since I do not use whale teeth or ivory

for my work. Anyway, its an art form that takes alot of

practice. I have searched the internet to find similar

art as this, but nothing was found. I originaly started

on ivory from old piano keys and old pieces of bone. But

material like these of quality and quantity are far and

few. so i moved to plastics, cheap and plentiful. It

also helps clean the enviroment by recycling plastics

that end up clogging landfills or litering roadsides. I

actually have found plastic mugs and thermos jugs in

ditches along side a road that was perfectly usable for

decoration. (I wouldn't use them for food or drink, but

sitting on a shelf looking cool is ok).  (please forgive my typing skills, or lack thereof. i type with one finger and with a broken arm, and it hurts to often to truely care about punctuations right now)
 

 
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Step 1: Tools of the trade

Picture of Tools of the trade
Photo0137.jpg
Photo0143.jpg

 The tools of the trade. I use a shapened pin, a

"marks-a-lot" black marker, rubbing alcohol, a rag, and

white plastic cups from the "dollar store". some tracing

paper will help but not required.
 

Step 2: Tools continued

Picture of Tools continued
Photo0143.jpg

i get white plastic cups, tumblers, glasses (whatever

you want to call them) 4 small or 3 large for a buck.

pretty damn cheap from any view. Other colors will work

but gives a "muddy" or "dirty" look to the image.
the smoother the surface of the cup the better the

results. use cups that are smooth and shiny, do not use

"wrinkle finish, as the ink wont wipe away.

find a picture or drawing that you like and print it to

fit the side of your cup, or trace the design with the

tracing paper. tape the design to the cup using scotch

tape to hold it firmly in place.

take a needle and mount it into an exacto knife handle.

or carfully push it into the end of a piece of wooden

dowel. a metal scribe could also be used.

triumphman1 year ago
Love the skull with the mouth open ! Nice!
paperclip325 years ago
 beautiful man.just plain beautiful
Echo tha paperclip32 echo that too the max. Kudos to Bishop-Jarney, will be doing this asap.
J-Parker (author) 4 years ago
 just added the final pics. hope you all like them....
For a similar art form, Google 'Kolrosing"
Nice work on the mugs, by the way.
It looks great! My husband has some scrimshawed items, and I've always wanted to try out the technique. This gives me a chance to play with it. Thank you!
feltonite4 years ago
 Is the ink safe to use on drinking utensils?
J-Parker (author)  feltonite4 years ago
 Yes. the permanent ink is safe, its on the outside of the cup. i don't recommend licking the outside of the cup, but it is most likely cleaner than most peoples hands.  
cjoshua4 years ago
i love prison art
mikes6865 years ago
i love the art work on your cups, where did you get the pics for your designs?
J-Parker (author)  mikes6865 years ago
 surfing the internet. i am always looking for cool pictures that might give me a challenge trying to etch. mostly i take requests from people i know. these make great gifts. the cup with the 4 dragons on it, was sold for $30.00 to a neighbor, after only a description of it, sight unseen. i hope to have it finished sometime tomorrow evening. pics of almost anything you like can be used. pick a subject, then do a google search for images, you will find something useful. good luck....
iTinkers5 years ago
Really cool.

How well do they hold up?  Would they be usable in any way(as a mug) or are they purely decorative?
I imagine the ink would fade out pretty quickly if you were to use and wash them regularly.
Have you ever tried to cover them with a clear coat to seal the ink in?

I really like the look of them and would love to try to make one. I think it'd be awesome if it was fully functional. I'm just wondering if you, or anyone else, has any ideas on how to make them more durable.
J-Parker (author)  iTinkers5 years ago
 its permanent ink it sometimes fades a little, but even regular use for soda and juice then through the dish washer, they still last. ive got a couple from 7 years ago that still seem fine. if it fades, just re-ink it..... hope this helps.
J-Parker (author) 5 years ago
 I added 4 new pics under step 9. I hope you like them....

 and thank you for your wonderful comments... ;)
Kaiven5 years ago
Whoa! Those are so cool!
crapflinger5 years ago
that's pretty spectacular.... i love scrimshaw (the carving and the beer)...it's a shame that most people claim it's not scrimshaw unless it's on a whale's tooth...i guess that's technically right but it's still the style that matters to me

my grandfather got me a "craft knife set" (can't call it exacto because it's not by them...and the quality is pretty low)...and it's got 3 or 4 handles with interchangable ends...and it's got 3 "pokey jobs" that would work pretty well for this...might have to give it a shot
canida5 years ago
Wow, those are excellent!