Harry Potter Butterbeer Mugs





Introduction: Harry Potter Butterbeer Mugs

About: Quirky gifts, colorful paintings, detailed drawings, silly graphics--I do it all.

You only have ONE MORE CHANCE to throw the greatest Harry Potter movie release party ever. I like going all out for these kinds of events, so we will be having a Harry Potter dinner party at my house to celebrate (and mourn the end of my childhood).

After a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter last year, I got one of their plastic souvenir butterbeer mugs and was dissapointed by its distinctly non-magical and non-quality feel. I wanted to give my muggle guests a more authentic experience, so I made a set of etched butterbeer mugs for serving the legendary beverage. These mugs will also be "party favors" for each guest to take home with them, and I'm sending a few pairs of mugs to my more Potter-obsessed friends.

They are really inexpensive and easy to make, and using these techniques you can create incredibly cheap  and detailed etchings of absolutely anything.

Step 1: Materials

I made a set of six mugs with two different patterns.


Glass Mugs (I used these and they are the perfect size. They really feel substantial in your hand), washed and dried
Etching cream
Parchment Paper
Exacto Knife (use a new blade)
Masking tape
Butterbeer emblems (download below)

You can use the two Butterbeer emblems I made, or easily make your own. For my mugs each image had to be 3" wide. Print out your labels on normal printer paper. I will be switching between patterns in the instructions, but the process is exactly the same for both labels.

Step 2: Stencil Prep

Cut a piece of parchment paper so that it fits over your design. Lay it on top of the paper so you can see the design through the parchment.

lay a piece of masking tape on the parchment paper so that it covers the whole design. I used 2" thick masking tape, but if you have a smaller width you can simply overlap the edge of the tape to make a solid stencil. It will be a little bit more difficult to cut if you use thinner tape. Make sure to tear your piece of tape wider than the parchment paper to that it also touches the design paper, holding the whole thing together.

Put your little stencil rig on a lightbox or tape it to a window so you can see the design clearly through the tape.

Step 3: Cut the Stencil

Using your very sharp exacto knife, cut around all the details. You do not have to press very hard--you only need to cut through the masking tape layer. If your light box has a plexiglass or plastic front, make sure to put a clear cutting mat or piece of glass underneath your stencil so you don't cut up your light box.

I found that it was much easier to cut out all the little inside pieces and curves of each shape before cutting around the outside curves. i like to turn the paper a lot while cutting, so for me the light table is much easier to use than a window.

Step 4: Adhearing Stencil

once you have finished cutting out the whole design, tear off another piece of masking tape and stick it to your jeans a few times so that it is not quite so sticky. Put this piece of jean-weakened tape on top of your tape stencil, pressing it down with your fingers.

Peel the two pieces of tape off of the parchment paper slowly. If little pieces of paper stick to your tape design, use tweezers or your knife to get them off.

Align your masking tape stencil on your glass and press it down with your fingers, then smooth over the whole design with something hard (like a sharpie). Keep in mind if your guest/gift-receiver is right-handed or left-handed and plan accordingly.

Very slowly, peel back the top layer of masking tape, making sure that no pieces are getting left behind. When you are done your mug should look like it has a single piece of masking tape on it with no little pieces missing.

Step 5: Peeling Away the Design

Using your razor, lift up the cut edge of your design to begin to peel away the letters and shapes. If you did a good job cutting, this will be fairly easy.

For tiny detailed areas where there is a small floating shape, it is helpful to hold the shape down against the glass with tweezers while pulling the rest away with your knife.

Step 6: Etch!!!

Brush the etching cream on, making sure to brush across the design in all directions. I did some test-run on spaghetti sauce jars and found that my etching cream worked best if I first applied a thin layer, brushing up and down and then across side to side, and then quickly adding a medium-thick layer left on for five minutes.

I highly suggest running a few tests on some old jars using the directions on your bottle of etching cream as a starting point.. The things to check out are thickness of application, direction of brush strokes, and time left on the surface. See what combination makes the most consistent and most crisp design with the etching cream you purchased.

Step 7: Wash Off, Peel Off, Drink Up!

After the allotted time, wash the etching cream off with cold water, peel off all the tape, and admire your new Harry Potter mug!

You will need to repeat this process for each cup. It doesn't take too long--I got my time down to 15 minutes a mug not including etching time, but the first mug took about 30 min. as I was figuring out the process.

The cost per mug is probably around $2.50 if your mugs are $2. I checked my local Dollar Store for glass mugs, but they were all out. If your store has them that would be great!

A variety of Butterbeer recipes can be found all over the internet, but if you want an "authentic" taste like the butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, find a recipe with a cream-soda base for the drink and a butterscotch flavor to the foam.

These mugs are sure to impress all your Harry Potter guests, and make great "party favors." Have a magical time making them, and enjoy the final movie!



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24 Discussions

Like you may have a few mistakes where the sand got under the paper (which is why you need to smooth the paper out as best as you can) but it's hardly noticeable.

You could also get contact paper, an Exacto knife, and a little sand blaster gun. It works exactly the same but with less supplies and less time

Those glasses are fantastic! Thanks for the detailed explanations about the masking tape technique - clever!! I'm definitely going to try this!

Just made a custom set of wine glasses and beer mugs for my dad using your technique except after the first one I just traced the letters onto the masking tape, applied to the glass and cut the letters out right on the glass. I would also like to say nice knife work, your results are much nicer than mine.

Just bought the mugs at the Big Blue and Yellow store- CANNOT wait to try this! I am planning to use my Cricut cutter to make the stencils instead of using a knife. I'll let you know how that goes. Did you have a preference for one label or the other after it was finished?

2 replies

WooHoo! Using a Cricut will speed up the process a ton--cutting out each one was definitely tedious (but worth it). When the mugs were finished the second design was more visually striking than the one that is fully enclosed.

I'd love to see photos of your mugs when you are done--I bet the cutter makes the lines so crisp.

This instructable I wrote last year may help if you're planning to use a Cricut: Easy-glass-engraving-with-the-Cricut

Even if you're not using a Cricut, read the article and the comments re safe use of etchant. Hydrogen Flouride is an extremely dangerous acid that can work its way right down to your bones. It is not a toy. Treat it with respect, safety goggles, and nitrile gloves.

'Was dissapointed by its distinctly non-magical feel' Lol.

I have two sitting in my cupboard and agree, they couldn't feel less magical (though I thought the Wizarding World itself was amazing). I love this tutorial and will be on the hunt for etching cream now! Thank-you!

Awesome. I didn't even know about etching cream. I'll have to try this, as a gift for a friend who's a Harry Potter fan. Lots of other ideas too! Thanks.

1 reply

Thank you! Etching cream is great, cheap, and goes a long way! Good look with your making, I bet it'll turn out awesome.

Love this! I just tried it out today and my cups turned out awesome! (Didn't have mugs, but I got tall glasses instead) :D Thanks so much for the great instructable!

1 reply

I have done a lot of etching with the etching cream and I love it! I just wanted to give a little tip that may or may not be easier for anyone (just another process for making the stencil).I used to do all of my stencils with an exacto knife and got a lot of hand cramps, so I thought this might be useful for someone with arthritis, etc. I am going to try the masking tape way and see if it produces different/better results for me.

I use contact "paper" (that you can buy at WalMart in the homegoods section where they sell shelf liner). I buy a roll of clear plastic that is huge for around $5 and lasts forever (and this is handy if you are doing a bigger design than these)...
First, print out your template, then using same lightbox method, trace with a sharpie (takes all of a minute with this particular design) onto the contact paper (leave the backing paper on the plastic)
Peel off the paper and apply to the glass.
Then trace over the sharpie outline with a woodburner tool. Flies through the plastic like butter and completely severs the edges so you don't have to worry about picking up the little edges when you pick the designs out.
Pick the designs out
Apply etching cream as per usual!

1 reply

Wow, great tips! Thanks for sharing your experience, I will definitely have to try that out.

*One can also use this method using an xacto knife instead of a woodburner tool, but it's not easy on curved glass. I did several months of work doing etched award mugs that way and it was not fun. Then, right before another big project I noticed the woodburner (also at walmart) and it was a very well spent $10. (Not to mention all the other fun things it can be used for -- Like burning wood....)

these mugs are freaking awesome!!!!
but is there anything tha could replace ething cream???

PS: love your work

1 reply

I am unaware of a safe way to etch glass without using etching cream. The cream is widely available and cheap, so I highly recommend just getting some. I have a small bottle of it for $5, and even after using it to etch 12 of these glasses it is still over 3/4 full.

Wow these mugs are frickin sweet!! Your pretty cute as well ;) - (I just mean that as a compliment - not trying to actually hit on you). Anyways I can't wait to try this on my own. :)


1 reply