Etching Stainless Steel Tumblers - Great DIY Gift Idea!

**Do this outside!** My husband steals all my tumblers so the kids and I decided to get him his own special one.

These tumblers are stainless steel and from Walmart for about $10.

First use adhesive stencils. This is personal use and not for sale so I used a image off the internet.

Attach to your cup. Then get some supplies ready: 9v battery Low voltage wire (old telephone or speaker wire works ) electrical tape Vinegar Salt Q-tips Container Scissors

Tape your positive end to the battery and the cup.

Tape negative end to the battery negative post and wrap around q-tip.

Mix up tablespoon of salt and about a 1/2 cup vinegar.

Dip the q-tip in vinegar mix and start etching! Keep it moving, it will bubble or sizzle when it's working. It stinks so this is why you should be outside. **This is a battery and electric, even though the current is very minimal I still stress to be careful and not let children do this project.**

The longer you stay in one spot the more it removes and the whiter the etching will be. It was 105 degrees outside and I just wanted to be done.

Rinse and clean by hand with soap and water, then double check any spots before removing the stencil.

All done!

We also did the bottom with a joke between my daughter and husband.

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Jen Burns

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 96 questions
  • Cj57
    on May 15, 2019

    my question is that of marylin's Will this process work on glass? If not, do you have one that would? thx.

  • Penny Harper
    on Jan 5, 2020

    My q tips are plastic instead of wood. Nothing happens. Could this be why?

    • Kevin Wilson
      on May 4, 2020

      Try making sure your wire is wrapped around the soaked cotton of the Q tip and you should be ok.


  • Judy Sideb
    on May 4, 2020

    Do you only dip the Qtip once for the entire project? Or will I see if it needs to be dipped?

Join the conversation

2 of 251 comments
  • PB
    on May 3, 2020

    Looks really neat and easy. I'm wondering if this would work on the colored mugs. I'm assuming that it probably would not.

  • Leslie
    on May 4, 2020

    Thanks for sharing this VERY minimal cost project; everything but the mug is already in my home!

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