Etching Stainless Steel Tumblers - Great DIY Gift Idea!

Jen Burns
by Jen Burns
9 Materials

**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!

Looking for more homemade gifts?

Check out this Chocolate Bouquet tutorial for another fun and thoughtful idea.

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

Resources for this project:
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Jen Burns
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 97 questions
  • Penny Harper Penny Harper on Jan 04, 2020

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

  • Judy Sideb Judy Sideb on May 04, 2020

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

  • Wil8513783 Wil8513783 on Jan 16, 2022

    I will try this, but could you also use etching cream?

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2 of 253 comments
  • Frances Anderson Frances Anderson on Feb 20, 2022

    noting the basic chemistry i wanted a precision that a cotton tip didnt have so used a knitting needle wooden in its place. it takes longer as no cotton to soak the vinegar so i used a small paint brush put the vinegar where i wanted it and did the engraving that way . if using metal needles wear a rubber glove so you dont get a shock or a rubber pen grip.

  • 56680139 56680139 on Dec 10, 2023

    Cute idea.

    But Ms. accident prone would be getting shocked or end up with etched fingers.

    I think I prefer the etching pens you can get on Amazon for really cheap.