Wednesday, December 12, 2007

An Etched Glass Nativity

Etched Glass NativityWelcome again to the Winter Bazaar, I'm worried that by posting so many Christmas crafts you'll think you have to have a craft idea to join in but not true. Games, activities, recipes, gift ideas, tips for getting through the holidays without stress, all sorts of things are welcome it's just that I've been in a horrendous crafting mood lately and can't help myself. Crafts are my thing right now.

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This is my most prized Christmas decoration: a piece of glass with a nativity scene etched onto the surface with an grooved oak stand to hold the picture upright.

My photograph isn't the greatest--you wouldn't believe how hard it is to take a picture of a piece of glass, you're getting the shine off the surface or my reflection or any number of other issues but you can see the basic elements of the design.

The nativity sits on our dinner table and looks beautiful with votives around it or sprigs of berries around the bottom.

It looks difficult to make but really it isn't, and it looks so sophisticated you've got to give it a try. Order a piece of glass from a local glazier (they'll round the edges for you and everything) and if you know someone with a router than can bevel the edges on an oak plank it's just a matter of carving the design so that the glass is exposed to the etching cream in the proper places.

Here's what you'll need:
* one 8 1/2 by 11-inch piece of 1/8-inch thick glass (thinner is better, as thicker glass distorts the template as you're carving)
* one 13-inch piece of oak, lightly stained and sealed with the edges beveled and a groove along the top.
* etching cream
* clear Contact paper
* razor blade or Exacto knife
* the template

1. First, click and download the nativity scene template and print it off. It will print of in an 8 1/2-inch by 11-inch format.

2. Put the template underneath the piece of glass, printed side up, and carefully secure it to the glass with tape so that you can see the design easily through the clear glass. Be sure to position the template far enough from the lower edge so that all the feet don't get hidden down in the groove once the glass is being displayed.

3. Cover the top of the glass completely with a sheet of clear Contact paper, folding the plastic around the corners if necessary. No glass should be exposed but you should still be able to easily see the nativity design stuck to the back through the clear plastic.

4. With a razor blade or Exacto knife carefully cut through the Contact paper, cutting out the areas of the design that are black. This will be detailed and will take several hours but with a steady hand you should be able to easily cut away the plastic, leaving the "black" areas of the template open in the Contact paper and ready to be etched.

5. Once the design is carved into the Contact paper, make sure the edges of the plastic are secure by gently but firmly pressing down all the cut plastic edges. You don't want any of the etching cream to leak into places it shouldn't go.

6. Gently brush etching cream onto the design in a generous layer and allow it to sit for five minutes, or whatever the manufacturer's directions on the bottle might say.

7. Rinse with warm water, remove the Contact paper and template and buff with a towel. Slide the piece of glass into the groove on the wooden plank and it's finished!

Not the quickest project, but it is really the most beautiful thing when it's done. Just keep it high up from little hands--you don't want it broken after all that work!


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Have you entered this month's Write-Away Contest? The theme is "My Favorite Day."


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39 comments:

Just Build said...

Where do you find etching cream?

KreativeMix said...

pretty neat!!!

Anamika said...

Dear Michelle
Thanks for passing by my blog and leaving such encouraging words. The word 'unique' gave me a new surge of enthusiasm.

Amber said...

GORGEOUS!!

Stephanie said...

You are amazing craft queen! ;)

Chris said...

Hi Michelle. Today is my turn on the Advent Blog Tour. Hurray! I thought I'd use that as my contribution to the Bizarre.

Lis Garrett said...

Beautiful piece of glass, Michelle. I don't think I would be brave enough to display it in my house - not with my three kids. Most of my decorations will stay packed away until they move out!

G's Cottage said...

This is very clever and I want to try it when I'm not actually in the holiday press. Will you leave the template attached for a while? I won't be able to do this until summer for next year.

Melissa Markham said...

This is lovely! And you make it seem so easy! BTW...remember, youcan have only one;) (I need to make some visual reminders like that for myself!

Lisa Milton said...

Thanks for the template & idea.

I don't know where to find the glazier, but it seems worth tracking down.

For next year?

SusieJ said...

Michelle, that is quite a project. I'll just stick with sugar cubes and royal icing for now! That is beautiful. http://mylittledrummerboys.blogspot.com/

J at www.jellyjules.com said...

I'm totally impressed. It would never occur to me to spend that much time making anything but food...I'm not crafty, nor do I play a crafty person on TV, but I'm impressed by folks who ARE crafty. :) Excellent work!

jennwa said...

I love that, it is very beautiful.

Makita said...

I absolutely LOVE this!! I wonder if it would be possible to create a stencil (or use a store-bought one) that could thereby be used more than once?? I would love to create several of these for gifts. Then again, that may not work because the etching cream would get into undesirable spots...

Jacki said...

Thanks for hosting such a great bazaar!

soccer mom in denial said...

Wow. I feel like you just pulled away the magician's cloak. While time consuming, it sounds like such a simple process.

Just terrific.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

That's beautiful, Michelle. I think I have too many little hands in my small house right now to attempt it. But I'm inspired just by looking. And that's the whole point of the Winter Bazaar, right?

Pieces said...

Wow. That is...wow. It is going on my list for next year. I absolutely love it!

For those that are looking--oftentimes you can get glass to order at Michaels or higher-end frame shops.

Cecily R said...

I so wish I trusted myself enough to try this one! My sister collects Nativities and I would so love to give her one like yours. It's beautiful. Maybe I'll save the directions and try it someday...:)

Angie said...

I have only used etching cream once, but it was SO cool! Oddly enough, it was also to make a Nativity, but it was on the side of a candy jar.

Your posting reminded me that I would love to give it a try again!

Scribbit said...

Questions:

You can find etching cream at most craft stores, even Walmart. It comes in little plastic jars and the brand I use is called "Armour Etching Cream" I think.

The template will be here as long as the internet stands so you can always come back and tackle this when you have more time (like when the kids have left home)

Etching glass is pretty easy, if you can trace an image you have all the skills needed for this one. The flat surface makes it easier than trying to etch a curved surface but if you want to practice, try carving something on a vase or glass plate before tackling this. Holly leaves on a plate would be a pretty thing as a set of Christmas dishes.

If you need the glass, try asking at a glass replacement shop in your area and they should be able to at least point you in the right direction to find someone who cuts glass. A professional framing store is an excellent suggestion though.

A store-bought stencil would run the risk of leaking so Contact paper is a better choice. There are, however, kits for etching things like goblets and such at places like Michaels if you want to give it a try.

tickledpink.nicole said...

Gorgeous. And from your directions it looks so "doable."

Summer said...

I've been planning on doing an etched glass craft for a long time. This nativity idea may just give me the final motivation needed to get on with it.

Sarah said...

Oh, that is beautiful! I'm intimidated by glass etching, but the clear contact paper seems really easy!

WorksForMom said...

THAT is AMAZING.

Kerith Collins said...

that is gorgeous...i still need to get some of that etching stuff...you seem to have something for every holiday
kerith
http://artsyfartsyfantastics.wordpress.com

Cocoa said...

Yup, that's the exact same Nativity I etched several years ago. It's my favorite too. The only difference is mine is done on a mirror. So pretty!

Morning Glory said...

That's a really beautiful decoration! I can see why you treasure it.

An Ordinary Mom said...

Well my contribution is definitely not crafty, but it will help us all get in the Christmas spirit :) !!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

This is so beautiful. My husband and I had just had a chat about making Christmas gifts for next year and I showed him this. He is fairly handy and owns a router :) I think I am going to tackle this.

I am going to first try etching cream on something simple. Do you use the contact paper method anytime you are using this?

I think you have displayed other etched work before...I'll have to go dig around the blog!

DermDoc said...

Scribbit,
You are the Martha Stewart of the Great North. (Without the jail time of course).

-DermDoc
PS- I am married to one of your most loyal (and I think cute) readers -- Susan of FoodBlogga.

GiftGuru said...

Wow, so lovely! You make it look so easy.

SAHMmy Says said...

Gorgeous! I just happened upon your Bazaar the same day I posted a (not nearly as fabulous!) craft idea. Thanks for hosting.

Simply Stork said...

beautiful...simply beautiful...

~simply stork~

vfg said...

I have the _exact_ nativity, made at an etching creative night at our church. Funny how those patterns circulate.

Mark said...

Beautiful! Very nice work.

Etched Glass said...

That nativity piece is very nice, especially since you made it yourself. The guide seems easy to follow, so I'll probably give this a try when it comes closer to Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I have successfully downloaded this image and turned it into a cuttable image for vinyl. I cut it out and it turned out beautiful. You can also use vinyl if you want to etch. It is sooo easy just stick to the glass, put on the cream, wash and peal off the vinyl. It saves a lot of time. Thanks so much fot the beautiful template.

April said...

My mom had one of these years ago, and as a rowdy teenager I broke it :(
I have been looking for years, to buy her a new one, I never thought to MAKE one!!!
Thanks! I think I am going to try it!