Reclaiming Glass with Stencils

I really didn’t know what to title this post, so I thought about it overnight and still didn’t come up with anything, lol. In the end, it just made sense to state exactly what we did – reclaimed used glass with stencils.

My husband found this solid oak, Amish-made gun cabinet on the local Swap and Sell facebook page. We took a drive to check it out and he decided he had to have it. The biggest issue was the sandblasted etching on the glass. The door itself was built around the glass, so we would need a woodworker to replace it, but my husband didn’t want to weaken the integrity of the door. That left us with the option of altering the glass while still in the door frame.


We put some scrap vinyl over a letter to see how badly it would show through, and then a second layer. The sandblasted texture definitely would show through both layers. I knew that acid etching wouldn’t match the texture, so that was out. It was time to get creative.

I measured the area that had been etched, and created it in Make-the-Cut. Then we tried out different shapes to cover it, until he found the one he liked best. I cut the stencil out of 24″ wide vinyl on the roll using a slow speed. I covered the stencil with transfer paper to pick up the thin border and then I used application fluid to give me some time to adjust/move the vinyl around to get it positioned perfectly. After two tries applying the vinyl to the door, we decided to trim it down to just a few inches all the way around because it was just too hard to handle 24″ of vinyl.

Once the stencil was in position, and we had squeegeed the water and bubbles out, we masked the area using freezer paper – one of my favorite multipurpose craft supplies.


At this point, I had to decide if I was going to use acid etch to make the glass hold the paint securely or try something else. In the end, since it was a very large area and I don’t have a lot of acid etch on hand, we decided to use an universal bonding primer (it boasts that it bonds to ANY surface – let’s hope that’s accurate).

Universal Bonding Primer

Universal Bonding Primer

After the primer had dried completely, we added a stone coat paint. This was how we were going to hide the sandblasted letters within the stencil area. On top of the stone coat, I also added a Matte Finish Coat. Then, the big REVEAL!


There was some water under the vinyl in the upper left hand corner, and it had watered down the primer there. Once it dried completely, I placed small strips of vinyl over the clear glass and touched it up.


Now that the previous owner’s etched ‘sign’ is covered, hubby just has to decide what he wants to put on it. 😉


Settings (Maxx Air 24″):

  • f = 28
  • v = 150
  • p = 1


  1. Measure the area to be stenciled
  2. Create or find a pattern that will cover the area
  3. Cut the vinyl
  4. Apply the vinyl and mask
  5. Paint according to directions
  6. Peel away the mask and vinyl




Memorial Day Table Topper (Free File)

Hoorah! I am ahead of the game, FOR ONCE! I have been saving bottles for a year, with many project ideas swarming around in my head. There are many different ways to decorate and use glass bottles and jars – and they don’t even have to be Mason jars – lol. For the upcoming season, I wanted to make some table toppers for our family get-togethers. For both Memorial Day and the 4th of July, these will be perfect!


I filled this bottle with red ‘straw’ gift packaging material, but there are endless possibilities to add more dimension to the decoration.


Settings (Maxx Air + contact paper):

  • f = 21
  • v = 350
  • p = 1


  1. Clean the bottle thoroughly and allow to dry.
  2. Apply glass etch cream and set for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove glass etch cream, wash thoroughly and allow to dry.
  4. Open or create the stencil file. Cut stencils from wall vinyl or contact paper.
  5. Use transfer tape to pick up all of the pieces of the stencil.
  6. Apply stencil to glass bottle/jar.
  7. Using the airbrush system, apply Copic marker colors where desired.
  8. Allow to dry and decorate.

One of my favorite things about this method is that the glass etch process makes the glass ‘cloudy’ but the Copic markers make it very shiny and transparent again. It gives the glass project a wonderful contrast.

Memorial Day Decoration

I have some leftover glass blocks from Christmas projects, and I can’t wait to get started on the next phase of the decorations – which I will fill with white lights! I plan to have a decorated bottle on each of the tables for our Memorial Day gathering. Then I will use the lighted glass blocks for around the patio.

Memorial Day decorations


Vinyl Decal on Framed Prints

Sometimes a framed print or photo needs a little something to make it special. I have found that using a vinyl decal on the glass or frame can be just the trick to make it “pop”. It works well for adding identifying information to a photo, or giving a print a bit of a 3-D effect.

Vinyl-Enhanced Framed Prints

Vinyl-Embellished Framed Prints

Here are some examples of prints that I’ve embellished with vinyl decal text. For the photo of my granddaughters, I added the date and place that the photo was taken. The other two images are designs of mine. I simply left part of the image off when I printed them, and added that part as vinyl to the glass.

Below are some close-ups so you can take a look at the detail.

Close-up of vinyl on glass

Close-up of vinyl on glass


Framed print

Oracal 651 Vinyl

Clear Transfer Tape

KNK Zing with MTC software

Red Blade

Exacto Knife

Rubbing Alcohol




Force – 15

Offset – .35

Passes – 1



Choose the font and create text in MTC. A script type font is easiest as it can be welded and is easier to weed. Adding extra weeding lines is also helpful.

(Alternatively, I sometimes use a drawing tablet and freehand tool in Inkscape to create my own text. I then save it as an SVG and import into MTC.)

Cut text out of vinyl. Weed excess vinyl. Add clear transfer tape. Squeegee to make sure transfer tape is adhered.

Clean glass with rubbing alcohol.

Add vinyl decal to glass. Carefully use squeegee to remove bubbles. Remove transfer tape.

Cups – Conical Warp

I hosted a conference this summer – reserved the rooms, catered the food, planned all of the activities, gathered all of the supplies, and made these commemorative cups that everyone LOVED! Everyone said that next year, the hosting group will have to ‘up the ante’! LOL!



Settings (Maxx Air):

  • f = 12
  • v = 300
  • p = 1


  1. Create the design in MTC.    Pre-curve
  2. Measure the diameter of the cylinder/cup/glass at the top and the bottom. Then measure the height of your working space.
    1. 20150831_193002_opt
    2. 20150831_193009_opt
    3. 20150831_192033_opt
  3. Use the Conical Warp feature to shape the words to the cup dimensions so that they look straight when applied.
    1. Right click on the object, go to Shape Magic, Conical Warp.
    2. Input the measurements from step 2. Measure
  4. Click Import. This pic shows the before and after. Both

Conical warp gave my design a slight curve and extended the length of the top versus the bottom to match the cup. When installed, everything looks perfectly straight. MTC makes this so EASY!



My Wax Version of a Martha Stewart-Worthy Table Setting with a Free File

There are only a few boxes left to unpack, and we will officially be moved in to our new house in our home state of Michigan. It is so good to be home and close to family! And occasionally we open a box that hasn’t been opened in years and it’s like Christmas has come early! LOL

Speaking of Christmas, for the first time I will be hosting Christmas for my family and I want to have a fabulous, knock-em dead, dinner table setting. My mom traditionally goes all-out for Christmas and I don’t want to disappoint!

Over the period of a few years my mom bought us a snowman themed tablecloth, dishes, serving platter and salt & pepper shakers. Unfortunately, the glassware didn’t make it through our multi-state move. Nevertheless, I really want to use this set for my first time hosting the family celebration. I started thinking about a comment Sandy McCauley made back in August at the KNK Retreat, and had a ‘Ta-Da’ moment. Do you remember the wax candle decoration project I posted a few months ago? I learned during that project that the wax would stick to almost any surface. Well, this wonderful material has become my knock-em dead solution for Christmas!

I happened to have a box of 4 x 8 wax sheets I picked up months ago that included all of the colors I needed to match the dishes. I took a photo of the plate, but there just wasn’t enough contrast to most of the colors to give me a traceable picture. 101444_opt

In the end, I simply used standard shapes in MTC, with a little bit of tweaking, to achieve the desired design. The snowman (including his top hat) is only 2″ tall on the glasses and 4″ tall on the candle.




  • Maxx Air 24″
  • Blade exposure:  the thickness of wax sheet
  • Force:  10
  • Speed:  160 mm/s
  • Click here for support for the Maxx Air, Zing, Groove-E, or MTC if you have any questions about these settings


  1. In Make-the-Cut (MTC), add your shapes to the mat and create your design. Wax doesn’t work well for intricate designs, so keep them simple. Christmas_1_opt
  2. Weld shapes together as needed. Christmas_2_opt
  3. Use a moderately to very sticky mat and tape your wax to the mat.
  4. Align wax between the pinch wheels.
  5. Test cut a small square until your shapes are cut out cleanly. You will need to test cut each color as the thickness varies. The wax should cut very well: 124707_opt
  6. Cut out all of your shapes. Look at those tiny little carrots! 131448_opt
  7. Place the pieces together in their appropriate position and warm the wax in your hand. 134504_opt
  8. Lightly press the pieces together. The wax will feel sticky.
  9. Apply the warm, assembled design to your surface.Snowman 003_opt 058_opt

Now, for some tips and tricks:

  • You can apply color to the wax with Copic Markers, Sharpies, or Viva Pearl Pens.
  • If your cuts aren’t coming out clean (like the set on the right below) you need to check your blade. I started out first thing in the morning when the house was still cold and very little wax stuck to my blade. It didn’t take long though and the wax sheet started to warm up and get sticky.  125722_opt
  • Remove all excess wax around your blade in between cuts. This can be easily done by exposing the blade fully and cleaning with a cotton rag; pulling ‘away’ from the blade holder. When clean, retract the blade to the correct length. Below is what my blade looked like after cutting the black and orange wax (on the right, above). And on the left side of the photo above is how it cut after cleaning my blade. 125245_opt
  • As mentioned, wax can be warmed in your hand and reshaped. I rolled the carrot noses between my fingers to make them more rounded like a real carrot.
  • You can pop your project in the freezer for a few minutes when you’re done with your project item to easily remove the wax and save for later use (if desired).
  • Don’t throw away any of the ‘weeded’ wax. You can warm it up and reshape it, to use it for 3D shapes. Below is a very quickly formed example from this scrap wax: 20131220_200555   20131220_201756
  • On the second snowman I was in a bit of a hurry, so I lightly waved a heat tool over the wax in my hand to speed up the process. The wax will become liquid quickly, so use caution.


Although I didn’t light the candle yet, this is how it will look at dinner time, in low light.


I wish you all a very Merry Christmas! 

Have a safe and blessed holiday season.

Here is your Snowman cut file.