TOOLBOX: Water Color Masking Fluid

I love playing with watercolors, I’m going to admit that right now. I love the way the colors run together, the little blotches of pigment, and basically everything else about it. I’m not a watercolor expert, which means that whenever the paint does something unexpected I have the giddy feeling that I just discovered something amazing. (What did I tell you? I love the process.)

My philosophy teacher in high school used to amazing things with watercolor, and I would always try to sneak a look at his paintings before and after class. One day I noticed him using something to cover up portions of the paper while he was working– cut to 15 years later and I finally decide to buy myself a little bottle of masking fluid to play around with. (I bought Winsor & Newton Colorless Art Masking Fluid.)

Still a little overwhelmed to jump in, I watched this introductory video, decided on a test project; and gathered my brushes, paints, and spirit of exploration.

A note: the first time I used the fluid, I ruined my brush. It was a cheap brush, granted, but after that I sharpened up and coated the next brush in dish soap before dipping it in the masking fluid. I coated the whole thing in the dish soap, then squeezed the excess out. (This video shows you how.) Trust me. It’s better that way.

I drew a basic outline of the words I wanted to mask out with pencil. After coating the brush in soap, and gently rolling the bottle of masking fluid to mix it up, I dipped my brush in and saturated it.

Bit by bit, I covered the words with the masking fluid.


All the lines are covered in the fluid now. I’ll be able to erase the pencil lines once everything is done.

I let the masking fluid dry COMPLETELY before I began to paint with my watercolor. (The dry masking compound feels like rubber cement. You’ll know it’s dry when it is only slightly shiny, and your finger does not stick to it.) The watercolor will not stick to the mask, so you will be able to see what you’re working with.

When I had finished my first layer of paint, I let it dry COMPLETELY, then added a little more masking to what would be the little abstract windows in the buildings.

Then I let those dry COMPLETELY (do you see a theme here?) before I went in and darkened all the fields of color.

When I was done working around my masked areas, and everything was dry, I lightly rubbed the masking agent off with the tips of my fingers. (This alone is worth the trouble. I love pulling glue off of things.)

Once the mask was off, and I did a little erasing, I had crisp white lines to work with.

The masked areas were pale enough to let me add a little light yellow watercolor. I love the way the white letters stand out.

Tips to remember

• Test out the water color paper you’re going to be using before you start your artwork. Some of the papers I tried stuck to the masking fluid terribly, and I had to tear the paper to get the dried mask off.
• Coat your brush in soap, or you will ruin a brush, and most likely the piece of paper you’re working on. The first brush started to pull the drying mask fluid back off the paper, and it totally ruined one of my projects.
• Let everything dry COMPLETELY before moving from fluid to paint, or paint to fluid. The fluid will cling to wet paper, or your wet paint and make a wet mess.
• Remember to have fun! Let that childish sense of wonder take over for an afternoon… and when you’re done experimenting, send us the outcome! April’s DIY Challenge is Watercolor, after all.

TODAY: The Magic is in the Making

Every month we send handmade badges to our favorite DIY Challenge entries. Rachel has made most of them, because she’s a whiz, and I was too scared to attempt embroidery. When I finally sat down to try* I found myself enjoying the process, and realized that the little imperfections were just fine. They were evidence of my process, and the process is everything.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the little monsters that keep us from creating. The doubt that we feel about our talent and ability, the fear we have that what we make will be judged by others, the comparisons we make to those who we feel are more talented.

Well, those are my little monsters. They make it difficult for me to call myself an artist, even when people specifically ask me if I am. Even when I’m working on rearranging my studio to work better for the way I make things.

But here’s the thing. When I take a step back from my own insecurities I see that for me the value of art isn’t in the product; and it definitely isn’t in the value that someone else places on the product. All the value and happiness is in the making.

When I’m making something, I get to do all my favorite things. I solve problems, like what tools to use to get the result I want. I teach my hands to move in new ways. I explore the interaction of materials- the way certain paints soak into wood, the way paper is cut by different blades, the way it curls. I train my eyes to see the world differently, to take items out of context, to turn a stick into a story. I play with the sound of words in my head, the picture they can paint with a little touch of color.

So what if all that beauty in my head and in the world turns into something that no one understands but me? Who cares if the end product is less “art” and more evidence of exploration? The magic is the way I feel when I’m working.

What do you think? What part of making brings you the most joy?


*I used a lot of the techniques from Rachel’s Alphabet Hoop Art tutorial, craft felt, embroidery floss, and good ol’ creative drive.

DIY: 8 Watercolor Inspired Projects

Since the theme for this month’s April DIY Challenge is watercolor, we decided to dig through our archives to find our favorite watercolor inspired posts. We hope you’ll enjoy revisiting these ideas!

1. DIY Watercolor Affirmation Cards

DIY: Watercolor Affirmation Cards #tutorial

2. DIY Watercolored Business Cards

Watercolored Business Cards

3. DIY Dip-Dyed Treasure Bags

DIY: Dip-Dyed Treasure Bags #craft #gift #dye

4. DIY Appearing Leaf Drop-Dyed Tissue

5. DIY Hand-Dyed Paper Flowers


6. DIY Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland

DIY: Dip-Dyed Paper Butterfly Garland #craft #recycled #decoration

7. DIY: Tie-Dye Tissue Paper


8. Free Printable Watercolor Gift Wrap


Toolbox: Drawing with Gouache and a Nib

A while back I took a calligraphy class from Tara Bliven, and it opened up a whole new world of drawing tools. Not only did I get to try out new tools and techniques, it was the first time a pen and nib really worked for me. (Sometime I’ll give my whole “It’s tough being a lefty” rant.) As a lefty I need to use a special Oblique Pen Point Holder to write left to right– but with a little practice I learned to use a plain pen and nib to draw with gouache.

All the dark blue lines on this piece were done with a pointed pen, the rest is watercolor.

What’s so great about drawing with gouache?

• You can draw any color you can mix, for cheap. Instead of buying half a million different markers, buy a primary set of gouache and mix the colors you love.
• Gouache colors are opaque, which means you can do light lines on a dark background.
• Skinny paintbrushes are a pain. Although some people *ahem, Rachel* seem to be able to make magic with a brush, I have no luck doing fine lines with a paintbrush. A pen works much better.
• Gouache mixes wonderfully with your watercolor projects (#diycraftchallenge)
• The quality of line you get with a pointed pen is awesome.
• You look like a total bada** when you’re using a pointed pen. Trust me.


For this piece, I put down a dark blue background in watercolor, then used gouache to add the white words and flourishes.

There is a little learning curve when you’re working with a pen and ink, and practice makes perfect. I like to do little doodles on scrap paper to practice my lines, play with color, and generally mess around.


• Gouache– like this Winsor & Newton set.
• A pen holder– like this one from Speedball
• A pointed pen nib– I used a Nikko G pen for this project, but Tara also recommends the Brause EF 66 which is better if you’re not as heavy handed as I am.
• A dropper of distilled water.
• A couple of ratty paintbrushes for “ink” application, mixing, and cleaning.
• The rest of your usual painting tools– a paint tray or plate, a jar of water, paper towels, paper, pencil, etc.

To start, I put a drop little bit of gouache into my paint tray…

and add a couple of drops of distilled water. I add just a little bit of water to start, because it’s easier to add more water to make the consistency I want.

I mix my water with my paint until it’s consistent (using a cheap kids paintbrush). I like to play with different degrees of “wateriness,” more water means that the “ink” will be thinner and less opaque. Typically I used a mixture that’s about 3 parts paint, 1 part water.

To apply the paint/ink to the pen, I saturate a paintbrush, and slowly slide it against the backside (concave side) of the nib. The ink will cling to the nib and seem to fill it partially. When it seems full (this part takes some practice) I will gently point and shake the pen downward towards the tray to get any extra blobs of ink out before I start drawing. In some cases (like today), I will actually drop the extra bits of paint onto my paper, for fun.

Then it’s time to draw. I place the nib gently again the paper, concave side down, at an angle. Then I slowly pull the nib along, rather than pushing like a lefty with a ballpoint. (If you’re having trouble, check out one of the amazing tutorial videos on youtube- like this one.)

Unlike a normal pen or marker, a nib like this will need to be refilled rather frequently (using the brush method above.) I try to keep an eye on how much ink/paint I have in my nib so that I don’t run out in the middle of a line. When you’re using the nib, you’ll notice that the tip is made up of two pointed pieces. When there is enough ink, it looks like one point on the end, but when they start separating, I probably need more ink.

Periodically, I stop to rinse and scrub my pen. I dip it in my jar of water, and use a clean brush to scrub any dried bits of ink/paint off of it. Then I dry it gently with a rag or paper towel, reink, and go back to work.

For this doodle, I had both white gouache and blue gouache in my paint tray, and I went between the two when I was reinking.

Can you see why I like drawing with gouache? The possibilities!


I was inspired to pull out my gouache today by the April DIY Challenge: Watercolor. We’d love to see what the theme inspires in you, so pull out your favorite medium and tools and share with us!

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor #diycraftchallenge #watercolor #adventuresinmaking

April DIY Challenge: Watercolor

Watercolor is a favorite medium of ours and what better way to celebrate Spring than playing with colorful paint. Whether or not you consider yourself an ‘artist’, watercolor is a wonderful way to experiment and create no matter your skill level. So get our your favorite paints and make something inspired by the beauty of watercolor.


Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, April 1, 2015 and ends on April 29th, 2015. We will post our favorite projects + announce the award winners on April 30th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more watercolor project ideas.

TIP: Finding the Grain in Paper

I’m working on a super fun tutorial for tomorrow, and I thought I would take a minute to share a tip about finding the grain in paper.

What is paper grain?

Very simply- Most paper is made up of long fibers that align parallel to each other, which means that the paper will be more flexible in one direction (with the grain) than the other (against the grain.)

Why is grain important?

If you work with paper at all, you will find yourself working or fighting with the grain of paper. Because the paper will naturally want to flex with the grain, it will behave very differently depending on the way it is cut. This is especially true when you are working with thicker paper or cardstock.


What direction is the grain of this paper?

I always test the grain of a paper before I start planning a project or working with it. Some people will tell you that the grain typically runs parallel to the long side of a piece of paper, but I’ve found several instances where paper is cut the other way.
To find the grain of the paper:
• Take the paper in your hands and gently flex it one direction, then rotate it 90 degrees and flex it again. Depending on the thickness of the paper, you may want to flex it until it’s almost folded.
• It should flex more easily one way. That way is called “with the grain”.
• Sometimes I will make a light pencil mark along the flex, to show me which direction the grain is running.


What’s the best way to work with grain?

Here are a few activities that you might do with paper, and how the grain should be aligned.
• Book Binding – Book covers and guts should have the grain running parallel to the spine. If the grain goes the wrong way, pages will be difficult to flip, and the cover may warp.
• Folded Cards – You should always fold with the grain, meaning that your fold will be parallel to the fibers of the paper. That way your fold will happen in between the strings of fibers, rather than breaking them.
• Quilling or curling – If you are cutting your own quilling paper, it’s a good idea to cut against the grain, which means you’ll cut the fibers of the paper shorter. The paper will curve more fluidly this way, and you’re less likely to get ugly creases in your curls.
• Resistance projects – conversely, if you want to play with the stiffness of the paper rather than curling it up, you should cut with the grain so you have long strong fibers. (This is the kind of paper I was working with for my paper bird project.)
• Gluing – if you are duplexing, mounting, or otherwise gluing two pieces of paper or paperboard, you want to make sure the grain direction is the same for each piece. When paper is introduced to moisture from glue or even from the air, it will start to curl one direction. You want the grain direction to be the same on both pieces so that they don’t pull on each other.
• Tearing – Paper is always easier to tear along the grain (because you are pulling strings of fibers away from their neighbors instead of tearing them in half.)

What happens if you ignore the grain?

Terrible things! Books that don’t flip! Warped duplexed paper! Rough folds on your cards! Bends and creases where you don’t want them!

Know the grain. Respect the grain. Keep making stuff.

How do you play with paper? Does the grain effect you?

SHOW + TELL: Watch Ali Draw Words

I think that it’s one of life’s small miracles that no one has to listen to all the noises that go on in my head while I’m working. The cajoling, the reassuring, the brainstorming, the problem solving, the bickering, the promises, the compromises… you get it. It’s noisy, but generally productive (“What were you thinking, Ali?” “You can do it, Ali!”) That’s my process.

Since this month’s craft challenge is all about LETTERS, and so am I, I thought I’d give you a little glimpse into the sketching steps of my lettered pieces.

img_6405I showed you my travel kit of supplies, but my sketches rely on just a few tools. A mechanical pencil, a ruler, a compass, clipboard, lots of erasers, and some thin white card stock.

img_6411I usually have a concept that I’m trying to convey in words. Often it’s one of the mantras I repeat to myself while I’m working (which makes the whole process very meta.) I will write down a bunch of phrases, and think about…
• Priority of words (Visual Hierarchy) – The most important words should generally be biggest and easiest to read to reinforce the message of your piece. I like to think that if you only read the big words, it would be like a summary of the whole statement. As fun as it is to make a really big and elaborate THE, it doesn’t make much sense. (THE message gets hidden.) You can also use visual hierarchy to hide a message and make people really look.
• What shapes I can use in the phrase: Is there a representative shape I can work into the overall form of the lettering? If I’m writing about lemonade, should I make it fit into the shape of a glass?
• What kind of typography would best represent the words? – Some words want to be formal (“Typography”) and some want to be flourishy (“Passionate”). Sometimes it’s fun to mix those up.

I’ll also start looking at the way a word is structured so I’m sure to give it enough space per letter.

When I have a general idea of the shapes I’d like to play around with, I’ll build myself a make-shift grid with the ruler and compass. I find that I like to make mostly symmetrical pieces, so I’ll map out the middle of the page and go from there. I end up with a lot of extra reference lines, but that’s fine.

Then I will start very lightly penciling in the skeleton form of letters. I do A LOT of erasing, so light lines are important. Usually while I’m working on the basic structure of the letters, I will start to think about the shape they will take in the end.

img_6421I am constantly working to find the center of a word or phrase. I can count letters in my head, but nothing beats a quick jot down of the phrase. I’ll then count (including spaces) and mark the middle. (This is also helpful because if a word has a lot of skinny letters – like Ilif – it will be much shorter than one with fat letters – MmNn)


(More penciling.)

At some I will inevitably get a “better idea” and shift a bunch of letters to work better. In this case I shifted my grid up, erased and re-lettered.


Practice makes better.

One of the best consequences of lettering practice is that I’ve started to think of writing as “drawing letters” which makes it sometimes possible to write backwards or sideways. This helps with lots of things including spacing words from the center line (see above). It is also SUPER handy when you’re a lefty who loved to drag your hand through wet ink all the time.

When I have the skeleton of the letters basically where I want them, I will make decisions about how to flesh them out. My first inspiration was the word “Letter” which reminded me of a typeface I love in my very precious American Wood Type book. (We’ll be showing our favorite lettering books later in the month!)

I love to keep printed samples of type on hand to look at. I used to try to look at inspiration on a screen, but it never translated right in my brain. I’ve started saving all sorts of printed materials (filed by style) to look at when I’m lettering.

img_6435Again using a light touch, I will start to add details to the letter using my inspiration pieces. Sometimes I make little changes in a letter form to better fit my space (hey, I can do what I want!)

Sometimes the skeleton of my letters will have to move to allow for more space for some letters

and sometimes the letters stretch outside of my borders.

Once I’m happy with the general form of everything, I’ll start erasing the extraneous pencil marks.

IMG_6443Once they are gone, I will sometimes look at the whole thing and decide to make changes.

img_6501Like for instance, I might change the phrase itself.

But that’s okay- it’s just a sketch. If I love it I’ll take it to the next level with paints and ink, and if I don’t love it I’ll put it away to inspire me another day.


What’s your sketching process? Is it anything like mine?

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane of Lucky 2 b U

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow
I am so excited to have Kara Rane talking with us today about her art and creative life. I first discovered Kara’s work years ago and fell in love with the vibrant colors and positive energy that ooze from her work. The patterns and textures she is able to create with markers is amazing! See more of her work on her website,

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What is your background?

I grew up at 6,000 feet in the mountains of Southern California, in a very small town. Nature was a huge part of my childhood, and I found my favorite places to be were among the trees, streams, lakes & wilderness. I also love the ocean and later lived in Santa Barbara attending UCSB and studying Environmental Science and Art Studio. Although I am deeply connected to the natural world, my curiosity compelled me to explore urban life and I lived in San Francisco and New York City. Having a passion for travel, I also lived for a time in the Caribbean on a tiny remote island, trekked the Himalayas of Nepal, returned to my native Nordic countries, explored Thailand and Vietnam and have road tripped throughout parts of the United States. Now, I live on a happy five-acre ‘homestead’ in the Sierra foothills of Northern California.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Art for Kara’s eco-art card line, Lucky 2 b U

What do you make and sell?

My art is made by hand, created with ink, fluorescence, marker on paper and all the colors of the rainbow. The original drawings glow neon under a black light, so this is a sure way to verify authenticity! Greenerprinter in Berkeley Ca. makes the reproductions with vegetable inks, 100% post consumer recycled paper, and renewable energy. ‘Lucky 2 b U’ greeting cards are sold at select Whole Foods Markets in Northern California and many lovely boutiques.

How did you get started and when did you launch your business?

It seems I have always had a creative business; it has just changed and transformed, as all things in life do. While I lived in Brooklyn, I had a small storefront where I held ‘donation only’ yoga classes and hosted community gallery events. Then when in the Caribbean, I had a kiosko on the beach selling food and making art by the sea. During my time in San Francisco, I focused on figurative portraiture in oil paint. Currently, my art is sold online and through retail shops, and I work on projects for individual clients. I follow my dreams and hopefully the business will continue to follow too.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Zodiac art series by Kara Rane


Do you have any philosophies or ideals you try to represent with your work?

Art heals you. It infuses the body with positive energy, reduces stress, stimulates cognitive brain function and promotes a sense of unity. Our world is in desperate need of healing. We have lost the ability to live in harmony, balance, and good health- with nature, with Earth.

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from the great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.”
-Chief Seattle

The art I create is devoted entirely to this healing, it is my medicine, for you, and for the planet.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Kara finds inspiration in travel and nature.

Where do you look for inspiration?

A definition of ‘inspire’ is to breathe or to infuse life by breathing. In the same way we cannot live without air, we cannot live without being inspired. It is an essential component to our being alive.

What does your workspace/studio look like?

A work studio is wherever I happen to be. Sometimes all I need is pencil and paper, nothing else. Other times, it may be more elaborate and might require that I can work on the project for a long length of time with a variety of materials. I am almost always accompanied by at least one spirit animal, as the tranquil peace of time flows by.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Kara’s art studio in Northern California.

What are some of your favorite tools or techniques?

Working with my hands, in all things! I am very dedicated to living a sustainable lifestyle, to supporting and growing organic food and to understanding how to best care for the land and creatures we depend on. One of my newest skills (a continual work in progress) is attending to our 26 fruit tree orchard. In this way, I have come to know each and every tree. I touch each one and especially in our recent harvest, have hand picked each apple, peach, and plum.

FEATURED MAKER: Kara Rane #artist #interview #rainbow

Fruit orchards on Kara’s five-acre homestead in the Sierra foothills.

Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome in your business? Or something you tried but didn’t work the way you planned?

One of the challenges as an artist is to stay true to your own vision. Often times progressive work will not be popular at first because it is new and most people will be afraid to like it unless other people do. This can be really challenging in our current ‘social media’ culture. But it is important to offer a unique perspective, to present reality not as we already see it but as it can be seen, this is the only way art can truly be transformative.

Visit Kara’s Etsy shop and follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Thank you so much Kara for sharing your story with us! Do you want to be our next Featured Maker?
Visit our Contribute Page for more info!

GIVEAWAY: Make every day an adventure

GIVEAWAY: Make Every Day An Adventure #lettering #art #win

It’s time for our next giveaway! Hurray! One lucky winner will receive a ‘Make Every Day An Adventure Print’ plus an official Adventures-In-Making swag kit!

This awesome print was illustrated by Alison, co-creator of this blog and owner of So, There! She designed, hand lettered and watercolored this inspiring wall art perfect for your home or work studio. It measures 9.5″ square and is easy to frame (frame shown in photo will not be included with the prize).

The winner will also receive an official Adventures-In-Making swag kit which includes a handmade mini notebook, pencil, stickers!

GIVEAWAY: Make Every Day An Adventure #lettering #art #win

How To Enter

Leave a comment below telling us about a recent adventure you had.

Optional Additional Entries

• Follow us on Pinterest
• Like our Facebook Page
Click to tweet: I just entered to #win an inspiring #art print at @adventuresinmkg! You should too! #giveaway (click to tweet)
• Follow us on Instagram

It’s helpful if you leave us a comment letting us know which additional entries you chose to do 🙂

Enter all 5 ways to increase your chances of winning!

The giveaway ends on Sunday, September 28 at 11:59PM. We will announce the winner (chosen at random) on Tuesday, September 30. Good luck everyone!

UPDATE 9/29/14

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you to everyone who participated!

TOOLBOX: Dremel Micro Review for Glass Etching


I have a secret. I’ve been hoarding glass bottles… and jars. Sure, I’ve been drinking out of a set of 6 jars, but what no one knows is I have a whole box of them in my closet.

Shoot. Now you know.

The big plan was to use etching cream to mask and etch them into glass masterpieces– but something always stopped me. It may have been that the first time I pulled out the etching cream, Safety Husband insisted on reading the ingredients and warnings. He then set out a strict list of suggestions for using the DANGEROUS stuff I got from the craft store. I followed the suggestions once, but lived in fear of getting out the cream ever again. “Wear gloves. You don’t want it eating through your skin… to your bones.

We live in a world of excess caution, over here.

Safety Husband recommended safety goggles and a respirator- talked down to spectacles and a dust mask.

For Dremel Etching, Safety Husband recommended safety goggles and a respirator- accepted spectacles and a dust mask.

The box of glass lived to taunt me. Sitting in there, instead of going to the recycling bin where it belonged; until I got the bright idea of looking for alternate etching options. There are a lot of great, videos, but the one from Dremel sold me. It was time to replace our old rotary tool, so after some shopping I decided on the…
Dremel Micro, which is cordless.
•I bought two diamond bits, but I’ve only got around to playing with the one that looked most useful, the Dremel Diamond Wheel Point Bit.
** UPDATED 12/14 – I’ve since started using two different diamond bits with more success. 7105 Diamond Ball Pointand 7103 5/64-Inch Diamond Wheel Point


I tried several different ways of getting my initial artwork laid out, including drawing the design on with a Sharpie, as well as using masks that we had made with the intention of using the etching cream.

Tara Bliven drew and cut out this beautiful mask for me.

Tara Bliven drew and cut out this beautiful mask for me.

We drew and cut these masks out of contact paper, but you could also use masking tape. They are a great way to start out, because the mask will help you learn to control the tool. If you jog out of the lines, the mask material will shred before you mark the glass, giving you one chance to screw up without consequences.

The mask is definitely the most time consuming and tedious way to go. I’ve moved on to freehand patterns, and occasionally use paper templates that taped to the other side of the glass. (More on that later.)



•Higher Speeds (controlled with a button on this model) work much better for etching glass. I usually use the second to highest speed. The highest works even better, but the sound is skull-splitting, so I only use it when absolutely necessary.
•Using the bit I’ve listed above, you will mainly be making thinnish lines, so plan on going over your artwork a couple of times. It works best to hold the bit as close to parallel with the surface of the piece.
•Make a jig for round items. I took a couple of wood scraps and made a kind of rail for the glasses to lay in. (See in the photos above.) Make sure it’s small enough to move around, as you will want to be able to approach your piece for all angles. After my experiments, I sprayed the whole jig black so I could see my work more easily.
•Wear Protective Gear… or you’ll get in trouble. I found a dust mask and glasses worked for me, but it might be good to start out with even more coverage. Remember that your glass could shatter at any time.
•Start with thick glass pieces, and don’t grind too much in one place. This is not a tool for drilling, so you’re more likely to shatter your pieces than cut cleanly through.
•Start with trash pieces you’re not afraid to throw away. There’s definitely a learning curve.
•Hand-wash any pieces, to make sure you’re not shocking the thinned glass with hot water.
•Work outside. You’ll be generating a ton of dust. While I haven’t had any sharp pieces (yet) it’s nice to let nature get rid of the dust.
•This is a no-distraction project. Don’t plan on watching TV while you work with power tools.

Things to Love

•It’s lightweight. Initially I was planning to use a flex shaft like they use in the video, but the cable is not very flexible, and I decided the lack of cord would be a benefit.
•It compact and easy to transport (although it does not come with a carrying case.)
•The battery lasts longer than I do. I haven’t had to stop what I was doing to recharge.
•I haven’t hurt myself (yet). This is always remarkable.

Things to Hate

•The “Lock” button sticks out just above the power button, and I have hit it accidentally a couple of times while the Dremel is running. It makes a terrible sound to tell me I’m killing it to death.
•It’s still a little clumsy. Even though the end is tapered so you can hold on to it, it’s more like trying to write legibly with a Squiggle Pen than an actual writing implement.
•It is quite tricky to get make a curve. A lot of this has to do with skill, and the kind of bit I’ve been using.
•The sound, especially at higher speeds. It makes a high keening when you’re using it on the glass. The birds have been complaining about this as well. It’s just life in the etching game.

Things to Try

•More bits. I tried scratching the glass with non-diamond bits with little result, but now that I’m hooked on the etchin’, I’m going to try everything. (If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear from you.)
•More freehand designs.
•On flat surfaces, like plates, trays, etc. On mirrors.
•Make a set of matching glasses, with patterned numbers, using paper templates. That’s pretty specific, huh? I guess a DIY is in the works… but until then, have fun!