Saturday, May 26, 2012

How to Etch a Plate (and maybe have a cleaner kitchen...)


It seems like there is always a pile of dishes to do lately. I think it's because when the dishwasher is full and the sink is full (ok, I won't lie, when they are stacked on the counter too), we just get more dishes out of the cupboard. There have been times in my life when I've stayed on top of the dishes but right now is just not one of those times. But I love having a clean kitchen and it's not very fun for me to cook in a messy one so I've been thinking of what to do (I know, I know, it would work if we just cleaned up every time we eat but that isn't always happening).

I talked to my aunt a few weeks ago and asked her how she kept up on everything when her kids were little (we were actually talking about laundry...yes, I am behind on laundry and dishes and lots of other stuff). She said back then her kids didn't have a ton of clothes so they simply couldn't pile up.

I decided at that moment I would pare down on the amount of clothes the kids have to wear...and at the same time I thought maybe I could pare down on the amount of dishes we have too. If we had just one set of dishes for each person, there couldn't really ever be stacks of dirty ones, right? They would have to be cleaned or there would be nothing to eat on for the next meal.

Now, how to identify the plates, cups, and bowls so we could tell them apart (so someone couldn't leave their dishes in the sink and swipe someone else's clean ones)? I thought it would be cool to have the kids draw on them but I couldn't find any food-safe, permanent markers (if these exist, let me know because I still think that would be cool). So I decided to use glass plates, bowls, and cups and etch them with my Dremel.

I started by having Little M (age 3) draw me a picture of himself (I say "Little M" because we have another M who is 22...this is not his self-portrait although the hair is pretty close). I'm actually not sure how it will work to have Little M have a glass plate and bowl but we'll try it out. Just so you know, I'm not giving Baby C glass dishes...she will have her pink plastic Hello Kitty stuff.

I put the plate over the drawing and traced over the top of the glass with a Sharpie. I simplified the drawing a tiny bit along the hair line. I also left the Sharpie on the counter while I went on my merry way with the rest of the project and I ended up with a drawing on my hardwood floor too.

I flipped the plate over and did the etching on the back of the plate so the etching was not on the food side.

 I tried a few different bits and the one I liked best was the 9903 Tungsten Carbide Cutter. Since it's a "cutter" and not an "engraver" I don't even know if I picked the right thing but it worked.

The Sharpie came right off the glass with some soap and water (but the Sharpie did not come off my hardwood floor).

I put our names on the bowls (just used text printed from the computer).

B wants this drawing he did in art class on his plate. Wish me luck!

Etching Tips:

  1. I wish I would have practiced a little on a piece of glass before I started on the dishes. Maybe glass from an old picture frame or canning jar or something. The stuff I did at the end looks better than what I did at the beginning. 
  2. Use a light touch at first and then just keep going over the same line until it's the width and depth you want. I did about 4-5 passes on each line. If you press too hard it kind of makes the bit wiggle and it will jump around.
  3. Hide the Sharpie when you are not using it!
  4. Oh yeah...I used a low speed for engraving which is what the Dremel site recommends. 


Megilon said...

For the sharpie on your floor try a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I've had good luck with them getting up things that didn't want to come up.

jess @ lost button studio said...

Thank you for the tip! I did use a magic eraser for bike tire marks on our floor and it worked but didn't think about it for the marker!

Ana said...

Few dishes and few clothes works for me! They either go in the dishwasher right away or there will be nothing to eat from the next day. It forces me to have a routine with laundry, too.

jess @ lost button studio said...

Thanks, Ana. I think it really does help to simplify. I'm on a major clean out phase right now...

Anonymous said...

Acetone in nail polish remover or some sort of alcohol (such as ethanol) will easily remove permanent marker too!