DIY Gift Idea: Using A Paint Pen On Some Glass Tumblers

You could call these tumblers titillating. That’s right. I said titillating. Who doesn’t love a good set of small glass cups that can be anything from charming votive candle holders to drinking glasses or even holiday candy serving dishes grouped en masse on a coffee table? I’ve always wanted to try my hand at glass paint (the kind that you apply with a pen and bake on in the oven) so I figured using it to create a cute little DIY holiday gift would be just the thing. Or it could be another epic fail- you never know when you start these things…

For this project I originally planned to go to a thrift store for cheap $1 glasses to paint, but when I stumbled across this matched set of four tumblers at Target for $2.50 (less than 65 cents a pop) I couldn’t resist grabbing it. Oh and I got the paint pen – called Vitrea 160 in Scandalwood Green – from Michael’s for just a few bucks (around $3 I think).

When it came to application, I just followed the directions and freehanded some seasonal designs on the outside of each tumbler (feathery spruce trees line one cup, pine needles are the chosen scheme for another glass, and wavy lines and straight stripes round out the other two cups). After allowing the cups to dry for 24 hours (according to the instructions on the ol’ paint pen) it was time to bake them in the oven for 40 minutes at 325 degrees (instructions probably vary, so be sure to follow the ones on your pen when it’s time to get your cook on). Tip: we didn’t preheat the oven and we left them in there to cool for a while before removing them, which seemed to help keep the glass from cracking since major changes in temperature can cause that).

The result was a gorgeously sweet and subtle design that feels festive without looking too over the top. In other words, we figure as far as gifts go, these cups could probably live in nearly any house without feeling too out of place (since we opted for a pretty subtle season-appropriate color scheme, and avoided more kitchy illustrations like colorful snowmen or santas- although those could be really cute if you’re sure your giftee would like them).

They’re nearly impossible to take photos of (but are very charming and even semi “professional looking” in person):

Wouldn’t those look cute filled with candy and grouped on a table or even paired with small votive candles on someone’s mantel? They could also be used to serve warm cider to guests on Christmas or even New Years (since once the ink is baked onto the outside of the glass, it’s ready to use and can even be popped into the dishwasher). So I thought they made nice little versatile homemade gifts for around $5.50 (including the pen and all four glasses). And of course they could be personalized instead of seasonally decorated (with a scripty monogram, each family member’s name, a favorite icon like a horseshoe or a heart, etc). Have any of you guys tried your hand at glass paint? Do you have any other cheap DIY gifts on your to-do list? Tell me all about it.


  1. Alex says

    What a cute idea! And I do enjoy that it’s budget friendly.

    Just curious, how quickly does that ink dry? Was smudging and smearing a problem?

    • says

      I was careful not to touch it as I applied it (it was easy enough to create stripes, zig-zags, little trees, and pine branches without smearing the designs as I went) but it seemed to dry really quickly. After the 24 hour drying period it was already very “set” looking, and after it was baked on of course it was completely smudge proof.


  2. says

    We just did a very similar project! Not up on our bloggity blog yet ( but will be soon. We’re using them for party favors in a few weeks!

  3. danielle says

    This may be a silly question – but how did you know it would be okay to put the glasses in the oven? I’d be afraid of them exploding…

  4. Sarah says

    Very cool idea!

    I have a question that isn’t related to this post….where did you find your fan that is in your TJ Maxx post (the one that’s on your ottoman)? We gotta sleep with a fan for the white noise and the one we have now is ugly plastic. Thanks!

    • says

      They’re all the same soft green color- they were just a total pain in the arse to photograph! The first pic of the single glass is more true to life of how they actually look (soft and sweet).


  5. Nikki says

    I may have to steal this idea. My mom loooves snowmen, but since I am a terrible artist (not all of us have fine art degrees :P)

    I think I’ll print some clipart of snowmen and trace it through the glass instead of free-handing it. Could be cute, or a disaster! Here’s hoping it’s cute! :)

    Thanks for the idea!

  6. Niki S. says

    Forgive me if you mentioned it in the post; but, is this a “special” paint pen specifically designed to be used in an oven or will any paint pen work? I am thinking that personalized wine glasses will be handed out this Christmas ;-)

    • says

      Oh yeah- it’s made to be baked on like that, so I don’t recommend using any ol’ paint pen. You can check out the full name of the pen in the post (which we got from Michael’s) in case you want to grab one of your own. Hope it helps!


  7. says

    Very, very cute! Well done!

    These would be adorable as wedding favors, plop a tea light, napkin or handfull of candy in them at each place setting. You could put a sweet monogram on them or lovely design.

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