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How to Personalize Glass Mugs

Have you ever wondered how to personalize glass mugs? Learn how to etch glass with custom text and make personalized gifts.

One of my favorite things is to make custom or personalized gifts for people that I know they will LOVE. This is the perfect example. But these custom glass mugs were made for a friend to give. He was super excited about it and it was contagious.

He really wanted some glass beer mugs to give as a gift to someone who loves Larry Bird from the Boston Celtics. This guy is apparently a huge basketball fan and considers Larry Bird to be one of the greatest. (But who doesn’t)

I told him to visit Dollar Tree and pick up some beer mugs. He brought them to me and told me exactly what he wanted on them. I was happy to make them.

Keep reading to find out how to personalize glass mugs of your own!

If you love painting and making glass crafts and gifts you will love it here.


If you LOVE Dollar Tree crafts and gifts then you are definitely in the right place.

Finished personalized glass mugs using etching cream

Table of Contents

How to Personalize Glass Mugs

This is really an easy projects. I used my Cricut Maker to cut my stencil but if you don’t have one you can print out a design and cut it out to make your own. My husband is great with an exacto knife and that would be a great tool for cutting into vinyl. I am terrible with an exacto knife so I will stick to my Cricut.

This design is so easy. You can create it right in Design space if you want. I like to make an actual SVG file then upload it so that is what I did.

Materials Needed:

I have added some affiliate links for your convenience. You can see my full disclosure here.

You can find all of these supplies in the DIY and Crafting section of my Amazon store. Click the link below:

Michelle James Designs Amazon Store

  • Dollar Tree Glass Beer Mugs
  • Vinyl
  • Etching Cream
  • Small Brush (a popsicle stick would work too)
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Cricut Maker
  • SVG file or have a design in mind

Step 1: Download or Create Your Design

Sports numbers and names are easily created in design space. For this design my “client” wanted a chunky print font. I love the chunky print fonts. They are easy to cut and weed. And since these beer mugs are quite large he wanted a larger design. LOVED it!

Here is my original design copied and pasted three more times to cut four at one time.

You will also need to click on each design and then click the “attach” button at the lower right of the screen. What you see in the photo above says “detach” but that is because I already attached mine. You can tell by looking in the layers panel on the right. Each design grouping says “attach” above it.

The settings I used on my Cricut Maker were:

  • Premium Vinyl setting
  • Default blade setting

Then just press cut and let it do its thing. I cut two sheets of four since he wanted the design to be etched on both sides of each mug.

Step 2: Cut and Weed the Stencils

Once the designs are cut there will be four on the sheet. Cut them apart from each other. I just cut down the center vertically and horizontally of the 12 x 12 vinyl sheet.

The cut vinyl piece with four designs for stencils

Cutting apart the four stencils.

Once they are all four cut start weeding out the designs. This time we will be using it as a stencil so you want to remove the parts we usually keep.

Weeding the design from the vinyl to make the stencil

The finished stencil ready to place onto the glass mug

Step 3: Apply the Stencil

Next add transfer tape to the top of the stencil and apply it to the mug.

I have to admit I was pretty terrible at this. I would suggest cutting them all of the same measurements and measuring the space from the top of the letters to the top of the stencil and the bottom of the letters to the bottom of the stencil.

Then choose how far up or down on the glass mug you want the stencil to be. That way when you place them they will be all be in the same spot and look uniform to each other.

Remove the vinyl backing.

Peeling away the vinyl backing to stick it onto the glass mug.

And place it onto the mug.

Placing the stencil onto the glass mug

Repeat this process until you have all of the stencils applied.

Make sure to check them carefully for bubbles. You don’t want the etching cream to seep under the vinyl and etch in a place it is not supposed to.

Press the vinyl down really well along each of the numbers and letters.

Step 4: Apply the Etching Cream

This may be the most important step for this project.

Follow the instructions for shaking the product on the directions on the bottle. I shook mine up a little but it didn’t need a lot.

I used a brush but if you don’t have one just use a popsicle stick or something.

Scoop some out of the bottle and place it over the open numbers and letters in the stencil.

Starting to add the etching cream with a small brush

Keep going until it is completely covered on both sides.

Finished the etching cream and letting it sit for about 10 minutes

What I learned from this is to really apply a nice thick layer of the etching cream. I thought I was doing a good job but I ended up with some spots that weren’t covered as nicely and I had to re-apply to get it right.

Once all of the etching cream is applied, let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Step 5: Remove the Etching Cream and the Stencils

Once you have waited the appropriate time you can remove the etching cream to reveal your custom dollar tree glass mugs. It is exciting to see how they turned out.

In order to not waste all of that etching cream, use a popsicle stick and carefully scoop off the extra and place it back in the bottle. Then rinse the rest off with warm water over the sink.

Remove the stencil.

Peeling off the stencil after I finished rinsing the Etching cream

Once the stencil is gone rinse, or wipe it down and check out your work. Yay!

Even though I had to repeat some of the etching cream steps I think they turned out pretty nice.

And the important thing was that he LOVED them and is so excited to give them to his basketball loving buddy! That makes me smile and it also makes me want to create more personalized glass mugs.


In this short section I am going to answer some questions that come up quite often. Let’s get started.

How does etching cream work?

The etching cream contains a chemical called hydrofluoric acid. This chemical, when placed on glass, breaks away the glass pieces leaving a frosted look.

I love that we can take this cream and easily and safely create our own etched/frosted designs.

There is also a frosted spray paint you can use. It covers the glass in a frosted coating. I have used it to frost glass lights and I even used a yellow colored frost paint to make a cute bird feeder.

How do you decorate glass mugs?

There are several ways to decorate glass mugs, glasses or jars

Paint –

Painting is the most common way to decorate glass mugs, glasses or jars. Chalk paint, spray paint and even oil based Sharpie markers all work well on glass.

Some of these products need to be baked to become permanent but reading the directions on the bottle or can will tell you this. Here are some examples you can see of all of these types of paint.

Nail Polish –

Another way to decorate glass is to use nail polish.

If you add different colors of nail polish to water then dip in the glass, the nail polish sticks to the glass and creates a beautiful design. I love that each one is different yet they all match. It is a fun idea for decorating glass.

Here are two examples of the nail polish technique

Nail Polish Wine Glasses, Nail Polish Glasses

How do you make a custom glass mug?

To me, custom means personalized for a specific person or group of people. For example these Dollar Tree glass mugs are custom made just for this person who loves basketball and more specifically, Larry Bird.

It makes a gift special to one person.

Or you can stencil a generic word such as Wine or Coffee to appeal to more people but still be custom.

Stencils and/or vinyl are a great way to personalize or customize anything. That is what is so great about a cutting machine. You can cut anything to add to a glass mug, jar, wine glass, vase or even a ceramic coffee cup.

Permanent vinyl, etching or oil based markers will do this.

Here are a couple of examples of custom glass mugs or cups.

Grinch Inspired Gifts, Dollar Tree Travel Mugs

The finished how to personalize glass mugs

Here are the final photos of the glass mugs. They are pretty fun.

Finished personalized glass mugs using etching cream

Finished personalized glass mugs using etching cream

Finished personalized glass mugs using etching cream

What do you think? Are you inspired to personalize glass mugs?

More Dollar Tree Inspiration

I am including some printable instructions just in case you want/need them.

How to Personalize Glass Mugs

Finished personalized glass mugs using etching cream

Have you ever wondered how to personalize glass mugs? Learn how to etch glass with custom text and make personalized gifts.

Prep Time 1 hour
Active Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Difficulty Easy


  1. Download or create a design is Design Space
  2. Upload to Design Space
  3. Cut and weed the stencil from the vinyl
  4. Add the transfer tape to the top of the stencil
  5. Remove the vinyl backing and apply to the glass beer mug
  6. Add a thick amount of etching cream to the glass
  7. Let it sit for about 10 minutes
  8. Remove the extra etching cream and put it back in the bottle to re-use later
  9. Rinse the etching cream from the mug under warm water
  10. Remove the stencil to reveal your etched design

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Finished personalized glass mugs using etching cream


Monday 9th of August 2021

Those look great! Larry Bird was a great basketball player but I'm afraid my youngest son would have to have Michael Jordan!!


Wednesday 11th of August 2021

I think Larry Bird and Michael Jordan are pretty dang good. Both history makers for sure!

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