Affiliate Disclaimer NewDIY or DIE: Easy Ink-Stained Wine Glasses

Last time, I shared some of the DIY Details of my elegant, jewel-toned wedding, so now I’m back to give you the low down on how you can make some of those projects work for you. One of the easiest (promise!) and most fun projects I tackled was turning plain, inexpensive wine glasses into gorgeous, favor-worthy works of art with alcohol ink.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Multiple colored finished glasses

Actually, I used this simple technique on a lot of cheap glass to add pops of color all around the venue. Whether it’s a vase, plate or candle holder, any solid non-porous surface (glass, plastic, ceramic or metal) will do. (Did you see the Instagram Hyperlapse video from when I was very first doing this for my votive holders?)

All you need to get yourself going is some ink in your color scheme, a stamping tool with felt squares, and a glass of your choosing. Michael’s sells these inks in pre-matched sets of three, or you can buy individual colors from the manufacturer’s website. Three seems to be the magic number when trying to achieve a blended, multi-dimensional look. Too few and the colors blend together where you don’t see distinct colors. Too many and you start seeing colors you never wanted in there. The more variation in the shades you use, the more dimension in the finished product. For demonstration purposes, I’m using the “Farmer’s Market” package with Cranberry, Eggplant and Lettuce ink.

Optional step one: find a workspace your cat won’t claim as a bathhouse.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Supplies

First, press a felt square onto your applicator tool.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Applicator and felt

I like to leave a small edge hanging. It helps getting into tricky areas like where the stem meets the base.

Apply ink to the felt.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - ink color one

I like to start with the lightest color first, as it’s the one most likely to be overpowered by other colors. In this case, I squirted the green “Lettuce” shade in a haphazard design. There’s really no wrong way to do it, but swirls, rather than straight lines, tend to give you the best mixing of colors. Just a drop will soak into a large area. You want your felt to be well-saturated, but not dripping with ink.

Add your second color.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - ink color two

Fill in any gaps with the third.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - ink color three

When working with stemmed glasses, the hardest part is where the stem meets the globe and the base. I like to start with those, using that overlapping edge to get into the joints. Simply press the felt to the glass and give it a rolling motion along the curve.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Applying ink

You’ll immediately be able to see the color distribution. If you’re looking for more of one color, go ahead and add a few more drops and try again. The color already on the glass will blend once it comes into contact with wet ink.

From there, keep using the rolling motion to cover the portion of the glass you want colored. Every time you press the felt, the colors will blend a little more on the pad. If you see distinct patches of darker colors you don’t want (the Indigo shade is the worst about this), keep pressing to blend or try adding more of one of the more subtle colors to the felt.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Applying more ink

I like the ink to taper off toward the mouth of the glass. To get the faded effect, tap (don’t roll this time!) the applicator lightly all the way around the glass at the edge of the existing ink. It will leave a clear demarcation at first, but we’ll fix that in just a minute.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Fading ink

To blend the pattern, keep tapping the applicator into the existing ink. Introducing new, wet ink will further blend what’s already there. Keep tapping until you’re satisfied with the coverage.

Real Bride Shannon Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass Tutorial - Finishing touches

The ink dries almost instantly and is water resistant, but will rub off with a little scrubbing. Using a food-safe sealant will keep those pretty colors in place!

Some tips and tricks to keep in mind before you start:

Complementary colors will blend into brown if over-mixed (like the red and green above). If you want to avoid earthy tones, stay away from combinations of purples and yellows, greens and reds, and blues and oranges and stick with red-purple-blue, like this combination of Currant (a deep purple-red), Eggplant and Indigo or other analogous colors.

Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Eggplant, Indigo and Currant

Be stingy with blue. This glass used Indigo, Slate and Eggplant, but the blue overpowered the gray and purple.

Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Indigo, Egglplant and Slate

There’s no need to change your felt between pieces if you’re not changing colors. Just like on the glass, adding more ink reactivates what’s already there.

The more ink you have on your applicator, the more smooth the blending will be, but the more defined each stamp will look. This glass was painted in Cranberry, Currant and Eggplant and you can see the large, rectangular applications of ink.

Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Cranberry, Currant and Eggplant

Likewise, the drier you let the felt get, the more spotty the application becomes. If you’re looking for a more “bubbly” texture, let the felt sit for about two minutes after you’ve dampened it with ink. This glass has well-defined dots of Indigo, Eggplant and Cranberry.

Alcohol Ink Stained Wine Glass- Indigo, Eggplant, Cranberry

If you’re nervous, practice on plastic! Grab a sleeve of disposable plastic tumblers and have at it! You’ll quickly learn what colors work best and what techniques give you the look you’re going for.

Don’t try to make them all look the same. It’s virtually impossible in the first place, and the true one of a kind nature of these hand painted beauties makes them special!

Above all, have fun. Whether you’re planning to use these pieces in your wedding decor or maybe just looking for an awesome DIY holiday gift, let your creativity guide you as you create something unique and gorgeous!

  • 11/24

    Hey guys! I am writing this to you today as a married lady!

    Real Bride Julie on her wedding day!

    Yay! Here’s proof that we really did tie the knot in front of God and everything!

    Married life thus far is pretty awesome. Matt and I just got back from our “mini-moon” at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass. If you ever have a reason to be in that area, it’s pretty great even if you’re not into football (which I’m not). There’s a spa, bowling alley, bars, a movie theatre, restaurants, shopping and this really cool adventure entertainment spot called 5 Wits all within walking distance of the local hotel. If you ARE into football, it’s right next to Gillette Stadium (where the Patriots play), there’s a football museum there and I guess the players are seen regularly at the surrounding shops. It was a nice little getaway for us that was close enough to home that we were able to get back and forth within an hour.

    Min-moon at Patriots Place in Foxborough, Mass.

    Enough about our semi-staycation. You have gathered here today to hear about the culmination of the past four years of my relationship’s life … our wedding. The wedding was a resounding success. Everything came together perfectly in the days before, just like everyone said it would. The day (along with the days leading up to it) passed by more quickly than I ever expected, just like everyone said it would. When it was all said and done, I was relieved to be done with planning and overwhelmed with how happy and loved I was feeling. It was great.

    One piece of advice I received in the last few days before the wedding that I really took to heart was that at some point, you need to be done planning. There is a certain point where you have done everything you can and the day is no longer in your hands, but instead the powers that be whoever they may be (your various vendors, your bridal party, your guests, or the fates themselves). You can’t worry about anything that hasn’t been done at that point because there is literally nothing else you can do to make it happen. Matt and I stopped planning/carrying out those plans at around 10 p.m. the night before the wedding.

    We had driven the last of our decor items along with our final seating chart out to our venue at around 9:30 that night. We had had our rehearsal a few hours before that and thankfully had forgone a rehearsal dinner due to the cost and complication associated with it. Instead we went straight back to the house to finish up anything that needed to be done and then loaded up our car and headed out. When we got there, we realized we had forgotten to include how many people were seated at each table on our seating chart so I went home and emailed that to our coordinator at the venue and then set up everything I’d need to get dressed the next day. Everything was together in 5 minutes after I was home, except my wedding shoes that temporarily disappeared. I searched my house for them for a little while and then resolved to get married barefoot if they didn’t show up by morning (they were in the car, as I discovered the next morning when I headed to my hair and makeup appointment) and went to bed.

    I woke up when I had to the next day. I left for the hairdresser when I had to. My hairdresser and makeup artist both remarked at how calm I was for a bride. Of course I was … everything was done and if it wasn’t, there was no changing it now. There’s a certain peace that comes with realizing that you’re powerless over a situation at a certain point. Instead of stressing out over every little thing going off without a hitch, I had confidence that the work we’d done had been enough.
    Cool and calm on her wedding day

    This picture wasn’t taken to show how cool I was feeling the day of but it definitely illustrates the calm I was feeling before we headed off to the church.

    Did things go wrong? Not really. We did leave a set of tiny treasure boxes at home I had intended for my ringbearers to carry down the aisle. Matt had painted them and I was excited about doing something slightly different than the traditional pillows. Did it ruin the wedding? Nope! Nobody knew we had planned it and the best men had the rings anyway. Instead the ringbearers were simply the boys that accompanied our flower girls down the aisle. I didn’t even notice it myself until way after the ceremony. We’re going to be giving the boxes to our ringbearers as part of their gifts instead.

    Ringbearer boxes ... that were left at home!

    Seriously I love these so much. I’m a little sad they didn’t find their way out to the altar but I know the boys are going to love them.

    Did I stress out at all during the day? Of course. My biggest stress came from failing to talk to my coordinator ahead of time about visiting each table of guests. I was really worried about not having enough time with each table so despite the fact that my coordinator told me she’d come and get us when it was time (she wanted to be sure we got some time to eat), I jumped up mid-meal to start walking around to people. All my stressing was for naught though. I got to each table and got to speak with just about everyone and had time to spare for some dancing!

    What this all comes down to ultimately is trust. We needed to have trust in ourselves that we had done all that we could to make our day perfect. We did. Our day was wonderful and we got a lot of compliments on how things went off. Any stressing I did do really didn’t amount to much and didn’t help anything that was already in motion. It just meant that Matt and I missed out on a good meal. And from what we heard the food was fantastic. The minor things that got left out or forgotten weren’t really missed by anyone. Nobody’s day was ruined because they didn’t get to see an 11 year old carry a treasure box down an aisle. And because we stopped planning the night before the wedding and didn’t worry about what would happen next, we both got to sleep well that night and enjoy what really did turn out to be the best day of our lives.

    Julie and Matt Revel in their MarriageOh look, despite any forgotten decor items or stressful scheduling, we still ended the day hitched!

    So, BABs, just remember that things can (and will) go wrong, but as long as you’re married at the end of the day, none of it truly matters.

  • 11/23


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    Etsy Alligator Food Design Let's Elope Print

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    The Broke-Ass Bride's 2015 Gift Guide For the Libation Lover

    Hey Broke-Asses! It's that time of year again, where instead of Five for Friday, we'll be compiling some seriously rad gift guides for y'all. From the fun to the funny, the quirky to the practical and all of the budget ideas in between, I've scoured the Interwebz to find those perfect gifts for someone -- or everyone! -- on your list. We all have that one…

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  • 11/20

    Etsy TheWildlands Chicago Art Print

    Chicago Skyline Print from Etsy seller TheWildlands Ahhhhh, the Windy City. It's definitely one of the most romantic cities on the continent. All the aphrodesiac-inducing shopping, the sparkling lights, the snuggle-worthy breezes — it's no wonder couples choose this location for their honeymoon. Plus, there's tons to do, from museums and gallery shows to view, live performances, to cuddly strolls through the town. No matter…

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    Julie Vino Emma Gown

    BABs, I hope you're sitting down, because today's Can't Afford It? gown is CrazySexyCool. Actually, scratch that -- I'm upgrading it to ClassySexyCool. It's one of those rare gowns that balances a sultry silhouette (almost mermaid fit-and-flare) with high class details (Chantilly lace and pearls) and modern flair (separate bodice and skirt fabrics). The off-shoulder sleeves and deep-V sweetheart neckline polish off a truly unique design. Think I…

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    crepe rose 2

    I'm a lover of flowers, but there's one thing I don't love -- the price tag associated with floral arrangements. When I started venturing into the world of wedding planning, one of the first things that jumped out at me was the exorbitant cost associated with buying flowers for a wedding -- centerpieces, bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony decor ... you get…

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  • 11/18


    Love must be in the air: Between my graduate school cohort, the assistant lecturers with whom I share an office, and my Facebook news feed, I think I’ve seen about 10 engagements, six weddings, three babies, and one vow renewal in the last month alone. All this love and excitement lately has me feeling a little nostalgic; as a person who had a Pinterest board full…

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