Inspired Entertaining: DIY Chalkboard Wine Glasses

Last month I got an email from one of those "deal of the day" websites featuring a very cute set of wine glasses with chalkboard stems from a company called Chalkboard China.

I've seen chalkboard glasses before, and always thought them to be a fun and chic way for guests to keep track of their glass throughout the night so you don't end up with mixed-up glasses or dozens of half-full glasses left around the house.  But all the ones I've seen in stores feature a strip of chalkboard paint across the bowl of the glass, which I've always felt looks awkward and takes away from the beauty of the wine or beverage in the glass. What I like about this version is that the writing part is at the bottom on the stem and foot of the glass, so it doesn't compete with the beverage.  I also like that the simple black foot on the glass is in itself an elegant design element, and would work just as well with no writing on it.

What I did NOT like about the glasses, was the price. $19.95 per glass is absurd and totally unnecessary.  Especially when you want to be able to entertain a large group of people, or simply not worry about breaking glasses.

So I figured, "I can totally make that myself!" I had a can of chalkboard spray paint in my cabinet left over from when I created a small chalkboard wall in my kitchen (you can see a bit of that wall here) and I have plenty of inexpensive wine glasses left over from my bridal shower (they were used for the favors), so I go to work.

Here's how you can make your own set of inexpensive chalkboard wine glasses:

1. Krylon Chalkboard Aerosol Spray Paint. I bought this at Lee's Art Shop in NYC, but it's also available at stores like Michael's, Pearl, and other craft shops. You can also buy it online. I prefer the standard version in black, but chalkboard paint does also come in other colors (red, hunter green, etc.) so choose what works with your decor.

2. Clear wine glasses. I used a couple inexpensive wine glasses I already had in my cabinet. They were leftovers from bridal shower favors and I believe my bridesmaids purchased them at IKEA. Feel free to use glasses you already own, or pick up cheap ones at a thrift store or restaurant supply shop.

3. Painter's Tape. You'll use this to block off the rest of the stem. Be sure to get masking or painter's tape, as other kinds of tape may leave sticky residue on the stem of your glass.

You'll also need:
A small waterproof dropcloth to protect your floor or work surface--I just used a few old Target grocery bags that I spread out on the floor. You'll also need a well ventilated area. I sat on the floor in front of an open window and turned on a fan for good measure; if you have outdoor space you can work in, that's even better as the spray paint fumes are pretty strong.

Step 1. Wash and dry your glasses thoroughly. If there is any oil or residue on the glasses, use rubbing alcohol to wipe it off. Decide where you want the chalkboard part to end on the glass and tape the rest of the stem that won't be painted. (For example: I wanted it to go up about an inch above the foot of the glass so I taped off the rest of the stem.) If you use more than one strip of tape, be sure to overlap them slightly so you don't end up with any paint between the tape strips. Tape off all your glasses at once before you start painting.

Step 2. Spread your dropcloth over the area you'll be working on. Shake the paint well and, holding the nozzle about 2 inches away from the glass foot, spray the paint lightly until it coats the entire surface. Set down and repeat with all the other glasses. Let dry for about 20 minutes before repeating with a second coat on each glass. Let dry for 2 hours.

Step 3. After about 2-3 hours, gently remove the painter's tape, then turn the glasses upside down so the stems are up. Let dry overnight this way until the paint fully dries.

Once the glasses are completely dry (about 24 hours) they're ready to use! When entertaining, leave a small container of white or colored chalk so guests can write their names (or whatever they want) on their glasses and keep track of them throughout the night.

These would also make a great (and inexpensive!) DIY holiday or hostess gift idea! I recommend that you pair a set of the glasses with a favorite bottle of wine and a small package of chalk. Note that the chalkboard paint is NOT dishwasher safe, but the finished glasses can be washed by hand in the sink with warm water and dried with a dishcloth (or left in the rack to air dry).

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