I cannot remember which glass of wine is mine!
Do your guests set down their glasses of wine and then forget which one is theirs? Sure, you can buy a couple dozen wine glass identifiers, but why not make your own unique wine glass charms?
We’ve hosted our First Fridays wine tastings for nearly a year now, and it never fails; a guest will put her glass down on the table for a few minutes, and then notice where once there was just one glass, now there are two or three. Someone got us some cute wine glass charms, but there always seem to be some missing at the end of the night. So I decided to try my hand at making them. It’s not that difficult, and it is fun to personalize them with the names of our regular attendees. They turned out pretty well, so I decided to share the process with you. It isn’t that difficult and gives you a chance to get creative.
Remember the “Shrinky Dinks” you made as a kid? The plastic film you cut out, colored and baked? It’s a similar process. All you need is a few hours, a trip to the craft store, and some royalty free clip art and permanent markers.
Materials to make Wine Glass Charms
1. Ink Jet Shrink Film Sheets
2. Computer with Printer
3. Scissors (standard and cuticle)
4. Pastel-colored Permanent Markers
5. Standard single-hole punch
6. Regular or Toaster Oven
7. Small needle-nose pliers
8. Charm hoops
9. Jump ring “findings”
10. Beading mat and Beads
Step 1: Choose Your Art
We used Grafix Ink Jet Shrink Film in White. It also comes in clear. Make sure you get the Ink Jet sheets. First find some royalty free clip art. The film will shrink to between 20 – 30% of its original size. We found that 2″ x 2″ art worked best, and could get about 20 items to a sheet, more if you put them on the page to minimize white space.
I found most of the Royalty Free clip art on a free share site at http://www.clker.com/. You want your guests to be able to identify which glass is theirs by the charm, so it’s a good idea to choose at least as many designs as guests you are expecting. I looked for wine barrels, bottles, red and green grapes, corks, cheese, Champagne bottles, glasses of wine, and different expressions of Bacchus.
Tip: Adjust your Printer Settings
Colors intensify when the charm art shrinks, so I changed the printer settings to about 50% saturation. If you choose to print black and white art and color it in yourself, use lighter pastel permanent markers to avoid strange results. (Kelley Green became turquoise when it shrunk – lighter green worked much better).
You can also use the markers to draw and write on the back of the charm area after you cut it out. Clear shrink film will allow your design to show through on both sides, but the colors don’t seem to be as vibrant.
You can make two different charms with the same black and white drawing by using different colored markers, as I did with this Bacchus. Try using two different shades of the same color to create depth.
Step 2: Cut Out Your Art, and Punch a Hole for the Jump Ring.
I used the standard sized scissors to separate the charms into rows. I punched a single jump ring hole close to the art and then used cuticle scissors to trim each charm. If you trim AFTER you punch the hole it’s easier to keep from getting the hole too close to the edge, which may cause the hole to collapse or break if it’s too thin. If you have designed loops into the art, then you can punch after you’ve trimmed your charm.
Tip: Round corners, edges get sharp after baking!
Step 3: Get Ready to Bake!
Pre-heat your oven. For my first set of charms I set the oven to 275°F. This allows your charms to bake a bit slower (around 7 minutes) so you can keep an eye on them. If you pre-heat to 325°F your charms will bake in about 3 minutes.
Line a metal cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place your charm art pieces an inch or so apart to keep them from sticking together. Placing a piece of parchment on top of them helps to keep them from curling onto themselves and sticking, but makes it more difficult to watch the process.
Step 4: Put the Charms into the Oven and Bake!
As they are baking, the charms will curl up and then flatten again. Do not take them out of the oven until they have flattened back out. Charms will be warm when they come out. If they have not flattened completely, you can use a flat spatula or wooden spoon to gently flatten them.
Step 5: Add charms and beads to hoop.
Now you’re ready to assemble a charm. Using a bead mat so the beads don’t roll away, create your design. Smaller beads on each end keep the charm centered and larger beads from coming off the hoop when it is opened. Using your pliers, open your “jump” ring, put it through your charm, and close it back tight. Straighten the end of the hoop and add a few beads to the hoop, then your charm, and then a few more beads. Gently bend the hoop end back so that it will easily spring into the other end when placed around the stem of the wine glass.
Do it Yourself Wine Glass Charms let you have fun while being creative. Here is a step-by-step video of the entire process from start to finish.