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Making Your Own Beer Stein

There are beer steins of all shapes and sizes. Traditionally, they tell the tales of historical events. But, steins have evolved just like everything else.

Bikers have steins made for bike rides they want to commemorate. Sports fanatics have them for their teams. Animal lovers have them for their favorite animals. There are all kinds now and there is no reason why a person canít have one personalized.

A personís name, military unit, membership, or website are all great ideas for a personalized beer stein. But, you might have to make it for yourself. Itís not hard and there are several ways.

I remember sitting in the shop years ago with my mother making ceramics. I made myself a coffee cup and she made me an eagle lamp. She made so much more than that, but those were the only two things I wanted.

We ordered the molds from a catalog. So, that would be a beer stein in this case. For ceramics, you might get a beer mug that you have to add a lid to in order for it to become a beer stein. Any ceramic store should have a huge selection from which to choose.

In the day, we would scrape where the two sides were brought together. This would create a smooth seam never again to be visible to the naked eye. Then, the molds would be bisque fired for about three days. This hardens the mold so they are easier to handle, but allows them to stay porous for decorating.

Once the bisque firing is complete. You can decorate. Using glaze, you can spray, brush or sponge various colors and designs onto your beer stein. Stencils work awesome if you know how to handle them.

Allow your computer to do most of the work. For most of my image work, I use the free software GIMP because it has some very robust features in par with Photoshop. So, get the image you want and then use GIMP to do the rest.

Itís a simple process of making a stencil. With GIMP, you can use a selection tool that allows you to select by color. Simply put your cursor on a color and select. Every pixel in the image that is that same color will be selected. If you can see where Iím going with this, you can see how easy using a stencil is going to be.

Paint your beer stein the color you want the background to be. Then, start on the stencil. Create multiple layers for your stencil using your computer and your printer. All you need to do is select each color of the image. You might have to do some freehand if you have a very detailed image. But, most unit badges, college mascots, membership icons can be easily finished in about three or four layers. Other more detailed images will take more layers.

Once youíve selected a color on the image, use CTRL+X to delete that color from the base image. Open a new image so that itís blank. Fill it in with a color that contrasts with the color youíve deleted from your first image. For instance, if you deleted all the white pixels from your base image, fill the new image in with black so that there is a visible contrast. Use CTRL+Z to paste the color onto the new image and save it as Stencil1.jpg.

Allow your base image to lose colors as you go. That way you can keep track of what layers you still need to create. Create a new layer for each color by selecting the layer as in the above steps, then delete it from the base image and transfer it to a new image. Save as Stencil2.jpg, Stencil3.jpg and so on until you have completely deleted all the colors from the base image and created a stencil for each one of them on an image of their own.

Print each stencil. For each image, focus on the color that stencil is representing. Cut it out with a sharp angle carving blade or something of similar quality that can handle precise detail. You are ready to paint.

Place the first layer on the stein and spray or brush the proper color glaze onto the ceramic. Allow to dry before applying the next layer. Make sure that you place the next layer in the same exact spot as the first. You might need to find a temporary way of marking where the stencil belongs. Scotch tape can provide a decent guide.

Thatís the way to do an image of a symbol or a crest that you would like on a stein. Of course, you can paint your stein freehand if you want. Stencils are only a way to make it as precise as your ability will allow.

Once you have glaze your entire ceramic stein, it needs to be fired again. This is called glaze firing and it cooks the glaze into the ceramic. You can have a glossy finish if you want and glaze firing makes it look absolutely professional.

So, if you canít find a stein that you like or if you have one in mind that doesnít seem to exist, making your own from ceramics is a great way to go. Ceramics are fun and a great way to get anything you want in the design that you want. Iíd look around first because just about everything is on a stein these days.

Learn more about Beer Steins at Steins and logoglassware!
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