New life for old contigo mugs

Three things happened over the last few weeks that somehow planted a new idea in my head. First off, my wife mentioned that her contigo mugs were getting shredded enough for her to be embarrassed having them sitting on her desk at work, so she suggested new ones as Christmas presents should anyone ask. Secondly, I stumbled across this video on DIYing a simple sand blaster and masking mugs (among other things) with duct tape. Lastly, I stumbled across a fun image that seemed to capture our current phase in life really well.
A bit of research indicated that I should be fine cutting duct tape on the Glowforge.
A bit of elbow grease and steel wool revealed that under the aging powder coat on the contigo mugs there was a reasonably well-preserved brushed stainless surface.
A bit of hill billy engineering had me end up with a card board sand blasting enclosure.
The last challenge was to figure out how to get the duct tape affixed to a surface that I would still be able to get it peeled off of. After over-engineering this part and losing about 10 yards of duct tape in the process, I decided to simply stick it on the glowforge’s bed, which ended up working fairly ok. I start with a frame of painter’s tape (makes it easier to get a start, but not sure it is really necessary):

Then I lay down one layer of duct tape (all next to each other, no overlap):

And a second layer on top, perpendicular to the first.

I cut two passes at 400/60, which does not cut all the way through everywhere, which is actually really good, since it allows me to peel the whole thing off the bed in one piece. I cleaned the mug with some acetone to give the duct tape the best possible adhesion. And then… off into my hill billy blasting cabinet.
For blasting medium I just used paver’s sand that I had run through a fine kitchen strainer (just what I had at hand), and I ran my little pancake compressor at about 60psi.

Here’s the end result, which I am really rather happy with, considering that the only actual investment I made to achieve it was 25 bucks for the sandblasting gun.
I have a feeling that I can likely get better results with a vinyl cutter, but… hey, I don’t have one. But… I have a glowforge and duct tape :slight_smile:


Do you guys have recommendations for masking material that is not either prohibitively expensive or not suitable for a laser cutter?


Thanks for sharing your idea and execution. The result is a “new” mug and a new application for the Glowforge.

I use transfer paper from Amazon to sandblast glassware. It’s cheap and has just enough tact to stick but you can pull it off and reposition if you need to.


How do you cut the transfer tape? With the glowforge or with a vinyl cutter?

As from one of my favorite shows:
“If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy”.

Duct tape keeps the world together!

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@bansai8creations: ouch. noted. :wink:
@EvolTek, @slackk1994: interesting approach using transfer tape. I was wondering what kind of material the transfer tapes usually are.

Does anybody have any experience using this stuff: ?

Great work! I use the same 12" masking film that I use to mask everything else before I cut it, standard medium-tack from US cutter: Just lay it on the crumb tray, cut the stencil, and transfer to the target item to be sandblasted. Works great on glass, and you can engrave pretty deep into the glass before the masking tape starts to degrade. Use 2 layers if you have to.

Thanks for the feedback! My masking tape would by far not be tacky enough for what I did with the mug. I tried regular packaging tape which is far tackier than my masking tape (Johnson Plastics), and I managed to lift that a lot on my test piece. That may have to do with the sand blaster I am using as well as with the medium, I am really new to sandblasting, so my setup may be way too aggressive…

@slackk1994 I use the glowforge.

Good job!