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My teen son, Robert, is headed for summer camp next week, so we are in full camp preparation mode. We are running laundry, packing, running out for last minute supplies and we just used this fun salt water etching technique to personalize his water bottle!
When it comes to preparing for sleep away camp a smart phone is a huge help! I recently picked up the ZTE ZMAX along with an unlimited data plan from Walmart Family Mobile. I love how large this phone is, and it is perfect for surfing the web and checking Facebook. It also makes it easy for me to plan our summer trips and activities so that I stay organized.
I have been using it to help my son get ready for camp. He is old enough to handle the packing by himself, but I am a Mom, so I still worry – what if he forgets his toothbrush? So I set up a Wunderlist on my phone, made a packing list and shared it with him. It is great because we can both add items to the list and he can check it off as he packs. He adds the stuff I wouldn’t think of, like Risk, and I make sure essentials such as clean socks are on the list.
Want a copy of his packing list? Click here or on the image below to download a printable Summer Camp Packing List.
One thing the camp emphasizes is to label everything, or it might be gone forever. For most things labeling is easy, but Robert’s aluminum water bottle was a little tougher. I got out the paint pens and suggested he decorate his bottle, but the look he gave me indicated that he was NOT showing up at camp with a cutesy water bottle. I suggested a cool design like camaflouge, but it was still not happening. So I took out my smart phone and searched for ways to label metal bottles, and discovered a Reddit post about using simple household ingredients to etch a design on the bottle.
Using electricity to burn something into metal – this appeals to a teenage boy! So we gathered up the supplies and went to work adding a sailboat design to the bottle. It sounds complicated, but actually it is very easy and doesn’t take special equipment. The design is created by using the battery to force a chemical reaction between the metal, water and salt. The only thing you might not have on hand to do this is wires with alligator clips, but you can find those online or at an auto parts store.
Metal Water Bottle Etching with Salt Water
- Stainless steel or aluminum water bottle
- Pattern to be etched
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/2 t. salt
- 9V battery
- 2 wires with alligator clips
- First find a design that you want to transfer to the bottle. Robert picked a sailboat design, and I printed it out on vinyl on my Silhouette. You could also use a stencil, or even make a design out of masking tape if you are making something simple.
- Stick the design to a clean water bottle. The empty parts of the design will be etched away.
- Mix 1/2 c. of water with the 1/2 t. salt in a jar and stir. Add a bunch of Q-tips to the jar.
- Hook one wire from the positive terminal of the battery to the metal of the water bottle.
- Hook the other wire from the negative terminal of the battery to the wet end of one of the Q-tips. The clip has to be on the wet part of the Q-tip.
- Place the Q-tip on the bottle where you want the design to appear. Move the Q-tip around to dab the entire area.
- The top of the Q-tip will become discolored as metal is transferred from the bottle to the Q-tip. So replace the Q-tip often. We used 4 Q-tips for our design.
- Try to cover the area evenly. When you think it is done dry off the design and remove the stencil. Wash the outside of the bottle to remove any remaining liquid.
It came out looking great, although it is difficult to photograph! Robert likes it because it is unique and the design is subtle. It doesn’t scream, “I made this at my kitchen table” which is a huge plus for a teen! We also added his initials to the bottle using the same process.
Robert is all packed for camp and eager to get away for his adventures. The phones at plans at Walmart have made the process planning more organized and less hectic. And the price is reasonable -Walmart Family Mobile service is $29.88/month (for the first line) Unlimited Talk, Text & Data service plan which includes up to 1G of 4G LTE data.
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/frw8 or your local Walmart for current pricing.
I have shared with you I am planning for summer camp, let me know what your kids have planned this summer, and how Walmart Family Mobile can help you. Leave a comment and let me know!