Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Shiny! A Dollar Tree DIY For Firefly Fans

I'm back with the matching set of our Firefly dino mirrors!

Remember I told you Dollar Tree also had a matching T-Rex mirror?

Well, I think we chose... wisely... for the second quote:

Plus John really nailed the design. SO GOOD.

If you're not a big Firefly fan - or just need a refresher - here's 42 seconds of context:


It turns out etched mirrors are a real booger to photograph, but I asked John to hold a sheet of cardboard behind me and I think we made it work:

At least in real life these are clear and easy to read. But more importantly, they're a perfect quick craft for you Firefly-loving Cricut owners! Especially since I'm about to give you the cut files... for free. AW YEAH. Who loves ya the way sneaky T-Rexes love betraying their friends? THIS GAL.

Wait, that... may not have been the best example. ::squints thoughtfully::

 Anyhoo, first things first, go snag these babies from your local Dollar Tree:

While you're there you could also grab the whale one to make our Hitchhiker's design:

Since I just realized I never gave you this cut file back when I featured it in April. Whoops.

Next, download these .png files by clicking and saving them to your desktop:

Upload them at full size to the Cricut design space, and choose “complex” to keep the font as clean as possible. (The corner boxes are there to help with sizing, ignore them.)

The sizing is SUPER tricky, but happily John did all the hard work for us. (Thx, babe!) The height of “Evil laugh” should be 7.2 inches (making the width 4.267), and "Sudden Betrayal" should be 3.108 inches (making the width 7.2). The "Oh No" should be set at 8.5 inches wide, making the height 3.78.

Cut the designs on vinyl (use colors you don't like, since this will be a removable stencil), weed the letters, then trace the frame of your mirror onto the vinyl. When you cut out that outline it will help you line up the edges, like so:

If your vinyl doesn't cover the entire mirror use a little painter's tape to cover the rest, like I did here. This will protect it from accidental etching marks.

Now, we etch!

Etching is addictive, y'all, but happily a little goes a long way. This little bottle of Armour Etch costs $9 on Amazon and has lasted us many projects, and looks to last several more. Highly recommend.

Here are my best tips on how to use it:

1) Goop it on with a small brush - I like flat edge brushes - and use a LOT. You don't want to be stingy here, really pile it on.

2) Keep the etching cream moving while you wait. I make tiny swirls with the brush, starting at the first letter and moving all the way down. Then repeat. This ensure you don't miss any spots and you get a nice even etch.

3) Leave the etch cream on for at least 7 minutes. I've found that to be the sweet spot. Five minutes works but is a little light, and you want a really strong etch. A ten minute etch seems about the same as seven, so I don't THINK it will get darker beyond that - but of course you can always experiment!

4) Rinse thoroughly BEFORE removing your vinyl stencil. You don't want any etch cream getting on the mirror; even a few seconds may fog it slightly.

And that's it! Now all that's left to do is clean your mirror with Windex, pop it back in the frame, and read it out loud in your best Wash Dinosaur voice.

But wait! There's ANOTHER way to do this craft - one that doesn't require any etching cream:

Boom shakalaka.

(Peep my oh-so-appropriate phone case.)

Yep, you can also cut out the words on your Cricut and apply the vinyl letters directly to the mirror.

This method is easier to do and to read, though there really is something about etched glass that feels more custom and high-end. So it's up to you! (Or be like us, and do a set of each!)

Here's a comparison of vinyl lettering vs etched lettering:

Again, the etched lettering isn't hard to read IRL, it's just hard to photograph.

Vinyl lettering also gives you the option of using fun colors for the letters, so please tag me if you make some; I'd love to see!

One last look at our vinyl set:

I literally burst into flames during the 3 minutes it took us to photograph this outside. And by "flames" I mean a whiny flop sweat. ::shakes fist at sky::  FLORIDAAAAAA

  Anyhoo, I've already promised our etched dino set to a FoE over in Germany, since she obviously can't get to a Dollar Tree, but this vinyl set is going to one of YOU. Yep, I'm adding it to the Squeegineer Board, so if you'd like a chance to win it be sure to enter this month's give-away! Entering is free: just e-mail me a screenshot of your sharing any post from Epbot on any social media, and you're in. (Details here.)

OR, if you've donated any amount to Epbot this past month via Paypal, then you're automatically entered.

Either way I love you bunches and appreciate you more than you know. Thanks for sticking around and cheering each other on through the hard times. Or as we call them now, just "times." :p  Remember to do something silly just for you this week, k? Then if you're up to it, tell me what it was, so I can celebrate with you.


  1. You can also pick up your larger blobs of cream with your brush and put them back in the bottle to reuse. These bottles really do last forever!

  2. Ha! I just got a tattoo last weekend of the whale & bowl of petunias!

  3. Omg, gotta make a trip to our dollar tree, ASAP.

  4. I think of these every time I'm at a Dollar Tree. Sadly, I've never been able to find the dino mirrors or the whale. Fingers crossed for my Squeegineer entry!!

  5. Hum, if we are not technical enough to send a screen shot, then what? Post here and on FB? Share the FB? Need some curses of betrayal....

  6. I really want to make these as a housewarming gift for a friend, though I don't think it would match any of her decor! Think I'll have to swing into DT on my way home tonight, just to see if they have any mirrors...

  7. I cannot tell you how happy this craft makes me. You are my people.

  8. These turned out amazing! They make me laugh every time I see them! Thanks for sharing the tutorial/files with us so we can try to make our own!

  9. I love this idea, I am having trouble downloading the dinos in a png. Do you have any tips on that? The Whale works great!!


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