Custom Tea Set
This past year I made the choice to upgrade my travel tea set from the red dragon porcelain to a titanium set. Although I loved the old cups, the cups were extremely small, and porcelain is prone to breaking. Not to mention, the heat transfer through the porcelain was high enough that I often risked burning my fingers when pouring the tea.
The new set is double walled titanium–enough to feel the warmth of the tea in the cup, but not enough to get uncomfortably hot. The most interesting aspect though, is the structure of titanium, which allows it to be anodized to create a custom color pattern.
Despite being initially wary of working with the electricity necessary to get the desired results, I convinced my grandpa to help me with the project. So we set to work, using more or less the method described here, but without the masking tape. The method worked pretty well, although we ran into some problems when we tried to take the voltage up higher, as the fabric we had wrapped around the alligator clip to use as a paintbrush started to burn off on the cups, leaving minor spots. Once the initial color was on, I dremeled a few stripes, and went back over them with a different voltage so that everyone can remember which cup is theirs (an idea I got from Zhao Zhou tea in Budapest). All in all though, the project was a huge success, and I now have an unbreakable custom tea set that will last the rest of my life.
Although electrical work is not to be taken lightly (I wore two layers of sturdy rubber gloves), projects like this do go to show that technical processes have become more accessible as internet guides and YouTube tutorials exist to help you solve almost any problem. Scary at first, these types of challenges are often opportunities to learn something new and customize a product or aspect of your home more than otherwise possible.
While a mottled blue tea set might not be at the top of your list, I'd bet there is something that you would like to change that could be solved with a trip to the hardware store. Whatever that might be, don't be afraid to get out of your area of expertise, and try something new (in a safe and controlled manner).
Photo is the new tea set. I was initially planning to include some greens and yellows to give it a more earthy feel, but stuck with the blues and purples due to the aforementioned technical reasons. Still quite happy with how it turned out.