How to prevent party guests from losing track of which glass is theirs?
March 31, 2014 6:14 AM   Subscribe

I have parties at my home frequently (dinner parties and otherwise). Depending on what we are drinking, our glasses are either regular drinking glasses (tumblers) or wine glasses. The problem is that people easily lose track of which glass is theirs, especially if they move around. What's a nice elegant way to prevent this problem?

Here are some solutions I see:
  1. Label the glasses with the person's name with a marker
  2. Use different types of glasses altogether (like one person gets a short glass, another gets a tall glass, etc)
  3. Put some sort of sticker or mark on each glass, e.g. each glass has a sticker with a different color, either on the side or bottom of the glass
I am leaning toward the last solution because it's simple and would look nice. I'm just wondering what mark/sticker I could put on each glass that would distinguish them, but still have character and look classy. Like maybe if I got stickers in an interesting set like the astrological signs, different animals, types of plants, etc. Any suggestions?
posted by ElEmigrante to Food & Drink (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Wine glass jewelry. It's a thing.
posted by xenophile at 6:18 AM on March 31, 2014 [13 favorites]

Glass markers or wine charms available from Amazon.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 6:18 AM on March 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

Wine glass charms will take care of the wine glasses.

These are also an option.

You could also buy some colorful non-toxic markers that will wash off and let your guests customize their glasses.
posted by bunderful at 6:18 AM on March 31, 2014

They're called wine glass charms. Yes, its a problem that others have looked at and attempted to solve.
posted by vacapinta at 6:19 AM on March 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

We have collected both mugs and tumbler-type glasses (mainly water glasses) individually, so that almost no two are alike.

We've purchased from thrift stores, antique shops, arts collectives, department stores, asian groceries (more teacups), and high-end gourmet shops. We have no trouble telling whose glass is whose.
posted by amtho at 6:25 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

We have a similar collection of bread/salad plates that is less fancy but no less useful.
posted by amtho at 6:26 AM on March 31, 2014

I've also seen charms with teeny suction cups or that go on the glass lip for stemless glasses.

Also for tumblers: colorful wide rubber bands
posted by NikitaNikita at 6:27 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Colorful straws could help differentiate tumblers.
posted by royalsong at 6:37 AM on March 31, 2014

Best answer: I have these wine-lines and beer-bands. They are much more popular than my regular wine charms because they're amusing and people like picking theirs out. (The beer bands fit around all my different tumblers.) But there are lots of cute wine charms out there for anything you like ... GoT houses, or cat breeds, or whatever. (Etsy is a good source for themey wine charms.)

You could also get sets of tumblers and wine glasses in 4 or 6 or 12 different colors or designs; this would be more expensive, but would definitely solve your problem! You could also try somewhere like Pier 1 or Crate & Barrel where they often have same-size glasses in different colors and pick-your-own-mix.

You can also etch or paint your own, although I believe you have to handwash them after that (but my mom used a set of hand-painted wine glasses for YEARS, it does last if you're a little careful).
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:45 AM on March 31, 2014 [3 favorites]

Stickers don't work that well -- if they're sticky enough to stay on a glass despite condensation on the outside, then they're basically permanent, and will be hard to get off at the end of the night. And they get super gross and tatty in the dishwasher, so you can't just leave them on for next time.

I've seen colorful elastic bands and little mini-clothespins (you can write names on the wood ones or buy the multi-colored ones) used for tumblers.

I've also seen washable markers used, but don't recommend that for much the same reason as the stickers -- it'll either come off on guests hands or won't come off when the party is over. Permanent marker *is* the easy answer for plastic cups, but it just doesn't translate.

There are also these magnetic wine charms, but I've only seen the website, not the actual product.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:47 AM on March 31, 2014

The charms around the stems work well and don't distract. The little suction cup charms or charms that sit on the rim of glasses work but since they are so cute and colorful they only seem appropriate for casual get togethers. With that said, I'm more apt to have casual wine and dinner with friends so it isn't much of a problem.
posted by mmascolino at 6:50 AM on March 31, 2014

Washi tape*! Get a set of 5 rolls, tell your guests to mark their glasses in some identifiable way (initials, shape, colors, etc.) Easy!

*there are millions of patterns/colors and sources for washi tape. ymmv.
posted by Flamingo at 6:53 AM on March 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've not had much luck with suction-cup wine charms; they tend to fall off too easily. And if you're not using stemware then the ring-type charms don't help.
They make little plastic animals (mostly monkeys, mermaids, elephants) designed to hook over the sides of glasses, but (a) they're a bit cheap and plasticy and (b) they can be a bit annoying to drink with as they slide around and bonk your nose.

Any stretchy bracelet that has been a fad among school-age kids (the Livestrong-style rubber bracelet, the SillyBands shapes, the rainbow-loom woven rubber bands, etc) can be used as a marker on a tumbler. Added bonus, if your collection is large enough, you give each person a matched pair, and they wear one to remind them what to look for when they lose their glass.

Same rubber-band approach, but you can use any wide office rubber band, and write names on with a sharpie marker, or just doodle on the rubber bands and make something artistic.

At a more casual party, we did sharpie-marker labeling on the glasses. (It was a wine-and-cheese party, and as well as names on the glasses, I also wrote the cheese varieties on the reverse side of the clear glass plates.) It stays on all night and wipes off with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.

Temporary tattoos will stick to glass well enough for one evening, and are designed to come off with rubbing alcohol.

Actually, most stickers come off with enough elbow grease and a bit of nail polish remover, but it can be a pain. Give it a shot, and if you hate scrubbing the stickers off, don't do it again. Just go to the craft store and see what they've got.
You could get the paper designed for homebrewers to make beer labels out of, but (a) it's not cheap, and (b) you'd have to custom-print for every party.

If you have glassware that you want to permanently make party-ready, paint it with chalkboard paint, either on the stems and base or on the sides.
posted by aimedwander at 7:38 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

And just in case you break out the keg, there are these.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:48 AM on March 31, 2014

Grease pencils aka china markers are temporary and people can write whatever they like on their glass. I think they show up better than markers and they don't wash off with alcohol like markers (often used in laboratories).
posted by hydrobatidae at 7:52 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have a hair elastics in many colors, they slip on the stem easily.
posted by theora55 at 8:20 AM on March 31, 2014

I've seen people use nail polish to mark glasses with dots or other patterns.
posted by danceswithlight at 8:36 AM on March 31, 2014

Ball sells labels for canning jars that stick well and dissolve almost instantly in water -- so they might not work if there's condensation on the outside of the glass, but they'd be good for wine.

Grease pencils also work well on glass and come right off, although they might not show up against dark liquids.
posted by mgar at 8:36 AM on March 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're having folks label their glasses, and don't want to use a permanent marker, you could use PostIt tape or reminder tags.
posted by zamboni at 8:40 AM on March 31, 2014

My dad and his four brothers devised a system where you turn the tab on your beer to a specific angle to show who it belongs to when paying horseshoes. Theres only 5 of them so imagine five positions from 90 degrees to the left followed by 35 degrees to the left then vertical then 45 right and then 90 right. Easy to do once you get the hang of it and works instantly. When my aunt married they had to add in dents in the can as well, but you should be able to come up with something.
posted by koolkat at 8:44 AM on March 31, 2014

I use window markers or grease pencils for people to write their names on. Both of them wash off easily.
posted by LaurenIpsum at 9:03 AM on March 31, 2014

I like to use cocktail swizzle sticks in tumblers (found at places like Cost Plus World Market and Pier 1). Unfortunately, there is a crazy hideous to elegant ratio, so it may take you a while to build up a little collection, depending on the size of your parties.
posted by ktkt at 9:17 AM on March 31, 2014

The correct answer to this is glass charms as has been noted above, but I like Crayola window crayons. They work great for this purpose, plus instead of my name I can draw like a hedgehog or something and that makes me happy.
posted by phunniemee at 9:55 AM on March 31, 2014

Another option is to add chalkboard paint to your wine glasses. You can either do this yourself or buy some from Etsy.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:03 AM on March 31, 2014

We use different colored rubber bands
posted by selfmedicating at 1:12 PM on March 31, 2014

Every time there's a sale on alphabet stickers at Michael's/Joann's/Paper Mart/wherever, I buy a couple.

I leave the sheets out on the table with the glasses. Some put their initials on their beer glasses. Some inundate their chablis glasses with funny sayings.

They come off with a flick of the fingernail as I'm loading the dishwasher; the hot water removes the ones I miss, and I collect them glue-free from the bottom of the dishwasher.

I find that, once I've enjoyed a few, I can't recall if I used the elephant sticker or the carousel sticker to mark my glass. But initials - I can recall mine!
posted by IAmBroom at 1:15 PM on March 31, 2014

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