Etching as Art
When people think of sculptures, few think of glass.
Stone sculptures like Michelangelo’s eternal David come tomind.
It is common to imagine one with a chisel and hammer intentlychipping away at a raw slab of marble, fashioning the shapes and gestures oflife out of the inanimate.
However, this remarkable achievement of stone sculpting canalso be attained with glass.
Although glass cannot be sculpted as stone can, per say, it can be exquisitelyetched or engraved.
Glass cutting is a specialized craft that takes greattechnique, discipline, and skill.
Glass Etching 101
To give those intrigued by glass artwork, or for persons who might want toengage in amateur work themselves, a window into the most basic approach to glassetching, let us explore the general process.
Before performing any feats, tools and materials must first be acquired.
Obtaining or drafting the design you are looking to createshould be done before anything else, so you can determine what you’ll need topursue such a job.
Mirrors, windows, jars, or glasses all can be used for theglass itself, or specialized pieces can be purchased. If this is your firsttime you should probably only use a marmalade jar or something else that you donot care much about.
Other items you’ll also need, but whose purpose will be explained later on are:window cleaner, contact paper, carbon paper, a utility knife, etching cream, afoam brush, and latex gloves.
Open as many windows as you can if working inside and use a fan to circulatethe air. The odors are not supposed to be breathed in excessively. Properventilation is important for your safety.
Also, make sure you are wearing the latex gloves you boughtbecause the etching cream contains acids which can eat away at your hands asthey do glass.
Next, clean your glass surface thoroughly with the glass cleanser you purchased.Make sure the surface has been fully cleared of any foreign matter and is drybefore working on it.
Cut a piece of contact paper somewhat larger than the pattern you haveselected.
Put the contact paper on the glass where you wish the design to be, and smoothit out to remove all air bubbles.
Next place the carbon paper over the contact paper and the image outline overthe carbon paper. Taping these materials over one another alleviates anypotential for misalignment.
Trace the graphic onto the carbon paper slowly and carefully but firmly,staying as close to the lines as often as possible.
The tracing will carry over onto the contact paper.
Therefore, remove the carbon paper and the diagram because theyare no longer needed. (If the design did not come through you need to pressharder when outlining).
Employing a sharp utility knife, cut all of the pieces where you want thepattern to go out of the contact paper. Use extra caution here as knifes aredangerous and at times difficult to yield.
Make sure these pieces have been removed leaving the bareglass exposed where the design is to go.
Then, apply the etching cream generously to the areas where the glass isexposed. It is better to use more than less to avoid shading inequalities orawkward streaking. Using too much has no noted aesthetic downsides.
Let the etching cream sit on the glass for as long as the directions on the boxspecify.
Lastly, thoroughly wash off the etching cream with water in a tub or sink. Allcream should be gone from the glass as well as where you are washing it(remember: it is dangerous) before proceeding to enjoy the fruits of yourlabor.
The truth is – few brave the field of etched glass on theirown.
That is why those looking to impress friends, family,business associates or clients have for many years acquired professional glasscutting services. There are many extraordinary pieces that only an expert canproduce.
Nothing exudes sophistication and cultural taste more than one of a kind glassart.
To find out more about glass etch please browse the rest of master craftsmanChris Sommer’s website.