Sandblasted Glass Etching
Glass etching has been around for many centuries and is undoubtedly an art in its own right.
There are several methods of engraving or etching glass.
In modern times the most simple is using etching creams which do the work a human hand used to do. The cream is made out of special chemicals that eat away at the glass.
Another popular technique of glass sculptors is called “sandblasting.” Sandblasting etching tends to provide the artist with richer tone and deeper texture than other methods, such as the etching cream process, do.
Sandblasting is extremely dangerous if not pursued properly. Wear proper breathing respirators, eye goggles and use gloves to protect yourself. Otherwise, sandblasting provides an invigorating and inventive experience that many love to participate in.
How to Sandblast Glass
Both the curious and creative might be interested in learning what the basic steps of sandblasting are. So, let’s go through them.
First, once you have your sandblaster, your glass, and your design in mind cover the area you wish to remain untouched.
This means the areas which you are going to etch should be exposed, and nothing else.
Next apply a vinyl adhesive such as contact paper to the glass flushy. Make sure that there are no air bubbles which could throw off the design.
Then place the image you wish to blast on top of the glass precisely where you want it to be permanently.
Trace the image (which should be black and white to limit confusion and mistakes) with an exact-o knife or box cutter. Do this carefully and slowly.
It is better it take you twice as long to do it right, rather than half as long to mess it up and have to redo it anyway.
Peel the cut areas away from the contact paper.
This should leave a distinct outline for the pattern you are looking to blast.
Finally, turn on your sandblaster and blast away.
Tips for New Sandblast Etchers
There are some things to bear in mind while going through this process.
Do not invest in expensive sandblasting equipment before you try glass etching. It is advisable to borrow it from a friend or rent it first.
The design usually looks best on the other side of where the blasting occurs.
Therefore, cut out designs backwards, especially when using letters, to ensure a top-notch outcome.
This means you should also protect what will be the front of the etched glass when blasting to keep it unblemished.
One last thing worthy of consideration is that typical contact paper is usually at most 2 mils thick. But a sandblaster will rip right through that.
You need to get at least a 4mil piece to guarantee a precise etching product.