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Looking For New Uses For Sandblasters? 4 Steps To Create Beautiful Etched Glass

by Neil Craig

If you thought sandblasting was just for construction projects, you're missing out on a very creative outlet. While sandblasting is most often used for construction projects such as pool resurfacing, it can also be used to create beautiful, decorative glassware. Here are some step-by-step instructions that will help you create etched glass.

Choose Your Glass

When it comes to using sandblasting glass to create etched designs, you should practice on old glass before you get started on more expensive pieces. This will allow you to perfect your technique. Go to a local thrift store or dollar store and pick up several old picture frames. Be sure that the glass is still intact. Once you get home, remove the glass from the frame and use window cleaner to remove dirt and oil. Have several pieces on hand so that you can practice a few times.    

Don Your Safety Gear

While you're sandblasting your glass to create the etching, fine particles of glass dust will be released into the air. To prevent the particles from getting in your eyes or lungs, be sure to wear safety goggles and a fine particle dust mask over your mouth and nose. You'll also need a pair of gloves. Be sure to leave your safety gear on while you're etching your glass.

Prepare Your Glass

Once you have your safety gear on and your glass has been cleaned, you'll be ready to prep the glass. Place your glass on a flat surface. Apply a piece of adhesive vinyl sheeting to one side of the glass. Clear contact paper works well for this portion of the project. Next, place a picture of the design you wish to etch under your glass. You should be able to see the design through the glass. For best results, choose a black and white print to etch from. Use an exact-o knife to carefully cut around the edges of the design that you want to etch. You'll be cutting through the clear contact paper. Finally, peel away the contact paper from the areas you've cut with the exact-o knife. You're now ready to etch.

Etch Your Glass

Now that you're ready to etch your glass, you're going to need a small sandblaster. You'll want to use either a siphon or pressure-type sandblaster for your glass etching. This type of sandblaster operates off of a 5 HP air compressor, which gives it just enough pressure to give your glass a distinctive etching. When etching your glass, be sure to aim the nozzle of the sandblaster directly at the area you want to etch. Maintain firm pressure on the hose to avoid over-spray. Once the glass has been etched, you'll want to carefully remove the clear contact paper and wipe the glass with a soft cloth.

If you've been looking for a fun project you can do at home, you should start etching glass. The information provided here will help you sandblast your way to beautiful etched glass.