Happy Magpie Custom Etching

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Glass Etching is the art of putting a picture on glass by abrading the surface. There are several techniques that can be used: acid creams, engraving, sandblasting and copper wheel. My techniques of choice are sandblasting and engraving.

Sandblasting requires a large air compressor, a sand reservoir and a blasting cabinet. I use this method when there is a large surface to cover, such as frosting. The image is created by placing resist on the surface of the glass. I then use an X-acto knife to cut out and remove the resist from the areas I want to etch. The abrasive blast ever so slightly roughens up the surface of the glass making it appear frosted.

Engraving requires a tool such as a Dremel and diamond bits. I use this method for detailed work and for letter and numbers. I can draw my image directly onto the glass to engrave or place it behind the glass if it is transparent and flat.

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If you ever choose to try this yourself, please be careful. You should not breathe in the abrasive or glass particles. You should also wear protective eye wear such as goggles.

When I first started to etch glass, I used the etching cream. I soon found that for making a larger image, it appeared blotchy and gray. Once I started using sandblasting equipment, I was much more pleased with the result. Sandblasting creates a much crisper image than that of etching cream. Then I moved on to using the engraving tools and found that this opened many more options. This more versatile method also allows me to continue to increase my skills by etching surfaces other than glass and to use different shading techniques.

Please contact me if you have an idea of something you would like me to etch for you. Your image does not have to be that of my fantasy world, but that of your own.

-Amy Schulz