Courtesy of Wikipedia:

Glass etching, or "French embossing", is a popular technique developed during the mid-1800s that is still widely used in both residential and commercial spaces today. Glass etching comprises the techniques of creating art on the surface of glass by applying acidic, caustic, or abrasive substances. Traditionally this is done after the glass is blown or cast, although mold-etching has replaced some forms of surface etching. The removal of minute amounts of glass causes the characteristic rough surface and translucent quality of frosted glass.

Abrasive blasting ("sandblasting") is another common technique for creating patterns in glassware, creating a "frosted" look to the glass. It is often used commercially. High-pressure air mixed with an abrasive material cuts away at the glass surface to create the desired effect. The longer the stream of air and abrasive material are focused in one spot, the deeper the cut.

Mold etching In the 1920s a mold-etch process was invented, in which art was etched directly into the mold, so that each cast piece emerged from the mold with the texture already on the surface of the glass. This reduced manufacturing costs and, combined with a wider use of colored glass, led to cheap glassware in the 1930s, which later became known as Depression glass.

Frost etching is the process in which vinyl window material is cut to produce a pattern and then applied to a window to give a frosted patterned effect.

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Etched Glass Designs for Beauty and Privacy

Art Glass and Metal has been producing etched/sandblasted glass in San Diego for over 40 years. What follows is a brief description of the process, along with a few ideas for applications of sandblasted glass.

Sand blasted glass etching and sand carving are ways of creating images on glass. Sandblasting allows for greater variation through the use of different degrees of coarseness in sand, and also for depth blasting (through additional time and pressure, giving the finished product a rich textured appearance).

Patterns and designs can be achieved by creating a mask of rubber vinyl which is impervious to the abrasive force of the grit from the sandblaster. The mask can be hand cut or computer cut, depending on the design. Particles of abrasives much harder than glass are then shot forcibly against the glass surface, wearing it away. Portions of the glass that are to remain clear are masked during sandblasting. The sandblasting technique is also used to obscure visibility through glass, though diffused light can still pass through it.

Sand carving is achieved by blasting away the glass for longer periods to get layers of depth. It is necessary to use thicker pieces of glass for this, and the various depths are made by cutting away more of the exposed areas each with each pass. This can sometimes be a long and intricate process, but is desirable for its three-dimensional appearance.

Room and wall dividers, doors, windows and shower surrounds are some of the most popular architectural uses of sandblasted glass. Sandblasted glass can be used in numerous interior design applications, in both residential and commercial settings: doors, shower screens, partitions and interior screens, glass counter tops and furniture, etc.

Architectural Uses of Sandblasted Glass

Jay’s 40 years of experience and artistic abilities allow him to put incredible artistic details in his art works. Commonly seen applications for glass etching include:

  • Interior and exterior doors
  • Windows
  • Wall and room dividers
  • Wall panels and displays
  • Outdoor gates
  • Shower enclosures

Sandblasting effects on shower doors can create wonderfully frosted looks to compliment the appearance of any bathroom. Sandblasted shower surround designs often include waves and/or more ornate such as pictorial sea life scenes. Sandblasted glass window panels on front doors are popular and can really add elegance to the front door of a home. Commercial storefronts and doors may feature sandblasted company logos and business names.

Some sandblasted glass room divider panels are more like art pieces than just architectural necessities. For example, some upscale hotels or museum lobbies feature large panels of glass with detailed sandblasted etchings that may include figures or animals.

Smaller artistic sandblasted glass panels may be used as architectural accents in homes, such as in front halls, foyers or entryways and kitchen sink backsplashes, along with thick glass countertops with designs etched on the underside and lighted by LED lights. Even small amounts of sandblasted glass can add beauty and flair to any residential or commercial space, indoors or outdoors.

Use this contact form to send me your ideas for your next etched glass project, or call me directly at 760.390.2994.

Some Examples of Jay's Art Glass Designs:

(click any image to go to the Gallery)

African Influenced Abstract glass wall
“Hula Dancer” Etched Glass Door Panel for Hawaiian Home
Etched Glass Door Panel with Wildlife and Mountain Scene
“Toucan in Rain Forest” - Etched Glass Window above Bathtub
Etched Glass Green Sea Turtle Wall Sculpture with Edge Lighting - 7 feet wide by 5 feet tall

Huge Black Glass Photo Etching for Soboba Casino Resort

I created this custom large format photo etching on black glass for a casino. The actual etched glass piece is four feet tall by fourteen feet long.
Etched Glass Sea Birds for hotel partition
Etched glass entry doors at the San Marcos Brewery in San Marcos, California
Wall Sculpture for University of Southern California. Etched Glass and hand painting with jewels, plus etched lighting to add glowing affect.
Memorial Donor Board Project - Etched Dark Gray Glass, Oak Park High School, Oak Park, California