Glass Engraving Process

At Classy Glass & Awards we pride ourselves on engraving as much as possible here on the premises; call us control freaks if you like! Our sand-blasted glass engraving is one such product.

Our graphics department always tries to match the engraving to the occasion or the piece of glass chosen. Logos and club badges are incorporated into the design and re-sized to fit.

The artwork is printed out onto a high quality film, before being turned into a stencil using a light sensitive material. This is washed with a pressure washer then dried in a glorified fan-heater.

Meanwhile the glass is un-packed, inspected and a guideline marked on the surface. Once dry the stencil is then carefully positioned on the glass. The surrounding area is protected with masking tape.

When the glass is ready to be engraved we ‘blast’ the design onto the glass with our sandblaster. This uses a combination of air and pure white fused aluminium oxide grit to scratch the design onto the glass.

Each glass must then be washed, dried, inspected and re-packed.

All of this is a time-consuming and labour intensive task and must be repeated whether there is 1 or 1,000 items to engrave. This is why engraved glass is more expensive to produce than printed glass. However our design is permanent and will not fade with time.

There are several other ways to mark glass, including drag diamond, laser engraving, acid-etching and sandblasting. We use a sandblaster as in our experience it produces a vastly superior result.

Other Glass Engraving Methods

Diamond engraving is sometimes known as hand engraving and can be produced either with a diamond or tungsten carbide tip held in a clutch pen. The glass engraver drags the tool on the surface to scratch it or taps it on the glass very lightly to stipple engrave it. Many hand engravers use a small hand held drill and a variety of diamond tipped dental burs and polishers. This is how our director Amanda engraved glass for several years before investing in a sandblasting cabinet, earning Craft Membership of the Guild of Glass Engravers along the way. Nowadays she leaves the hand engraving to others as she concentrates on running the company. Should you require a bespoke piece of hand engraving please feel free to contact us so that we can recommend one of our excellent engraving friends.

Diamond engraving is also used by some of the multi-purpose engraving machines that do trophies, medals plaques etc. We can tell the difference between this and sandblasted glass immediately and do not recommend it if you have a choice as in our opinion the quality is not the same.

Glass may also be laser engraved and we have experimented on glass with our laser machines. The quality of this type of engraving is poor on glass, and lead crystal should not be lasered in case the lead expands faster than the rest of the glass, causing it to explode. Overall we have decided that this method is more suited to our acrylic awards, which have a much better level of engraving quality when lasered rather than sandblasted.

Acid etching can be seen in many old public house windows. People sometimes ask us if we etch glass but as this uses Hydrofloric Acid it is extremely hazardous! There are very few places that offer this service and we are not one of them.

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