Glass etching can be defined as the art of making letters, monograms and designs on glass.
The process basically involves covering the glass with a pattern and then blowing sand against the surface using a special machine. So the place where the glass is not protected will get “etched” by the sand striking against it.
We can find etched glass words all around you in the forms of designed mirrors, office’s entrance, commercial sign, nameplate, identification numbers and letters.
Glass Carving also is one of the art of Glass etching, but different than etching in that carving removes some of the thickness of the glass creating a three dimensional product whereas etching is a roughing of the surface of the glass and the glass remains flat. Below are the rank of sand etching and sand carving methods in terms of skill required to create them:
Single Stage Etching: The glass is etched to a white frost and other areas are left clear creating the design. This is the easiest to create and can even be done by machines.
Multi Stage Etching: The first stage is etched to a white frost; subsequent stages are etched progressively lighter and finally clear glass. This is more difficult than Single Stage but can still be done by machines.
Shaded Etching: The glass is etched creating a dimensional effect by varying the amount of etching. This is different than Staged etching in that the etching is not even but varied. The result is a very dimensional look with no removal of glass thickness as in carved glass. This can only be done well by a skilled artisan.
Carved: The glass is carved creating a true three dimensional product. Carving results in removal of glass thickness. This can only be done well by a skilled artisan.
Carved and Painted: The glass is first carved as described above. The glass is then cleaned and a new mask is applied and cut. The glass is then painted using glass paints and airbrushing techniques. This can only be done well by a skilled artisan.
APPLICATIONS AND INSTALLATIONS METHODS FOR CARVED GLASS
Doors – Carved glass is commonly used in exterior and interior door applications.The carved glass can be made tempered or laminated to meet building codes when required.
Windows – Carved glass is commonly used in exterior window applications and is a great option to control the sun, add privacy and beauty.
Room Dividers – Room dividers are a great use of carved glass as it is seen from both sides. We typically install using wood trim or glass clamps for a more frameless look. Also consider sculptural techniques such as free form shapes and chipped edges. If being installed on a knee wall consider only attaching to the two sides and using a freeform chipped edge. Even on a four sided opening this same look can be accomplished by not extending the glass to the top of the opening and free form or chip the top edge. Room dividers are also a great application for lighted bases, please call if you are interested and we can quote.
Niches – Niches are similar to room dividers but only seen from the one side. Carved and painted glass really looks great in niche applications especially when backlit. Also consider sculptural techniques. Installation methods are similar to room dividers, wood trim or glass clamps.
Table Tops – Both carved or carved and painted glass look great in tabletop applications, often just done in borders. We can supply all shapes and edges as required. Typically glass is annealed due to the exposed edge.
Shower Enclosures – We can supply carved and/or painted glass for frameless shower applications with all the notches and cutouts. Carved side faces out for easy cleaning on the inside of the shower.
Wall Art/Donor Walls/Dedication Plaques – Carved glass should be installed on a dark background so it shows well or the glass should be painted if on a light background.
Carved glass looks great when edge lit. We can fabricate custom fluorescent or LED edge lighting. There are several manufacturers of commercial edge lighting systems on the market if your budget allows.
TYPES OF GLASS
Annealed – We prefer to carve annealed as we are able to carve it more deeply. We also are able to carve holes though the glass and provide various chipped edge options.
The first option is to front carve or back carve. We typically back carve so the smooth side faces out. It is personal preference and front carving can be done also.
The second option is clear or frosted background. There are many ways to carve the same design depending on your objectives. The most common method is to carve the design and leave the background clear. In obscurity applications, the background can also be frosted or we can carve an acid etched or textured glass. To make the design pop when carved on a frosted background, the carving can be sealed (creates a shiny look) or a thin clear thin line can be left around the carving.
When carving mirror the same ideas apply. The front side or back side can be carved. When opting for back side carving ensure there is enough uncarved mirror to allow it to be installed if using mirror mastic. The mirror mastic cannot be applied to the back carved surface.
Carved glass can be painted using airbrushing techniques and special glass paints.Like carving, painting is an art form and is done by our skilled glass painter to create the best end result. An important point with painted glass is we stress that this is a one-of-a-kind piece and colors are not exact. For example, a light red and dark red are achieved by applying the same base color from a lighter to heavier amount.
CARE AND CLEANING
ETCHED/CARVED GLASS ONLY – Etched and Carved glass are relatively maintenance free. Routine cleaning should be done by spraying a soft cloth with non-ammonia glass cleaner and wiping the glass. Spray the cloth, not the glass. If the staining is not removed by glass cleaner use Pure Acetone, again applied to the cloth directly then wipe the glass.
Please understand that carved glass is a hand created product. The same design can be carved many different ways. Our carver will review the design and determine how to carve the glass to create the best end result as he sees it. If you have specific requirements please make sure they are well communicated.
Part of information is taken from : refinedglass.com