Friday, April 19, 2013

Stencil for Etching Glass

Delicately etched glass makes elegant additions to any home decor. Whether you choose to etch glasses, mirrors or the pane in your front door, you will need a good stencil to complete the project. Although you can purchase stencils designed for glass etching at your local craft store, making your own allows you to create a unique design and save money in the process. With a few simple supplies, you can create stencils to fit your needs within minutes.

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  • Instructions

    1. Select the image you want to etch. You can find a wide selection of images in children's coloring books, applique books or magazines. Scan the image and print it out on plain paper. As an alternative, you can photocopy the image if you have access to a photocopier.

    2. Place a piece of clear contact paper on the table in front of you. Place the image on top of the contact paper. Tape the edges to prevent slipping. Use a craft knife to cut out the image. Be sure you cut through the contact paper as well. This will be your stencil. Use care to make clean even cuts. Trim any jagged edges with a pair of craft scissors.

    3. Prepare the glass area to be etched, following the instructions on your etching cream. You can find glass etching cream in your local craft store. Dry the surface completely. Follow the directions printed on the contact paper to remove the paper backing from the stencil. Press it in place on the object to be etched.

    4. Follow manufacturer's direction for etching. Remove contact paper when the etching cream is set.

    Etching Designs

    Glass can be an easel for a creative artisan, and the art of designing etched glass for personal or gift use can be a relaxing hobby. glass by sand blasting or laser, or with liquid etchant. Any method of etching will require a pattern or design. The pattern can be as simple as a stencil or as elaborate as detailed art done on contact paper that is then adhered to the glass while cutting out the design with a craft knife.


    1.  Thoroughly clean the front and back of the glass with window cleaner, removing all oils and fingerprints, which can prevent etch from adhering. Dry the glass thoroughly with a soft towel or paper towels, laying the glass flat on your work area.

    2.  Cut a 7-by-7-inch sheet of contact paper from the roll. Peel the backing off and gently lay it on the glass. Start in the middle of the glass, sticking the center of the contact paper and smoothing toward the outside edges of the glass. The extra inch of contact paper should cover the edges and protect your fingers. Gently remove any bubbles or rolls by lifting the paper and laying it back down; do not poke any air bubbles with the knife.

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  • 3.  Create your own design for your glass project. If you are talented and enjoy drawing, draw the design that you would like to see on the glass directly on the contact paper. Make sure that each section of the design is defined to ease the process of cutting out the contact paper.

    4.  Use a stencil from a craft store to help create your design if you'd like. However, be aware that the problem with stencils is there is no way to adhere them well to the glass. Etchant can bleed, obscuring lines.

    5.  Apply pre-made designs to the glass if you want something that already has the cutouts done. Because these are adhesive, there is no bleeding of etchant.

    6.  Create a template on your home computer using a graphic program if you want an intricate design that is free to make. Print the design -- on tracing paper if available -- and place it on the contact paper.

    7.  Lay the design you created over the top of the contact paper, securing the design with masking tape. Make sure the design is flat and tight against the contact paper.

    8.  Cut out the pattern you have designed using the small craft blade. Start with a new blade; the sharpness is important to the detail you are cutting out, and the blade must cut though both tracing paper and contact paper. Start from the corners, and work your way toward the middle of the design. As you cut off pieces of the paper pattern, dispose of them, and pull off the corresponding piece of contact paper with the tip of the knife.

    9.  Remove the tracing paper and masking tape once you have cut out the last bit of the design. Inspect the contact paper that is still adhered to the glass thoroughly to ensure that no jagged or torn pieces remain. All angles must be smooth in the cutouts.

    10. Rewash the glass, with the contact paper on it, using glass cleaner to remove any sticky residue from the cutouts. Dry thoroughly.

    11. Coat the entire top of the glass with liquid or gel glass etchant. Brush it thoroughly over the cut-out areas of the contact paper. Follow the time recommended by the maker of the etchant. Some call for 30 seconds, while others take 10 to 15 minutes to etch the glass.

    12. Rinse the etchant off the glass for several minutes. Do not scrub; just run the glass under warm water. You will be able to tell when all etchant is off the glass. Thoroughly dry the glass with a soft towel.

    13. Peel the contact paper off the glass. Start at the corners and work your way into the middle. Once the entire sheet of contact paper is removed, you will see your design etched into the glass.

    Tips on Engraving Glass

    Receiving a gift that has your name engraved on it probably makes you feel special that someone took the time to personalize it. Individuals who engrave glass use their skills of precision to create delicate works of art. You can purchase engraving tools at your local craft and hobby stores or on the Internet.

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  • Start Simple
    Redbook suggests that you should start simple when engraving glass. Engrave patterns such as names or words. Start your projects on glasses that have a straight side rather than a curved side.
    Practice Makes Perfect
    With any project you have to practice in order to achieve the level of perfection that you want. Find a piece of scrap glass and try the different tips on it so that you can improve your engraving for each tip you use. Try using circular motions, straight lines and stippling your design. Practice your shading skills with different tips. Number the engravings you used with each tip so you can refer back to them in the future when you are looking for a particular tip to engrave a certain design. Remember that imperfections also give the piece character. Don't sweat the small stuff, odds are others won't be able to notice.
    Engraving Tips
    If you are printing a design from your computer, tape the design on the inside of the glass and use a permanent marker to trace the image on to the front of the glass. This will give you a template that you don't have to worry about holding onto the glass.

    Rest your hand on a pile of books to bring your hand to the same level and help you keep it stable while using your engraving tool.

    Engrave in an area with plenty of light. Place dark fabric under your glass or engrave on a surface that is dark in color. This will help you see your design better since glassware naturally has a glare.
    Keep the dust wiped clean from the glass to view your engraving and keep track of how far along you have advanced.

    Engrave Glasses for a Wedding Gift

    Beautiful glassware makes a wonderful gift for a variety of occasions. Customizing the glassware with a special message or design makes the gift even more unique. Glass engraving is done with a specialized pen that etches or rubs the glass with a specialty tip. Glass engraving pens, also known as etching pens, can be purchased at the local craft store. These pens are easy to use, and can create a multitude of designs and engraving styles on almost any type of glass.


    1. Put on the safety goggles. This will prevent glass pieces from hitting your eyes. Secure the mask to your face to avoid breathing in the dust particles from the engraving process.

    2. Find a stencil that matches the type of engraving you would like to do. You can also print out a design, or create one on the computer using a fancy font. If you have nice handwriting, write the message on a piece of paper.

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  • 3. Position the design on the inside of the glass at the desired position. Tape the corners with clear tape to hold it in place. Clear tape allows you to still see the design easily. Reposition the image or text if needed.

    4. Select the tip that will create the desired effect. The diamond tip is great for text engraving. Each brand and pen type will have different tips and tip instructions. Read the instruction booklet to determine which tip type will work best for the design you wish to achieve.

    5. Turn on the pen. Begin engraving the image. If you are engraving text, simply trace the outline of the font, and fill in the center, or trace your handwriting. If you are tracing an image, remember to engrave the light areas, and leave the dark areas of the image as clear glass.

    What is glass engraving

    Glass engraving involves carving designs on a glass object using a rotary tool or copper wheel. Copper wheel engraving requires special training in the use of copper wheels that turn on a lathe through an oil-suspended abrasive that cuts designs into glass. The rotary tool is more readily available, and requires only bits designed to mark glass, such as diamond or silicon- or tungsten-carbide. This is also known as flexible drive engraving, and is easily accomplished by anyone with a rotary tool and some time to practice.


    1. Prepare the work area so that it is well lit. Cover any hard surfaces with a towel or pad to avoid damage to the glass object if it should fall, and to help keep glass dust from spreading out of the area.

    2. Clean and dry the glass object.

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  • 3. Apply the design with the glass marking pen, or the transfer paper. Where the design is best applied depends on the shape and thickness of the glass object. For example, it can be attached inside a thin glass because it is easy to see through the glass to trace the design on the outside. Alternately, a thick glass object may require the design be traced on the same side on which you will be engraving, using transfer paper, such as Saral paper.

    4. Seat the chosen bit firmly into the rotary tool and tighten the chuck, then put on the appropriate safety equipment.

    5. Touch the bit lightly to the glass to trace the outline of the design. High speeds and heavy pressure are not required, and in fact make it harder to control the bit against the glass. Use different bits to achieve different effects on the glass -- practice on scrap glass to determine the best ones to use for your design.

    6. Wipe the surface as needed to clean glass dust off the surface for better visibility. Take care if the design was applied with transfer paper, as this may wipe the design off as well; you can use a soft, dry cloth instead.

    7. Clean the glass once the outline is finished, and remove the pattern from the glass.

    8. Place the dark cloth against the glass object so it highlights the design and shade the pattern, if desired. Use the original pattern as a guide.

    9. Wash the glass object thoroughly when finished to remove any grit or glass dust.

    Ideas for Glass Engraving

    Glass engraving ideas are limitless. Whether you do the engraving yourself or a professional engraver does all the work, you will end up with a beautiful work of art. It takes a steady hand and practice to engrave glass, but you can create many gifts. These glass engraving ideas are based on specific occasions including sports, holidays, weddings, business and memorials.

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  • Create engraved glass awards for sport tournaments. Some award ideas include bowls, plates and carved shapes. Engrave the winning team's name, the date of the award and the name of the tournament they won. Engrave trophies for MVP or most improved player. Give small glass trophies to each member of the team with their names engraved on them.

    Engrave glass ornaments with the year and a simple design. Each year make a new ornament as a keepsake. Give engraved glass ornaments as gifts to loved ones. For parties, engrave glass serving plates and bowls. Engraved glass decorations work for any holiday. Glass ghosts will look creepy during Halloween with candles flickering behind them. Engrave serving dishes with the flag for Independence Day. Engrave hearts in glass for Valentine's day.

    Use engraved glass for weddings to create a romantic and beautiful setting. Engrave champagne glasses for the bride and groom, or give engraved glass party favors with the bride and groom's names and the wedding date. Create centerpieces from glass vases or bowls and engrave them with designs such as the wedding flowers, two interconnected hearts or kissing birds.

    Whether for children or adults, make engraved glass birthday presents. Make a glass puzzle by engraving a design on thick glass and then cutting it into various odd shapes. The puzzle becomes a keepsake and a toy that children will cherish for years. Engrave glass mirrors with the image from a favorite photo. It requires lots of practice to engrave photos onto glass, but the result is amazing.

    Some glass engraving ideas for businesses include nameplates, pen holders and glass bricks. Engrave the employee's name and the name of the business. Give engraved glass bricks as awards for employee of the month or as a thank you for excellent work. Engrave and etch business windows with designs that represent what the business does or with the business name.

    Engrave glass memorials for a beautiful reminder of loved ones lost. Use any shape of glass and engrave them with name, date of birth and death, special quote, picture of the loved one and/or picture of something they loved. Give engraved glass memorials as a special gift, or make one to place on a grave site.

    How to Engrave Glass

    Glass engraving is not new. People have been engraving on glassboth as a hobby and a way to make money for decades. Time has brought better methods to practice the art of glass engraving.Whatever method you choose to use ,the satisfaction of creating a beautiful piece is pure bliss.

    The Art of Glass Engraving

    1. Choose a glass object to engrave. The usual choice would be a glass or a vase. You can also engrave picture framesmirrors, windows, paperweights, and keychains. As long as it's glass you can engrave it to give it a unique look of it's own.

    2. Decide which pattern or stencils you will use. Place the pattern or stencil you use in or behind the surface of the glass item you are using. Be sure it is exactly in the desired place. Tape the pattern in place with clear tape. Make sure your glass has been cleaned before doing this or your pattern may slip. You may also inadvertently engrave dirt into your glass if it has not been cleaned first.

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  • 3. Prepare your work space. Lay your non skid material on your work surface. It will give you a place to work without the glass sliding away. Depending on the size and shape of the glass piece you are using, you may want to use a clamp to hold it steady. Be careful not to use too much pressure when clamping, so you don't shatter the glass.

    4. Put on your dust mask and goggles to protect your eyes, mouth and nose. If you think any noise from your drill or rotary tool might bother you, then you can use the optional earplugs.

    5. Take the glass item, with its pattern taped on, and draw the pattern with your wax crayon or marker, on the outside surface where you will be engraving. After testing your drill or rotary tool to find a comfortable speed, use it to start engraving on the pattern lines you drew. This will produce glass dust so wipe the glass often with your damp rag to clear the surface. Continue drilling then wiping repeatedly until your design is finished and the engraving is complete.

    Learn to Engrave Glass

    Glass etching is a relatively simple process that can yield quite elegant results. It requires very few supplies, so the initial investment is minimal and you won't need much storage space. Your creativity and a steady hand are the most important requirements for making beautiful engraved glass art. You can use any type of glass you want, from stemware to mirrors and beyond, to produce your own keepsakes and impressive homemade gifts.


    1. Put on a dust mask to avoid inhaling the glass dust that results from engraving glass with a grinding tool.

    2. Secure an engraving template on the underside of the glass you will engrave. Your template can be a hand-drawn image or a stencil printed from the computer. For personalized items, type words in the font of your choice on a word processor and print. Tape is usually all you need to keep the template in place.

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  • 3. Trace the image with a die grinding tool and diamond point wheel ball bit. Trace slowly and steadily. If you already have a die grinding tool, you can get this bit for just a few dollars. If you don't have a die grinding tool, you can purchase a glass etching tool from a hobby store and get the same results.

    4. Remove the template and examine the glass. Using your tool, trace over the image again to get an even line. You may need to go over it several times, depending on the thickness you want for your image.

    5. Wash the glass to remove any debris and allow it to air dry.