Introduction: Easy Way to Engrave on Glass

Picture of Easy Way to Engrave on Glass

Customize glassware with nothing more than a Dremel Engraver.  With this nifty little tool you can engrave your own custom designs on glass jugs, engrave glasses for wedding and engagement gifts, repurpose glass jars in practical containers and have lots of fun.

I have posted plenty of projects on using various Dremel Tools, so check them out if you have time.

Step 1: Mask Off

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When doing a fairly detailed design, I find it easier to apply masking tape to the entire project, unless you are expert at using an engraver.  By masking off you not only add protection to the glass, but also make it easier to follow a template.

Step 2: Draw or Trace

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Draw or trace your chosen design onto the glass. I am a wildlife fanatic and love Zebras, so I am adding a zebra onto a glass jar to add to my African collection.  If you aren't very good at drawing, find a nice picture on the Internet that you can use.

Step 3: Cut Out

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Use a sharp craft knife to cut out the areas that will be engraved.  You can see how easy it makes the actual engraving process when you use masking tape.

Step 4: Start Engraving

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Where you removed the tape you will now gently stroke across the glass.  You don't need to apply heavy pressure, let the engraving tool do what it's supposed to do.  For a more pronounced effect, go over the design again.  You can also do shading by increasing the speed of the engraver.

Step 5: Polish and Display

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All-in-all this project took about an hour from start to finish and I now have another piece to add to my collection.  The jug was on special and cost practically nothing, which means I saved myself a bundle!

Find more easy Dremel projects on - so pop in for a chat!


bobdole1221 (author)2016-05-01

One using 4000

What bit did you use for this? Looks great!

There had trouble uploading. But my profile pic is those dolphins i mentioned

Oh and thank you. I have done a few neat ones since. I have a neat dolphin one i lined with blues lights :)

I used a combo of diamond carbide bits and green stone bits i beleive are tungsten carbide

bobdole1221 (author)2016-03-27

i am having trouble using the green grinding stones to keep a nice uniform coating like the borders on the celtic cross

itsjustjayok made it! (author)bobdole12212016-03-29

Are you using a dremel by any chance? - I use to use a dremel but found the motor was unreliable. It would speed up randomly which would create a different shade where I didnt want it!.. so i got a micromotor and handpeice instead.

You can check out my hand glass engravings at

bobdole1221 (author)itsjustjayok2016-05-01

I started using a dremel 4000 and it got rid of the inconsistency. It doesn't slow down or speed up

dezine (author)itsjustjayok2016-04-11

Beautiful engravings. I do use a Dremel Multitool or Rotary tool and sanding stone. I don't like the engraver as it is too harsh.

bobdole1221 (author)itsjustjayok2016-03-29

Yes i use a dremel 3000 sometimes with the flexshaft others times i dont. I also use the dremel 7300. I know the slow speeds a hard on its but the precision is awesome. Its great that you replied talking about a micro motor i had a couple questions. 1. How expensive arr they. Any thing o buy o want it to be nice while not to hard on the pocket. Basically i dont need a Ferrari but i want nothing less than a Cadillac. 2. This one could be a deal breaker. How loud are they. 3. How easy is the maintenance. I take my dremel apart all the time to clean. So wad curious there. Thats and awesome etching by the way. I definitely look forward to hearing back fron you

bobdole1221 (author)bobdole12212016-03-29

Meant to say. Slow speeds being hard on bits. Kinds left that out

itsjustjayok (author)bobdole12212016-03-30

Speed, pressure and burr grades and types all have a part to play in the shade you get. Get a old peice of glass and experiment - I do patch tests with slow - med - fast speeds then try pressure again slow - med - fast.

Rememer that the speed of your pass will also make a difference

Example experiment:

Draw a line about 5 inches long with a slow speed (less then say 2k rpm if poss)

then again with a fast speed (about 30k+ rpm)

But making sure both lines take the same length of time to complete.

Make the stroke pressure and speed to complete the length equal as much as possible.. then view your result.

You may not be able to do this with a dremel as im sure it will not go that slow but if it does try it.

Doing these type of experiments and logging the results will help you so much when planning your engravings.

Try the same experiments again but with different grades / grits of diamond burrs.

Then try different types of media such as Abrasive Rubber (These also come in different grades), White Arkansas Burs produce some interesting results so again do same experiments. Green Silicon Carbide

is another medium used which is great for covering larger areas and gives a smoother more uniformed finish

Good Luck!!

bobdole1221 (author)itsjustjayok2016-03-30

Cool thank you for the tips. I can't remember exact speeds. But the dremel 3000 has 5 speed settings. When i use diamond burs i always get same results. Its the green silicon carbide i dont. I even clean it with the stone. It almost seems like it needs to warm up. Even though that means your going to hard. Im gonna look that micro motor up after i finish this guy. Ill post pic right after this

itsjustjayok (author)bobdole12212016-03-30

Hiya Bud.. I would put my money on it that thats your problem then the dremel.

I dont know why they do it but yes the are good for precision but motor speed for me is a massive issue. Its just unreliable for the find of engravings I do.

I purchased a Cadillac (lol) micromotor as the price was reasonable compared to that of branded micromotore.

I purchased one called a "strong 90" (picture below) and its the best investment i have made!

Mine included a foot pedal (on and off control) which was a massive plus point as the dremel fitted with the flex shaft was a real pain when having to turn on and off.

If you follow me on instagram (@jayengrave) I have a couple of vids using it.

Another plus for me with the micromotor was the advantage of changing the direction of the motor.. Now your prob thinking so what! dremels and other rotary tools are designed for right handed people they dont take into account us lefties!! the direction of the motor fixes this issue for me lol.

I purchased mine from ebay for around £60~£70 including shipping.

It came direct from china which again did not bother me as nearly everything is made in china anyway, so it makes sence to cut out the middle men.

Maintenance is not needed really I give mine a whip over now and again to remove dust.

The handpeice has little carbon motor brushes inside which are the only things that need replacing from time to time but they are simple to find and replace and I sell them on my website.

The handpeice feels very comfortable in the hand and more natural

It really is a good investment, you would hardly ever need to use your dremel again. I only keep mine now for non glass work :)

Hope this helps

Look forward to seeing your future work!

dezine (author)bobdole12212016-04-11

I normally do a small, soft, gentle stroke to fill in areas like that shown on the cross and it works great.

bobdole1221 (author)2016-03-30

Did it on a floating frame abd vrass wire brush for that gold glimmer

bobdole1221 (author)2016-03-30

Quick easy fellow

bobdole1221 (author)2016-03-27

done on mirror i use high speed cutting bits so i dint scratch glass but only remove reflecting surface. then painted with blacklight reacting paint. also not sure why my celtic cross uploaded twice

bobdole1221 (author)2016-03-27

not finished

bobdole1221 (author)2016-03-27

not finished

crank_girl (author)2015-06-10

would it not be easier just to fix the template to the inside of the vessel and trace over it?

bobdole1221 (author)crank_girl2016-03-27

yes you can. but i will say depending on the image it gets hard to properly follow lines. the rounding of the glass distorts images. now with pic frames perfect and easy. and ive gotten pretty ruff and havent broke a pic frame glass yet. mirror is a different story all together and instead of engraving bits i used the high speed cutting bits. so youi dont scratch the glasd but u take the backing off

AlexDMorrison (author)2016-01-27

One tip that I have for anyone using a dremel on glass is to either wear a good respirator or dusk mask OR keep a spray bottle of water near bye. water will help to keep the glass dust out of the air and out of our lungs. Happy engraving!

itsjustjayok (author)2015-08-29

Check out the hand engraved glass of Jack Nicholson The Shining done by JayEngrave. This was done with a dremel fitted with a flexishaft and a micromotor with diamond tip burrs

Ggungaby (author)2015-08-22

If I don't have a Dremel, will another type of engraver work?

dezine (author)Ggungaby2015-08-24

Most engravers will work on glass as long as they don't vibrate too much and the glass is reasonably thick.

brentwarder (author)2014-08-01

I use the Dremel multitool with the flex shaft to do the same thing. They have diamond ball engraving tips of different sizes that I like to start with. But, my tip is to go over the engraved surfaces at the end with one of the aluminum oxide tips (green cone tips) to smooth the surfaces for a cleaner look. It does tend to wear those tips down more quickly than when used for their intended function (polishing metal, sanding, and other smoothing jobs not necessarily on glass), but the cleaner look certainly leaves a satisfying look and feeling.

ryantullos24779 (author)2013-03-10

what tip did u use on the dremel?

dezine (author)ryantullos247792013-03-11

I used the engraving cutter #107

heathbar64 (author)2012-07-28

Very cool! I'm not familiar with the dremel engraver. is this one of the vibrating dealie's such as you would use to put your name on tools etc?

flammaefata (author)heathbar642012-07-29

If you google it you'll see a Dremel is a hand-held rotary tool that comes with multiple attachments. It allows drilling, engraving, polishing, cutting etc etc - just on a very small scale. It's very popular with craftsters and there are several cheaper imitations available as well.

dezine (author)2012-07-29

You don't have to use an engraver, you can also use any Dremel Multitool with an engraving tool - works just as well. Janice -

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