Instructables
Picture of How To Make Custom Etched Glasses
The other day I learned how to use a sand blaster and you know how when you learn a new skill your mind explodes with possible uses.  That happens to me and sometimes I get so many random ideas bouncing around in my head I wake up in the middle of the night.  This is the project that woke me up at 3:00AM and would not let me go back to bed.

I was tired of having boring old glasses in my cupboard, on my table, and holding my juice.  If I know one thing it is that drinks taste better when consumed from awesome containers.  If you doubt this fact just look at the curly straw!  I rest my case.  Now on to how I went about customizing my glassware just in time for the holiday season.

Step 1: Tools and Materials Needed

Picture of Tools and Materials Needed
What follows is the list of materials and tools I used to make these awesome glasses.

Materials
7.5 oz(221.80ml) Rocks Glass
Orcal 651 5 year sign vinyl***
Transfer Tape**
80 grit sand blasting medium**

Tools (I made it at the techshop which had all the tools on hand)
Cnc vinyl cutter*
Tape measure
dental pick
Teflon scissors(you can use normal scissors it can just get a bit sticky)
Sandblasting cabinet*
Trusty Project notepad
Cutting mat
Air compressor*
Shopper discount card* or similar semi stiff piece of plastic.  CD coasters work well too.
Thumb Drive*
Dish Towel(not provided by tech shop)*
Safety Glasses*

Software
Inkscape (or other vector art program)*
FlexiSign 8.6.2*

*Not shown in the picture
**Materials provided by the Techshop
***Can be purchased in small amounts at the Techshop for a reasonable price.
 
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madewooden2 years ago
I have a vinyl cutter that cuts designs I make on my computer with Adobe Illustrator. The vinyl is easily applied on most items. I have an air eraser (very much like an air brush) that etches with aluminum oxide. This lightly etches the glass; you can see the design but barely feel it. I also use a larger, more powerful pressure blaster using silicon oxide. This cuts into the glass quickly causing that 3-D affect. The secret is using a pressure system rather than a siphon system. The pressure system requires less pressure (20psi) from your compressor; the siphon system requires higher pressure (90psi).
mbeitiks2 years ago
you are awesome.
kayakdiver2 years ago
Nice Instructable! Take a look, also, at a material called "ButterCut". It is a thick, self-adhesive vinyl specifically made for masking out sandblasting. The caveat is that it takes a flat-bed XY Cutter to cut this thicker material, but it can be cut with the same detail as the thinner stuff. It is also easy to pattern out by hand with an eXacto knife after applying it directly to the substrate to be sandblasted.

Wood patterners will cover an entire piece with ButterCut and cut out where the deepest parts of the pattern are first. Then they sandblast all the open areas. Next, they cut out the second deepest areas and sandblast all the open areas again. The process is repeated until a rather finely relieved pattern is created. When the last of the ButterCut is peeled away, that area is still smooth and flat for the prominent image area.
periodthree2 years ago
How important is the knoby knob knob to this instructable? Could you use a dially dial dial?
The knoby knob knob is of the utmost importance. Attempting this project without a knoby knob knob is pure folly and would cause a rift to open sucking us all into a parallel universe where we would meet our evil goatee having counterparts. As we all know that never ends well. :)
Interesting, and fun to read along, especially with the humor in the pictures. Good job.
Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the instructable.
snatr2 years ago
I was just thinking of doing a project like this. Someone on here posted something about cutting wine bottles for lights with a dremmel tool. So I was going to try a little free hand etching on a bottle with a dremmel for a gift this holiday.
Incidentally, I used to work at a glass shop some time ago with a guy that sandblasted etchings on a larger scale for businesses. I thought it was pretty cool.
I discovered this when I worked in an auto body shop; we cleaned the rust off the cars with a sand blaster. One guy messed up the masking and wrecked a windshield.
A fellow I know uses the same technique to etch polished marble, he buys sheets of marble already polished and masks it to a pattern then sand blasts the image in the marble.
steamyjoe2 years ago
In Victorian English glass-works the etching was done with Hydroflouric Acid. As the process was nasty; smelly, and hazardous it was given to the Aprentices - and so it didn't stink out the whole workshop they were put in a little cupboard with a lead-lined sink.

It was thought that if they had coughs or colds when they went in there they'd have cleared their tubes out wonderfully by the time they came out.
cartman5502 years ago
Very cool. In my sixth grade art class (1986), we used the acid etch stuff Oakback mentioned above. We used clear contact paper and Xacto knives to cut our designs instead of fancypants computer vinyl cutters :P (Just kidding, I'm jealous that kind of technology wasn't common when I was a kid!) If anyone tries it with the contact paper and acid etch, the key is getting your glass super clean and using quality contact paper, as well as a fresh, sharp blade in your knife. Just follow the directions on the jar of etchant, easy as that. Interestingly enough, if you have access to hide glue, you can also etch glass with that! (Hide glue is animal based glue used in stringed musical instrument repair -yes, vegans, I know, I know... I've never tried it, preferring to save my glue for guitars and fiddles :)
lucky u got to do fun things in art class, now its rare to be painting in art class!
oakback2 years ago
If you don't have access to sand blasting, there is glass-etching acid you can buy a craft stores. It's simple to use, but doesn't produce as defined of an imagine (sand blasting creates a bit of physical depth).