Laser-etched Glass Art With Hand-coloring




Introduction: Laser-etched Glass Art With Hand-coloring

I made this partly at TechShop, an amazing place with several outposts in the US. It's a production shop with tools for metalworking, woodworking, industrial sewing, vinyl banner cutting, electronics and arduino, laser cutting and more:

Step 1: Etching the Glass Plate

On this laser you can etch wood, paper, acrylic, glass, ceramic, anodized metal, chocolate (!) and more. You can also cut wood, paper and acrylic but not glass etc.

* I got a local glass shop to make me some 8" x 8" plates and created a 7" x 7" design in Adobe Illustrator. (Always get extra material in case you make mistakes.)
* I wanted to put the design on the back of the glass, so I flopped the design so it was backwards and would be right-way-round from the front.
* I put the design on a flash drive, transferred it to the computer attached to the laser and opened the file.
* I adjusted the settings for glass, hit Print and started the laser.
* The video shows the laser on a different project but you get the idea.

Step 2: Painting the Laser-etched Image on the Glass

* This is a picture of an etched backwards design, on a different project. This one is acrylic rather than glass. You get the idea.
* On the left side of the design I took some water-based enamel and painted with a brush on the back of the glass where the etching was. You don't need to put a lot of paint on.
* On the right side I used a Sharpie (permanent) marker.
* I did the half-and-half as a test to see how they were different.
* For both paint and Sharpie, it's totally OK to go outside the lines of the etching. The next step is scraping off the extra.

Step 3: Laser-etched Glass Plate With Paint or Marker Coloring

The final step is removing the excess paint or marker from the the flat un-etched surface
* Use a single-edged razor blade (the kind for painting) to get most of the paint or marker off. You may have to go through several blades as the glass dulls them pretty quickly. Note: Obviously this will work on glass but not on acrylic as the razor will just cut the surface.
* Next crumple up some soft paper and rub all over the design to get the rest of the color off. You may have to rub hard. Tissue paper works as does newsprint. Don't use printed-on newspaper as the ink will get into the etched parts.

That's it! You have some beautiful hand-colored glass art.

Check out the difference between paint and marker. The first one, paint, has a delicate quality with variation in the color and looks more handmade; the second one, marker, has much more even color and has a stronger look.

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    3 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    On acrylic I use a sharpie, rub it into the design, leave it to dry and then using acrylic polish remove the excess. I use this a lot when making enclosures for electronics where I need writing/text.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Which method did you find easier to use?


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Both were easy, actually, although the excess marker was a little harder to scrape off the glass. It really depends what look you want. I like the more delicate handmade look of the paint -- the marker looks a little machine-made because the color is so even.