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19 March 2018

Methods of Glass Etching

Glass etching is the process of creating decorative designs on the surface of glass by either using abrasive or corrosive (acid) materials. At Daedalian Glass Studios we specialise in three techniques of abrasive etching –  sandblasting by hand, sandblasting using a programmable automated machine, and drilling into the surface of the glass by hand. Daedalian Glass Studios also etch to multiple depths and on multiple sides – making very detailed and intricate designs which allow the creation of perspective / layers in the design.

Single sided and single depth glass etching

Etching on to a single side of glass and to a single depth of etching creates a flat pattern across its surface. This is suited to traditional style interiors as it reminiscent of the style of glass design prevalent in older buildings.  In the above picture, these etched glass panels are set within custom wooden frames to create room dividers for the Celeste Restaurant at the iconic Lanesborough Hotel in London.

Multiple sided and single depth glass etching

These metal framed balustrade screens were created for a restaurant project.  By etching a less detailed and single depth pattern on both sides of the glass, interesting 3D designs can be created whilst working within the confines of a strict project budget.

Multiple sided and multiple depth glass etching

Three dimensional designs can also be created by etching to multiple depths on the surface of glass.  By combining multiple depth and multiple sided etching, even more intricate and detailed designs can be created in any style or form.

Above is a 12m by 3m etched glass screen created for the EBOR VIP Stand at York Racecourse.  The horses and jockeys have been etched to multiple depths on both sides of the glass, creating two layers of design that are themselves layered (4 layers in total).

This concept can be taken further by laminating glass panels together – increasing the number of surfaces available to be etched on.  The above picture shows an etched glass screen for Wesley’s Chapel, (location) where a highly intricate design has been etched to multiple depths on all four sides of a laminated glass panel – two pieces of glass.

Hand drilled designs on a single side of glass

An alternative to sandblasted etching is to hand-drill a design into the surface of glass. This allows for highly detailed and deep-carved designs to be created but it is a very labour-intensive production process. The above image shows a (c. 3m by 1m) 15mm low iron glass panel with hand drilling to a depth around 8mm deep. This was created for the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy Hotel, London using a 5mm drill head.

Automated Etching

Daedalian Glass Studios are committed to preserving the artisan approach to glass working. This means creating every element by hand when possible.  However, there are some things that are  impossible to be created by hand and repeated with perfect consistency – no matter how skilled the crafts person.  One example of this in the image above is the perfect gradient transition from clear to obscured sandblasted glass (but transparent – allowing light to pass through the panel) on the right-hand side.  An automated sandblaster machine is utilised for sandblasted designs such as this.

Mixing other glass working techniques with etching

The above image shows an etched text and image design created to tell the story of the Yorkshire Dales at the Grassington Interchange. Within the etched design in the bottom left of the image, extra texture is created by bonding cast glass pieces to the surface of the panel.

This glass design was created as part of a column design at a restaurant project in London. Here a mottled etched design is created on the front surface of the glass whilst the back has been painted. The contrast of the matte and reflective surfaces plays with the transmission of colour passing through the panel – creating an almost glowing effect.

If you would be interested in discussing a project with Daedalian Glass Studios, call +44 (0)1253 702531 or email