Traditional But Modern
Etched glass or sandblasted glass as it is also known is the process of obscuring clear glass. When some areas are left clear, this creates a beautiful decorative design. The glass is obscured by blasting coarse grit at high speeds against the glass.
Leadbitter Glass creates thousands of etched panels for customers each year and every order we create is bespoke. There are no ‘pre-etched’ panels ‘ready to go’ because we create each panel to the clients exact glass sizes. If the design can be imagined, we can probably create it in glass.
Family crests, a favourite tree or a Victorian Etched pattern can all be created by our studio. Supplying your own design is possible but you pencil drawings aren’t always suitable because of the time taken to turn it into a cutting file. You can find out what makes a suitable image here.
Let The Light Flood In
Etched Glass is one of the oldest forms of decorative glass on the market but it can also be used to create modern and contemporary art glass. One of the great things about this glass is the amount of light the glass allows to enter the room.
Other forms of decorative glass may contain coloured sections or lead strips that block some light passing through. Etched glass is pure glass without any of these extra materials obstructing the light coming through.
In our studio we have a very small window that faces South. We have etched the glass fully for privacy reasons and when the sun comes out, this window glows like a light bulb. When clients visit our studio we use this window to show how much light comes through Etched Glass.
A quick explanation as to how we etch glass would be to sum it up like this –
” a clear sheet of glass is covered with a a vinyl mask. The mask has a pattern pre-cut into it and some areas are then removed. The bare areas of the glass are scratched with tiny particles under high pressure. When the protected mask is then removed, a decorative pattern is revealed.”
In more detail – A decorative design, a repeating pattern or even numbers and words are designed on computer software for each individual job. Once the bespoke layout has been created, the design is then sent from the computer to a mask cutting machine. The design is then carved into a sheet of vinyl which is then laid over the whole area of the glass.
By studying the pattern, the areas that need to be etched are peeled away from the glass and left exposed. The glass is placed into an automatic sandblasting machine that shoots abrasive material onto the glass panel at high pressure. Once the sandblasting process is finished the glass is removed from the machine and the glass is cleaned down.
Unveiling The Art
The protected areas are then carefully peeled away from the glass leaving these protected areas clear and unmarked. In this photo you can see the mask being removed from the glass after blasting. You can also see the ‘blasted’ areas that appear a light grey colour. These sections were the unprotected areas of the glass design and are now fully etched. Once the whole mask is removed, the clear and ‘blasted’ areas come together to create a beautiful piece of glass.
Watch a short video showing some Etched/Sandblasted Glass examples…
Etched Satin Glass –
A popular request received is etched glass for bathroom or toilet door panels. One of the main concerns we tend to hear is the need for absolutely no clear sections in the design. As explained above, etched glass is created by leaving some of the design clear with some areas obscured. As you can appreciate this technique isn’t perfect for bathrooms, toilets and en suites so we can use Satin Glass to fully obscure the glass.
Satin glass is glass that was designed to imitate sandblasted glass. The whole area of the glass is fully obscure and once the pattern is etched onto the glass, it creates an amazing finish. The design can still be clearly viewed without the presence of any clear areas because of the light passing through.
A Modern Feel
This panel was created for a customer that wanted a design to match with their new bathroom tiles. The client emailed a photo of their tiles and we designed 3 options for the customer to view. The client was concerned about how well the pattern would show once it was etched onto Satin glass. As you can see, the design is vivid and works perfect in conjunction with this privacy glass.
We can supply these type of etched glass panels for bathrooms in 4mm toughened glass or 6mm toughened glass. Satin orders are almost always required for internal panels so are supplied as single glazed. Double glazed units can also be supplied using Satin Glass.
As with all of the single glazed etched panels we create, the glass is coated with our Sandblast Protection product which reduces greasy finger marks appearing in the etched areas. If double glazed units are required we would still coat the outer etched sections.
Etched Glass – Perfect for numbers and names!!
Etched glass is an ideal form of decorative glass for House Names & Numbers. One of the most popular requests that Leadbitter Glass receives is for etched numbers on or above front doors. If your home has a top light above the door, we can create a panel with your house number or house name.
When etching numbers and names, the best result is when the background is etched leaving the text in clear glass. This is because clear numbers and names stand out a lot sharper when surrounded by an obscure background. We do get request for etched names and numbers on clear backgrounds but the result isn’t as sharp this way.
Gradient Sandblast Shading
Gradient Sandblasting or Shaded Sandblasting as it is otherwise known is another service offered by Leadbitter Glass. This technique gives our etched glass even more possibilities with the obscuring effect fading as it rises through the glass.
This photo shows the effect that gradient sandblasting has on a glass panel. Look at the bottom of the glass and notice that it’s fully sandblasted. As your eyes travel up the glass, the glass gradually becomes almost clear. This great technique is impossible to create with a manual system but our studio has an automatic machine especially for creating gradient sandblasted glass.
Gradient sandblasting is popular for shower screens but there are limits to the size and weight of glass we can work with. This is because we need to manually lift glass onto benches so we cannot work with heavy glass. We would not work with glass past 2.5 metres in length and we cannot Gradient Sandblast anything wider than 1100mm. Glass thicknesses also add to the weight so please have the glass sizes and thickness available when making an enquiry.