Glass often plays a purely practical role in every-day life – it is used for windows, cutlery and furniture. Yet options to make use of glass in an artistic way abounds. An excellent direction to head in when exploring the creative side of glass is that of glass sandblasting.
Glass Sandblasting refers to the propelling of fine bits of material at a high speed to etch a surface. Although the surface is mostly glass, the process can also be applied to other materials such as ceramics and steel.
Sand is mostly used, but for health reasons other small particles such as steel grit, copper slag or powdered abrasives can also be used. Since there is a chance of inhaling dust during the sandblasting process, careful precaution should be taken during the sandblasting process by using an alternate air supply, wearing protective gear and ensuring there is good ventilation. The equipment typically consists of the abrasive material, an air compressor and a blaster nozzle.
The two techniques used when decorating glass with sandblasting is etching and carving. Glass etching produces a ‘whitening’ or ‘snowing’ effect when abrasive material is lightly blasted at the glass – an ideal effect for words or images on trophies or windows. For different effects, the speed and angle of the sandblasting can be adjusted.
The carving process takes place when a stencil is placed on the glass and then glass sandblasted. Again different depths and angles can be incorporated to create three-dimensional art pieces.
Besides creating art, sandblasting is also used for decorating glass household items such as bowls, clocks, glasses or vases. Furthermore most architectural glass can also be sandblasted, including windows, frameless glass showers, balustrades, doors, mirrors and table tops.
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