If you’re currently interested in adding some visual twist to your decor, then you may want to consider sandblasting glass in the windows or cabinet doors in your house. Etching or sandblasting is a special process which forces a specific abrasive substance at a piece of glass by making use of high velocity and high pressure.
When that happens, the abrasive material will permanently etch your chosen pattern onto the surface of the glass. However, the areas outside the pattern need to be protected during this process and that is why they are coated with a resist first. While it’s true that this is a costly and also challenging process, the results can really give you a very nice custom look.
Select your window
The first step you should take when it comes to sandblasting a pattern of your choice is the window you want to consider it for. If possible, it’s recommended that you remove the window you will work on. Next, decide on the pattern you want to use. Keep in mind that if you’re a novice, you may want to use a precut stencil for the glass.
Clean the glass
Before you start working on the glass, it’s recommended that you clean it properly using a lint free cloth and a glass cleaner. Carefully prepare your work area and make sure the glass is laid on a protective surface.
Cut the resist
At this point you’ll need to cut the resist sheet half an inch wider compared to the glass you plan to sandblast. The backing should be removed from the resist and carefully adhered to the top of the glass. While adhesive vinyl will usually come in sizes from six to eight millimeters, you can also decide on the size you should purchase by considering the directions on the resist.
Get the bubbles out
In order to get the bubbles out of the vinyl, you’ll need to use a squeegee. Also, if the glass is large, then it’s recommended that the resist is applied in small increments. Next, the extra vinyl should be trimmed from the edges.
Now you should carefully place the stencil on top of the resist and use masking tape in order to secure the exterior edges. During this step of the process, you should ensure the stencil won’t move at all.
Use a sharp utility knife in order to cut around the stencil’s inner outline. In a continuous motion. You should make sure to cut deep so that you cut the resist, but not too deep so you damage the glass. Next, you should use a lifting corner to remove the resist and then pull everything else away from the glass. To ensure the edges didn’t lift up, press on the remaining resist on the glass.
Before considering it, you should carefully read all directions on how it needs to be done. Put on safety glasses and gloves and carefully prepare it as per the instructions. The nozzle should be held at ninety degrees to the glass, about six to eight inches from the surface. Don’t stay in one place too much and work in alternating horizontal and vertical sprays. The process will be complete once you see a uniform image in the glass.
Carefully remove the sand from the glass so you can inspect the image. If you see any uneven areas, go over them again. The finished glass should be rinsed under water and then dried properly. Lastly, remove the resist and the remaining adhesive using alcohol.
What you’ll need:
- Safety goggles.
- Masking tape.
- Utility knife or scissors.
- Vinyl adhesive resist sheets.
- Cloth (lint free).
- Glass cleaner and stencil.
- There are two kinds of sandblasters you can use, including pressure and siphon sandblasters. The latter is perfect for simple jobs and is quite affordable. The former though is a bit more expensive, but it can etch a bit deeper into the glass.
- To get a better understanding of the process, you should practice on a small piece of glass.
- Rent or borrow a sandblaster before buying an expensive model so that you can get used to it and learn more about the type you’ll need.
- If you don’t want to buy any equipment, hire a specialized service to help you out.
- Wear gloves and safety glasses when sandblasting.
- Work in a safe area where you won’t damage other items.