top of page



Glass etching is the abrading or roughening of a piece of glass in selected areas in order to produce a design. It is a way to produce a “frosted” design on the surface of a piece of glass, but it is much more than that! It can also be used to carve a design deep into the glass or to produce a shaded design that looks like delicate airbrushing but is permanently etched in the glass.

Glass etching is a beautiful and elegant method of creating a graphic design on the surface of an otherwise smooth piece of glass. Just as important, it is permanent and will never come off. Etched and carved glass has become extremely popular these days, and you see it everywhere in upscale restaurants, hotels, banks, theaters and homes.

The current booming interest in etched glass only started about 20 years ago, first with architectural applications (for example, etched doors and windows), but has now spread into etched glass awards, corporate and personal gifts, elements for interior design and decoration (table tops, room dividers, cabinet doors, etc.), signs and much more.

What different glass etching techniques are there?


All of the possible visual effects you can achieve by abrasive blasting on glass can be broken down into 3 major techniques: surface etching, carving and shading.

Surface etching:  So named because you are only etching the surface of the glass. In addition, this type of etching is all done in one stage of blasting, which means that the designs produced are all 2 element designs. That is, all the designs are positive and negative, or black and white.

The etched portions of the design almost always look white, and the clear, unetched portions of the design look black or dark. All etched elements have to be separated by spaces of unetched glass, or the etched elements blend together as a single silhouette, with no detail inside the border.

Surface etching is the easiest technique to learn and the fastest way to produce a finished etching on glass. The etched designs aren't as sophisticated as those from carving or shading.

Carving:  Called carving because you actually blast, or carve, deep into the glass, giving a three dimensional etching. There are several types of carving, including single stage, two stage, multi-stage, and freehand carving. Single stage carving is simply blasting a surface etching design deeply into the glass, separating elements with clear spaces, as in surface etching. With two stage or multi-stage carving, the resist is removed, not all at once, but a few elements at a time and in a definite sequence. This way, elements can be carved to different depths than the other elements they touch, yielding a 3-D bas relief carving. But not a regular bas relief, a reverse bas relief - since you are carving from one side of the glass and viewing the finished carving from the opposite (smooth) side! In other words, you are carving a hollow (or negative) shape in the glass that looks solid and positive from the smooth side.

Elements of a two stage or multi-stage carving design do not have to be separated from each other as they do in surface etching, because they are removed at different times and blasted to different depths. These different depths are what give the necessary visual separation between elements.

Zampa bird.jpg

Acid Works

Acid etched glass is perfect for both interior and exterior applications. Architecture and construction, like in houses, restaurants, hotels, commercial buildings, etc. They are found in many residential applications such as home decoration like furniture components. Some of the suggested applications are: 


• Interior Partitions
• Railings
• Shelves 
• Shower and bath enclosures
• Doors and windows
• Glass walls
• Kitchens
• Interior and exterior doors

national logo small.png
bottom of page