How is Glass Etching and Frosted Glass Produced?
Glass etching is usually done in one of two ways: glass is either acid-etched or sandblasted. We at UAGlass use the sandblasting method.
Glass can be covered in a stencil pattern and sandblasted, the covered pieces of glass from the stencil are removed and smooth clear glass is left underneath, this creates the pattern. The stencils are created from a material that resists the effect of the abrasive sandblasting.
Since glass sandblasting is a subtractive process, blasted areas appear frosted while the un-blasted area is clear. We carry out sandblasting by machine, which involves blasting high-pressure sand particles at the glass, which erodes the surface of the glass. Removal of minute amounts of glass in this way creates the characteristic rough surface and translucent quality of frosted glass.
Sandblasting is the alternative, modern technique used to create the same effect as acidetched glass.
Acid-etched glass, sometimes known as ‘French embossing’, is an alternative to sandblasted glass.
It was discovered thousands of years ago, craftsmen discovered that heating fluorite, a deep green mineral, produced hydrofluoric acid which, when applied to glass, would erode the top layer of the glass what was left was frosted glass or glass etching. The Victorians used it to decorate windows and doors in their homes, pubs, restaurants and public areas. Decorative glass could be etched in different shades of white and embossed with gold and colour to create a sense of opulence. Today, the process of acid-etching is dying out and has been replaced with the sandblasting method, which is what we produce at UA Glass.