How to Engrave Glass: 5 Techniques You Can Do At Home

How to Engrave Glass: 5 Techniques You Can Do At Home

You’re ready to engrave designs on glass for a special occasion, thoughtful gift, or new product to sell. No matter what you’re looking to make, you can find the right method in this article!

We’re talking all about how to engrave glass using 5 different methods that, yes, you can do from the comfort of your own home. 🏠

Before you dive in, check out our selection of glass engraving blanks that you can use with any of these methods. We have some pretty cool stuff in our shop!

So grab a drink, get comfy, and let’s take a look at all the amazing ways you can engrave glass!

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using third-party links.

First up is our personal favorite, laser engraving ☺️

Method #1 - Laser Engraving

Method #1 - Laser Engraving

Of course, you can engrave glass with a laser engraver!

It’s easy, fast, and creates stunning designs that are extremely clean and precise.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Prepare your laser engraver. You can find affordable machines like the xTool F1 and xTool F1 Ultra that can etch glass.
  2. Position your blank. Set the cup or glass item on the engraving workspace.
  3. Next, load up your design in the laser engraver and make sure it will engrave in the right place. Then choose your settings, like power and speed, which create different effects.
  4. With proper safety measures in place, like using a cover or wearing safety glasses, all that’s left is to press “start” and watch the laser etch your design!
  5. Enjoy your finished piece!

Learn more with our guide to laser engraving and guide to choosing between the xTool F1 and xTool F1 Ultra.

If you’re looking for something fast, affordable, and portable, check out the xTool F1:

[product=xtool-f1-fastest-portable-laser-engraver-with-ir-diode-laser]Get this fast, portable and beginner-friendly laser engraver from xTool![/product]

Method #2 - Sandblasting

Method #2 - Sandblasting

Image Source: Optical Mirror

Sandblasting is pretty much like it sounds! You create stencils that expose parts of the glass, then use a special machine to blast sand or other tiny abrasive materials to etch the surface away.

We interviewed Lindsay Smith of Etch You Designs to share more about this technique with us.

Here’s a whiskey decanter and set of rock glasses she etched with this method:

whiskey decanter

Image Source: Etch You Designs on Facebook

Here’s how to do this at home:

  1. Cut a stencil vinyl sheet with a Cricut or cutting utensil to get the shape you want
  2. Place the stencil where you want to etch the design (remember that any exposed surface will get etched)
  3. Cover any other parts that you don’t want etched with masking tape
  4. Put the glass into a sandblasting cabinet, then use a sandblaster to spray a continuous stream of sand or grit onto the glass
  5. Keep blasting it until the glass looks cloudy in every area you want to etch
  6. Remove the stencils to reveal the finished piece!

Lindsay says, “If you like working with your hands, this is the best way to etch, in my opinion. It’s personal.”

She recommends experimenting with different sizes and types of grit to see what effects you get. Her favorite is 220-grit aluminum oxide. She also recommends trying acid etching first (see #3) to make sure you really like working with glass before buying sandblasting equipment.

Here’s a closer look at the process from Greylight May on YouTube:

Method #3 - Etching Cream

Etching Cream

Image Source: First Day of Home

This is one of the easiest and most affordable methods to try if you’re just starting out. You don’t need any special equipment, just etching cream and stencil vinyl.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Cut a piece of stencil vinyl with the design you want, either with a Cricut or another cutting utensil.
  2. Cover the edges of the stencil with painter's tape to protect the cup from the etching cream.
  3. Apply an etching cream (like Armour Etch) where you want to etch the design.
  4. Leave it on the glass until it etches away the surface, then remove the cream according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Check out this glass etching tutorial by Weekend Craftaholic on YouTube to see this method in action!

Etching with cream is a little bit more messy than other techniques, but it’s a great place to start experimenting before moving on to more complicated techniques!

Method #4 - Power Tool Engraving

Power Tool Engraving

Image Source: Instructables

You can engrave glass and other materials completely by hand using a handheld power tool.

You’ll need a tool called a rotary. Its sharp, spinning tip can etch away glass, metal, wood, and more just by touching it to the surface.

Since you’re doing it by hand, it’s harder to get a high-quality output unless you have really steady hands and are good at drawing! But you can still create beautiful pieces with a handmade feel.

How to do this:

  1. Cover your face and eyes with protective equipment like goggles and a respirator mask.
  2. Use a vinyl sticker or a projector to help you draw the design you want onto the glass with a marker. You’ll wash this away later, but it can help you to draw the design exactly where you want it.
  3. Insert a bit into the rotary tool and turn it on.
  4. Slowly follow the design to etch it into the glass. Practice makes perfect!
  5. Finally, brush away the excess material and admire your handiwork!

Don’t just take our word for it—this tutorial by Crafts with Ellen shows you how it’s done 👇

Method #5 - CNC Engraving

CNC Engraving

Image Source: Carbide 3D

CNC engraving is a lot like laser engraving, but instead of a laser, it uses a rotary tool.

The machine will follow your design file and move the rotary tool around to etch the design exactly where you want it.

These machines tend to be more expensive and difficult to use, so we still recommend doing laser engraving if you’re DIYing at home.

But in case you’re interested in trying this method, here’s a video from IDC Woodcraft that shows you how to do it:

Final Thoughts

So what did you think? Of course, our favorite method is laser engraving, but you can produce really incredible gifts and products with any of these techniques!

Before you go, check out our selection of glass engraving blanks that you can customize with these methods.

Which one will you choose? Tell us more in the comments below. Or better yet, hop into our Official MakerFlo Facebook Community to share your ideas and creations with our team and thousands of creators just like you.

And finally, don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list to get our latest deals on customizable blanks, laser engravers, and more 👇✨

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