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Sandlasting resists question


Hi All; A friend of mine has brought up a question that I’ve wondered
about myself. She wants to sand blast an image on an onyx cab.
I’ve used tape, rubber cement, and various adhesive materials, but
that was for simply masking off areas. Has anybody done anything
like this? Is there a resist that can be silk-screened on? It would
be nice if there were something that could be developed using a
desktop computer and laser or inkjet printer. Thanks in advance.

David L. Huffman


I sandblast on glass using a self-adhesive backed mask called
"buttercut" available at stained glass stores. It is pressed on the
piece then you cut out the design with your #11 scalpel blade (or
exacto knife). It may work on onyx that is flat and smooth.



Hey David, I have some good friends who are glass blowers that will
send off a photo and will get back a mask which they apply to their
piece, then sandblast. The sandblasted image has remarkable depth.
Not sure how small you can go. Contact Larry at Cooper Graphics ,
919.567.1559. Hope it helps, Sean


I don’t know how he did it but a gem cutter/dealer named Gary Abbot
used to sandblast (or etch?) designs on onyx. If you want more info
on how to reach him (I have no idea if he would tell anyone how he
did it although he doesn’t seem to be doing it anymore) email me off

Daniel R. Spirer, GG
Spirer Somes Jewelers
1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140


Hi All, I met a fellow several years ago that sandblasted various
flat stones. His process consisted of using a computer driven
cutter that cut trrough thin rubber mats. He would bond the cut
rubber mat to the stone and remove all sections where he wanted to
sandblast. He said the process was first developed for sign
making. Unfortunately I do not remember his name. Good luck

Lee Epperson


Aloha Everyone, There are several methods to etching, and then there
is faux etching. One can etch almost anything with the correct

Most CARVED, etching that has depth is done by using sandblast
grit (there are various sizes) and an air compressor. When etching
glass for a 3D effect, a skilled hand is needed not to bore a hole
through the glass due the strength of the pressurized grit being
pumped from the nozzle. This type of etching normally is done in a
confined box, for the grit flies everywhere while working, and
protective gear and environment is needed. The other types of etching
are done with Armour Etching Cream or Armour Etching Liquid.
Extreme caution must be used with any process. Needed are heavy
gloves, good ventilation, good lighting, a face mask, EYE
PROTECTION, and your design. When we etch, we use a thick, self
adhesive mylar film (otherwise known as contact paper) to cover the
protected, surrounding areas while the acid is being applied by
brush. The largest area we have etched is a 4’x8’ design on two
interior, glass sliding doors. From this experience we have learned
quite a bit. Some people use colored mylar to see what areas are
being etched, our company uses clear mylar.

1-If working inside, and your glass is upright, you must run mylar
over the bottom of the glass, starting from the floor upwards:
reason? All acid must be washed off with water and either a soft
brush or sponge…a brush works better.

2-Protecting your surface from the ground up means that when you
rinse, no acid water will leak under the mylar, streaking the surface
you are working on, and ruining your surface.

3-This type of project requires you must protect the floor, so you
will need about four to five inches of newspaper to absorb the acid
water. Thus, you must place plastic bags, taped together under the
newspaper, and starting about 5 inches under the lowest placed mylar
sheet. Be aware, once water hits the paper you are looking at about
50 pounds, easily, to pick up and dispose.

4-The heaver/thicker the mylar or coating the better the etching

5-Use hospital x-ray film for your design. Transfer your design to
the x-ray film. For our 4’x8’ project, the x-ray sheets were taped
together to make a large template but the design was drawn onto it,
filled in with black marsh pen ink, taped on the other side of the
glass that will not be etched, then place the mylar on the side to be
acid etched.

6-The design is colored black so once you cut and lift off the clear
mylar, one knows exactly the area that will need the acid to apply
to, otherwise, cutting a clear mylar, with a pattern, one may become
confused in the etching process; having the black design signifies
the exact place the acid will be applied and where the mylar is being
removed to apply the etching cream.

7-The acid cream never should be applied to a dirty surface. It is
said that a good window cleaner should be used prior to etching
because mylar leaves a sticky residue. I have found that plain,
white vinegar works better at cleaning the surface prior to etching,
leaving a better product in the end.

8-The larger the design, the greater the brush strokes shows (this
why many books state of have intricate patterns to avoid the brush
strokes showing). We have learned that using a smaller brush, adding
more cream over the acid cream we already applied to the surface
being etched works best. The various books state once the acid is
applied, leave on for 5 minutes, then rinse. WE HAVE FOUND THIS TO
BE INACCURATE. A smaller, soft brush, using more cream, and working
the cream over the unprotected glass, produces a better etched
product in the end. For our experience, we left the acid on for
about 20 minutes. The end result is better.

9-Delphi Glass company sells this product, ARMOUR ETCHING CREAM in
different size bottles. Our 4’x8’ pattern for two full size sliding
glass doors, used 8 bottles of the 17oz. cream.

10-If the cream looks brown, don’t use it, return it. Furthermore,
you must be quick to remove any circular globs that are applied to
the surface for these tiny little clumps leave a pitted, circular
look in the end product.

11-Amour Etching Liquid is normally used for a reversed etching
style. You cover with your pattern the area you want smooth and
untouched, leave the rest unprotected, and bathe it in the acid
liquid. Only the protected patterned area retains its normal
appearance and the balance of the surface has a frosted look.

12-It is imperative to be safe while using this product. Long sleeve
shirt, thick gloves, good ventilation, protective eye wear, and good
products. Should the cream hit you, wash it off immediately. Since
it is an acid, it definitely burns, we know from first hand

13-Our 4’x8’ design took much planning for if you keep your sliding
glass doors open, the patterns should match. We used identical
patterns so there would not be a conflict in images when the doors
are opened. Now when the doors are opened (one in front of the
other) the design looks more 3D. When closed, the pattern is
identical for both doors but many people are not aware of the
duplication because it is a continuous Hawaiian leaf pattern.

14-You may purchase pre-made faux etching patterns that can just be
placed on a surface and the end results look like the pattern was
etched on by cream or liquid, until you rub your hand over the
surface and feel the raised image, signifying that the etched image
is a sticker. 15-There is a liquid resist that can be purchased to
apply over the surface not to be etched that will protect the
surrounding areas. Sandblasters use it for etching glass. I should
say through carving glass or other surfaces, from the grit and high
compressed air through a nozzle. 80 pounds of pressure, and rough
grit, can bore a hole right through the surface if one is not
careful. 16-For smaller designs, I have used Blue Painters tape,
taped the entire surface, then placed my pattern over the top, and
used an exacto blade to cut the paper pattern and tape off, leaving
the rest of the tape on, cleaning the surface with white vinegar,
then applying the cream, always using a soft brush and moving the
cream in different directions, even though the directions say not to,
I do because the end result is much better. As a side note, check the
yellow pages for sandblasting or stained glass stores in your area.
Normally they carry the resist you are looking for. Here in Hawaii,
if you know how to etch using a sandblaster, one may rent a booth for
the day to do their work in, instead of spending a large chunk of
change buying the equipment for actual sandblasting an etched design.
Sandblasting is more for carving the surface giving it a dimension
by shadowing and carving deeper, which gives the 3D image as a result
in the end. For more about etching or stained glass
this company can assist any one: Delphi Glass at and check out their web site. Currently on sale
is Dichroic Glass, Beveled Glass, and other things: CBS DICHROIC

What an incredible value - you can save between 25% and 35%! This
surprise pack contains a random mixture of colors, but be assured
you’ll get some of the most sought after colors, as well as a
textured piece (or maybe even two!). Pack contains six pieces of the
great quality dichroic glass made by Coatings by Sandberg. Each
piece is at least 4 inch square. If it were sold separately this
pack would have a MINIMUM value of $95.70. Act now to get this
amazing savings on the dichroic glass that fusers love! (Item: 64002
Sale:$66.00) More INFO… Sorry to take up so much of your time, but
since this has been an Orchid discussion for the past week or so,
perhaps this will help. If a person sandblasts metal, the end result
should look like a Pave surface. Pick your resist well, for even
resists have their limits. If uncertain, ask a professional glass
company like Delphi or a similar company. Take care every one. I
wish all of you a Healthy, Wealthy, and Prosperous 2002.

Barbara in Hawaii If you would like more write me off
line at: @myredcar


This would be a Gerber sign machine making vinyl letters … These
should be under almost every signmaking bush . It would be most cost
effective to be able to take your design file to someone who has
the tooling and let them cut your stencils. You would just have to
get compatible files.



Contact PhotoBrasive Systems, 4832 Grand Ave., Duluth, MN 55807,
800- 643-1037, <> for resists and film, including
inkjet film, for sandblasting.