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Trying out glass etching and struggling a bit..!

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  • Trying out glass etching and struggling a bit..!

    Have just tried my 1st few bits of glass etching and experiencing a couple of problems!
    Firstly-how do you accurately cut out your own stencils from the vinyl-I have tried some simple shapes like hearts but the thought of trying letters etc is somewhat daunting! Is it all juts down topractice or are there any secret tips?
    Also, I couldn't get the vinyl stuff to stick down really well at the edges and consequently had some bleeding of the etching creama nd some hazy edges-is there any stuff that works bettter-I ordered some Con-Tact decorative covering (which was quite expensive and just looks like ordinary sticky back plastic!) Is ordinary stickyback plastic suitable/better, or is there anything better?
    Any hints and tips gratefully received!

  • #2
    I have never tried glass etching, but do have experience with vinyl. Most of the lettering you see would have been cut on a vinyl cutter, not freehand. There are plenty of different cutter sizes available from A4 up to 50" wide. They are mainly used in the sign making industry and 24" width of film is one of the standard sizes. When I bought my 24" cutter it cost about £140 plus software, so you would need to think £200+. Alternatively there are plenty of people with vinyl cutters who should be able to lettering and other designs fairly cheaply, just have a look on ebay or check your local sign shop.

    With regard to the edges not sticking down, this could be caused by any of several factors.

    1. The most likely is the glass is too curved for that type of film. If possible try a thinner film as this will flex better. It may also be helpful if you warmed the glass and film as usually makes it bend and stick better. Just use a hair dryer on a warm setting.

    2. The adhesive could be aging and not as sticky as it should be. Try checking the type of adhesive as some can be stickier and last longer. Typically vinyl film has 3 year, 5 year or 7 year adhesive - that is the expected life in an outside evironment.

    3. There could be a slight geasy residue on the glass. Clean the glass with a good quality no smear glass cleaner. I have found this one to be very good http://www.lionpic.co.uk/product-sea...x?search=glass.

    4. If the glass is spherical in shape then the vinyl will need some pleating cuts made to get it to lay smoother. Some vinyls will stretch with heat, but with cut outs in the film, the design or letters may become slightly distorted.

    I would suggest you have a chat with a firm like http://www.thevinylcorporation.co.uk/, as they are wholesalers and could advise on the best film to use.

    Roger

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    • #3
      I do a bit of glass etching, I think Roger has covered everything above. I use a craft robo to cut my vinyl, handy little machine that doesn't take up much desktop space. I also use a heat gun or hairdryer to heat the vinyl if I'm etching say a wine glass that has a curve, makes the vinyl much more applicable and helps to stick it to the glass too.
      Give me a shout if I can be of any more help, although I'm no expert - I just started to dabble in this craft last year.
      Good luck

      Jenny
      www.facebook.com/mearnsfoilprinting

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      • #4
        Wow,thanks so much for your replies-really helpful. Will be getting out the hairdryer and will give that a go!

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        • #5
          Haven't been on here for a while but thought I would pitch in! I do sandblasting and etching and I do think it depends on the quality of the vinyl...although you can use sellotape...so the answer is in the 'stickyness' of it rather than how tough it is. Are you using etching paste by the way? I think with etching fluid of either type there will be a certain amount of spillage if you haven't got it stuck enough...you have to make sure it is really pressed down so nothing leaks. Try it with sticky tape on a bit of spare glass and see what happens..I've etched with hydrofluric acid and it always amazes me that it doesn't eat through something as simple as sticky tape but cuts through glass..but theres chemistry for you! Hope that helps! Also you could always go for it and just try painting on the paste free hand and see what happens!
          Website: www.covegardennursery.co.uk
          Blog: www.covegardennursery.co.uk/garden-nursery-blog/
          Facebook: Cove Garden Nursery

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          • #6
            I have always wanted to give this a shot but I never understood how it worked. It sounds like you guys are saying that the etching is created by the vinyl itself? I always thought that you create a vinyl stencil and then brush a chemical over the exposed parts of the glass to create the etched look. Does anyone know where I can find a 101 document on this? lol

            Great topic btw.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by simplydlacruz View Post
              I have always wanted to give this a shot but I never understood how it worked. It sounds like you guys are saying that the etching is created by the vinyl itself? I always thought that you create a vinyl stencil and then brush a chemical over the exposed parts of the glass to create the etched look. Does anyone know where I can find a 101 document on this?
              The vinyl is used as a stencil and the etching is done by an acid cream.

              Check YouTube, I know there are plenty of instructional videos you can watch.

              Roger

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