Translucent glass can be found all over the house. Glass doors and windows, lighting cup, drinkware, glass shelves and bathroom accessories are all common examples of glass products which can be translucent.
The purpose of making some glass products translucent would be that the glass will still transmit lighting while it causes sufficient diffusion to prevent perception of distinct images. In other words you still have the light but you can’t see through it. Bathroom windows and doors are good examples.
Translucent glass is also found since the result of some glass decoration strategies. Some glass doors can have beautiful translucent decorations and many glassware is etched to make translucent logo’s or any type of other form of personalization.
The two many well-known methods for making translucent glass are sandblasting and acid decoration. Another method for etching of glasses is glass laser etching along with a relatively new method for making imprinted glassware is the use of a frosting glass paint which gives an etched effect.
What happens during the process of etching is that the smooth glass surface can be roughened. This roughened glass surface scatters the light upon entering the glass. When entering clear cup the light finds no obstruction.
With sandblasting the glass surface is bombarded with small contaminants made out of carborundum (the “sand”).
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This powder is propelled with high pressure air to the glass in high speed and during the collision of the particles with the glass surface tiny bits of glass are blasted away. Additionally it is called “abbrasive sandblasting”. The result is that the smooth surface roughens up plus from transparent it becomes translucent.
Intended for sandblasting you need a compressor to create a high speed air stream and the blasting alone has to be done in a closed area. Either the operator has to ware a closed suite with atmosphere supply and do the work in a shut room or the sandblasting is done within a so called glovebox, where the operator appears outside a sealed container and where he/she can do the work simply by putting the hands in hand protection which are so arranged that the “sand” can’t come outside the container.
Acid solution etching
Acid etching is done by reaction of the glass surface along with acid. The acid eats areas of the glass surface and roughens up the smooth glass surface.
The particular acids are hazardous not only on contact but also the fumes are extremely toxic.
The acid can be within liquid form or are as being a cream. Liquid is used for etching large surfaces, like a whole vase or a window. Etching creams are ideal for making designs on glass. The masking foil is used to cover areas which must not be etched. (These hiding foils are also used with sandblasting. )
Acid etching is a great hobby and, by using etching cream, also fairly safe to do at home. Ordinary pieces of glass can be turned into pieces of art.
Comparing the result from sandblasting and acid solution etching shows that sandblasting is much rougher. Acid etched glass has an easy satin-like look and touch.
Glass Laser Etching
Laser etching is an interesting technique since you don’t have to use masking foils, chemicals or closed working areas.
The tool this is a machine. Inside the machine there is a CARBON DIOXIDE laser. The laser beam is guided through mirrors to the spot on the particular glass where the etching should be done. The warmth of the laser blasts a part of the particular glass away leaving an etched mark. Driven by a computer the particular laser beam can be positioned everywhere around the glass surface and any graphics can in this way be etched on to the glass surface.
Glass laserlight etching is a powerful decoration technique. With the help of a PC any picture, picture or logo can be prepared and the next step is to let the laserlight do the work. The tedious work you have to do with acid etching or sandblasting, by removing small components from the masking foil for delicate graphics, you don’t have to do with glass laser etching. So it safes a lot of time.
Frosting Glass Paint
Etching is really a nice decoration technique but not everyone is charmed of working with harmful chemicals or has the money to purchase machinery.
The paint companies have been able to make glass paints which usually give glass a frosted complete. The frosted look from the chemicals is also satin-like just like the result of acidity or laser etching.
Frosted cup made with frosting glass paints can be extremely durable. When using the right frosting cup paint it is possible to use glass cleaners and solvents for removing oily finger marks or, in case of glassware, put them in the dish washer.
One more big advantage of frosting glass chemicals is that the paint can be clear and colored. So in one step a definite transparent glass can be turned into a colored etched glass and logo’s and other images can be in multi-color.