Glass Engraving Process

Glass Engraving Process

The particular technique of glass engraving I use is called the drill technique. It utilizes a handheld rotary drill and small diamond burrs to carve images into the glass.

Images can be carved in cameo, where the background is removed, leaving the image raised, or intaglio, where the image is deeply carved to create dimensions. In intaglio engraving, the portion of the image that appears closest to the viewer is carved deeper than the surrounding areas. Intaglio engraving can also be completed in reverse, on the backside of the glass, so that the viewer looks through the glass at the engraving.

To engrave glass, an image is either drawn directly onto the glass or transferred from a drawing, and then the outlines are sketched in using a small diamond burr or a diamond scribe. Using water as both a lubricant and a coolant, the image is then carved deeper into the glass and the edges of the engraving are smoothed out. Details are added with diamond burrs of various sizes, shapes and grits. Shading is created with the use of stone burrs, rubber burrs and diamond polishing pastes. The way the light is captured by the depth of the engraving, combined with the various diamond grits, stone burrs and rubber burrs is what produces the final mesmerizing effects of a glass engraving.