Glass Engraving Process

Glass Engraving Process

The particular technique of glass engraving I use is called drill engraving. It utilizes a handheld rotary drill and small diamond burs 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 first drawn directly onto the glass or transferred from a drawing. The outlines can then be sketched in using a small diamond bur 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 burs of various sizes, shapes and grits. Shading is created with the use of stone burs, rubber burs and diamond polishing pastes. The way the light is captured by the depth of the engraving, combined with the various diamond grits, stone burs and rubber burs is what produces the final mesmerizing effects of a glass engraving.