Engraving Thin Glass Vials

I have dozens of these little glass vials as I’m a craft supply hoarder. I want to engrave on them once I get comfortable understanding how the machine works. Google search seems to lean toward thicker glass like picture frames. I have lots of glass like that to experiment. For the vial glass I can’t seem to find anything for thin glass.

Has anyone tried and wondering if you would share the setting?


Oh! I have a ton of old ginseng bottles that I’ve been hoarding for an embarrassingly long time. Won’t have time to experiment with them before I leave, but will give it a go when I get home from vacation.

IIRC, @dwardio and (I think?) @jamesdhatch have done a fair bit of experimenting with glass. Perhaps one of them will weigh in with ideas on your thin glass.


I’ve never worked with glass that thin. Shattering from thermal shock is a concern, so some sort of protectant might be a good idea. Here’s a post I wrote on early experiments…



Yes this is concern. I was thinking to start with tissue paper settings when I find an example but wondering even that may be too much

I’ve been messing with blank Christmas Tree Ornaments. Thin glass, both with damp paper towel or dish detergent, seems to be either leave no marking at all or cracks the glass across parts of the design. It might also be the design and not quite the right settings, but I’ve had no luck so far getting a complete engrave on thin glass without the glass actually cracking.


That’s a bummer. I will experiment soon and will feedback soon

Might be that a little thicker than ornament glass would yield different results. I’m thinking of other marking options.

Did you get them from Amazon? (Or Hobby Lobby) The cheap thin glass actually works better than the thick high quality stuff as it’s lead free (or any other metals used in high quality glass).

I haven’t done any in the GF yet but I used the Redsail which is a 60W laser. Used dish soap on them. I think I have a package of a half-dozen. I pull one out and check on the GF. Should be easy enough to dial in.

I usually go full/full (power/speed) but that’s on a 60W with a much higher speed (1000mm/sec). I’ll need to convert the pews and zooms to get something equivalent. I also drop the res - too high and you’re in danger of over zapping. So cutting the res to 225 might be a good place to start with the GF.


Local Meijer or Walmart.

Probably similar ones. Made in China and cheap right? :slight_smile:

The wine glasses from Walmart work great too - but those are too big for the GF (not the Redsail).

Made in China and cheap, yes.


Anyone tried using nail polish as a mask? I’m not close to ready to etch my vials directly due to fear of shattering. I’m wondering this may fair better.

FYI - I haven’t used my Glowforge for a while due to life :rofl: I don’t think I’ll gain my hours until springtime as not yet ready to move away from proofgrade

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